Cantwell, Newhouse Applaud Announcement of New Health Care Facility for Colville Tribe

Joint Ventures Construction Program will help build new outpatient health care facility for Tribal members, surrounding communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and U.S. Representative Dan Newhouse (R, WA-04) today applauded the announcement that the Colville Tribe has been selected for the Indian Health Service’s (IHS) Joint Venture Construction Program. The program will work with the Tribe to build a new outpatient health care facility in Omak for Tribal members and surrounding communities.

Today’s announcement comes after Cantwell and Newhouse sent a letter last year to the IHS supporting the Colville Tribe’s application to the program.

“Tribes are on the front lines delivering health care services not only to Tribal members but surrounding communities as well. It’s great that the Colville Tribe can move forward with building a new outpatient health care facility after being selected for the Joint Venture Construction Program. The Tribe has been working on getting this done for 22 years, and I hope work will get started as soon as possible,” Senator Cantwell said.

"This joint venture will significantly increase access to healthcare for the Colville Tribe and the surrounding communities," said Rep. Newhouse. "I applaud this commitment by the Indian Health Service to help deliver these much-needed services in Omak."

The Joint Ventures program creates a partnership in which a Tribe constructs, acquires, or renovates a facility and leases it to the IHS at no cost for 20 years. In return, Congress funds the IHS to staff, operate, and maintain the facility. The Colville Tribe’s application for the program was one of five chosen this year out of more than 40 applications from around the country.

"The Indian Health Service's selection of the Omak clinic from a highly competitive application process demonstrates our acute need for a new clinic in Omak. We are grateful that the culmination of our decades of hard work to improve health care delivery to the residents of Omak and the surrounding communities will be rewarded," said Rodney Cawston, Chairman of the Colville Business Council.

In addition to the letter, Cantwell also pressed Rear Admiral Chris Buchanan, the Deputy Director of the IHS, at a Senate committee hearing last year to find a way to get the Colville Tribe a new health care facility. At the hearing, Cantwell secured a commitment from Buchanan to work with the Tribe to meet eligibility requirements for the Joint Venture program.