Oyate Health Center to Host Equine Therapy Event During LNI
RAPID CITY: The Oyate Health Center and the Great Plains Tribal Leaders’ Health Board have invested heavily into expanding behavioral health services for tribal-citizens living in Rapid City. During the Lakota Nation Invitational in Rapid City, the organization will host an Equine Therapy opportunity for patients and visitors.
Christmas with Horses is a chance for families to take a picture with Santa and his Elves, only this year, Santa and his Elves, just happen to be horses.
The Great Plains Tribal Opioids Response Team and Red Horse Healing welcome our relatives to come to 3315 South Valley Dr. in Rapid City to enjoy Christmas horse games from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, on December 18, 2021. Pictures with Santa (horse), Mrs. Clause (horse), Elf (horse) Elf (horse), reindeers (horse) pictures will be printed while relatives have hot drinks, cookies and play Christmas horse games.
The event is only a small sample of the dramatic expansion in behavioral health services that are now available to tribal-citizens living in Rapid City. In the last 18-months, the Oyate Health Center answered the request from the Native American community in Rapid City to create a Behavioral Health department with the capacity to meet its needs. In 2019, the Oyate Health Center conducted a community needs assessment that overwhelmingly indicated that the Native American community in Rapid City wanted more behavioral health services.
When the Health Board assumed management of the Rapid City Service Unit from the Indian Health Service in 2018, only 3 mental health providers were available to 27,000 Native American patients in Pennington County. Additionally, space to accommodate patients was severely limited. The lack of providers and space made it nearly impossible for patients to schedule appointments in a timely manner –if at all. Now it has 17 and is expected to continue to add more staff as the Oyate Health Center continues to grow.
“The Native American community in Rapid City needed more services related to mental, spiritual, and emotional health for the Native American community in Rapid City has been inadequate for decades. For the Health Board, this was the obvious starting point. Now, we are seeing real improvements that will benefit this community for generations to come,“ said Patty Eagle Bull, Vice-President of Tribal Community Health Programs for the Great Plains Tribal Leaders’ Health Board in July.
The Health Board and the Oyate Health Center have utilized the full power of 638-contracting to acquire more resources, caseworkers, providers, and even a new location to house them. In all, GPTLHB/OHC secured eight grants totaling approximately $7 million to fund the expansion. With this funding, it not only expanded services but purchased an entirely different location to house them in.
The Health Board and the Oyate Health Center behavior health teams are now hosting weekly Talking Circles, Monthly Awareness Walks, cultural events, and educational activities as part of youth suicide preventive efforts, telehealth availability for counseling, began participating in community-organized events, and houses clinical psychologists so that patients can get the medications they need to combat mental health issues.
Under the Indian Health Service, there is a set amount of federal funds allocated for a service unit. A set portion of this funding is set aside for specific programs like radiology, behavioral health, etc. As a federal agency, IHS does not have the option of pursuing grant funding or other revenue sources, aside from third-party revenue. The decision to “638” the Rapid City Service Unit freed the Health Board to pursue additional funding to expand and improve services.
*Established in 1986, the GPTLHB represents tribal communities in South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa. The organization is overseen by the elected tribal leaders of 17- tribal entities in the area. Through public health practices and the formation of tribal partnerships, it works to improve the health of the American Indian peoples through health support, health care advocacy, and direct-patient care at the Oyate Health Center.