CHERO­KEE, N.C.

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - — Mau­reen McKinney

— Tribal lead­ers plan to build a big­ger hospi­tal with more ser­vices to re­place the 28-bed Chero­kee (N.C.) In­dian Hospi­tal on the Chero­kee In­dian Reser­va­tion in west­ern North Carolina. Space at Chero­kee’s one-story fa­cil­ity is lim­ited, said Jody Bradley, the hospi­tal’s pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer. “It is very tight quar­ters right now,” she said. “We want peo­ple to stay here for ser­vices in­stead of go­ing out­side the reser­va­tion, but we have to make sure they have a place to come back to.” Hospi­tal of­fi­cials have cho­sen a moun­tain­top lo­ca­tion for the three-story, 141,000-square-foot fa­cil­ity and are in the process of eval­u­at­ing which ad­di­tional ser­vices they will pro­vide there. Chero­kee In­dian Hospi­tal func­tions as a one-stop health fa­cil­ity for the East­ern Band of Chero­kee In­di­ans, a 14,000-mem­ber tribe. The hospi­tal’s cur­rent of­fer­ings in­clude dental ser­vices, chronic disease man­age­ment and in­pa­tient care. As part of the ex­pan­sion, of­fi­cials are plan­ning to re­vamp the hospi­tal’s eye clinic and build a larger phar­macy. They are also con­tem­plat­ing adding new ser­vices, such as gas­troen­terol­ogy, Bradley said. “Right now we’re study­ing each ser­vice to see if it is more ef­fi­cient to add it in-house or keep send­ing pa­tients out for it,” she said. The $50 mil­lion project is still in the early phases and the new hospi­tal won’t be open for pa­tients for at least an­other three to five years. Bed counts may in­crease slightly, Bradley said, but the most sig­nif­i­cant changes will af­fect the hospi­tal’s out­pa­tient of­fer­ings and ad­min­is­tra­tive fa­cil­i­ties. Much of the fund­ing for the new hospi­tal will come from rev­enue de­rived from the tribe’s casino. In 2002, the tribe as­sumed own­er­ship of the hospi­tal from the U.S. In­dian Health Ser­vice.

Tribal lead­ers plan a larger re­place­ment for Chero­kee (N.C.) In­dian Hospi­tal.

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