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HomeHealthPatient surveys praise WahZhaZhe Health Center as new leadership rights ship

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Patient surveys praise WahZhaZhe Health Center as new leadership rights ship

The WZZHC has big changes coming, including a new building, a neurologist and they are poised to hire an emergency room doctor

What a difference a year makes.

Last February, the WahZhaZhe Health Center was the target of much griping: The phones weren’t being answered, referrals took forever, Covid vaccinations were annoyingly hard to schedule, and half of the medical providers and many staffers had jumped ship under leadership that faced blistering criticism.

These days, after many changes, including new top leaders and the spinning off of the clinic as an independent enterprise separate from the tribe, public opinion has flipped 180 degrees: Patient satisfaction has skyrocketed and exceeds that of St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa in many metrics.

Since January, more than 210 patients at the clinic have responded to a 10-question survey that asked for their opinion on everything from clinic cleanliness to how well their provider explained the details of their illness.

The response was quite positive, with all but three patients – 98.2 percent – saying that providers explained patient conditions clearly or very clearly and a similar tsunami reporting that the health center staff was helpful (27 percent) or very helpful (73 percent). Cleanliness? Almost 62 percent said the 1970s-era clinic, which is poised to build a new center on Main Street in Pawhuska, was very clean and 35 percent said it was merely clean. Five people of 209 declared the place “very dirty.”

“We were expecting a good survey but not a great survey,” said Dr. Tony Little, the clinic’s chief medical officer who came on board in September. “The take-home message for me is these are people-driven reports. We didn’t have that at St. Francis, folks.

“The culture, the ship is starting to shift.”

Little noted that some complaints arose in the survey’s open-ended comment section – including that the WZZHC had water dispensers but no cups, that a patient hadn’t been informed as to whether he or she needed to be fasting when blood was scheduled to be drawn, and that privacy was scant at the check-in window.

“Most of these complaints are easy to fix,” Little told the board. “But the consistency I’m seeing here has to do with personnel.”

A sampling of patient comments was generally effusive. “You guys are amazing and always go above and beyond expectation. Thank you!” wrote one. “This is the friendliest medical office I have visited in years,” said another.

Said Little: “I was surprised. We were shocked. People are really appreciative of what’s going on.”

Mark Rogers, the chief executive officer who took over the clinic’s helm in July and immediately instituted customer-service driven measures that included freely sharing his personal cell phone so he could personally intervene to fix problems. He commented that many factors figure into good feedback, but the most important one is taking care of the patient. “Take care of the patient, take care of each other,” he said.

“I sling oil wherever the squeak is at but we’re all here for the patient, period, paragraph, end of story.”

Rogers acknowledged that not all employees have been willing to adopt change, and some have left, while others have been fired. He said he tries to persuade recalcitrant employees to change but he is willing to put his fist down, too.

“I will fire someone on the spot if they mistreat a patient,” he said. “I have zero tolerance for that.”

More services coming

More changes are also afoot, Dr. Little recently told the board that oversees the clinic:

  • By late May, the clinic should have a neurologist on board two days a month;
  • It has partnered with the Muscogee Nation and will soon offer a lightning-fast patient portal through which patients can access their medical records online and on which doctors can easily plumb medical records from other providers;
  • It will soon have a Sysmex 430 blood analyzer installed so lab results will be available faster;
  • It has hired Amy Foster, a nurse practitioner who specializes in nephrology or kidney disease;
  • It has added five nurses to the staff;
  • It is poised to hire an emergency room doctor; and
  • It is hiring a nutritionist to help with diabetes care.

Already, the changes have made their mark. In October 2022, 782 patients visited the WZZHC, compared to 555, a 41 percent increase. In January alone, the clinic attracted 42 new patients.

“It won’t keep growing like this,” Little warned, noting that winter means more people seek medical care. “It tapers off in the summer.”

The clinic, which is now in charge of the Title VI elder nutrition program, has also seen more seniors showing up at the lunch and activity sites.

“I had 30 hugs walking into there and there were only 10 people there,” said Rogers, a down-to-earth guy who loves to turn a funny phrase. “And my pockets were still full when I left!”


The WZZHC is still surveying patients. The survey is available at the clinic and online at

Louise Red Corn

Title: Reporter


Twitter: @louiseredcorn

Languages: English, Italian, rusty but revivable Russian

Louise Red Corn has been a news reporter for 34 years and a photographer for even longer. She grew up in Northern California, the youngest child of two lawyers, her father a Pearl Harbor survivor who later became a state judge and her mother a San Francisco native who taught law at the University of California at Davis.

After graduating from the U.C. Berkley with a degree in Slavic Languages and Literatures with no small amount of coursework in Microbiology, she moved to Rome, Italy, where she worked as a photographer and wordsmith for the United Nation’s International Fund for Agricultural Development, specializing in the French-speaking countries of Africa.

When the radioactive cloud from Chernobyl parked over Rome in 1986, she escaped to New York City to work for the international editions of Time Magazine. She left Time for Knight-Ridder newspapers in Biloxi, Miss., Detroit and Lexington, Ky., During nearly 20 years with Knight-Ridder, she was a stringer (freelancer) for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Parade Magazine.

In 2004, she married Raymond Red Corn and moved to Oklahoma, where she worked for the Tulsa World before she bought the weekly newspaper in Barnsdall and turned a tired newspaper into the award-winning Bigheart Times, which she sold in 2018. She hired on at the Osage News in early 2022.

Throughout her career she has won dozens of state, national and international journalism awards.

Red Corn is comfortable reporting on nearly any topic, the more complex the better, but her first love is covering courts and legal issues. Her proudest accomplishment was helping to exonerate a Tennessee man facing the death penalty after he was wrongfully charged with capital murder in Kentucky, a state he had never visited.


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