Yaghali du? How are you?
I am happy to announce yet more good news regarding our new Dena’ina Wellness Center, now under construction in Old Town Kenai.
Kenaitze Indian Tribe has received $10.6 million in federal appropriations to pay for staff and operations of the new facility in its first year. The money upholds the federal government’s obligation to the tribe made when the tribe received one of three highly competitive Indian Health Service joint venture awards in 2011.
Under the terms of the joint venture, the tribe agreed to design, construct and equip the building. The IHS agreed to fund operations and maintenance for a minimum of 20 years.
The timing of this appropriation could not be better, as we continue to hire the professional and caring staff we will need to provide the integrated healthcare services we have promised you.
Our Tribal Council worked hard to make sure that the appropriation made it into this year’s federal budget. Their work, and that of our partners in the Alaska Native health community, helped make the appropriation a reality.
As construction comes to a close, we are nearing completion of our end of the venture. We are deeply thankful for the help we have received from our partners, including Cook Inlet Region Inc., the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust, the Rasmuson Foundation, The Alaska Mental Health Trust, the state of Alaska and our many community supporters.
I am happy to announce that we will start offering dental and wellness care in the new building on April 14. We will start offering primary care and behavioral health in the new building on April 21.
Our staff is working additional hours to plan the move from our existing locations. Soon they will start training on new equipment and procedures. Please be patient with us as we adjust schedules to accommodate this necessary work. You and your families are our main concern and we will make every effort to keep you informed and to minimize disruptions.
Finally, we are working on preparations for a Grand Opening celebration on June 12. We hope that you will save the date so that you can join us!
Aa', yaghali – it is good!