Wah-Zha-Zhi Health Clinic earns accreditation status

Photo caption: The Wah-Zha-Zhi Health Center announced it achieved prestigious accreditation from the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) in June 2019. Pictured are: (back row l to r) Daniel Sherron, WHC Manager and Donnie Hodge, Chief Pharmacist, (front row) Laura Sawney, Chief Compliance & Performance Officer and Dr. Ronald Shaw - Chief Executive Officer & Chief Medical Officer. Courtesy Photo

The Osage Nation’s Wah-Zha-Zhi Health Center is now accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care.

The Pawhuska-based WHC announced its accreditation on June 5 after successfully completing the AAAHC’s extensive self-assessment and on-site survey by AAAHC expert surveyors, who are physicians, nurses and health care administrator peers, according to a news release. The AAAHC survey is consultative, educational and examines best practices to help health care organizations improve their services.

“Our staff worked diligently together to go above and beyond to make our center the premier tribal health facility and we are so proud of this accreditation,” Dr. Ron Shaw, WHC CEO/ Chief Medical Officer said in the release. “The Osage holds culture close to its heart and is backed by leadership. Taking care of our people and others is what we strive to do with a standard of excellence.”

The WHC is listed among other accredited organizations on the website for Chicago area-based AAAHC, which offers resource information for health entities interested in achieving the accreditation status. “AAAHC accreditation means that the organization participates in on-going self evaluation, peer review and education to continuously improve its care and services. The organization also commits to a thorough, on-site survey by AAAHC surveyors, who are themselves health care professionals, at least every three years,” according to the website.

“We continuously expand and improve the services we provide our patients,” Shaw said. “The safety and quality of care of our patients is our number one goal and we strive to achieve that with every visit.”

According to recent clinic data, the WHC is a 9,371-square-foot facility with approximately 70 full-time staff and has a current total of 19,971 patient charts.

In an April clinic report, WHC Manager Daniel Sherron said Osages comprise about 50% of patients utilizing the WHC. Patients also using the clinic come from tribal nations including the Seneca-Cayuga, Cherokee Nation, Muscogee (Creek) Nation and Citizen Band Potawatomi, according to Sherron.

WHC services include: outpatient medical and nursing clinic, laboratory, radiology, mammography, optometry clinic, dental clinic, purchased referred care, behavioral health clinic and diabetes clinic.

The WHC also offers a drive-through pharmacy, pharmacy direct mail program and extended hours, and is projected to have 50,000 patient visits this year.

In the meantime, the Nation’s Health Authority Board and clinic management continue to explore plans for a new clinic facility.

HAB Chairman Dr. Patrick Tinker, who received an ON Congressional confirmation vote to serve another three-year term in the spring, told the Congress the board has hired an architectural firm, which has been working on schematic designs for a new clinic. The Wisconsin-based firm, ERDMAN, specializes in building healthcare facilities of all sizes nationwide including urgent care clinics, hospitals, senior living residential buildings and fitness/ wellness centers, according to its website. 

Dr. Tinker noted the current clinic building was constructed when the late Osage Principal Chief Sylvester J. Tinker was in office. According to The Osage Timeline, a new Indian health center in Pawhuska was dedicated in 1978.

For more information about the Wah-Zha-Zhi Health Center, visit its website: