Cherokee Elder Care Program

Point of Contact
Sharon Hilton
Cherokee Elder Care Program

The Cherokee Elder Care Program, which began in 2008, is a Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), meaning it follows a program model in which a diverse team of health providers deliver different health and every day living services to those who need care.

The Cherokee Elder Care Program uses a team effort to increase the availability and quality of services, deliver prompt care, and enhance the lives of the elderly by helping them stay in their homes as long as possible.

The program is:

  • One of only 15 rural PACE sites in the nation
  • One of the first PACE programs to serve rural communities
  • The first PACE program in Oklahoma
  • The first PACE program sponsored by an American Indian or Alaska Native tribe or tribal organization

The program is led by a primary care physician and includes different professional and paraprofessional staff members with certain skill areas to assess needs, develop care plans, and deliver services. It serves about 83 elders in need of care each month.

Services Provided

Services provided under Cherokee Elder Care include:

  • Home health aides who provide some medical services in the home
  • Hospice care
  • Meals and nutritional counseling
  • Medical prescriptions
  • Personal care assistance, such as help bathing or getting dressed
  • Physical therapy
  • Primary care
  • Respite support
  • Some transportation services
  • Speech and occupational therapy

The program also helps clients navigate some processes that can be difficult by offering:

  • Case management
  • Help completing the Medicaid application

The State of Oklahoma does eligibility assessments to determine which services a potential client is eligible for.


The Cherokee Nation Elder Care Program is a long-term care option for anyone who is:

  • Able to safely live in a home within the program's service area
  • Age 55 or older
  • Certified by a nurse from the Department of Health and Human Services as needing a nursing home level of care

Those who enroll in the program are required to use it as their primary medical provider. Program participants do not need to be members of the Cherokee Nation or Native American.


Medicare and Medicaid reimburse the program for services provided to elders who are eligible for both types of coverage. People who are eligible for Medicare, but not Medicaid, make monthly payments to the program.

To be covered by Medicaid, a PACE program must be included in the state's Medicaid plan as an available care option. Once this option is available, the state can contract with a PACE provider. The Cherokee Nation worked with the State of Oklahoma to be listed as an option in the state Medicaid plan. This allowed the program to contract with the Oklahoma Department of Health and Human Services.


Page Last Modified:
06/09/2016 01:07 PM