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IHS Bemidji Area Director tours Oneida Community Health Center

Government Administrative Office

Photo courtesy Brandon Wisneski

Oneida Comprehensive Health Division Director Debra Danforth (left) speaks with IHS Bemidji Area Director Daniel Frye and IHS Bemidji Director of Tribal and Urban Services Dr. Chris Poole while Councilwoman Jennifer Webster and Intergovernmental Affairs & Communications Operations Specialist Melissa Nuthals listen in.

Government Administrative Offices

Oneida Business Committee (OBC) Councilwoman Jennifer Webster met with Indian Health Services (IHS) Bemidji Area Director Daniel Frye and IHS Bemidji Director of Tribal and Urban Services Dr. Chris Poole August 25 as they toured the Oneida Community Health Center (OCHC). Supporting the OBC’s Broad Goals of Health and Safety, Councilwoman Webster took the opportunity to address issues with the officials while they met with the OCHC management team.

“The goal of the meeting is to establish and maintain our relationship with the Bemidji Area Office,” Councilwoman Webster said. “We were able to discuss our Nation’s needs, successes, challenges, and ask or field questions. We were also able to talk about pre-negotiations, buy backs, contract support costs, and health center expansion. We explained that when the current Oneida Community Health Center was built back in 2002, we knew we were going to need to expand early on as we immediately hit capacity.

“We were also given a five-year extension on our Diabetes Prevention Programming,” Webster continued. “Three years is typically how it works but IHS has been so impressed with our diabetes programs that we were given five years. Health Center programming software was also discussed as was the AAAHC Survey they take which lets IHS know that the OCHC is up to par with their entire operation.”

Director Frye and Dr. Poole visited the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota prior to their stop in Oneida. “White Earth has a drive-through pharmacy and we were all invited to see how it functions,” Webster said. “While it isn’t the first one in Indian Country, we believe it’s the first in the Bemidji area.”

IHS leadership makes visiting Tribal Nations a priority. “They’re based in Bemidji so they try to conduct visits to as many regional tribal health facilities as they can to keep these tribal relationships going,” Webster added.