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Editorial: Address management issues at Indian Health Service

Filed Under: Health | Opinion
More on: 113th, crow, ihs, jon tester, montana, scia, senate

The Crow/Northern Cheyenne Hospital in Crow Agency, Montana. Photo from IHS

Newspaper says management issues at the Indian Health Service need just as much attention as money:
Kudos to Montana Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., who is the chairman of the Senate’s Indian Affairs Committee. He’s taken on the issue of IHS care here, which desperately needs addressing, and he’s in a unique position of power to help make changes.

More than that, though, Montana should be proud of the people who showed up for Tuesday’s hearing in Billings on the agency and its problems.

Indian Health Service Acting Director Dr. Yvette Roubideaux suggested that an influx of cash would be good medicine for the IHS’ ills. And almost as soon as it was suggested, tribal leaders discounted that idea, saying money wasn’t necessarily the issue as much as management and efficiency.

We’re proud that our area tribal leaders didn’t let the IHS folks off the hook with that same, tired excuse.

Just throw money — the battle cry of any bureaucracy, it seems. And yet the leaders knew that money and management are two distinct things.

Crow Tribal Chairman Darrin Old Coyote said that even though funding through the IHS for the Crow people increased, most of the increase was eaten up by administration and very little went to direct care.

Crow leaders also pointed out that after 2011 flooding, services like obstetrics, which were closed in the midst of the disaster, were never reopened.

Get the Story:
Editorial: More than money needed to fix IHS problems (The Billings Gazette 6/2)

Committee Notice:
Oversight Hearing on "The Indian Health Service: Ensuring the IHS is Living Up to Its Trust Responsibility." (May 27, 2014)

Relevant Documents:
Crow Tribe Press Release | Crow Legislature Resolution

Related Stories:
Tribes in Montana and Wyoming air complaints about IHS care (05/28)
Witness list for Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on IHS (5/26)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne share personal IHS stories (5/26)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee schedules field hearing on IHS (05/21)
Editorial: Scrutiny needed for Indian Health Service in Montana (05/08)
Lawmakers request GAO investigation of IHS office in Montana (5/5)

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