TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation has broken ground on the tribe’s new 469,000-square-foot health facility being built at the W.W. Hastings campus in Tahlequah.
The facility is the result of the largest joint venture agreement ever between a tribe and the federal government. Upon completion, the outpatient facility will be the largest Indian Health Service-funded facility in the country offering expanded services.
When W.W. Hastings Hospital was built in Tahlequah in 1986, it was built to accommodate 100,000 patient visits per year.
"You get to see generations. Within one visit, you will see everything from a great-grandchild to the great grandmother and everything in between," said Dr. Leslie Rebtoy with Family Medicine at Hastings.
In 2016, Hastings had nearly 400,000 patient visits.
"It's a large group of individuals in a rural population and we have a smaller facility so the wait times are longer," said Rebtoy.
The new facility will nearly triple the space for outpatient services currently housed at Hastings Hospital and create 800 new jobs.
"It's going to bring in specialists, it's going to bring in clinics we don't offer now. I truly believe it's going to change the lives of the Cherokee people," said Cherokee Chief Bill John Baker.
180 new exam rooms, new machines and a new surgery center will be in place for tribal members by 2019.
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