Tribal Government & News

General Council briefed on Health & Wellness Center

01.19.2017 Brent Merrill General Council, Health & Wellness

The Grand Ronde Health & Wellness Center’s mission is to be the premier health and wellness choice for Tribal and community members, said Tribal member and Health Services Executive Director Kelly Rowe at the General Council meeting held on Sunday, Jan. 15, at the Tribal Community Center in Grand Ronde.

The meeting was originally scheduled for Jan. 8, but was postponed when a winter storm made travel dangerous in the Willamette Valley.

Rowe said the center’s plan is to provide excellent care that improves patient health and quality of life.

“We have been working diligently over the last year on that and continue to work on that every moment that we spend with our patients,” said Rowe.

Rowe said the Tribe’s 2015 socio-economic survey outlined quality of care, access to health care and location of health care as top priorities of Tribal members.

Rowe said the survey results have guided program goals for the present and future. She said health clinic staff members have instituted a new patient process that streamlines the gathering of patient information with the goal of creating more time between patient and health care provider.

“We’re trying to bring as much clarity to the process as possible,” said Rowe.

Rowe said new primary care providers are being added to the Wellness Center staff and later appointments have been added to address the access issue.

“In 2017, we are having a new medical doctor join us so we can provide as much primary care as possible,” said Rowe.

Rowe’s presentation covered the Health & Wellness Center’s response to each priority of quality, access and location as she outlined accomplishments and priorities for the dental, behavioral health, optometry, pharmacy and community health programs, as well as the quality management staff.

Rowe said that the Health & Wellness Center also is working on using technology to improve Pharmacy ordering, including investigating the use of smartphones to re-order prescriptions.

Rowe also updated the membership on the Health & Wellness Center’s passing of its accreditation survey and that all of the department’s policies and procedures will be re-examined in the coming year.

“We have a great group in employee management that worked really hard to make sure we were compliant on all of our industry standards,” said Rowe. “In 2017, all policies and procedures are being updated to make sure that they are accurate to what we are actually doing and wanting to do.”

Rowe introduced Tribal member and Quality Manager Dawn Doar, Dental Hygienist Sheila Blacketer, Nursing Supervisor Christa Hosley, Certified Medical Assistant Jody Bergen, Registered Nurse Michelle Byars and Medical Assistant Lindsey Ness, who were there to provide flu shots to anyone who wanted one.

Tribal Council member Denise Harvey requested that Blacketer talk about the Dental Clinic’s work with Tribal pre-school children to identify early signs of poor dental health.

“I just wanted to let everybody know that we really want to provide the best quality care at the clinic and we want to hear from the people if there are issues. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us,” said Rowe. “We want to make sure that we’re working on improving the care that is being delivered.”

Rowe also said that the Health & Wellness Center is planning to celebrate its 20th anniversary of opening in August 1997. She said she hoping plans for a celebration will firm up within the next couple of weeks.

Rowe fielded four questions from Tribal Council and General Council members before Tribal Council Secretary Jon A. George thanked Rowe for her efforts and thanked the current and past members of the Tribe’s Health Committee for their good work.

“We certainly appreciate all the hard work you and your staff have done,” said George.

“Thank you very much,” said Rowe. “It’s an honor to be a Tribal member and working here for the Tribe.”

In other business, Finance Officer Chris Leno informed General Council of the Tribal Council’s desire to create a Culture endowment from the Government Operations endowment.

“By ordinance we have a process we need to go through if we want to reduce one of our reserves,” said Leno. “The intent that the Tribal government has is to reduce the Government Operations endowment by $3.285 million to create a Culture endowment. This is something we have been talking about for a long time.”

He said Tribal Council approval must be unanimous to transfer with the funds.

Linda LaChance, Raven Harmon, Chris Contreras, Wink Soderberg and Steve Bobb Sr. won the $50 door prizes and Cherie Butler, Laura Gleason and Louise Coulson won the $100 door prizes. Bobb donated his winnings to the Tribal Veterans Special Event Board.

Ten turkey/ham gift certificates were raffled off and Gary Sharp and Genifer Grout each won a beaded necklace donated by Tribal Council Secretary Jon A. George.

Cultural Resources staff members Bobby Mercier and Jordan Mercier and Tribal youth Izaiah Fisher and Nokoa Mercier performed the cultural drumming and singing to open the meeting.

Tribal Elder and former Tribal Council member Steve Bobb Sr. gave the invocation to open the meeting.

The Elders’ Committee held its annual election for three open seats and 37 ballots were cast. Jenny Van Atta was first with 31 votes, Marcia Stake received 27 votes and Tribal Elder Duane Wheeler received 23 votes.

The meeting, in its entirety, can be viewed on the Tribal website,, by clicking on the News tab and then Video.

The next General Council meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 5, at the Monarch Hotel near Clackamas Town Center off Interstate 205. It will be followed by a Community Input meeting for Tribal members to bring forth issues of concern.