VA, Hopi and HIS sign historic interagency agreement

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder services now

Photo courtesy of Hopi Tribe 
From left, are Deborah Thompson, Northern Arizona Healthcare Systems director; Capt. Darrell Melvin, CEO Hopi Medical Center; Claudette Douglas, Hopi Guidance Center acting administrator; Michael Pavata, Hopi Veterans Association; and Hopi Tribal Vice Chairman Todd Honyaoma Sr.

Photo courtesy of Hopi Tribe From left, are Deborah Thompson, Northern Arizona Healthcare Systems director; Capt. Darrell Melvin, CEO Hopi Medical Center; Claudette Douglas, Hopi Guidance Center acting administrator; Michael Pavata, Hopi Veterans Association; and Hopi Tribal Vice Chairman Todd Honyaoma Sr.

KYKOTSMOVI — The Hopi Regional Health Care Network (HRHCN), signed an Interagency Agreement on June 1, which will provide additional specialized medical services to Hopi and Navajo veterans.

HRHCN an association of hospitals within northern Arizona, includes Flagstaff Medical Center, Tuba Regional Health Care Corp., the Hopi Health Care Center, Northern Arizona Veterans Administration Health Care System and the Hopi T

Veterans residing in the Keams Canyon Service Unit including Jeddito Island, White Cone and Kaibab are eligible to receive these services.

Public Law 108-170, the Veterans Health Care, Capitol Access, and Business Improvement Act passed in 2003 provided funding for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) treatment for veterans. Under this act, the Northern Arizona VA Health Care System in close cooperation with HRHCN and the Hopi Health Care Center successfully sought grant funding to provide these services for veterans and families living on the Hopi Reservation.

“Under this Agreement the NAVAHCS will provide medical services such as evaluations, physical examinations, diagnosis, treatment, individual psychotherapy, and education for veterans and their families for Post Traumatic Stress Disorders through the Hopi Health Care Center and the IHS hospital in Chinle,” said Laverne Dallas, interim director of the Hopi Regional Health Care Network.

Hopi Tribal Councilman Clifford Balenquah Qotsaquahu pointed out as veterans return from Iraq more medical services will be needed.

“This Interagency Agreement addresses some of the medical, clinical and compensatory needs of veterans,” he said. “I anticipate the needs from the current terrorist war will be greater as our servicemen and women return from Iraq and the Middle East. Many World War II, Korean and Viet Nam veterans continue to need these vital services.”

Deborah Thompson, director of the Northern Arizona Veterans Health Care System (NAVHCS) said “the Network partnership will bring added post traumatic distress syndrome treatment to Hopi and Navajo veterans residing within the Keams Canyon Service Unit.”

“The Hopi Tribe and the Hopi Veterans Program played an integral role in solidifying this partnership. We look forward to a long working relationship and through team work we will have a great program for the veterans” said Director Thompson.

Captain Daryl Melvin, CEO of the Hopi Health Care Center and President of the Hopi Regional Health Care Network pointed out the agreement resulted from an extensive cooperative effort.

“As I reflect on the many beautiful things that have been said here today I hope they will continue,” Capt. Melvin said. “Everyone in this room, along with many who couldn’t be here today, had a vision years ago. Today that vision has come to fruition. Those of us from the community of Hopi know we want to leave the world a little bit better as we go forward. This is one of those steps. It is a very meaningful step. There is additional work to be done.”

Capt. Melvin expressed gratitude to all involved in making the agreement a reality.

“Taking these little steps is a positive sign. It seems so simple to sit down at this table and sign this document, however, it was an arduous task. We Hopi always take the more difficult path,” he said. “It is a part of our culture. I appreciate the comments of Ms. Homana Pawiki, Native American Liaison for the Veterans Administration. Ms. Pawiki noted the cooperation between the many different participants, social workers, medicine people, administrators, tribal officials and veterans working jointly made this day a reality. I thank all of you.”

Vice Chairman Todd Honyaoma Sr. representing the Hopi Tribal Council, also expressed his appreciation for the cooperation needed to draft the agreement.

“When we all work together, we all have a long lasting life,” the Vice Chair said.. “The Creator will be with us and our veterans and also the people throughout the whole world. My teaching through the Spider Clan is that we are mothers and fathers of everybody, all human kind throughout the whole world. When we go into our spiritual ceremonies we pray, not only for our Hopi people, but for everybody, even the animals. I want the best for our people. This is what I call a real government to government relationship today, everyone sitting down together.”

Michael Pavatea, director of The Hopi Veterans Program thanked the network partners on behalf of the Hopi veterans. He stressed the importance of the additional service available to veterans as a result of the interagency agreement.

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