Dozens of job openings are part of improved health care coming to Muskogee. The Cherokee Nation is opening a brand new health center in the fall, but hiring is already getting underway. Construction is moving along at the site. The progress on the huge building can be seen from the Muskogee turnpike. The News On 6â€™s Heather Lewin reports that doctors say the center will bring many services patients currently have to travel long distances to get.
Doctors say the biggest change is size, from a small Indian clinic, to a major new health center.
â€œOur current clinic is about 13,000-square feet, this clinic is about 105,000-square feet," said clinic director Dr. Schuyler Steelberg.
Construction is expected to be complete with doors ready to open by October 1. The current small facility offers only primary care for women and children and until recently only a part-time pediatrician.
"This clinic adds dental, larger optometry, more providers for primary care. We will have physical therapy, podiatry, a much larger lab and radiology," said Steelberg.
A bigger facility offering more services also means new jobs. The Cherokee Nation is looking to hire about 100 people for the health center.
â€œWe're looking for medical providers. We're looking for ancillary staff, everything,â€ said Steelberg.
Planners say it's important for the center to blend modern care with a traditional look. The columns at the entrance are meant to represent the original Cherokee male seminary built in the 1850's in Tahlequah. Steelberg says there's a large unmet need in Muskogee and the new health center will help fill it, especially for patients who currently have to travel to get care.
"Well, I started out in family practice and my medical career is for helping people and working for the Cherokee Nation at a place like this," said Steelberg. "It's a great feeling of satisfaction to provide these services for people that need them."
There's a job fair Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the NSU Muskogee campus. You do not have to be a member of the tribe. Although there is a Native American preference, the jobs are open to everyone.
Watch the video:New Health Care Center Bringing Dozens Of Job Openings
To see a virtual tour of the new health center visit www.cherokee.org