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The Advantages Of SoonerCare For Native Americans And Other Stories

Susan Shannon

SoonerCare Can Give Indian Health Care Services An Added Advantage

SoonerCare is Oklahoma’s Medicaid program. The tribal relations associate for SoonerCare is Katie Carden. Carden says more Native Americans and native veterans need to sign up because not only are there more services available for them to take advantage of, it will pay their tribal clinics for services received. In fact, SoonerCare is the third largest payer to Indian Health Service.

Katie Carden, a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, wants Native Americans to sign up for SoonerCare.

“We actually have SoonerCare providers that are Indian Health Care providers,” Carden said. “There's 14 tribes and all of Indian Health Services are contracted providers with SoonerCare.

“What we say is American Indians don't have to choose between SoonerCare and the Indian health care system, they can do both, they can access both,” Carden said. “There are also more choices for health care because they can utilize our huge network of 39,000 providers.”

Carden says the two services can work hand in hand to the patients benefit.

“SoonerCare members are eligible to receive services within Indian Health Care systems,” Carden said.

“They can take there SoonerCare cards to their appointment and then that facility can be reimbursed for the care they provide to our members,” Carden said. “This allows the facility to save resources for other members in their community.”

One of the benefits of being a member of SoonerCare is SoonerRide.

Its non-emergency transportation for members of SoonerCare, 6 days a week from 7a.m. to 6 p.m. Members need to call in and make an appointment three business days in advance.

Earlier this year at the sixth annual Tribal Epidemiology Center Public Health Conference, one of the concerns raised was that of transportation needs, with an emphasis on Native American veterans.

“Transportation is a huge issue, not only with Native Americans, but especially with Native American veterans,” Carden said. “So we are able to transport our veterans to the VA hospital also and Indian Health service appointments or appointments at the tribal clinics.”

Carden said one of the biggest misconceptions about SoonerCare is that it’s not real insurance.

“It is credible health coverage,” Carden said. “With SoonerCare you will not be fined with the new ACA (Affordable Care Act) mandates on your taxes.”

SoonerCare is based on your household income. Guidelines can be seen by going to their website www.mysoonercare.org.


Cherokee Nation Celebrates 1839 Act of Union

Cherokee Nation officials are marking an 1839 date that began the creation of what became the tribe’s current form of government. A ceremony in Cherokee Nation Capitol Square will recognize the 175th anniversary of the 1839 Act of Union.

The act created a unified political body for Cherokees who relocated west years before the tribe’s forced removal and those who settled in the area after the Trail of Tears.

Cherokee officials plan to honor the milestone by planting a dogwood tree at the square. The dogwood has cultural significance to Cherokees because it can be found along the Trail of Tears and throughout northeast Oklahoma, where the tribe is based today.


Vincent G. Logan Sworn In As Special Trustee For American Indians

Oklahoman and former resident of Norman, Vincent G. Logan, was sworn in this week as Special Trustee for American Indians or OST. Confirmed on June 26, 2014 by members of the U.S. Senate, he was sworn in on July 7, 2014, to lead the Department of the Interior office that oversees the management of more than $4.6 billion in American Indian trust funds.

A member of the Osage Nation, Special Trustee Logan is the fourth person to hold this position since OST was established in 1994. Special Trustee Logan said he the believes “the protection and preservation of Indian trust assets is one of the Secretary of the Interior’s most sacred trust responsibilities,” and that he looks “forward to supporting that critically important pillar of the trust.”

Logan is committed to investment education for tribal individuals and youth. He developed a training program, Your First Paycheck, based on his experience growing up in Oklahoma and receiving his first paycheck through the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act program. He knows that a lack of investment knowledge limits a community’s capacity for sustained growth and development.


Upcoming Native Events:

July 17-20, Thursday-Sunday is the 133rdAnnual Otoe-Missouria Summer Encampment taking place on the Otoe-Missouria Encampment grounds, 7500 Hwy 177 (20 miles north of Stillwater) in Red Rock, OK. This event will include gourd dancing, a 5K run and dance contests. Arts & craft vendors and food concessions. Free and open to the public. For more information: 580-723-4466.

July 18, Friday at the Comanche Nation Tourism Center in Lawton will be the 1st Ever Tourism Summer 9:00 a.m. -6:00 p.m. Come meet basketball players Jude and Shoni Schimmel. Shoni Schimmel now plays for the WNBA in Atlanta. There will be live entertainment, athletic activities, an Indian Art Market, and more. For more information: 580-595-4941.


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