Author Archives: Rockell Otero

  1. PRAIRIE BAND HEALTH SERVICES & MILL CREEK ON VHA INTEGRATED CRITICAL STAFFING PROGRAMS IDIQ WITH WELLPATH AND PRIME PHYSICIANS TEAM

    [HOLTON, KAN., Feb. 2, 2024] – Prairie Band Health Services (PBHS) and Mill Creek are proud to announce that they are part of the Wellpath and Prime Physicians team that has won a spot on the Veterans Health Agency (VHA), Integrated Critical Staffing Programs (ICSP) IDIQ. 

    VHA ICSP is a prestigious $23 billion IDIQ contract supporting America’s largest integrated health care system. The system supports over 1,200 facilities, including 171 medical centers and over 1,100 outpatient facilities. The team looks forward to supporting the 9 million veterans who are enrolled in the VHA health system.

    The contract vehicle will assist in meeting the shortage within the labor market across a range of medical occupations, including a variety of specialist positions that PBHS has filled on their other contracts. Some examples are physicians, social workers, nurses, radiologic and medical technicians and technologists.

    Mill Creek is also on the VHA ICSP contract, providing biomedical equipment technician (BMET) services, which they have years of experience providing on US Army Corps of Engineers contracts. This is an excellent opportunity for Mill Creek to expand their services throughout the federal government customer base that spans the entire country.

    The contract vehicle will provide staffing through a pool of highly qualified Veteran Integrated Teams that will support three occupational series (task areas) across the vehicle. Each of these teams will fully support the requirements across all task areas for task orders won. These teams will be led by Veteran Integrated Team Agile Leads that will be responsible for mission readiness, contractor personnel, comprehensive management, materials, equipment, facilities and supervision in accordance with the base contract and task orders.

    The Prairie Band, LLC mission is to maximize the unique sovereign status of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation to expand and diversify the economic portfolio of the Nation. With the ultimate goal of Tribal economic self-sufficiency, Prairie Band, LLC adheres to the following core principles: respect the past, capitalize on current opportunities and contribute to a stable economic future for the Nation. For more information about Prairie Band, LLC, please visit https://prairiebandllc.com.

  2. Oklahoma City IHS Award

    Prairie Band Health Services has been awarded a new contract under the Oklahoma City Area Indian Health Service to place a hybrid/telehealth Rheumatologist at Haskell Indian Health Center, Lawrence, KS. The doctor is hired, credentialing has begun, and patient care will be delivered soon.

    This is exciting growth for the PBHS team and direct pay off from consistently trying to serve this clinic, the area office, and a new position we have not hired for previously. The PBHS team has worked diligently with Ron Broadnax in Business Development to pursue new opportunities like this.

    Why would someone see a rheumatologist?
    A rheumatologist is a doctor that specializes in treating inflammatory (rheumatic) conditions and autoimmune diseases. Rheumatologists diagnose, treat, and manage a broad range of conditions including arthritis, autoimmune diseases, and osteoporosis.

    To learn more about the many healthcare positions PBHS fills and the extent of our services, please head to our Services page.

  3. PRAIRIE BAND, LLC EXPANDS PORTFOLIO WITH ACQUISITIONS OF BURGOS GROUP AND GET VOLTS®

    [Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, July 7, 2023] – Prairie Band, LLC is excited to announce the acquisition of Burgos Group and Get Volts®, further bolstering Prairie Band, LLC’s strength in the federal government contracting sector. Burgos Group offers general and electrical construction, facilities operations, logistics and professional technical services, while Get Volts® is a national full-service electrical service provider.

    “The addition of Burgos Group and Get Volts® to our portfolio aligns perfectly with our long-term vision,” said CEO of Prairie Band, LLC Jacob Wamego. “This strategic move enables us to expand our range of services and enhance our ability to provide industry leading construction solutions to our clients. We are confident that the integration of these exceptional companies will fuel our growth and position us at the forefront of the industry.”


    BURGOS GROUP

    Burgos Group is a graduate of the SBA’s 8(a) program with an exceptional track record of delivering successful projects across the United States for 14 federal agencies. Consistently delivering high-quality projects, Burgos Group has established itself as a trusted partner for federal agency clients. Along with this acquisition, former CEO of Burgos Group Mario Burgos will assume the role of Chief Strategy Officer at Prairie Band, LLC.


    “We are thrilled to join forces with Prairie Band, a dynamic organization that shares our commitment to excellence and service,” said Mario Burgos. “This strategic partnership will enable us to scale our operations and deliver even greater value to our clients. I am excited to leverage our collective strengths and contribute to the continued success of Prairie Band.”

    “This acquisition not only validates the hard work and dedication of our team, but also allows us to strengthen our position in the market and expand our capabilities in the construction industry,” said David Burgos, who will continue leading Burgos Group as Chief Operating Officer for Construction Services. “I am honored to be part of this journey and look forward to leading our talented team towards a future of continued success.”

    GET VOLTS®

    Get Volts® is a commercial electrical contractor with public and private sector customers. More than 80% of Get Volts® business comes from repeat customers and the company has had operations in New Mexico for over 40 years.

    The acquisition of Burgos Group and Get Volts® marks a significant milestone in Prairie Band’s
    growth strategy, strengthening its position as a growing player in the federal construction space. By integrating the expertise and capabilities of these two exceptional companies, Prairie Band is
    poised to offer comprehensive, end-to-end solutions that meet the demands of an ever- changing construction landscape.

    The Prairie Band, LLC mission is to maximize the unique sovereign status of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation to expand and diversify the economic portfolio of the Nation. With the ultimate goal of Tribal economic self-sufficiency, Prairie Band, LLC adheres to the following core principles: respect the past, capitalize on current opportunities and contribute to a stable economic future for the Nation. For more information about Prairie Band, LLC, please visit https://prairiebandllc.com.


    Contact:
    Mario Burgos, Chief Strategy Officer
    Email: Mario@Burgosgroup.com
    Phone: 505.933.6609

  4. My Journey with the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation

    By John Holtz

    2022 marks my 50th and final year in healthcare administration and my 18th and last year working for the
    Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. I am incredibly grateful for the many opportunities PBPN has provided for my family and me. I genuinely appreciate the support and encouragement I received throughout my time at PBPN from all the Tribal Council members, co-workers, government staff, and community members. I would like to share a few highlights of my journey with PBPN.

    I have been blessed to have a long and meaningful career in healthcare. Before arriving at PBPN, I had more than 30 years of healthcare leadership experience at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Tampa, and St. Paul University Hospital in Dallas. I had achieved my career goals of becoming a Hospital CEO, obtaining an MBA with a concentration in Healthcare Administration from Rockhurst University, and becoming a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

    The Beginning of my Journey with PBPN

    In late 2004 I was contacted by CRAssociates, a healthcare management and staffing company, which PBPN had engaged to assist with the tribe’s transition from Indian Health Services to owning and operating a tribal clinic. CRA recruited me to become the first full-time Administrator of the PBP Health Center. I had been on many reservations, but I had never been to Prairie Band Land. I was curious to see the reservation and the healthcare services provided to the tribal members.

    I met with the Tribal Council, and they shared their exciting vision to build a state-of-the-art outpatient
    health center in the heart of the reservation. At that time, PBPN was using the old Indian Health Service clinic building one block off the Holton town square. I was shocked when I toured the small, dilapidated Clinic with outdated equipment and furnishings. I had never seen a healthcare service in such a rundown condition. The Clinic had one full-time doctor and approximately a dozen employees.

    As I left the Clinic to return home, one patient was left in the lobby. I walked over to say hello to the tribal
    elder.

    As I turned to walk away, the elder tugged on my shirt sleeve and asked if I could help her. She
    explained that she had waited at the Clinic for the last two days as a walk-in patient but was told that the
    Clinic was too busy to see her. The Clinic had just told the elder to come back the following day as a walk-in patient.

    I walked the elder back to see the physician I had just met with, and the elder and I pleaded her case for her to be seen that afternoon. There were no other patients in the building, and the Clinic was scheduled to be open for another 45 minutes. The physician reluctantly agreed to see the elder that afternoon. It was a briefly satisfying moment as I left the Clinic that I had assisted the elder. But on the way home to Overland Park, my anger started to boil. I was angry about the poor clinic facilities and lack of access to high quality healthcare for tribal members.

    When I arrived home, I described to my wife, Linda, the depressing clinic environment I had just witnessed. We decided that I should change my career path and accept the challenging PBPN Clinic position if it was offered.

    Linda had deep roots in Indian Country. She owned and produced one of the country’s premier indoor Indian art festivals, the Spirit of America Festival, held annually in Atlanta. The festival attracted more than 400 of America’s premier Indian and American wildlife artists who traveled from all corners of the country to display and sell their artwork. The indoor festival was held in a 60,000-square-foot exhibition center and featured world-class art, a performance stage featuring native recording artists, a native fashion show, and wildlife educators.

    I had tagged along for many years with Linda as she traveled to numerous Native American art shows,
    festivals, and cultural and spiritual events promoting her art festival and recruiting artists. As an outsider and non-native, I had a fair amount of knowledge about some challenges Native Americans faced. I had extensive experience planning and directing healthcare construction projects and was confident I could improve PBPN’s healthcare services.

    I am forever grateful that CRA and the Tribal Council agreed to hire me. I began work in the first week of
    January 2005.

    Early Challenges at the Clinic

    My first crisis arrived one week later after a fierce, week-long ice storm closed area schools, businesses, and PBPN government offices for the week. My experience was with acute care hospitals, which didn’t close due to severe weather conditions. I insisted that the Clinic remain open during the ice storm. We had a busy week at the Clinic treating ice-related falls, flu patients, and filling prescriptions. That week, our clinic staff formed a strong team spirit and demonstrated that we would do everything possible to serve the community.

    Our second crisis came one month later when we were given a 30-day eviction notice to vacate our Holton Clinic building. There were few options available in the short time frame, but I connected with the owner of the old Holton Hospital building. We negotiated a reasonable rental rate and fast-tracked construction work to meet our Clinic’s needs. Our temporary Clinic was so attractive that several tribal members thought the Holton clinic should become our permanent location. But the Clinic wasn’t large enough to house all the expanding clinic requirements and wasn’t centrally located on the reservation.

    A Growing & Prosperous Clinic

    My most satisfying career accomplishments have been the talented staff I have recruited and the staff I have had the privilege of mentoring. In 2005, I recruited Dr. Terry Harter as our first Medical Director and Brenda Catron, Director of Nursing. Brenda had a successful career working as an operating room nurse and the mayor of her community in southeast Kansas. I was thrilled that I convinced Breda to return home to serve her PBPN community. Dr. Harter, Brenda, and Michael Carpenter, Director of Pharmacy, formed the foundation of our highly qualified clinical team.

    In the fall of 2006, the new PBPN Health Center opened and featured new services, including dental services, radiology, behavioral health, expanded wellness programs, and a drive-up pharmacy window (the first in Jackson County). Our growing healthcare team wanted to prove to the community that we were offering high-level healthcare, so we embarked on rigorous preparation to achieve Joint Commission Accreditation, the gold standard for healthcare accreditation. When we were awarded our Joint Commission Accreditation, we were notified that the PBPN was the first tribal or Indian Health Service program in the country to receive the coveted accreditation status. The Clinic continues to retain its Joint Commission Accreditation status.

    The Beginning of Prairie Band Health Services & Prairie Band Construction

    In 2009 when the CRA contract ended, PBPN took over the management, and the clinic employees
    transitioned to PBPN employees. The Tribal Council asked me to assist their efforts with business
    development. I started two PBPN companies, Prairie Band Health Services (PBHS), a healthcare staffing
    company, and Prairie Band Construction, a general contractor. Both companies are continuing to grow and become more profitable. I also assisted the Tribal Council in identifying and evaluating other business
    opportunities that were determined not a good fit for the tribe.

    In 2010, PBHS was awarded our first contract with the Navy to provide Emergency Medicine Physicians to
    the remote Twentynine Palms, CA, Marine Base. In the early days, we operated on a shoestring budget, and the Tribal Council had to approve additional funding in an emergency meeting so that we could fund our initial physician payroll.

    In the last two years, PBHS’ primary client has been Indian Health Service. We currently serve tribal
    communities in Albuquerque, Taos, Shiprock, NM, Phoenix, AZ, Wellpinit, Nespelem and Omak, WA, and
    Yakima and Warm Springs, OR.

    Moving Forward

    PBHS is in good hands with my replacement, Trey Strecker, who has outstanding healthcare executive
    experience at Stormont Vail Health. Trey is supported by a professional team including Kathy Jones, Director of Recruiting; Ron Broadnax, Director of Business Development; Richele Pahmahmie and Brandi Davis provide administrative support. Prairie Band LLC has experienced dramatic growth and success under the leadership of Jacob Wamego, Tyler Levier, Stan Van Ostran, Rockell Otero, Samantha Mellies, and Emma Carreno.

    My journey with PBPN has come to a fork in the road. On my path, I look forward to spending more time with Linda and our family with five grandkids, aged 12 to 16, and working on several personal projects, including completing my first novel about the world’s first dog. I know that PBPN and PBLLC are on the superhighway to success.

    I look forward to the day when our paths cross again on the yellow brick road.

    Best wishes,
    John Holtz

  5. Prairie Band Health Services Teams with Altapure  

    Prairie Band Health Services, a subsidiary of Prairie Band LLC (PBLLC), is proud to announce a new distribution agreement with Altapure, a leader in the next generation of high-level disinfection equipment. This agreement will allow Prairie Band Health Services to market Altapure’s products to tribes, commercial entities and governmental agencies nationwide. 

    Altapure’s flagship product is the AP-4 High Level Disinfection System, an ultrasonic peracetic acid (PAA) based technology that provides high-level disinfection of large spaces, like hospitals, burn units, clean rooms and animal facilities. In addition, Altapure offers the PC-RED, a lightweight environmental disinfection unit ideal for first responder vehicles, ambulances, triage tents, medical procedure rooms and firehouses.  

    Meeting the EPA definition of disinfection, Altapure’s technology has demonstrated superior performance over the last ten years of use in medical facilities. This technology provides a consistent 6-log kill rate, killing 99.9999% of bacteria, viruses and spores on exposed surfaces in a treated space. Altapure’s technology also remains green, leaving no adverse residue.  

    “Altapure is proud to have been selected by PBLLC to participate in its effort to provide a level of clean that will eliminate pathogens from medical and other common facilities,” Carl L. Ricciardi, one of the scientific founders and president of Altapure said. “With the end of the antibiotic era as declared by the CDC and with the continued rise of multi-drug resistant organisms, all reasonable efforts must to be implemented to provide a safe environment for patients and staff.” 

    See below for demonstrations and testimonials of Altapure technology:  

    PC-RED: Info and testimonial at Fire House 

    AP-4: Elmhurst Hospital Success Story  

    AP-4: Demonstration 

    Prairie Band Health Services provides national services and support to healthcare organizations, is a participant in the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Prairie Band, LLC; the economic development arm of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation located in Mayetta, Kansas. 

    For Sales and Product information, please contact: 

    Ronald Broadnax, Dir. Business Development Prairie Band, LLC 
    Phone: 703-895-2230 
    Email:  Ronald.broadnax@prairiebandllc.com 

    Carl Ricciardi, CEO Altapure, LLC 
    Phone: 920-284-8810 
    Email: Clr@altapure.com

  6. Prairie Band Health Services Wins $35 Million IHS Contract

    Prairie Band Health Services won a $35 million, 4-year contract with Indian Health Services (IHS) to provide medical physician services for the Blackfeet Community Hospital in Browning, Montana. Included in PBHS’s duties will be to provide staffing for the Outpatient Clinic, Critical Care, Emergency Room, Medical/Surgical (inpatient), Obstetric, Medical/Surgical (inpatient), Surgical (operating room), and Public Health. Among the positions that PBHS is responsible for filling are:

    • OB/GYN
    • Physician
    • Nurse Midwife
    • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
    • Family Practice Physician
    • Hospitalist Physician
    • ER Physician
    • ER Nurse Practitioner
    • Outpatient Mid‐Levels (Nurse Practitioner /Physician’s Assistant)

    The Blackfeet Community Hospital is a 10,000 square foot, 28-bed comprehensive healthcare facility, located in the western part of the 1.5 million-acre Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Browning is home to over 7,000 descendants of the Ampska Pikuni Nation and borders Glacier National Park.

    The hospital has outpatient dental and optometry services five days per week. The facility also has in-patient pharmacy capabilities, including an automated outpatient pharmacy department filling up to 1,200 prescriptions per day. In addition, there is a Women’s Health Center, providing pre and post-natal care and a 24/7 OB/GYN department. An OR department provides surgical services for outpatient and inpatient procedures with a full-time general surgeon and contracts with other sub-specialties. The hospital offers a full-time diabetic clinic, daily podiatry consultations, and an 8-bay emergency room. The urgent care/same day appointment clinic delivers emergent and urgent care for more than 131,000 patient encounters per annum.

    The hospital also operates a small health clinic 4 days per week, 30 miles south of Browning in the community of Heart Butte, which provides care to 5,000 patients per year. Services include a pharmacy and general clinic for the surrounding urban centers of Helena, Great Falls, and Butte.

    Prairie Band Health Services (PBHS) is an SBA Certified 8(a) SDB staffing company, specializing in healthcare. PBHS has the knowledge and capabilities to deliver a range of staffing services including recruiting, credentialing, and placement of clinical, technical, and administrative professional personnel. With a team of leading professionals and support staff, PBHS plans, implements, and manages staffing needs to ensure the highest standards of professional employment at a competitive value.

  7. TOPEKA’S TOP 20 UNDER 40: FINANCIAL CONTROLLER ROCKELL OTERO

    Prairie Band, LLC Financial Controller Rockell Otero was recently recognized by the Jayhawk Area Council Boy Scouts of America as one of “Topeka’s Top 20 Under 40.” This award recognizes young leaders who are improving the future of Topeka.

    In addition to her role as Financial Controller for Prairie Band, LLC, Rockell Otero serves on Mill Creek‘s board as both secretary and CFO. Most of Rockell’s time is spent within the Contracting Division of Prairie Band, LLC. The Contracting Division focuses on project management, business development, and strategy planning.

    Outside of her work for Prairie Band, LLC, Rockell is very engaged in the Topeka community. She is treasurer for Junior League of Topeka, a member of Topeka United, a cluster coach for the Topeka Mosaic Partnership, and a graduate of Leadership Greater Topeka, Class of 2020. Rockell and her husband also coach recreational basketball for 5th grade boys. They are working to build a basketball program that offers opportunity to all athletes without barriers.

    Mill Creek is proud to have one of “Topeka’s Top 20 Under 40” leaders on our team. To get to know a little more about Rockell, read her answers to our get-to-know-you questions below.

    What do you love about your work?

    I love being a part of an organization that is filled with a driven workforce working towards our mission to maximize the unique sovereign status of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation to expand and diversify the economic portfolio of the Nation. With the ultimate goal of Tribal economic self-sufficiency, Prairie Band, LLC adheres to the following core principles: respect the past, capitalize on current opportunities, and contribute to a stable economic future for the Nation. It is an important mission that I take a lot of pride in working towards. The hard work we put in, the profits we generate, the jobs we create, the taxes generated, all of this and more continue to build a strong economic portfolio for the Nation.

    What do you do for fun?

    Anything I can enjoy with my family. We go in a lot of different directions so when we can all be together and enjoying something, I am most at peace. We explore trails and parks, attend community events like First Friday or Eats and Beats, and visit places like the Zoo and Discovery Center. At home we enjoy movie nights and cooking or baking together. We are all competitive and even though competition might end with someone crying or mad, we still love the challenge.

    What is your most used emoji?

    My most used emoji is the purple heart. Purple is my favorite color and I always add some love <3 to the end of my messages. Runner-ups are the eyeroll and annoyed face.