Health | Opinion

Editorial: Stop paying lip service and address problems at IHS





"Tribal leaders from six states are visiting Rapid City today through Friday to discuss Indian Health Services.

Let's hope the meeting produces some substantive results, instead of winding up as just another costly junket for government employees.

Dr. Yvette Roubideaux, who heads the Aberdeen Area office of IHS, was scheduled to meet with tribal leaders today to hear their concerns about health services.

On Thursday, the tribal leaders will air their concerns with officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees IHS.

While it's important to talk about problems and hear from tribal leaders, action to correct serious problems at IHS is long overdue.

The Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs issued a scathing report last fall documenting years of mismanagement that undermined health care in the four states served by the Aberdeen Area office.

The investigation found that the IHS office had hired convicted criminals, failed to stop employees from stealing narcotics and even placed some workers on paid leaves for more than a year while they were being investigated for misconduct.

Although Roubideaux pledged to work on those problems, apparently little has changed in terms of better service delivery."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Time to stop talking, start fixing (The Rapid City Journal 3/23)