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Cherokee Nation unveils plan for new Tahlequah hospital

Cherokee Nation unveils plan for new Tahlequah hospital

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This rendering shows the planned state-of-the-art hospital that will replace the Cherokee Nation’s existing W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah.

The Cherokee Nation is planning a new $400 million health care facility in Tahlequah to replace the 40-year-old W.W. Hastings Hospital.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. signed legislation on Wednesday to fund the state-of-the-art hospital, as well as $35 million to replace the tribe’s 25-year-old outpatient health center in Salina.

“After a decade of dramatic expansion of our Cherokee Nation health system, we must keep investing to ensure Cherokee citizens have access to the best in health care,” Hoskin said in a press release. “These projects will positively impact the lives of Cherokee families for many, many generations as we erase the line between mental health and physical health, and instead recognize that our goal must be to provide wellness for every Cherokee.”

W.W. Hastings Hospital was built to serve approximately 60,000 patient visits per year, according to a news release from the Cherokee Nation. However, the facility in Tahlequah in recent years has seen as many as 500,000 patient visits annually, including more than 60,000 emergency and urgent care visits.

“When the Cherokee Nation’s new hospital is opened, the tribe will repurpose the existing Hastings facility to be the heart of its expanded behavioral health programs,” the news release states.

The new hospital, still in the design phase, is expected to be at least twice as large as Hastings, with more beds for critical care patients and inpatient dialysis.

“It will also offer expanded space for the hospital’s increasing number of births in the labor and delivery department over the years,” according to the news release. “In fiscal year 2020, nearly 900 babies were born at W.W. Hastings Hospital.”

In Salina, the A-Mo Health Center will be replaced with a state-of-the-art facility. The clinic opened in 1996, according to the release.

“I think this will allow us to really fulfill the vision and expectations of Cherokee Nation Health Services that hadn’t been met in previous years due to aging facilities and outdated equipment,” said Speaker of the Council Mike Shambaugh.

“Now this entire Tahlequah campus, as well as the health center in Salina, will be a place where people will heal, families will rejoice, and students will learn. It’s definitely a turning point for the citizens of the Cherokee Nation.”

The tribe also announced a planned agreement with Northeastern State University for a donation of up to $5 million to its College of Optometry.

“The donation will support NSU’s construction of a new $33 million facility for the college at its Tahlequah campus,” according to the tribe’s statement. “NSU and Cherokee Nation have a long-standing partnership providing optometry services to patients in the tribe’s health system.”

July 2019: Cherokee Nation receives $750,000 grant to train doctors

Featured video: Cherokee National Research Center’s grand opening

Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation Chuck Hoskin, Jr. leads the grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Cherokee National Research Center in Tahlequah on Dec. 8, 2021.


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