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January 16, 2018

by: Kyla McKown/MCNPR

OKEMAH, Okla. — With the grand opening of the new Muscogee (Creek) Nation Okemah Community Hospital weeks away, the tribe wants all Okemah and surrounding areas residents to know they have access to the hospital, as well.

The 110,000 square foot replacement facility will be located right off Interstate 40, near the Okemah exit, on what is commonly known as K Bar road, with better visibility and access for patients.

Although most traditional Indian Health Service facilities only serve Native Americans with Certified Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) cards, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Okemah Community Hospital is a $55 million investment for the entire community and its citizens.

According to MCN Secretary of Health Shawn Terry, the emergency room is open to anyone needing emergency medical attention including CT Scans, MRI, X-rays, lab work and in-patient services.

“Rural health in Oklahoma and access to care is something that a lot of our communities have struggled with,” Terry said. “The citizens and community members down in the Southern part of our tribal jurisdiction have even fewer resources down there. So we thought it was really important to try for those citizens to be able to have access to quality facilities and quality care.”

The facility is essentially two parts with the emergency room and inpatient services on one side of the building and the MCN Okemah Clinic with traditional out patient services for patients with CDIB cards on the other side.

The outpatient services include primary care, dental, optometry, behavioral health, public health nursing and physical therapy services.

The outpatient services of the new facility have been occupied and running since December 2017.

Terry said the replacement facility is expected to be fully open and functioning within the upcoming weeks once the final stages of inspection are completed by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

In the meantime, the emergency room is located at the original location.

MCN took over the Okemah hospital in the 1970s and was the first tribe to run a community hospital that facilitates all community members.

With 40,000 patients in the MCN healthcare system, Terry is projecting a five to 10 percent patient increase in 2018 with the new facility.

Once inspections are completed by OSDH, a grand opening and ribbon cutting date will be announced.

MCN is one of many tribes investing in health care: