Chickasaw Nation opens new health clinic in Ardmore

ARDMORE, Okla. – Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby said opening of the Chickasaw Nation Ardmore Health Clinic Monday marked a “major milestone” in continuing efforts to enhance health care for American Indians in the area.

Gov. Anoatubby was joined by dozens of tribal officials, local officials, area residents and other distinguished guests during a July 16 ribbon cutting ceremony to unveil the new 66,000 square foot medical clinic. Located at 2510 Chickasaw Blvd., the new facility is more than six times the size of the original clinic opened in 1988.

“Health care has always been a high priority for our administration,” said Gov. Anoatubby. “Our health care team works diligently to continually improve the overall quality of life of Chickasaw citizens and other American Indians by offering the highest quality care possible.”

The new two-story building is connected to the old facility through an enclosed corridor, providing increased space for existing services as well as expanded services.

New and expanded services include behavioral health, physical therapy, which was previously housed in the Ardmore wellness center, a drive-thru pharmacy, audiology, Ultrasound, Dexa Scan and Mammography. Additionally, staff will increase from 25 to approximately 100 employees.

The increase in staffing is made possible through the Indian Health Service Joint Venture Funding program.

“The Chickasaw Nation is excited about the new services we can now offer American Indians,” said Gov. Anoatubby. “Our goal is to always improve and increase the care we provide.”

Planning for the expansion of the clinic began in 2009 as the number of patient visits continued to dramatically increase.

“Members of the clinic staff were involved in planning the design for this center,” said Gov. Anoatubby. “We believe that will help make this new clinic more patient-friendly, and also more caregiver friendly.”

The first phase of enlarging the capacity of the clinic consisted of an expansion of the existing facility. Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) federal stimulus grant, the phase one remodeling project was completed in September 2010. That project included two new exam rooms, a larger pharmacy with a consultation room and other updates.

More about the Joint Venture funding program
The Joint Venture construction program was established to develop partnerships between tribes and the Indian Health Service. Under the competitive program, tribes who acquire or construct a tribally-owned health care facility may be selected to participate.

In exchange for purchasing or constructing a health care facility with tribal funds, the Indian Health Service provides funding for certain staffing and operational costs.

History of the Ardmore Clinic:
The Chickasaw Nation opened its first outpatient health clinic in Ardmore on Jan. 14, 1985.

Temporarily located in the west end of the administration building on the Carter Seminary campus , the clinic was staffed by qualified medical personnel including a doctor, a dentist, two dental assistants, a registered nurse, and a physician’s assistant.

At the time, the clinic was serving about 31 patients a day.

Prior to the opening of the Ardmore clinic, outpatient and inpatient services were available at Carl Albert Indian Health Facility (CAIHF) in Ada, Okla., while a health clinic in Tishomingo, Okla., provided outpatient services only.

In May 1986, the Chickasaw Nation became one of the 13 tribes to be awarded U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant for the construction of a new clinic in Ardmore. More than 30 tribes had applied for the very competitive grants.

Construction of the 10,000 square foot health care facility on three acres in the northwest corner of the Carter Seminary campus began in August 1987. The clinic was opened in July, 1988
In addition to a dental clinic, laboratory and a pharmacy, the new Ardmore clinic housed environmental health services, public health nursing, mental health services, Women, Infants and Children’s (WIC) nutrition program, audiology screenings, pre-natal care and well-baby follow-ups after birth.

As a result of a decade-long partnership between the tribe and the three federal agencies – Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), IHS and HUD, the Ardmore Clinic strived to meet the health care needs of the Native American population in the southwestern region of the Chickasaw Nation.

Today, the Chickasaw Nation Division of Health (CNDH), under the leadership and vision of Gov. Anoatubby, serves more than 350,000 patient visits each year in the new state-of-the-art Medical Center in Ada and satellite clinics in Ardmore, Tishomingo, Durant and Purcell. The CNDH staff and employees continue to strive daily to promote better health, wellness and nutrition among the American Indian population.

Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby, center, is joined by tribal leaders, local officials, area residents and other guests in a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Chickasaw Nation Ardmore Health Clinic in Ardmore, Okla., Monday, July 16. Photo by Mike McKee.
New Chickasaw Nation Ardmore Health Clinic. Photo by Mike McKee.