IHS owes up to $14M for contract health care in North Dakota

The Indian Health Service owes as much as $14 million to hospitals in North Dakota for contract health services, The Aberdeen News reports.

The IHS refers patients to hospitals when it can't provide care at its facilities. But the funding typically runs out before the end of the fiscal year.

"Chairman [Tex] Hall said that the Contract Health Program is historically underfunded and the tribes get one-fourth of what they need," Glenda Embry, a spokesperson for the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, told the paper. "Chairman Hall always says don't get sick after June."

The tribe also owes money to hospitals for contract health care. The North Dakota Hospital Association estimates the total owed by IHS and the tribe to be between $13 million to $14 million but the IHS says the figure is closer to $4.4 million.

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Medical payments disputed (The Aberdeen News 8/2)

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