Nearing five-year anniversary, PHS moves forward on projects, growth

In 2014 the Pokagon Band opened its new Pokagon Health Services facility on tribal land. As its five-year mark approaches and the construction on the building’s expansion and renovation nears completion, let’s check in on some of PHS’s projects and growth.

PHS regularly assesses and responds to patient needs with additional services. So in January it opened a supervised weight loss clinic, part of the HLC campaign to help citizens lead healthier lifestyles. Thus far, fifty patients have signed up for personalized weight loss care with a medical provider. One participant said, “They are caring and professional. It’s resulted in me losing nearly 40 pounds. The provider takes the time to talk with me and develop a strategy that works for me specifically. Looking forward to losing the next 40!”

Additionally, PHS now offers chiropractic care and massage therapy four days a week.

“Thanks to great support from Tribal Council, we can develop and execute a long-term vision for better health care for Pokagon citizens,” said Matt Clay, PHS director.

Leaders are looking at opening a retail pharmacy. PHS billed over $4 million in pharmaceuticals in 2018, which is up four hundred percent in the past four years.

A retail pharmacy will help offset costs, improve efficiencies, generate more revenue, and expand such services as mail order pharmacy for all citizens.

As announced at the Annual Meeting, PHS is working on expanding the Indian Health Services delivery area to the three Michigan counties of Kalamazoo, Kent, and Ottawa. This will allow us to serve more than 500 additional Pokagon citizens with direct care at PHS and referral services through Purchased and Referred Care (PRC). This proposal, which is a lengthy process and must be approved by IHS, would only apply to IHS services.

The 32,000 square foot expansion and renovation of the PHS facility will add more Behavioral Health space, eight more chairs in Dental, a café, and the Pokagon Family Activity Center, which will host programming for Pokagons of all ages. Construction should be complete in late summer. The café will tentatively be open and staffed from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. with healthy grab-and-go options for the whole family.

PHS, partnering with regional colleges, now allows students to work in the Clinic as part of their training rotations. Western Michigan University’s School of Medicine, Grand Valley State’s nursing and dietician programs, and Indiana University’s nurse practitioner programs send students to PHS, and this keeps our providers up to date on medical trends and training. 

For 2020 and beyond, PHS is exploring enhanced home care services and palliative care to continue to expand services for elders.


View shots from inside the Health Center expansion below.