Verree Shaw, Director of Marketing, Choctaw Nation Director of Health Operations at Choctaw Nation Tim Harper, NIGC Regional Director Chief Gary Batton, Choctaw Nation, Todd Hallmark, CEO/Director of Health Operations, CN

Community Impact: Choctaw Nation: The First Tribe to Fund its Own Hospital

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is a federally recognized tribe with a jurisdictional area comprising twelve tribal districts in Oklahoma. In 1999, gaming revenue made it possible for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma to become the first tribe to build its own hospital with its own funding. Today, the Choctaw Nation’s gaming revenue supports the health, safety, and welfare of rural communities throughout southeastern Oklahoma.

Located in Talihina, Oklahoma, the Choctaw Nation Healthcare Center is a 140,000 square foot health facility, which serves as the center, or hub, of health care services covering 10 ½ counties of southeastern Oklahoma. Choctaw Nation Health Services provide more than just hospital care. In addition to being a 44‐bed hospital, the Talihina facility includes Dental, Laboratory, X‐Ray, CT and MRI Scanning, Mammography, Ultrasound, Pharmacy, Primary Medical Care, Surgical Care, Emergent Care, Physical and Respiratory Therapy, Transportation, Women’s Health, Pediatrics, Podiatry, Telemedicine, and Ophthalmology. Also on campus is a Diabetic Wellness facility with a fitness center. Additional services located off-campus include Behavioral Health, Women’s and Men’s Substance Abuse facilities and Optometry. Gaming revenue enables Choctaw Nation Health Services to provide medical care through both inpatient services and over 540,000 outpatient visits annually.

Since the development of the Talihina Healthcare Center, the Choctaw Nation has added clinics throughout the Tribe’s geographic boundaries including facilities in Atoka, Broken Bow, Durant, Hugo, Idabel, McAlester, Poteau, and Stigler.

Health Care

Tribal gaming has given tribal governments a source of funding that has transformed healthcare throughout Indian Country. It is reported that over 17% of funding derived from gaming supports healthcare for Native communities. With gaming revenue, tribes are building their own hospitals staffed by Native American doctors and nurses. Many tribes have established health clinics, dialysis centers, and fitness centers to benefit the health of their communities.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act created the National Indian Gaming Commission to support tribal self-sufficiency and the integrity of Indian gaming.  The NIGC has developed four initiatives to support its mission including (1) To protect against anything that amounts to gamesmanship on the backs of tribes; (2) To stay ahead of the Technology Curve; (3) Rural outreach; and (4) To maintain a strong workforce within NIGC and with its tribal regulatory partners.  NIGC oversees the efficient regulation of 506 gaming establishments operated by 246 tribes across 29 states. The Commission’s dedication to compliance with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act ensures the integrity of the growing $32.4 billion Indian gaming industry. To learn more, visit www.nigc.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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