Legislation for new Kayenta health facility passes

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - The Intergovernmental Relations Committee of the 21st Navajo Nation Council passed Legislation No. 0089-10 approving a lease agreement between the Navajo Nation and the Indian Health Service for the new Kayenta Health Care Facility to be constructed in Kayenta, Ariz.

With the committee's approval of Legislation 0089-10, sponsored by Council Delegate David Shondee (Chilchinbeto/Kayenta), the community can now move forward with construction, operation and maintenance of the Kayenta Health Care Facility, which will be located on 64 acres of tribal trust land to be leased for 20 years and with a price tag of $150 million.

Glena Manymules Bitsoi, health planner with the Navajo Division of Health, said the lease approval is necessary for construction to occur and said, "The project also includes building 129 housing units for medical staff and equipment for the health facility."

The current health care center in Kayenta offers outpatient care and 24-hour emergency medical services to more than 75,000 outpatients and to nearly 9,000 patients within the Kayenta service area. However, inpatient services is absent from the facility, which is crucial to this service unit which extends into portions of Apache, Coconino and Navajo Counties in Arizona and San Juan County in Utah.

In addition to what the current health center provides, the new health care facility will offer a 10 bed short- stay nursing unit that provides sub-acute care, a three-bed low risk birthing center, comprehensive ambulatory care, ancillary services, preventative community health services, behavioral health services, service unit administration and facility support services.

These inpatient services will decrease the need to transport patients to other hospitals as well as shorten the drive for those who travel long distances to other hospitals for their specialized needs. The new health facility will also provide more than 400 job opportunities for the community of Kayenta, as well as surrounding areas boosting the local economy.

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