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HomeHealthHealth board addresses job applicant pool; moves meetings to twice a month

Health board addresses job applicant pool; moves meetings to twice a month

Board also approved new job descriptions for Chief Medical Officer and Director of Nursing

The Osage Nation Health Authority Board hammered out job descriptions for two posts that its members hope will streamline services at a reorganized WahZhaZhe Health Clinic.

The board, which met Feb. 28, also approved a change to its bylaws that was in conflict with the Nation’s Open Meetings Act, and its chair, Cindra Shangreau, acknowledged that members had been holding “planning sessions” in violation of the law.

“Our planning sessions were never intended to be secretive, clandestine, duplicitous or anything else,” Shangreau said. “We were just … trying to get things in line in a timely manner so that our meetings didn’t run for eight hours long. Absolutely no board action was taken during these planning sessions.

“Obviously, we are happy to have all of our work reviewed by the public. And do it in open session.”

Henceforth, the board agreed to meet twice a month, on the second and third Thursdays of the month.

In other business, the board approved job descriptions for a chief medical officer and for a director of nursing under a new organizational chart that was also OK’d at the meeting. Most of the discussion centered on the director of nursing and the type of experience candidates should have, but the board was certain that it wants any new CMO to have at least five years of experience “in a leadership role with a community healthcare facility.”

“I don’t want to deviate from that,” said board member Cecelia Tallchief. “I don’t want to make a special deal … That’s what we get sometimes.”

The chief executive position requires at least 10 years of management experience. Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear asked if the board had identified a funding source to pay for the new position and was assured that one had been. The salary range was not revealed.

The first proposed description of the director of nursing required candidates to have at least 10 years of experience as a registered nurse and five years in management.

Hailey Kramer, a nurse practitioner and board member, said that demanding that level of experience would eliminate people who had climbed the nursing ranks and been licensed practical nurses from the potential pool.

“Maybe we should just say 10 years experience as a nurse?” she asked. “Does that make sense?”

The board agreed, but Osage Congress member Brandy Lemon, a nurse and daughter of board member Cecelia Tallchief, brought up another issue.

“I feel there should really be some hospital experience because there are times when patients walk in and it’s a critical or emergent situation,” Lemon said. “And if you’ve never had a nurse of any form deal with any type of hospital care when it’s urgent or emergent, sometimes it can become disastrous.

“Hospital experience is extremely important in my opinion.”

The board mulled that but two of its members, Michael Bristow and Tim Shadlow, steered the group back to the desired result: Getting the maximum number of applicants for a job at a clinic that has trouble attracting them. (It has advertised four times for a staff psychiatrist, for instance, and received no applications, it was revealed at the meeting.)

“The purpose for posting the ad is to cast as wide a net as possible,” Bristow said. “We can narrow down the qualifications through the interview process.”

Shadlow echoed the sentiment: “We want to attract as many great nurses as we can. Let’s get as many applicants as we can … and choose the best. If we make it so hard that we only get two or three applicants, I think we’re shooting ourselves in the foot.”

After the board went into a closed session to discuss the purchase of real property and another matter, Chief Standing Bear asked the board to review the nation’s mask policy. Currently, the nation requires employees and visitors to wear masks when they are within six feet of others indoors.

He said that the nation has always deferred to clinic medical directors, currently Dr. Amanda Bighorse, who resigned effective in April, and her predecessor, Dr. Ron Shaw, who left a year ago and died of brain cancer in September.

“Both said we followed CDC guidelines and we’d like the board to give their views,” Standing Bear said. “Should we go ahead and end our mask policy or not? Other states and governments are doing that. We’re thinking about lifting the mandate, but we want your input.”

The board said it would review the issue and issue a decision at its next special meeting, set for March 3 at 1:30 p.m.

[Clarification: The Health Authority Board will meet twice a month, not every two weeks as the headline previously stated.]


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Louise Red Corn
Louise Red Corn has suffered from wanderlust for decades: She has lived and worked as a journalist and photographer in Rome, Italy, New York City, Detroit, Kentucky, Mississippi and Oklahoma, where she published The Bigheart Times for 12 years. She loves diving in-depth into just about any topic but is especially fond of covering legal issues, perhaps because her parents were both lawyers. She is married to Assistant Principal Chief Raymond Red Corn, who enticed her to move to the Osage Reservation in 2004. She and her husband live south of Pawhuska with one extremely large dog named Max, one extremely energetic dog named Pepper, and, if he bothers to make an appearance, a surly cat named Stinky.

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