General Council briefed on Health & Wellness efforts

Health Services Executive Director Kelly Rowe briefed General Council on planned improvements and programs at the Tribal Health & Wellness Center in 2018 during the Sunday, Jan. 7, General Council meeting held in the Tribal Community Center.

“Our mission is to be the premier health and wellness choice for our Tribal members and community by delivering excellent care that improves health and quality of life,” a PowerPoint presentation delivered by Rowe said.

Rowe said Health & Wellness’s priorities continue to be quality of care, access and satisfaction.

“This last year, we’ve been very busy, very productive,” Rowe said. “We’ve had all of our departments working on different projects to improve the access and quality of our health clinic.”

Rowe’s presentation was separated into discussing medical, dental, behavioral health, optometry, pharmacy, community health and the business office.

Individual departmental highlights included:

  • Medical: A new hepatitis C elimination program is being implemented in 2018, as well as a pain management policy and procedure update. Medical is also seeking to bring in a pediatric practitioner in 2018;

  • Dental: An Elder dental initiative is being started this year with outreach planned beyond Grand Ronde;

  • Behavioral Health: A new child and adult psychiatrist will be working at the Health & Wellness Center, starting on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning in February. The new position is being funded by a $110,000 Oregon Tribal grant from Spirit Mountain Community Fund;

  • Optometry: The Health & Wellness Center now has two optometrists to serve Tribal and community members;

  • Pharmacy: A new bag location system is significantly cutting down the wait time for people picking up prescriptions. A light on the plastic bag containing prescriptions lights up, making it easier for Pharmacy staff to locate client prescriptions;

  • Community Health: More collaboration will occur between Adult Foster Care employees and clinic health care providers;

  • Business Office: An onsite Shasta customer service representative is in place and the Business Office plans on reporting annually on Tribal members’ health status.

After her 13-minute presentation, Rowe fielded two questions from Tribal members in attendance.

Health Services Executive Director Kelly Rowe glances at her PowerPoint presentation during the Sunday, Jan. 7, General Council meeting held in the Tribal Community Center. Rowe gave a 13-minute presentation on the Health & Wellness Center and its various programs that provide health care to Tribal and community members. (Photo by Dean Rhodes)

Tribal Vice Chair Chris Mercier also discussed the Tribe’s new green policy and the need for more sustainability and recycling of materials at Tribal events. He said Tribal members will see blue bins at events in which to deposit recyclables.

“We need to rethink our daily practices,” Mercier said. “A lot of these small steps add up over time.”

In other action, the next General Council meeting will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 4, at the Monarch Hotel and Convention Center in Clackamas. Tribal Council Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy said that a session to seek input from Tribal members about potential advisory votes to be placed on the September Tribal Council ballot will be held after the General Council meeting. Turnout is important, she added.

Tribal Elders Steve Bobb Sr., Alan Ham and Jenny VanAtta won the $100 door prizes and Diana George, Gary Sharp, Barbara Steere, Dorothy Leno and Ashley Tuomi won the $50 door prizes. Bobb donated his winnings to the Veterans Special Event Board.

In addition, two necklaces donated by Tribal Council Secretary Jon A. George, a $25 Target gift certificate and five Health & Wellness Center gift bags were given away.

Winners of four open seats on the Elders Committee were Louise Coulson, Cherie Butler, Linda Brandon and Diana George.

Jon A. George and Cultural Adviser Bobby Mercier opened the meeting with cultural drumming and singing.