The Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board is marking the partial changeover of the Indian Health Service hospital in Rapid City with a midnight celebration this weekend. The health board is also rolling out a new name — the Oyate Health Center — for the parts of the hospital it will manage.

"It is with great pleasure that we invite you to the inaugural opening of the Oyate Health Center," Jerilyn Church, CEO of the GPTCHB, said on the group's Facebook page

The board will host a celebration at the hospital at 11 p.m. Saturday followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony at midnight when the board officially takes partial control. It's expected to be attended by tribal and IHS officials, the post says. Staff and the public are invited to attend a celebratory picnic at noon Sunday. 

The health board is taking over most of the hospital on behalf of the Oglala and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes after the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council voted in December to pull out of the deal. The board will manage about 80 percent of the hospital's $23 million operating budget and provide 80 percent of services, including behavioral health and the urgent care clinic, according to statements from IHS Spokesperson Joshua Barnett and GPTCHB spokesman Brandon Ecoffey.

All tribal members are eligible for medical care whether provided by Great Plains or the IHS, Church has said.

"Self-governance will allow the GPTCHB more flexibility in policy-making, greater control over health system design, and enhanced budgetary control for health programs," she said in the Facebook post. "Funding will be prioritized according to our citizen’s needs, new programs may be designed, and partnerships can be created to synergize health services resources. Self-governance strengthens tribal sovereignty through increased tribal control and involvement in all aspects of the delivery of health services for Great Plains communities."

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Critics of the Great Plains changeover have said the Rapid City Native American community was not consulted enough and they're worried about the quality of health care the organization will provide. 

The parts of the hospital managed by Great Plains will be referred to as the Oyate Health Center at the Sioux San Campus, Ecoffey said. The new name was chosen by the Great Plains advisory board, which is comprised of tribal and community representatives. He said Great Plains was legally required to create a new name, and it's important for the public to distinguish between the two entities at the hospital. 

Great Plains has no plans to remove the Sioux San sign at the main entrance to the campus or erase the words Sioux San on the water tower, Ecoffey said. The health board will operate the first and third floors of the hospital and the basement of the Lakota Lodge, the building next to the main one. IHS will operate the second floor of the hospital and first floor of the Lakota Lodge with 38 employees. 

People interested in attending the 11 p.m. celebration and midnight ribbon-cutting should RSVP Cole Hunter by calling 605-721-1922, Ext. 116 or by emailing cole.hunter@gptchb.org. The picnic is open to the public. 

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— Contact Arielle Zionts at arielle.zionts@rapidcityjournal.com

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