The Indian Health Service and the Cherokee Nation signed a Joint Venture Construction Program agreement in a ceremony at IHS Headquarters this week. The agreement will result in significantly increased access to expanded health services in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, in IHS' Oklahoma City Area. Under the JVCP agreement, the Tribe will construct the facility, and the IHS will request funding from Congress to staff, operate and maintain the facility for 20 years.
For more than two decades, the competitive IHS Joint Venture Construction Program has strengthened partnerships with tribes across the country and ensured that comprehensive, culturally acceptable health services are available and accessible to American Indian and Alaska Native people.
The facility will serve not only members of the Cherokee Nation, but all American Indians and Alaska Natives in the service area. It will provide comprehensive medical services, including ambulatory care, audiology, behavioral health, dental care, diagnostic imaging, endocrinology, eye care, health education, laboratory service, pharmacy, podiatry, primary care, public health nursing, public health nutrition, rehabilitation services, specialty care surgery, a wellness center and a WIC program.
Gary J. Hartz, P.E. leads IHS efforts to provide functional, well maintained health care facilities and staff housing, technical and financial assistance to Tribes on safe water and wastewater systems and a broad range of environmental health and injury prevention activities.