Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

April 24, 2008

Hospital takeover concerns mount



“Until that time, it [the takeover plan] is nothing more than a plan on a blackboard.”

In a Daily Press report published in January this year, Cobb, during a health committee meeting, “stressed the importance of properly addressing the tribe’s intentions [to take over HIMC], and that the council will be responsible for making any final decision.”

Frailey pointed out to proceed to the second phase of negotiations with IHS, an “expression of intent” is required.

“It is my understanding a letter of intent has been provided to IHS by the administration to continue the analysis and planning phase of negotiations,” wrote Frailey. “Therefore, it is premature to make a decision on whether to assume operations at the hospital. The planning process and analysis have not been completed. The concerns of citizens and employees certainly are being considered during the process.”

District 9 Councilor Chuck Hoskin Jr. responded to Cobb’s e-mail, offering support and indicating he, too, believes the matter should be approved by the council and its committees.

“Anyone who has read the press release or subsequent news articles comes away thinking it’s a done deal,” said Hoskin. “I support Dr. Cobb in his response and back him up 100 percent. This decision would appear to be a public display of indifference to us [tribal council].”

Hoskin indicated he had not yet been contacted by concerned constituents, but that the struggle seems to be internal.

“In hearing about the takeover, most constituents would probably assume we’ve been involved,” he said. “I think the biggest problem is our not being a part of that process.”

According to two resolutions passed by the tribal council, 11-93 and 15-06, the principal chief has the authority to “negotiate and execute each associated funding agreement to operate programs, services, functions and activities of the Indian Health Service as authorized by the compact.”

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