Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System
JCMVAMC Hosts First Tribal Relations Workshop
Since July 2012, the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center (JCMVAMC) has signed tribal reimbursement agreements with 28 tribal facilities and four Indian Health Service facilities in Eastern Oklahoma, as part of an initiative to increase access to health care for Native American Veterans.
Through funding from the VA Office of Rural Health, JCMVAMC will reimburse tribes when Native American Veterans, who are enrolled for VA health care, receive health care at their facilities. As a result of the reimbursement agreements, JCMVAMC has paid more than $1.9 million to tribes from July 2012 to January 2015.
The agreements also allow VA and tribes to coordinate care by sharing patient information.
In an effort to further develop partnerships, JCMVAMC hosted a first-ever Tribal Relations Workshop on March 10 which was attended by 19 tribal representatives.
The workshop provided an opportunity for VA to discuss recent amendments to the reimbursement agreements, share information about VA programs and services for rural Veterans such as the Veteran Choice Program and Telehealth, and for VA and the tribes to share information.
“We have reimbursement agreements with all but one tribal entity in Eastern Oklahoma,” said James Floyd, JCMVAMC Director. “So we want to start having at least annual meetings with them to talk about how things are working. We want them to know who we are and how we can help them if they have questions.”
John Alley, JCMVAMC Indian Health Liaison, said one of the most important outcomes of the workshop was the opportunity to share information.
“We want to determine if there’s anything we can improve or do differently to make the agreements better,” said Alley. “We had a question and answer session and we were able to answer many questions. For the ones we didn’t answer today, we will follow up with them.”
Amy Eden, Revenue Cycle Manager for the Muscogee Creek Nation Department of Health, attended the workshop and said she learned valuable information not only from VA but from other tribal representatives.
“I think it’s an excellent opportunity for all of the tribes to collaborate with one another and the VA on providing better health care for our Veterans,” said Eden. “I really enjoy working with the tribal liaisons here at the VA. They’ve been exceptional to work with. They’re so kind and it’s like working with people we’ve known for a long time. It’s very good.”