TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation is welcoming its new Health Services Patient Experience Team to help Cherokee citizens better navigate the tribe’s expansive health system.
Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner proposed the new team last year and the Council of the Cherokee Nation approved funding for the project in November.
“Increasing access to care means also expanding access to vital information and resources concerning the health needs of our citizens,” Chief Hoskin said. “This team is not only connecting patients with resources but improving the overall experience for patients seeking guidance for their health or the health of their families. I’m particularly proud of the assistance that will be provided to our at-large Cherokee citizens.”
The patient experience manager, Jessica Lewandowski, and two patient experience navigators, Stephanie Osborn and Chandler Romero, are working to serve the needs of all health system patients and are focusing some initiatives on improving access to healthcare for at-large Cherokees who are living outside the reservation.
“We want Cherokee citizens to have every opportunity to ask questions and gain access to resources that positively impact their health and quality of life,” Deputy Chief Warner said. “Our new Patient Experience Team is yet another addition to our health system that creates value and a unique opportunity for patients.”
The Patient Experience team has already begun meeting with citizens to talk about their options for health care either inside or outside the tribe’s health system, including during visits to at-large community gatherings with Cherokee citizens.
“I am exceptionally excited about the new Patient Experience Team and the impact their work will have for at-large citizens in particular,” said At-Large Councilor Julia Coates. “The team will be a one-stop shop in assisting at-large citizens with making arrangements with Cherokee Nation health clinics and hospitals inside reservation boundaries, as well as providing information about tribal and other health facilities that may be available in other states.”
Cherokee Nation operates the country’s largest tribal healthcare system in the United States, serving 1.4 million patient visits per year across 10 healthcare facilities and W.W. Hastings Hospital.
“This is a major positive step forward in terms of healthcare services for the 300,000-plus at-large citizens that Councilwoman Dr. Julia Coates and I represent across the United States,” said At-Large Councilor Johnny Kidwell. “This Patient Experience Team is yet another example of the Cherokee Nation’s tireless and diligent efforts to expand benefits and resources to all Cherokee citizens, no matter where they live.”
More information on Cherokee Nation Health Services and the Patient Experience team is available online at health.cherokee.org.
“I am honored to be a part of the Patient Experience Team and I look forward to implementing several new initiatives that will help enhance health care for our Cherokee people. We will work to provide the best experience possible for CNHS patients, as well as increase access to care for at-large citizens,” said Jessica Lewandowski, patient experience manager.