by: Farron Salley Updated:
The Cherokee Nation is getting nearly $30 million from a settlement with the Indian Health Service.
The fight has been going on for eight years over the costs of contract health services.
Money from the settlement will go to help several branches of the Cherokee Nation’s health system. Leaders are also planning a big makeover at the W.W. Hastings Hospital that patients should start to notice soon.
Every year, more than 1 million people visit Cherokee health facilities.
“It makes me feel great that they get this extra money and they will put it to use for the people,” said patient Morna Washington.
Washington said she goes in for a regular checkup every three months, but she knows other members of the tribe who skip out on getting preventive care.
“They’re afraid to come to a hospital because they think they’re going to have to pay for it,” Washington said.
Wednesday morning, Chief Bill John Baker told FOX23 that the nation is getting state
“A check could come any day now,” Baker said.
He said the nation has been getting shorted out of money since 2006.
“Thankfully the president signed an order that contract support costs will be fully paid from this point forward,” Baker said.
The nation had a contract with Indian Health Service. The agency was required to pay the Cherokee Nation for certain health-related contracts.
“We started out at about $50 million and they started out saying they overpaid us $5 million,” Baker said.
The settlement left the nation far short of what they wanted but the people are happy with what they got.
“It really had been much needed,” Washington said.