By Abby Emanuelson, Executive Director, Care4Carolina
Earlier this month, Care4Carolina and friends attended the 12th annual Cherokee Indian Hospital Foundation Gala. The night brings together community leaders to celebrate healthcare employees and raise money for The Cherokee Indian Hospital Foundation’s Endowment Fund. As part of the festivities, Casey Cooper, Chief Executive Officer of the Cherokee Indian Hospital was presented with The Order of the Longleaf Pine – for his
significant contributions to the state and their communities through their exemplary service and exceptional accomplishments. The Order of the Longleaf Pine is North Carolina’s highest civilian honor.
As a part of the recognition, Senator Kevin Corbin shared with Gala attendees Casey Cooper’s many accomplishments for the community, including being a champion for Medicaid expansion. Some of you may not know, but starting in 2021, Casey Cooper went county-to-county across Western North Carolina, stepping across party lines to successfully secure support of county leaders. In conversations with county commissioners, he dispelled the misconceptions about expanding Medicaid. The passage of these Western resolutions accelerated the momentum needed to achieve expansion this year.
In addition to the Western county commissions, Casey Cooper shared the importance of closing the health insurance coverage gap with legislative health care committees at the NC General Assembly. He clearly explained the importance of health access to NC’s Native American population and non-natives coming to the CIH for healthcare, particularly for behavioral and substance use.
Casey Cooper has dedicated his entire life to improving the health and wellbeing of North Carolinians. As an enrolled member of the EBCI, Mr. Cooper has been involved in American Indian health care for more than three decades.
In addition to serving on the Care4Carolina Steering Committee, Casey Cooper is a member of the Western North Carolina Health Network, the United South and Eastern Tribes Health Committee, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Tribal Technical Advocacy Group, North Carolina Medical Care Advisory Committee, Indian Health Service facilities Appropriation Advisory Board, MAHEC Board of Directors, the Dogwood Health Board of Trustees and the American Hospital Association Regional Policy Board.
We salute Casey Cooper for this recognition and thank him to his commitment to Care4Carolina, advocacy for Medicaid and tireless work to improve the health of all North Carolinians.