The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, a North Carolina tribe, is opening an $80 million hospital on its tribal trust land in Cherokee, N.C.
Cherokee Indian Hospital will open its pharmacy this week, while all other patient operations will begin Nov. 16. The 20-bed facility will employ approximately 400.
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 converted to a mental health facility.
The current facility was too small, said Lynne Harlan, a representative 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, sees approximately 12,000 patients annually.
The new facility was paid for by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Cooper said federal policies that allow American Indian tribes to self-govern made the achievement possible.
“We've been running our healthcare system since 2002, and we've managed to grow the services,” said Cooper, who has led the hospital since 2003. “We've built this facility without any federal support.”