Oklahoma's largest Indian tribe, the Cherokee Nation, announced Thursday that it will spend $100 million to build a 100-bed hospital, expand two health clinics and create two new health clinics.
The money - taken primarily from the 300,000-member tribe's casino profits - will go toward the hospital and the building of two new clinics and expansion of two existing clinics throughout the state.
The $100 million investment represents the largest health care capital investment in the tribe's history.
The Cherokee Nation operates the largest tribal health system in the country and the tribe says it had 1.2 million patient visits last year, but many of those visits had people waiting days for services. Many clinics also could not the volume of patients that needed care.
"The hospital we have was designed for 30,000 patient visits a year and we saw 100,000 patient visits last year, we need more space, we need a bigger hospital," Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker told FOX23.
The new hospital, to be built in Tahlequah, should open within in two to three years.