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Lawmakers request GAO investigation of IHS office in Montana

Filed Under: Health | National | Politics
More on: anna whiting-sorrell, crow, cskt, gao, ihs, john walsh, jon tester, montana, wyoming

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana) and Sen. John Walsh (D-Montana) have asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate the Billings Area of the Indian Health Service.

The Billings Area oversees health care in Montana and Wyoming. Tester and Walsh want to know whether tribal members there are receiving adequate services.

“Issues have plagued the facilities in the Billings service area for years as patients endure poor to no services and extraordinary delays in seeing physicians or filling a prescription,” Tester and Walsh wrote in a letter. “In one troubling case, we heard of a provider who only sees one patient a day.”

The letter was sent in response to concerns raised by the Crow Tribe. The Crow Legislature passed a resolution that said the Billings Area has been the target of "hundreds of complaints" regarding poor service, no service and extremely delayed service.

Tester and Walsh sent their letter after Anna Whiting-Sorrell announced her resignation as director of the Billings Area after just 18 months on the job. She said it was virtually impossible to make reforms at the office.

“It was the level of service provided and the quality,” Whiting-Sorrell, a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, told the Gazette.

Whiting-Sorrell has been praised by tribes in Montana and Wyoming.

Get the Story:
Tester, Walsh call for investigation of local IHS (The Billings Gazette 5/3)
IHS director resigns, citing 'great' challenges within the federal agency (The Billings Gazette 5/2)

Relevant Documents:
Crow Tribe Press Release | Crow Legislature Resolution

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