Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

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Expansion of CN seen by doubling size of pediatric unit

From the desk of Assistant Chief Gary Batton

July 2013

While in Talihina recently, I stopped by the Choctaw Nation hospital to tour the pediatric care unit that has just reopened after extensive renovations. It was outstanding to see the doctors and other health professionals in the spacious new exam rooms and offices, and even better to see the young patients and parents enjoying the beautiful waiting areas.

When told there was “interactive furniture” in the pediatric clinic, I wasn’t sure what that meant, but soon found that the tables reacted to the touch of a hand by lighting up and changing colors. Just as fun, some of the chairs also reacted to body heat by leaving temporary color imprints from a human touch.

The expansion doubled the size of the clinic, giving it 12 exam rooms, a treatment room and a procedure room. There is a case manager office that will work specifically with pediatric needs.

Parents will be relieved to know that there are two separate waiting areas (well child area and sick child area), so that those seeing the doctor for check-ups and immunizations are not exposed to the children who are ill.

The physical therapy department at the hospital has also expanded to include a separate room for pediatric patients. This means the therapist has more time with young patients and the children are able to better concentrate on their therapy. The Choctaw Nation Health Services is familiar territory for me. Serving as the hospital administrator and executive of health care were among the jobs I performed before being appointed Assistant Chief. Improving health care for tribal members is one of the most important goals our leadership has.

My career with the Choctaw Nation has taken me down several paths, and I am thankful for every step. One of the first assignments I had in the tribe was in the purchasing department, so I was able to learn about a lot of different programs and meet many employees through the procurement and delivery process. Later jobs, working as deputy director of housing and then as executive of health services, I was allowed to serve tribal members and their families.

Seeing the growth of the Choctaw Nation and the progress of businesses, services and the interest tribal members have in our tribe, our history and our future make me realize how blessed we all are. Yakoke.