OKMULGEE, Okla. – The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health Secretary of Health Shawn Terry provided updates on the Nation’s health system on a recent episode of Mvskoke Radio.
According to Secretary Terry, the Nation is making great strides toward becoming the leading healthcare provider on the reservation by combating infectious diseases, expanding services, and building infrastructure.
Council Oak Comprehensive Care Center has started providing surgical procedures.
According to Terry, as of the second week of October, the center is the first tribal health center in the country to host a robotic surgical program.
“Dr. Michael Wright will be the first operating surgeon on the Da Vinci Robot,”
When it comes to surgical outcomes, Terry claims there is no comparison between robotic technology usage versus older traditional methods.
The robot is operated by a surgeon, and is highly sensitive to different variables. This includes the practicing surgeon’s body temperature, breathing patterns, and heart rate. Even if a sudden cough or accidental nudge is sensed, the robot will react by halting operations to prevent a potentially life-threatening injury.
Patients’ families can now stay at one of the 50 rooms at Council Oak hotel as their loved ones undergo surgical procedures or experience prolonged inpatient stays.
“There is a nominal price of $70 per hotel,”Terry said, “but we have a way that if someone can’t economically do that, we will find a method to get them a room.”
As flu season emerges, the health department is hosting vaccination drives throughout the reservation where participants can get multiple seasonal vaccinations like the flu vaccination and the most up-to-date COVID-19 vaccine.
“The new vaccine that’s out now is supposed to be manufactured specifically for these newer strands of COVID-19,” Terry said.
Cold and Flu Season
With a recent uptick in positive Covid cases, Terry reports that it is not at any fatal or critical level that the tribe has experienced in the past.
According to Terry, recent cases have reached a level of 18%, along with the resurgence of influenza.
“We don’t see the vast numbers that we did back during the pandemic,” Terry said.
After receiving its first settlement in the opioid litigation last month, the health department is in the planning stages of construction for its first substance abuse center. The new facility will be located in Muskogee.
The center will be equipped with a wing dedicated to detox program services for patients experiencing alcohol and drug withdrawal symptoms.
Along with the short-term inpatient service, Terry claims that patients will be able to seek other outpatient substance abuse treatment plans including therapy, group sessions, pain management and mental health diagnoses.
“It will be a fairly comprehensive hospital for anything addiction related,” Terry said.
Eventually, Terry seeks to host a program that will provide 30-day treatment plans for men and women.
“We are excited to have something culturally sensitive to our people, done by our people,” Terry said.
He hopes to start with outpatient services within the next few months.
Updates to existing facilities will further meet the needs of the service areas they reside in.
The Sapulpa clinic is set to undergo an expansion project, upgrading the 17,000 square feet facility to a 50,000 square feet one. The final design plans are set to be finished by the end of this year.
The Okmulgee Hospital Emergency Room will be undergoing a complete remodel and renovation. The new space will resemble the emergency room at the Okemah location, with an adequate waiting room with multiple individual triage rooms and ample patient treatment rooms.
Pharmacy services will expand as a new pharmaceutical distribution center is built in Tulsa that will help fill the current prescription mail-out list of 3,000.
Terry plans to implement optometry and dental clinical services in all Muscogee (Creek) Nation clinics and increase services offered.
“We are working with our dental direct to spend some money and energy trying to get our dental at the same level of commitments we’ve made on the medical side,” Terry said.
To find the nearest MCN clinic near you, visit: https://www.creekhealth.org/clinics/.