RH Executive, Christi El-Meligi, advocates for Diné (Navajo) communities

L-R: Stenson Wauneka, Board Chairperson of Sage Memorial Hospital; Dr. Yvette Roubideaux, acting Director of Indian Health Service; Christi El-Meligi, CEO of Sage Memorial Hospital; and Maybelle Kelewood, Board member of Sage Memorial Hospital.

WINDOW ROCK, NN, Ariz. — Razaghi Healthcare Executive, Christi El-Meligi, along with Sage Memorial Hospital Board members Stenson Wauneka and Maybelle Kelewood, attended a tribal consultation and listening session with Dr. Yvette Roubideaux, acting Director of the Indian Health Services (IHS), and other officials on July 24 in Window Rock.

The tribal consultation is designed as a listening session and it provides tribal officials and hospital administrators the opportunity to voice concerns to the top administrator of the IHS.

The IHS, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the principle federal health care advocate and provider for American Indians and Alaskan Natives. Dr. Roubideaux helps to administer more than $4.4 billion for a nationwide health care delivery program. The IHS is responsible for providing preventative, curative, and community health care to more than 2.2 million American Indians and Alaskan Natives in facilities across the country.

Sage Memorial Hospital is contracted with IHS to provide healthcare to the central portion of the Navajo Nation in Arizona. Its service area includes the Navajo chapters of Cornfields, Ganado, Greasewood Springs, Kinlichee, Klagetoh, Nazlini, Steamboat, and Wide Ruins.

Navajo Health Foundation – Sage Memorial Hospital is the first Native-managed private comprehensive health care system in the country. It has been managed since 1978 by an independent, entirely Navajo Board of Directors, and is the only Native American hospital to hold both a license from the Arizona Department of Health Services and Accreditation from The Joint Commission.

Board Chairman Stenson Wauneka provided a written statement to Dr. Roubideaux. The statement urged Dr. Roubideaux to help enforce policies in administering the account of Sage Memorial Hospital.

“The Board appreciates the opportunity to carry out a ‘638 contract on behalf of the Navajo Nation, and working closely with the Navajo Area Indian Health Services,” the statement read. “However, Sage can be much more effective and efficient with Navajo Area IHS if it will consider following its own policies in administering Sage’s contract.”

Christi El-Meligi, Chief Executive Officer of Sage Memorial Hospital, invited Dr. Roubideaux to visit and tour the Sage Memorial Hospital campus in Ganado.

“Despite all the recent federal budget cuts, the ‘638 contract is successful. We continue to advocate for more local control,” El-Meligi said. “We invited Dr. Roubideaux to tour our facility and we hope she is able to make a visit in the near future.”

The tribal consultation also included discussions on agency priorities, tribal partnerships, access to healthcare, mobile clinics, health disparities, unique cultural practices, traditional healing, alternative medicine, sanitation, training, funding, and insurance billings.

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Navajo Health Foundation – Sage Memorial Hospital is located in Ganado, Ariz., and is a private, non-profit corporation who’s board of directors has hired Razaghi Healthcare as it’s management company.