Great Plains health board will officially assume ownership for part of Sioux San Hospital

RAPID CITY, S.D, (KOTA TV) - After a long back and forth debate of ownership of the Sioux San Hospital, The Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Health Board will officially assume part ownership this weekend.

The Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Health Board will host a ceremony on Sunday to officially take partial ownership of Sioux San Hospital. (KOTA TV)

The Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Health Board Chief Executive Officer, Jerilyn Church said this transfer represents a turning point for the Great Plains. She calls it "a moment of empowerment for the tribes."

But, Indian Health Services (IHS) will still have a presence on the Sioux San campus. IHS will have an office on the middle floor of both the Lakota Lodge and the main hospital building.

However, the Great Plain's health board chose a new name to refer to the parts of the hospital they will own. It will be called the Oyate Health Center.

Church said the center will take in members of any tribe.

However, Church said, "The only difference will be that, in terms of purchase and referred care, in terms of referrals IHS will be managing that portion of health care for the Rosebud Sioux tribal members."

One of the main changes the board will make is by bringing in new, modern medical equipment. Church said the new equipment would not only be beneficial in treating patients but, would give workers a sense of pride for valued work.

Also, patients can expect to see some new faces.

Church said there are 60 employees now but they are looking to expand their team to 213 employees.

She said it's important to have tribes in the driver seat when it comes to their own health care.

"That also allows for the people to have a voice in that process. It creates an opportunity for the people that we serve and their families to be able to also drive what their priorities are with tribal leadership," Church said.

There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the Oyate Health Center at midnight on Sunday.

The health board will also host a public celebratory community picnic outside of the hospital on Sunday at noon.