The Muscogee (Creek) Nation has eliminated more than 100 jobs at its clinics and hospitals, and the chief said when looking at the upcoming fiscal year, there wasn't enough money to keep the employees and facilities running.
Despite a big round of health worker layoffs, Muscogee (Creek) Nation representatives said patients shouldn't see any major changes, and the tribe plans to work with fewer people.
In all, about 120 employees were laid off and 55 were reassigned to different areas within the nation.
Representatives call it a tough but necessary decision.
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation health system is taking big cuts.
Employees, some who worked at Creek Health for decades, were laid off.
"My heart goes out to the employees," said Creek Health patient Isaac Saenz.
Principal Chief James Floyd has been in office less than a year.
He said the tribe has 2-year-old debts that need to be paid.
Right now there's not enough money to keep the employees and health operations moving.
"But for our system to survive we have to make sure that we reorganize in a manner that we can be stronger in the future and this is one of the hardest steps we have to take," Floyd said.
Brenda Cooksey said the service she's gotten from the Nation has been great.
But she fears that could change.
"I think it's going to slow down progress and it might even take people away from here. If they are going to do all that and people are going to want to go where they get the good care," Cooksey said.
Tribal representatives said with the cuts come operational changes.
The rehabilitation center will go from inpatient care to outpatient care only.
The medical center will pick up those patients.
But that's not all.
"The home health services will be affected as well with this," said Thompson Gouge, acting director of public relations. "And for the patients being served through our home services, that will continue until their services are done."
As finances improve, tribal representatives said they hope to rehire some employees.
The tribe said it will be updating its website and social media with new details about the changes and how it will adjust.
Letter to Muscogee (Creek) Citizens from Speaker of the National Council Lucian Tiger: