Published April 2, 2016
JAY, OKLAHOMA — The Cherokee Nation celebrated the opening of its new $14 million Sam Hider Health Center in Jay Friday.
The 42,000-square-foot health center replaces an aging 26,000-square-foot facility that was more than 80 years old. It offers a physical therapy department for the first time, in addition to adding space for primary care, dental, optometry, radiology, behavioral health, public health nursing, pharmacy, laboratory, nutrition, WIC and diabetes care services.
“Dedicating the Sam Hider Health Center means we’ve now opened four health care centers that have either been expanded or are brand new within our health system. This state-of-the-art facility in Delaware County will enable the tribe to provide the kind of health care our Cherokee people deserve,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “We made a wise investment three years ago when we poured $100 million from CNB business profits into improved health care access for Cherokees. We pledged to expand facilities, provide more and better health services, and reduce wait times, and we followed through on that promise.”
In 2015, the health center had more than 77,000 patient visits and issued nearly 154,000 prescriptions.
“A new, state-of-the-art health care facility in Jay has been sorely needed,” said Tribal Councilor Curtis Snell. “This new facility is going to allow our health care staff the space to work more efficiently while providing the space for a higher level of comfort for our patients. It is just another testament of the tribe’s commitment to providing the best quality of health care possible to our Cherokee Nation citizens.”
The new Sam Hider Health Center is the fourth and final project completed under a $100 million health care capital improvement plan using casino profits. The Cherokee Nation opened a new health center in Ochelata and expanded health centers in Sallisaw and Stilwell in 2015.
“The Cherokee Nation is the standard bearer in health care in not only Indian Country but throughout the United States, and this new facility along with other projects only reinforces that status,” said Connie Davis, executive director of Cherokee Nation Health Services. “With the combination of modern facilities and first-class health care providers, Cherokee Nation citizens can rest assured they are receiving top quality care at Sam Hider Health Center and all Cherokee Nation medical facilities.”
Community photographs, along with a piece detailing historical schools and churches of Delaware County, are some of the art on display in the new health center. It also incorporates woven baskets, a display featuring the traditional Cherokee fishing technique known as gigging, and wooden seals honoring the five-armed branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.
“In addition to being a first-class health care center, the facility also reflects the identity of the communities in Delaware County,” said Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. “From community photographs to décor detailing history of community schools and churches to the artwork, each and every person can form some type of connection to this facility. Making people feel at home through the use of art and culture will only allow our staff to better serve our patients and find positive solutions to their conditions.”
Cherokee Nation Construction Resources, a wholly owned company of the Cherokee Nation, served as contactor for the new health center. Selser Schaefer Architects designed the facility.
“The Sam Hider Health Center staff is very excited about the new facility,” said Mike Fisher, clinic administrator. “This new center is going to impact the community significantly and allow our staff the space to continue providing outstanding health care with improved efficiency.”
The building is named in honor of the late Rev. Sam Hider, who was pastor of the Piney Baptist Church, taught Cherokee classes, led gospel singings and helped former Chief W.W. Keeler lay the foundation for the present-day Cherokee Nation.
Cherokee Nation Health Services operates the largest tribally run health system in the country, with a million patient visits in 2015. It consists of eight health centers and W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah.
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