News Release

November 6, 2014

OHCA Contacts: Jo Kilgore - (405) 522-7474, Jennie Melendez - (405) 522-7404   

8th Annual Tribal Consultation Proves Rewarding 

OKLAHOMA CITY – Improving health care in tribal communities was the theme of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority’s eighth annual tribal consultation held Oct. 21 in Tulsa. 12 tribes were represented by 14 elected tribal leaders plus more than 60 key stakeholders and tribal designees. 

The annual consultation provides an opportunity for Oklahoma tribes to receive updates, as well as give input, on various issues concerning the SoonerCare and Insure Oklahoma programs and how they affect the tribal communities.  The meeting also provides opportunities for state tribal leaders to collaborate on ways to share best practices with OHCA. 

“Tribal leader participation is critical to improving the SoonerCare program within tribal communities as they are the experts regarding the health care needs of their tribal citizens. These discussions help us to create solutions together,” said Dana Miller, OHCA Tribal Relations director. 

Some of the topics highlighted by tribal partners this year included diabetes and obesity prevention programs, telemedicine in rural areas, access to transportation for medical appointments,  provider recruitment, enrollment issues, expanded mental health services and dialysis coverage. 

The consultation also serves as a launching point for new ideas and/or programs that help to determine the strategic direction of the agency’s Tribal Relations unit. 

Tribal consultation results in a working strategic plan to improve health services for tribal members. During this year’s consultation, attendees were presented with some of the positive changes and outcomes from the 2013 plan to build upon for further improvement. The Tribal Relations unit will continue work on the plan through follow up sessions throughout the winter.  

The OKC Area Intertribal Health Board provided consultation attendees with breakfast and the Cherokee Nation donated use of their conference facilities at the Hard Rock Hotel for the meeting. 

 About OHCA 

 The Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) administers Oklahoma’s Medicaid program, known as SoonerCare, and Insure Oklahoma, a premium assistance program funded by tobacco tax revenue. SoonerCare works to improve the health outcomes of Oklahomans by ensuring that medically necessary benefits and services are responsive to the health care needs of our members. Qualifying Oklahomans include low-income children, pregnant women, seniors, the disabled, those being treated for breast or cervical cancer and those seeking family planning services. All must meet income guidelines. Insure Oklahoma assists qualifying adults and small business employees in obtaining health care coverage for themselves and their families. OHCA works with our current 818,168 members, our statewide network of 40,161 health care providers and numerous state and local partners to promote responsible health care service utilization, healthy behaviors and improved health outcomes. For more information, visit www.okhca.org or www.insureoklahoma.org.