February 19, 2013
On Feb. 7 at the tribal court chambers, three new members of the Health Authority Board, recently appointed by Osage Nation Principal Chief John D. Red Eagle, took oaths of office administered by Chief Trial Court Judge, the Honorable Marvin Stepson.
The improvement of Health Services to the Osage people is one of Principal Chief John D. Red Eagle’s five central administration objectives and the formation of an active Health Authority Board is a significant step toward achieving that goal.
Margie Burkhart, who is the Supervisor of the Primary Prevention Project for the Cherokee Nation Health Services in Tahlequah, is the Board’s Chair. Burkhart, who is Osage, said, “I would like to see improved services and improved access to care for our Osage citizens.”
Michael A. Moore, who is Cherokee, is the Chief Financial Officer and V.P. of Finance for Jane Phillips Hospital/St. John Health System. Moore is a Certified Public Accountant, who developed the current health system consolidation process utilized for monthly reporting at Jane Phillips Hospital. Speaking of his goals for the Board, Moore said, “We’d like to set the foundation for successful health care for all Osages, especially the elderly and children.”
Tom Foreman, D.O., who is Cherokee, has a lifetime Board Certification in Family Practice, and works at the Northeastern Tribal Health System in Miami, Oklahoma. “I’ve worked for a tribal clinic for the past 16 years,” Dr. Foreman said. “I hope I can bring my experience to this Board. What we’re intending to do is compacting and self-governance.”
Another Board member, William Patrick Tinker, M.D., who is Osage, was also appointed to the Board by Chief Red Eagle. Dr. Tinker practices medicine at Bluestem Cardiology in Bartlesville. Due to Tinker’s schedule, the date of his swearing-in ceremony is yet to be announced.
The authority to create the Board is the result of a new Osage Nation law enacted Oct. 5, 2011, entitled the “Health Authority Board Act.” The law authorized the formation of this Board at the Osage Nation to be responsible for consolidating and implementing the organizational structure of the Health and Wellness Division. According to the law, one of the Board’s main goals is to advance the Osage Nation’s self-governance goals in order to achieve control and direction of its health related services.
The Board members will go before the Osage Congress for confirmation during the next regular session, which is set to begin March 25.