NOTES from Navajo Council committee meeting, spending $600M COVID-19 funds, 5.27.20

SPEAKER SETH DAMON
Emergency legislation for special Council session Friday morning. Telecommunications bill ending today so why emergency bill for extension of telecommunications bill needed.
Tells Delegate Kee Allen Begay that Legislative Services informed him that legislation for Council and its committees to meet telephonically ended today.

We are in a work session. Navajo Health Department Director Jill Jim, Ph.D. said she ready to go Monday.
DELEGATE KEE ALLEN BEGAY JR.
That’s good but lot of this info shud have been provided earlier to allow for rescheduling of committee meetings. I asked about Resources & Development Committee meeting, and learned that because of expired legislation to meet telephonically that RDC could not meet today..
SPEAKER DAMON
Notified 4:30 pm yesterday of this and trying to fix with emergency bill for council session 9 am Friday. Blame me. I’m sorry that info didn’t go out. Made sure asked staff to notify delegates yesterday by email about special session. If any particular discussion and why called those two chairmen is cuz those mtgs were happening today.
9:22 AM CALLS MEETING TO ORDER
VICE CHAIRMAN THOMAS WALKER DOES INVOCATION
DELEGATE CHARLES NEWTON
Got memo regarding Division of Social Services, Long term care support and assume include CHRs. And regarding emails about no participation/report by Health Department Director Jill Jim and Social Services Division Director  Deannah Neswood-Gishey. Why did Nez’s Chief of Staff Paulson Chaco direct them not to participate in call with Naabik’iyati. Thought working together. Now getting email advised not participate by prez via Chaco. Was reason provided? Understand work session is talk with Executive Branch to move forward with $600M expenditure plans. Not good that div directors not participate so can plan for $600M expenditure plan. So maybe something came up?
SPEAKER DAMON 9:42 AM
Is Dr. Jill Jim. And Gieshy this afternoon
We were informed thru email to spaker’s office by Dr. Jill Jim and other individuals not participate and notify by Chaco. Jim emailed to Peggy that not be here due to Chaco who was suppose to explain why. But as of wight now, 9:43 am, not me, chief of staff by email any notice or any kind of explanation of why division directors not allowed participate in discussion. We will reach out to Chaco again. But confirmation thru email from Jim that they will not be participating but no reasons given.
DELEGATE MARK FREELAND
Just hearing discussion due to expired teleconference. And Friday, vote via teleconference?
SPEAKER DAMON
Teleconference call/communication is not factor cuz yesterday prior to everyone knowing about teleconference legislation expiring, they gave heads up not participate.
Yes, delegates must be present to move emergency bill to extend teleconference meetings. Have area in front of council chambers or open garden area by NDOJ.
DELEGATE OTTO TSO
It really troubles me to have this type of behavior from EB. I believe this is one of his promises to work together. Should be begin rescinding appointments of division directors because they work for Navajo people. And for them to not provide info shud not be done by them. If this is what we need to do, rescind appointments. That do. We need them to put CARE package together. Or subpoenae.
It’s frustrating.
DELEGATE CARL SLATER
Get legal guidance on…leaves to get better connection.
DELEGATE RATMOND SMITH
Huock chap FOOD DIistribution St. Mary’s and HCOC not responded ad why. I wanted ask why not helping.
And chpas upset about them not answering phone for open commnications.
What is happening with doantions? People want to make donations for first responders. Lot of folks want to help cuz NN highest numbers of virus. And why HCOC here and workwith threr branches. Human life at stake.
Get report. I understand you have no control over them but pple asking what happening. If not responding then replace. FEMA can replace them. If actin glike that how spd $600M. How be responsive.
SPEAKER DAMON
Peggy, send Jill Jim another invitation.
DELEGATE CARL SLATER
President Nez’s decision, which comes through his Chief of Staff Chaco as a directive to the Navajo Nation Division of Health and Division of Social Services to not give a report to Naabik’iyati is withholding critical info from people,. Legislative staff need to do an analysis of presidential authority to withhold staff from providing information to the Council and the Navajo people.
Just cuz the prez signs the checks of the division directors he ‘s not their boos. The Navajo people are their bosses.
As Council delegates, we are their agents to seek info for accountability. It’s critical we have info. We made statements regarding lack of info for chapter officials, first responders. This lack of info and transparency is what this admin is vested in, which is defeating to this government.
In the past, the president has made the argument that he is elected by the people while the Council delegates are elected by chapters. But the Council votes as a whole for the Nation and its people.
But to make decision uniformally, we need to work with the Executive Branch and Judicial Branch for most comprehensive resoonse to COFID-19.
9:58 AM
DELEGATE EUGENIA CHARLES NEWTON
Numbers recorded are rising. Right now I have this heavy heart and sure all delgars felt at one time or another. We are losingour pple. Many of them I her everyday and I am not lying hear everyay. Get text or FB pple reaching out cuz tested positive and they’re scared. And it just rally hurst and I feel so helpless tah this is happening in my community and all over the NN.
An di dk, this is first being delegate being involved in politics. My family ws never ever involved in politics. Ppel keep saying we are plaing games. I dk what that game is. But it really bothers me.
Even on council delegates say work together with prez. I had hlped that we put pple fist. Dk wat game of poloitcs is.
But so hard to be on FB an duisng press relaes to play pple against us when many of us on front lines helping.
What really scrs me, seen in past when prex play pple against council. Seen what happens. Pray every morng tht that sam ehting not happen. Little girl when irots in WR. Dk about. Learned about n lat five yerts. Read about and rwaht realy hpaneed. Where mind goes. Pple scard and pple taking sides. This nothing to do with sides.
Speaker, we need you to step up and make effort to help pple. If getting no assitancer from EB let us work gother as delgates to help pple and so what we have to do.
To Delegate Raymond Smith if you need food, I can take ou food. If any delges need food I’m working with greass frto group. Food and scanitzer. I just delivered to toerh delates. Let us get out thre and hel[ pple.
Speaker, we need your leadership right now. I hope..we know they don’t’ want to work with us. Let it be. Let us help our pple.
Looking at press releases and disheartening. Work where we can. Delegates helping delgatges.
DELEGTE EUGENE TSO
Thought here to save pple. We need to not use DC form of got. We have sovereignty, goals. We appointed division directors and need to move forward. People need us out there. Some of them dk what to do. We need sit down and straighten out. Whoever istenig to us, this not our govt, 3 branches.
Let’s do what do today.
My daughter on CBS regarding John Hopkins.
SPEAKER DAMON
United Health Care ready to give report.
DELEGATE JIMMY YELLOWHAIR
Chapter employee tested positive.
Sanitize black mesa and hard rock chapters.
Im working on water project.
ROLL CALL – DAMON, KEE ALLEN, PAUL BEGAY; NATHANIEL BROWN; EUGENIA CHARLES-NEWTON; AMBER KANAZBAH CROTTY; RICKIE NEZ; CARL SLATER; RAYMOND SMITH; WILSON STEWART JR.; EUGENE TSO; OTTO TSO; THOMAS WALKER JR; EDISON J. WAUNEKA; JIMMY YELLOWHAIR, VINCE JAMES
16 MEMBERS
SPEAKER DAMON 10:13
Here to listen to DOH and HCOC. Have update and request from Walker and others. United Health Care Services ready to present. I will work to bring EB team back to table. UHC wants to help and here to discuss expansion on NN>
UNTED HEALTH CARE
Serves 6M
Az 435,00; NM ; Colorado 214,000
Help with virus and long term commitment.
I have been with UHC more than 25 years in Medicare Division. Served as Az CEO Health Plan.
DR CHICKMATON (SP) chief medical officer, 10 yrs. Family practioner
SEAN SELLER (sp)
Nationally addressing and resources with understanding unique situations to serve area about W.Virgina. 40 percent no water. 18 grocery stores serve entire nation, size of W,.Va. That would have to be addressed. Transportation and internet challenges.
We r here ot help but more impotantly here to listen.
Talk about our pgms which will have to change to help NN with better heath system and respect cultural values, etc. We respect trbial sovereignty and true tribal consultatns. Have national, local, state and couty resources.
Committed to be long term partner to help close health disparity gap and why here today.
The coid situois diproprtionaltey hit minotity popoultion. Nation passed NY with highest infset ciotn rate per captia. This idease disproportionately
What done nationaly, distribute 2,000 non clinical masks across country where meidciard members risde and set aside for NN. Been distributin food boes to most vulnerable in partnerhip with Walmark, Crocker, etc where staff ID need and two weeks supply of food drop shpped.
HEALTH DISPATITIES
We have ID four areas to support: hot spots, social
LA, New Orlenas and NN
We shuyd have up New Orlenas and Parish:
Testing and ollwou[
Education
Safety kits
Food
Goal is reuce infestion rate and death rate in targeted areas. Start with testing, 8,000 tests over 60 days with mobile testing units disbursed across nation.
As individual show up to get tested, provide eduction on social distancing, and give sagety kit with maks, sanitizer and perhaps food box or food option
8,000 tests over 60 days
Understand challenges, geopgraphy, chpters, water
This movil would have to be tweekd and adjusted. Need multile testing sites to aderess tarnsporation challenges and we ar prepeped to do tht.
8,000
Educatgio,
Food boses for 8,000
Part of Heath Dispartity Prgm, no reimburse and we want ot lep.
Two of our areas rady to kick poff.
DELEGATE ELMER BEGAY
We have pple taken to Winslow hospital and diagnosed with pneumonia where put in room with patients that are positive. Beginning to find out that when Navajo or elderly, tested negative and taken to hospital. I’m writing complaint. I’m really concerned. I don’t feel good. Though my pple would be saved. Asked why virus spreading? Still spreading?
UNITED HEALTH CARE/DR GODIO
8,000 tests – not just testing, education and safety kits but those positive cases there would be followup such as contact tracig need to contain and reduce infestion rate. That would be what we coordinate. We would contact positive and who contacted so appropriate measures taken which is key to containing virus. Also coordinate primary care whether HIS or 638 there would be contact.
Can’t speak to hospital but that would be something we cud look into. We would use our avenues to speake with these hosptials in questions and ensure numbers referred to hospitls that connection made with primary care and not endanger with positive patients or other symptoms.
We cud coordinate and followup so right measures being taken with Navajo patients.
UNITED HEALTH CARE/MALE
Since health care group with health plan for 30 years, we have developed relationships with hosptials across state and look at quality. And that is what we under take for individuals..
KEE ALLEN BEGAY
Five chapters, majority in most remote area of NN. 30-40 percent no water, no electricity.
Shud NNCV agree partner, what is time you will be onsite on NN.
Thur governor been doing testing glitzs. NN command center uses 214 form.
I believe rising numbers are because positive cases released back into community where community spread.
I have forwarded numbers to HIS regarding quarantine, service for quarantine to clean cuz individuals go thru whole community spread again.
UNITED HEALTH CARE/DR
Goal of up and running involve logistics especially with 110 chapters. Key next step would be meet with key organizations – DOH and chapters and being resources as fast as can, perhaps 2 to 3 weeks.
Testing on rez – there is need or desire test all 165,000 residents. We and sister can do. First 8,000 is funded by United Health Care. Beyond that would need funding and would need hire individuals work at chpaters – distribute food boxes, contact tracing, etc.
Serve 6.3 million and just Medicaid so can do. And we can hire local Navajo resources.
We serve veterans and elders with Medicaid and medicare.we have veteran liaison. We have tremendous experience.
Distribution – we have relationship with WalMart and ? to do food distribution to work thru food chain to pack boxes. We have relationships on those scale but there are costs. We have been doing over last six weeks and something we can look into especially with safety kits. Work with Walmart to bring in their resources.
We work with St. Mary’s Food Bank. We have sponsored mobile food panty with mobil;e refrigeration. Worked with Az food association by fundig three semi trucks refrigeration for fresh produce.
Quarantine locations – glad u asked. United Health Car asked by NJ to set up and run field hospitals. We loans NJ keep exectuives. He is overseeing field hospitals. We have expertise with appropriate funding.
UHC is part of United Health Group with two divisions. We have expertise to listen first and figure it out. We want ot work with you on how to face those challenges.
STEVE to JOE
Those individuals working with us
DELEGATE THOMAS WALKER
We want testing for each of our communities. We are leaders and we can make that happen. We have funds. Welcome help.Testing is not uniform and command center and those charged with health care are responding to hot spots. Our area is not hot spot and we don’t want to be hot spot. By responding to concentrated area good but need to look at all people regarding safety, effective contact tracing which is we have to stress.
Treatment available for virus – too many opinions presented by media.
Our people should be at the front of the line. For a long time, Navajo and other minorities, we find ourselves at the back of the line.
SPEAKER DAMON
Thanks for your recommendations, Delegate Walker.
Dr check-ma-kee-on ON TREATMENT DRUGS
That is million dollar question. Not sure, info we read in news most current. From what read and clinical leadership shared and advised and listening to international speakers, the main medication showing some benefit rdcing length of infrwectin and severity is anti virual medication, paid approval for use and testing. Other medication referred to in pess and dfrom perspective showed no clear evidence if helpful or maybe harmful. The facts on that are stil out.
You mentioned number of companies active and proactive on vaccine, which must be tested for sasfety and then effectiveness when other – how much change and not change.
Regarding distrivbution of inequity. That is understood and why Joe asid here to listen abut our ideas and whether longer terms to collaborate past covid and work on prevention with health care provider on NN.
DELEGATE NATHANIEL BROWN
Barbara keller, Kayenta hospital setting up
Doctors without borders and providing educational and doing contact tracing. Working with other organizations and so know burn rate of test kits and PPEs so appreciate supplies offering.
We can set up something at Kayenta his.
With all testing around Navajo, not one in Kayenta where first victims/cases. Our numbers still climbing. Our pple dk status if positive or not or asymptomatic and delivering food, back at workforce. I no longer work outside home. DK status of Taco Bell. Shud be aware of workers.
Offere our help with boots on grous with train 700 . team Kayenta command post. Our boots on ground tested. For them to volunteer. I have my eam redy for you.
Not make political, suggest not donate to NN IC post cuz bottle neck there. Not all supplie getting gfileed to where needed. I am here with my team and make available where brin gest kits. Earlier the beter.
Burying three commu9nty each day.
This morning, another tet, lost relaive. We as delegaes constantly get texts. It’s heartbrakng. I will stand here and be here and work with anyone. We need to come othter.
Share contact with Carlyle beggay
UNITED HEALTH CARE DOCTOR
Deepest sympathy to those lost loved ones NN and across county. Very difficult and challneing situation. Can’t imagine what like receiving texts about community members dying daily.
Thank you for offer to support you raied critical element here. Its’ going to take community, partnership, collaboration – communities comes otgher for testing and cotct trcing on barod scle. Need local chpter support. Those what have to, bring resources but need local support to make truly success. Appreciate raisng that and bringing to ur attention.
DELEGATE WILSON STEWART
Contacted by another group and said in White River. Asked for write-up. Haven’t received info yet.
I know tests needed and other supplies. You said no cost for tests and working with another enity.
This other group working with hospitals.
Their priorities is working with other Native countries.
SPEAKER DAMON, PUT YOU PHONES ON MUTE
DOCTOR/UNITED HEALTH CARE
Initial proposal which we’ll have to adjust and refine to deal with distances. 8,000 tets over 60 days at no charge. Beyond 8,000, we would need agreement. And hire Navajos, mobile testing lab with goal of testing all residents of NN.
ANOTHER UHC DOCTOR
We have heard of a number of well intention organizations like us to work with you and up to you to decide who to work with and also try not to overlap.
If do testing in another area and we do testing in another area would be good and ultimate goal of also where we can best be hopeful.
DELEGATE OTTO TSO
HIS and 638 hospitals received federal COVID-19 funds and they need to report how much they received so funds could be used to financially support UHC efforts.
DELEGATE NATHANIEL BROWN
Hire 2 to 3 individuals boots on ground with proper PPEs
So we cud repurpose NN employees to get training and testing. So if entertain and put on agenda for employees being paid.
DELEGATE VINCE JAMES
With all colleagues in asking for testing. Have Ganado hospital. Learned yesterday, wife oldest son, father week ago, wife/mother passed yesterday. Second oldest daughter on life support in Phoenix. How affecting families and communities. Know families and communities all experiencing same and if could assist, thankyou.
UNITED HEALTH CARE
JOE, clearly our intentions if engagement was initial 8,000 would be to work closely with nation and chapters to ensure 8,000 fair and equitable, where most needed. But goal would be to offer more borad solution with funding for all chpaters tested on timely basis but reinforcing need to work togheer to ID appropriate model. Resuoces again be distributed equitable.
We recognize need and would rely on delegats and chapter officials on how to best conduct testing.
DELEGATE EUGENIA CHARLES NEWTON
Would UHC serve NM and Utah?
UNITED HEALTH CARE/UHC
Not limiting to Arizona but serve entire Navajo Nation.
DELEGATE RAYMOND SMITH
I have situation in New Lands, Lupton, Houck, Pine Sprigs, Chambers, Wide Ruins, Klagetoh. Community needs local health clinic which was closed.
DELEGATE DANIEL TSO
Regarding Delegate Smith’s concern, UHC has working relationship with HIS. There was Dr. Flente to be at Northern Medical Center. She said she would be on hospital floor providing care. So precedence set and UHC can keep coordinating with health centers, like Doctors Without Borders, churches and missions to reach at Hogan/home level.
Right now 638 facilities and HIS hosptials basically flooded due to care at home which is doing education, number one keeping family member isolated and that is where community spread comes about.
The other aspect is, we get tested but what does that mean? To be tested positive then health facilities overloaded and tell go home and this where UHC be link to home. Some delegates saying you coming to nation with unsolicited offer. But unlike Doctors Across Border they are here not to get foothold in future health care.
We are thankful for offer but at same time you will not get free rein with what you think is best. Get lay of land. Communities and needs very different. Navajo population very diverse.
I was on different call with Dine’ Hatalii Association which is traditional health care of Dine’.
UNITED HEALTH CARE
Yes, unsolicited offer but work in coordination and learn first. This model being deployed in two other locations and would need to be tweaked. We don’t know all the answers. It is a model so need coordination and learning.
Dr. Fluentes onsite today for two weeks.
SPEAKER DAMON
Task force with reps from three branches on how UHC unveil in future so one big recommendation: Logistics; Policy; Public input; Public information. So leadership today and more importantly community leders and people know of opportunities if UHC opens door on Nation.
UNITED HEALTH CARE
Sounds like right process moving forward and we will work with task force and work through Carlyle.
12:12 PM
DELEGATE DANIEL TSO
Five ICU rooms. 15 new ICU rooms. Going forward, how look at as federal trust responsibility especially since health care a human right. That is perspective we need to use as going forward. Human right to have adequate health care.
Appreciate UHC and to look at new way of federal health care.
SPEAKER SETH DAMON
We can follow up with recommendations which includes task force to discuss working off your model as a base to address the diverse communities of the Navajo Nation.
12:25 pm
30 MINUTE RECESS, 1 PM
SPEAKER DAMON
Confirmation that Chaco ok report by Division of social Services director Gieshy on social services, CHRs, Long term care.
Continue working on getting ok for report from Department of Health director Roselyn Tso.

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