Today’s blog comes to us from one of our members – Gila River Health Care Chief Executive Officer Scott Gemberling. Mr. Gemberling shares his thoughts on successes, challenges and what the future holds for Gila River Health Care. Once you’ve had a chance to read it, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Generating meaningful conversations around the health issues facing us here in Arizona is another way we are working to make our state the Healthiest State in the Nation!
It is a privilege serving Gila River and Ak-Chin Indian Communities and other Native Americans. Gila River Health Care is comprised of approximately 2000 dedicated and caring individuals that strive every day to improve the health of the patients we serve. The Gila River Indian Community decided to operate and provide healthcare services to their Community, so in 1995 took over operation of the hospital from Indian Health Services (IHS). Since that time, Gila River Health Care has been growing by adding up-to-date facilities and new services for the Community.
QUESTION: What are the greatest health needs in your community?
The services we provide are diverse. Gila River Health Care operates a critical access hospital and three other healthcare centers and a comprehensive system of Behavioral Health Services with a Tribal Regional Behavioral Health Authority (TRBHA) designation. Additionally, we offer health and wellness education and events, provide a wide variety of services on diabetes prevention, operate two dialysis centers and a skilled nursing facility, and deliver primary care, dental, optometry, podiatry, physical therapy, residential treatment and other essential services.
QUESTION: What is your facility’s greatest recent success?
We are very proud of our recent opening of the new, state-of-the-art, 140,000 square foot, Hau’pal (Red Tail Hawk) Health Center near Chandler that provides a wide variety of healthcare services to our growing patient base.
QUESTION: What are the biggest hurdles to providing care?
Gila River Health Care challenges are no different from most other healthcare systems and include: hiring in a competitive healthcare labor market, changing regulations on a state and federal level that reduce funding and reimbursement and, lastly, managing growth to meet the needs of an increasing patient base.
QUESTION: When you think of the future, what are you most hopeful for?
The future is exciting as we add more medical specialties and advanced imaging technology to our portfolio of services. Our intent is to manage more of the healthcare continuum instead of relying on other outside healthcare entities to provide services that our patients would rather Gila River Health Care provide on a more local, culturally sensitive basis.
QUESTION: What keeps you up at night?
Charting Gila River Health Care’s evolution which is well underway. We are excited to show our patients how each change will positively affect their lives. Gila River Health Care is committed to improving the health of our patients through improved and more robust services now and in the future.