Cherokee Nation Awarded Indian Health Service Joint Venture Project

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$30M per year in federal funds to expand W.W. Hastings Hospital campus

Cherokee Nation’s W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah will add a new facility after the tribe was notified this week it was awarded an Indian Health Service Joint Venture Construction Program project.

As part of the agreement between the Cherokee Nation and IHS, the tribe funds the construction of a more than 250,000-square-foot facility on the hospital’s Tahlequah campus. IHS initially provides up to $30 million per year for 20 years for staffing and operations.

The Cherokee Nation was in the top three tribes selected from a pool of 37 applicants for a Joint Venture Construction project.

“This will go down as one of the greatest days in the history of the modern Cherokee Nation,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “Our partnership with IHS will improve the health outcomes of Cherokees for the next two to three generations and beyond. It’s a proud, proud day in the Cherokee Nation.”

The expanded hospital campus will help alleviate the strain on the current hospital, which was built 30 years ago to serve 65,000 outpatient visits each year. The hospital currently serves more than 400,000 patient visits per year. The new facility will include more than 100 exam rooms and dozens of specialty rooms.

“Cherokee Nation Health Services cannot be more excited about the future of W.W. Hastings Hospital and our tribe’s health system as a whole,” said Connie Davis, executive director of Cherokee Nation Health Services. “With the millions of dollars from the joint venture project, the Cherokee Nation will continue to offer first-class health service at a state-of-the-art health facility.”

The IHS Joint Venture Construction Program was established by IHS in the early 1990s to help tribes across the country develop better health care facilities for tribal citizens, while alleviating financial strain on the federal government.

Applications for the program were last accepted in fiscal year 2010. Cherokee Nation began meeting with Congress in 2013, asking members to join U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., and U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., in requesting IHS reopen the application process.

Chief Baker also testified before the U.S. House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee in Washington, D.C., in April 2014.

Cherokee Nation citizen and Westville resident Johnnie Noblin has used W.W. Hastings Hospital for 40 years, more recently in the past five years.

“I think the expansion is going to be great. I have seen the hospital improve so much through the years, and to expand even more I think will be a wonderful thing to help our people,” the 66-year-old said.

The Cherokee Nation is also undergoing a $100 million health care expansion plan using profits from the tribe’s business revenue. A new Ochelata and Jay health center are under construction. Sallisaw and Stilwell health centers are being expanded. All four projects are expected for completion by late spring.

Cherokee Nation operates the largest tribal health system in the United States, with more than one million patient visits per year and more than 130,000 active patient charts. In 2014, W.W. Hastings Hospital delivered 766 babies and had 7,000 surgical procedures.

For more information on Cherokee Nation Health Services, visit


About Cherokee Nation
The Cherokee Nation is the federally recognized government of the Cherokee people and has inherent sovereign status recognized by treaty and law. The seat of tribal government is the W.W. Keeler Complex near Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the capital of the Cherokee Nation. With more than 300,000 citizens, 9,000 employees and a variety of tribal enterprises ranging from aerospace and defense contracts to entertainment venues, Cherokee Nation is one of the largest employers in northeastern Oklahoma and the largest tribal nation in the United States.
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Julie Hubbard
Cherokee Nation
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