The Muscogee (Creek) Nation has completed some very big initiatives this past year. The $55 million construction of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Community Hospital in Okemah, the $35 million construction of the Eufaula Joint Venture and the accreditation of the Okmulgee Medical Center and the Physical Rehabilitation Center.

These facilities are all fantastic for the growth in healthcare for our Nation. However, only the Eufaula Clinic came with additional funding from Indian Health Service. That means that we must be operationally and financially prudent to be able to maintain these services.

A year ago, the “Together We Can Do More” campaign was launched by the MCN Department of Health.

MCN DOH staff went from community to community to educate our people on the importance of being enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance. We told the public about the federal government’s underfunding of Indian Healthcare as the Nation receives only about 30 percent of funding needed to care for our patients; and that the federal government requires us to bill Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance to meet the shortfall.

The MCN then entered into a contract with Resource Corporation of America to assist patients with enrollment for Medicaid or insurance plans on the Affordable Care Act that has no cost to our patients. To date, over 1,750 patients have been enrolled in these plans.

I am pleased to announce with these efforts the MCN DOH had its largest month ever in Third Party Collections totaling $6.6 million. In the last two years, Third Party Collections have gone from $3.5 million per month, to averaging well over $5 million.

These improvements have resulted in starting to pay off the loans for the Okemah hospital and Eufaula clinic, as well as expanding our primary care team resulting in reduced wait times for scheduled appointments. We have added more than $4 million back into Contract Health and the denials have dropped dramatically.

We know that we still have a long way to go to get to the level of care our patients need and deserve.

Posted on CMS.GOV

The health insurance status for children in the U.S has improved significantly, with the rate of uninsured children reaching a record low of 7 percent in 2013. However, American Indian and Alaska Native children remain uninsured at disproportionately high rates. Tribes and tribal health programs are using federal grants to enroll more eligible American Indian and Alaska Native children in Medicaid and CHIP.

Below are highlights of the outreach and enrollment activities of the tribal grantee:

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina conducted outreach and enrollment activities that increased enrollment of the tribe’s eligible children in Medicaid and CHIP. As a result, the Cherokee Indian Hospital outpatient visits covered by Medicaid or CHIP increased from about 35 percent to nearly 62 percent, as well as an additional $2.3 million in collections. The hospital also reported that more eligible parents enrolled in Medicaid because the grantee provided application assistance to all family members.