Elizabeth Doney Havre Daily News email@example.com
ROCKY BOY’S INDIAN RESERVATION A grand opening ceremony of the Chippewa Cree Health Center dedicated the Na-Toose Healing Center into the community with many officials and members on hand to express appreciation and gratitude for the new facility. A big day for the Chippewa Cree tribe, who, like all tribes, struggled to obtain adequate funding that will provide quality health care to their 6,500 members a struggle that leaders worked at overcoming since the early 1920s. Two years ago, the dream for the center became reality for the tribal council who took the initiative to invest the $2 million needed to secure additional funding from the numerous grant agencies including the Indian Community Development Block Grant Program, Ambulatory, Rural Utilities and the USDA Community Facilities. The dream developed into a comprehensive plan for health care designed for future expansion of service, which includes cancer treatment and other possibilities. Construction for the new health center began in 2004 by Swank Construction resulting in the completion of over 55,000 square feet of expanded office space replacing the previous center built in 1973 that was much smaller, crowded and rapidly aging into poor condition. In the new centralized facility, staff and patients have the convenience of accessing all of the health departments which were too numerous to be located in old center, instead extending to outer buildings with patients traveling back and forth between offices to receive health services. The second of two health care facilities, the health center joins the neighboring Wellness Center to work collaboratively to combat sickness and disease through preventive exercise and education with the improved and updated diagnosis and treatment. “We need to get into the mindset of preventative health care,” Kelly Eagleman, Chippewa Cree tribal council and health board vice president, said. The Center has many programs under it’s new roof to help tribal members do just that with the Healthy Hearts and Diabetes Prevention programs that provide assessment, education, meals and treatment for at-risk or diagnosed patients. The staff is working on improving direct clinic services by upgrading to a newer system, which they hope will speed up services and X-ray digitizer connection with Benefis Hospital in Great Falls and server connection to Fort Belknap for health record access. Other health services provided by the Center include urgent care, dental, optometry, audiology, cardiovascular, diabetes, nutrition, pharmacy, X-ray, laboratory, physical therapy, mental health, chemical dependency, environmental health and transportation. For more information about the Center, call 395-4395.