The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, a North Carolina tribe, is opening a $80 million hospital on its tribal trust land in Cherokee, N.C.
Cherokee Indian Hospital will open its pharmacy next week. All other patient operations will begin Nov. 16.
The 20-bed facility will employ approximately 400 staffers.
The hospital will be connected by a ground-level corridor to the tribe's current facility, which CEO Casey Cooper says he hopes will be repurposed into a mental health facility.
The current hospital was too small, said Lynne Harlan, spokeswoman for the Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority. The hospital, which serves the population of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and other members of federally recognized tribes, has approximately 12,000 patient visits annually.
The new facility was paid for entirely by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Cooper said the federal policies that allow American Indian tribes to self-govern made this achievement possible.
“We've been running our healthcare system since 2002 and we've managed to grow the services,” Cooper said, who has led the hospital since 2003. “Now, we've built this facility without any federal support. It is a testament that the self-determination policy was the right policy for this country.”