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Press Release

Release Date: November 18, 2021
by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

ADA, Okla. – Governor Bill Anoatubby has appointed Rhon­da Harjo director of Registration and Admissions at the Chickasaw Nation Department of Health.

“Mrs. Harjo brings a wealth of experience, dedication, knowl­edge and enthusiasm to this new role,” Gov. Anoatubby said. “She is an asset to the Chickasaw Na­tion because of her commitment to deliver exceptional services to all Chickasaw citizens.”

Mrs. Harjo started her career with the Chickasaw Nation work­ing at the former Carl Albert In­dian Hospital in the 1990s. She has served in various positions in Health Information Management at the hospital, commonly called “medical records.”

“I love working for the Chicka­saw Nation and Governor Anoa­tubby,” Mrs. Harjo said. “It is a blessing. I am so thankful. I know I’m in the place I’m supposed to be, with a tribe and leadership team that supports me and gives me the opportunity to serve oth­ers.”

In her new position, Ms. Harjo oversees all registration process­es for Chickasaw Nation medical facilities in Ada, Purcell, Ardmore and Tishomingo. The process re­quires her staff to acquire all per­tinent demographic information in addition to names and contact information, proof of tribal en­rollment/eligibility, Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) and Social Security, verifying in­surance and other factors for es­tablishing and maintaining a pa­tient’s medical chart and eligibil­ity. The staff also gets pertinent documents signed upon check in or when admitted to the hospital. Her staff is able to schedule, can­cel and reschedule appointments, and handle incoming calls into their clinics.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for Mrs. Harjo and her staff. The team was at first required to prepare paper­work, then switched to an elec­tronic process for the registration of patients for COVID-19 testing and vaccine administration.

Since the Chickasaw Nation is providing COVID-19 vaccines to everyone, Mrs. Harjo said her teams have been busy complet­ing registration for people who normally would not be eligible to take part in tribal medical ser­vices.

“We were up to the challenge and performed very well,” she said. “Situations are ever chang­ing. Just when you think you know everything, there is always a new challenge. That is why I love this job. It keeps me fresh. You are constantly looking at pro­cesses and plans – updating them or modifying them – to meet the needs of patients. We must always be prepared for the unexpected.

“I am very proud of the compli­ments we have received concern­ing how efficient the Chickasaw Nation has been at administer­ing COVID-19 vaccines. Governor Anoatubby and his leadership team made it possible for thou­sands to receive the vaccination.”

Thus far, the Chickasaw Na­tion has administered more than 60,000 COVID vaccines.

“I am very proud to be a part of the Chickasaw Nation and the ability to serve people,” Mrs. Har­jo said. “I enjoy having an oppor­tunity to provide for the greater well-being of everyone and serv­ing First Americans requiring medical care.”

Mrs. Harjo is a Seminole citi­zen. She graduated from Konawa High School in 1987 and studied Health Information Management at East Central University in Ada, Okla. She is a Certified Coding Specialist (CCS).

She lives in the small communi­ty of Wolf, Okla. She and her hus­band, Nash Harjo Jr., who passed in 2018, reared two children.

Their daughter, Paige, 27, re­ceived her degree in Agricultural Economics from Oklahoma State University. Paige is employed by the Seminole Nation Housing Au­thority. Their son, Nash Lane Har­jo, 24, operates two businesses, Harjo Construction Development Group, LLC, and Harjo Property Management, LLC.