TAHLEQUAH DAILY PRESS —
“The purpose of the request was to keep the tribal council informed as planning proceeds and to provide requested input, if necessary, in the negotiations,” Frailey wrote.
She also indicated she plans to consider three options in her final analysis of whether the Cherokee Nation should assume operations of HIMC. Her questions include:
• Should the operations of HIMC continue under IHS?
• Should operations be privatized?
• Should Cherokee Nation assume the operations?
“As a sovereign nation, every decision our leaders make should be made to not only protect, but also to honor our inherent sovereign rights,” wrote Frailey. “It is indeed an honor for the Cherokee Nation to be recognized as a sovereign and to be able to negotiate on a government-to-government basis with the U.S. Indian Health Service.
“In a health care delivery system, to accomplish the above sovereign goals, we should be promoting healthy Indian people and assuring we are providing services that increase the status of their health. Therefore, in my analysis covering the three options listed above, I will need to determine who can best meet the needs of not only the Cherokee people, but all Indian people served through the [hospital.]”
She also wants to know who has the ability to elevate the health status of Indian people to the highest level possible.
“When the [tribe’s] administration presents the final plan as to whether we should assume operations of WWHIH to the council for approval, if they can resolve those concerns in my mind, then I will make a decision,” Frailey said. “The most important consideration is whether Indian people will be served at the highest level they desire.”