Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Health Board answers questions about Sioux San project

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Many Native Americans are wondering what would happen to the original Sioux San Hospital or what services the new one provide.

On Saturday the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Health Board gathered community members to answer those questions.

More than 50 people gathered at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel to learn about the future of Sioux San Hospital.

The hospital is currently located on Canyon Lake Drive, and the proposed new facility would be built on the Shepherd Hills development by Western Dakota Tech.

Some Natives were worried about losing the original Sioux San, but during the meeting, Health Board CEO Jerilyn Church said that would not be an issue.

Jerilyn Church, CEO, Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Health Board, says, "Both properties are going to be protected and have federal protections just as though it was all still on Sioux San."

Church says the board would like to expand Sioux San's services.

They're considering expanding either substance use-disorder services, mental health services, or long-term care.

Jerilyn Church says, "And we also know that substance use treatment is very limited in the state of South Dakota so we have an opportunity to really develop treatment needs for our population that's culturally appropriate and community-based."

Mary Tognotti is three eighths Oglala Sioux and hopes the new facility addresses mental health needs.

Mary Tognotti, concerned citizen, says, "This is a time where we need a mental health unit because we have many street people that are schizophrenic or bi-polar."

Tognotti says ultimately, she came to the meeting because her number one concern is the health of her people.

Mary Tognotti says, "I'm really concerned for our people and your young people and I hope this will get settled soon."

The board is still in the negotiation process, and they hope to know how much it will cost to implement certain programs by late December.

Church says the more the community is involved with the project, the more the new facility will reflect their people's needs.

If you'd like to stay up to date on the Sioux San campus, come to future meetings or visit the Chairmen's Health Board website at gptchb.org.