Happy 7th Anniversary, Wind River Family and Community Healthcare!

A meeting was held and it had been decided that the Northern Arapaho Tribe would move forward in developing its own healthcare system with Indian Health Services. Current Wind River Family & Community Healthcare (Wind River Cares) CEO, Rick Brannan has told the story many times. As the story goes, the Northern Arapaho Tribe was handed the keys to the Arapaho Clinic on January 15th, 2016, and simply told good luck.

Arapaho Clinic in 2016

Opening the doors on the morning of January 16th, with one clinic and only 68 employees, the healthcare system was already in debt by $1.7 million. No one thought they would succeed. They’ve not only succeeded but they continue to expand and improve services to meet the needs of their patients. Wind River Family and Community Healthcare provide services to all Federally Recognized Tribal members living in and surrounding areas of the Wind River Indian Reservation. 

Over the last 7 years, Wind River Cares has grown from 68 employees to 368 employees.

  • 5 providers to 23
  • One dentist to 7 and this includes Orthodontics
  • Currently have 31 nurses

They now serve the Native population with three clinics located in Arapaho, Ethete, and Riverton.

Arapaho Clinic today

The Arapahoe Clinic expanded and now offers services in:

  • Medical: Prenatal, Pediatric, Adult, Geriatric  
  • Dental
  • Optometry and Optical Store
  • Pharmacy 
  • Lab and Xray
  • Behavioral Health
  • Transportation 
  • Public Health 

The Ethete Clinic opened its doors in May of 2018.

Ethete Clinic in 2018

“My very first assignment was to help organize the grand opening for the new Ethete Clinic,” stated Lisa Yawakia, Communication Specialist at Wind River Cares. “We had a handful of providers to see patients and it was a huge thing. It was the first time we had medical services in that area. Before, most patients would go to Fort Washakie because traveling to Arapaho was difficult. We had the ability to open this new clinic and offer transportation services to patients who needed help getting to appointments.”

Today, the Ethete Clinic is housed in a new building and offers:

  • Medical: Prenatal, Pediatric, Adult, and Geriatric
  • Pharmacy 
  • Lab and Xray
  • Behavioral Health
  • Transportation 
  • Public Health 
Ethete Clinic today

The Riverton Clinic opened its doors in July 2019. Wind River Cares purchased the property at 511 North 12th St. East in Riverton and added on to the existing building.

Riverton 12th Street Clinic today

The Riverton Clinic provides a wide variety of services.

  • Medical: Prenatal, Pediatric, Adult, Geriatric 
  • Dental: Pediatric and Orthodontics
  • Optometry and Optical Store
  • Pharmacy 
  • Lab and Xray
  • Behavioral Health
  • Transportation 
  • Public Health 

The Riverton Clinic is the central location for Pediatric Services. Clinic hours are extended to provide medical care on weekends and evenings.

Monday & Friday
open until 10:00 pm

Saturday & Sunday
1:00-10:00 pm

Wind River Cares also operates Mobile Healthcare Units for on-site medical, dental, and vision care. The mobile dental unit has been visiting schools on the Reservation and providing services to children and young adults who may not otherwise have access to dental care.

In October 2019, Wind River Cares merged with Northern Arapaho Tribal Health Programs. The merger created a variety of great programs and services and increased Wind River Cares staff by approximately 70 new team members!

These programs include:

  • The Northern Arapaho Diabetes Program has expanded diabetes education and prevention services. These services will be greatly increased with the opening of the new Dialysis Center on Main in Riverton. The Center will have 10 dialysis chairs and will serve as a diabetes education center. The goal is to have it fully operational in April 2023.
  • All Tribal Health programs including Environmental Health
  • White Buffalo Recovery in the Arapaho Clinic continues to provide services for those needing an ASI, outpatient or intensive outpatient services, and transitional housing. A building has been purchased that will be utilized for White Buffalo Recovery services here in Riverton.
  • White Buffalo Wellness Program services include individual counseling, basic alcohol and drug education, substance abuse evaluations, relapse prevention, Prime for Life DUI classes, 12 Step Medicine Wheel teachings, Mending Broken Heart classes, WellBriety, 12-step recovery support, and monthly recovery speaker events.
  • White Buffalo Youth Program currently hosts events within the community to bring awareness to suicide prevention and tobacco prevention. Staff is active within the school systems to help tribal youth participate in healthy activities.
  • Sacred Child Home is a private facility where tribal children are placed through the Northern Arapaho Child Protection Services. They are currently looking for a Riverton location to expand services and help more Native youth.

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus in 2020, Wind River Cares continued to provide excellent care to their patients with dedicated testing sites and safety protocols.

“The rapid response and access to COVID-19 testing for ALL Fremont County community members was unprecedented. Everything we did was about patient safety,” said Arletta Burk, RN COVID Contact Tracing.  

When the vaccine became available, they were organized and efficient. They provided quarantine sites for patients that needed it and supplied affected families with food, medicine, and cleaning/hygiene supplies. The mitigation process that Wind River Family and Community Healthcare followed created united fronts with other medical response teams within Fremont County.    

Wind River Cares growth and dedication to excellence is not stopping anytime soon. They continue to pursue the best in healthcare and healthcare providers. Interested in joining the team? Click here for career opportunities.

“It is genuine concern and compassion for our patients that guide and drive the work we do…it is an honor and privilege.” Lisa Yawakia, Communication Specialist


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