IHS suffers from long waits, inadequate funding
With funding levels meeting just 40 percent of the need, patients of the Indian Health Service can expect lengthy waits for health care, if they get it at all.

Ed Simons, a member of the Fort Peck Tribes of Montana, was told he needed immediate surgery following a construction accident. That was back in 1999.

"I haven't had it yet," Simons tells The Great Falls Tribune.

American Indians and Alaska Natives across the nation are stuck in similar predicaments. The IHS denies two out of three cases for specialized services. Only the most critical cases -- involving loss of life or limb -- receive care while the rest are put on a waiting list.

In Montana, about 5,170 people are on the list. "Indians in your state are waiting six years and that could take your whole life away in that amount of time ... and that's just the tip of the iceberg," said Stacy Bohlen, executive director of the National Indian Health Board.

The IHS has received steady boosts in funding. But the agency spends an average of $2,158 per person a year -- less than the national average of $5,921 and even lower than the $3,900 spent on prisoners.

"That is health care rationing, and it is an outrage in this country," Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota), the chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, at a recent hearing.

Get the Story:
Indian Country suffers long waits for care (The Great Falls Tribune 7/29)
Life or limb: IHS patients endurea long, painful waits for care (The Great Falls Tribune 7/29)
Project to bring docs to Montana reservations (The Great Falls Tribune 7/29)

Relevant Links:
Indian Health Service - http://www.ihs.gov Related Stories:
White House changed testimony on trust (7/27)
IHS slow to resolve problems under Grim (7/26)
Senate confirmation hearing for Dr. Grim of IHS (7/26)
Pill 'epidemic' strikes reservations in Montana (7/23)
Direct Service Tribes discuss IHS in Denver (06/27)
Emergency room at IHS facility fails inspection (05/09)
Indian Health Care Act introduced in Senate (05/02)
California tribes seek bigger share of health funding (5/1)
Belcourt: Indian Country takes path of healthy living (4/30)
House committee approves Indian health care bill (4/26)
Montana and Wyoming tribes host health conference (04/06)
Montana lawmaker presses for health care funding (4/5)
Opinion: U.S. failing to provide Indian health care (3/22)
Kara Briggs: The fight to reauthorize IHCIA (3/21)
Urban Indians hurt by IHS policy in Montana (3/20)
Health care push continues at House hearing (3/19)
DOJ's Indian white paper a political whodunit (3/14)
House hearing on Indian Health Care Improvement (3/14)
Urban Indians under attack over health care (3/12)
Fireworks at Indian health care hearing (3/9)
Senate hearing on Indian Health reauthorization (3/8)
Urban Indians in New Mexico feel left out on health (3/8)
Some urban Indians denied care at request of IHS (3/8)
Indian Health Care Act introduced in House (3/7)
Hearings on Indian Health Care Improvement Act (3/5)
Democrats promise action at USET conference (2/14)
Harjo: GOP calls Indian health care 'race-based' (2/12)
Tribes forced to ration funds for health services (2/2)
Interview: Inadequate health care in Indian Country (01/16)
Joint hearing on Indian health care act postponed (11/14)
Final push for health care bill in 109th Congress (11/13)
White House hit over delays in health care and Cobell (10/05)
Still no Indian Health Care Improvement Act (09/22)
New Standard: U.S. failing to deliver health care (7/18)
Senate panel advances Indian health care measure (10/28)
Senate committee takes up slate of Indian bills (10/27)
Hearing on Indian Health Care Improvement Act (07/13)
Oklahoma senator loses Indian health care vote (06/29)
Search
Share this Story!

You are enjoying stories from the Indianz.Com Archive, a collection dating back to 2000. Some outgoing links may no longer work due to age.

All stories in the Indianz.Com Archive are available for publishing via Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)