The Eastern Band of the Cherokee Public Health, Jackson County Department of Social Services and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services worked collaboratively for more than a year to bring Medicaid and Food and Nutrition Services eligibility to Cherokee. These programs play a critical role in ensuring access to medical care and food security.
The Tribal Medicaid and Food and Nutrition Services Eligibility Office gives residents greater access to services, especially for those with transportation barriers. Program participants no longer need to visit neighboring counties to receive these services. The office brings these two new programs onto the Qualla Boundary to assist elders, children and families who may be struggling to meet their basic needs.
“We continue to be encouraged by having the Eligibility Office located on Tribal lands; it provides much more convenient access for our community,” said Vickie Bradley, EBCI Public Health and Human Services secretary. “We invite all community members to visit the office and apply for Medicaid and Food and Nutrition Services; we believe there are many more families that are eligible but have not yet applied.”
Since March 1, Jackson County Food and Nutrition Services and Medicaid eligibility workers have provided intake services (applications, recertifications and changes) for these programs on the boundary. This office has operated seamlessly as part of the continuum services offered on the boundary with same service hours and level of service received in any county eligibility office.
“This project has been a long time in the making,” says Christopher Weatherford, Jackson County DSS Director. “We are very glad to be able to provide this opportunity to Tribal citizens.”
“Breaking down barriers to access to health care and good nutrition makes North Carolina as a whole healthier and safer, and more equitable,” said NCDHHS Chief Deputy Secretary for Opportunity and Well-Being Susan Gale Perry. “This partnership is helping bring whole-person care to folks where they live and where they receive services.”
The EBCI/NCDHHS Medicaid and Food and Nutrition Services Eligibility Office is located at 1526 Acquoni Road, Cherokee, NC 28719.
To learn more about Food and Nutrition and Medicaid benefits, please visit North Carolina Food and Nutrition Services or call 888-622-7328.
– EBCI Public Health and Human Services release