indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Dynamic Homes
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

Printer friendly version
Opposition mounts to Bush IHS initiatives
THURSDAY, APRIL 3, 2003

The Bush administration's plans to consolidate and restructure the Indian Health Service (IHS) met serious opposition at a Senate hearing on Wednesday.

Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.) announced that he was deeply "concerned" about initiatives underway at the Department of Health and Human Services. As chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, he said the panel would require the agency to provide more details in addition to further consultation with Indian Country.

"I understand that we need to streamline and consolidate and not duplicate efforts and make better, more efficient use of tax money and so on," he said. "But I have seen too many times in the past when Indian programs get folded into bigger programs, money that had been formerly designated for Indian programs somehow gets transferred or moved or something."

"Indian people have never had a really strong voice in the administration, or any administration, or here either, unfortunately, " he concluded.

Tribal leaders made similar remarks about the "One HHS" effort and a separate restructuring of the IHS headquarters. Julia Davis-Wheeler, chair of the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) and secretary for the Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho, said tribes need more time to consider the proposals, which she characterized as "downsizing."

"The time frame for proper consultation was very short -- we had basically seven months," she told the committee. She added: "I know that the Department of Health and Human Services was really putting a lot of pressure on the Indian Health Service to do this. . . It does need some more reviewing."

Don Kashevaroff, chairman of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and president of the the Seldovia Village in Alaska, criticized HHS for glossing over the needs of Indian Country. Consolidating information technology doesn't make sense for the IHS, he said, because it is the only HHS agency with unique patient services. Yet the Bush administration proposal seeks to cut $9 million from the IT budget, he said.

"If we want one HHS, they should have one HHS," he said. "They should look at the disparities in health for American Indians and Alaska Natives and see that we have the worst statistics across the country. One HHS should come together and say 'We're going to handle the Indian population, we're going to bring them up to the rest of the population.'"

Dr. Charles Grim, who was officially nominated as IHS director last week by President Bush, said no firm decisions have been made about either proposal. "Many of these things are still in the planning phases," he told Campbell.

Grim said the IHS restructuring was the work of nearly a year of tribal consultation. He said the comments that were received were taken into account and weren't earth shattering.

A tribal workgroup has made recommendations about the One HHS initiative, part of which seeks to consolidate information technology and human resource functions, a move the administration predicts will save $31 million. "We don't have specific information yet because it's an '04 budget proposal," Grim said.

The details that have emerged include the elimination of about 36 human resource positions at locations throughout Indian Country. The rest of the HR staff, approximately 180, will be moved to one office in Baltimore, Maryland.

Additionally, the IHS has been granted authority, through homeland security legislation, to offer buy-out and retirement packages to IHS employees. Reports from the field indicate that employees in Oklahoma and New Mexico have been approached. In a recent interview, Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. said the Navajo IHS was being affected.

"We will make wise and judicious use of buy-out and early-out sorts of authorities, targeted at areas where we may have overages," promised Grim at the Senate hearing. "As a last resort, we would touch the service unit or the health care delivery level, if necessary."

At a separate meeting with with IHS and HHS officials, Navajo Nation Vice President Frank Dayish Jr. voiced the tribe's opposition. "The Navajo Nation is alarmed about the proposed consolidation plan, the department may not honor the Indian Preference act, and it could mean a shortage in health care needs for our Navajo residents," he said.

Congress, in passing the recent 2003 omnibus budget, required legislative approval before HHS moves forward with consolidation.

With about 15,000 employees, IHS is the second largest division within HHS. The agency headquarters are located in Rockville, Maryland.

Relevant Links:
Indian Health Service - http://www.ihs.gov
Department of Health and Human Services - http://www.hhs.gov

Related Stories:
GOP rejects IHS funding measure (3/26)
Budget measure would double IHS funds (3/25)
Bush scoring tool impacts Indian programs (03/07)
Omnibus spending bill gains Bush approval (02/21)
Bush initiative to be scrutinized by Congress (02/18)
Grim expects nomination as head of IHS (2/11)
IHS positions being eliminated (2/7)
'Austere' health care budget cited (2/5)
Thompson releases new IHS budget (2/4)
Senate approves $390B spending bill (1/24)
Indian Country receives diabetes grants (12/11)
Court rebuffs tribes on contract funding dispute (11/27)
Congress approves $750M for Indian diabetes (11/21)
Northern Plains tribes see high infant death rate (10/30)
Navajo Nation challenges contract policy (10/04)
Reports address long-term elder care (08/20)
Bush appoints interim director of IHS (08/05)
Bush delaying pick for IHS post (7/23)
Report stresses importance of health insurance (5/22)
Poor Indian health blamed on federal failures (3/21)
IHS pressed to include tribes in reform efforts (02/28)
IHS budget cuts construction funds (2/12)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Tim Giago: Greedy lawyers and government ruin Cobell settlement (8/27)
Native Sun News: Facility in Montana set to house Indian inmates (8/27)
Gerald Gipp: National strategy needed to reform Indian education (8/27)
9th Circuit won't stop repatriation of Kumeyaay Nation ancestors (8/27)
Bill John Baker: Cherokee Nation puts youth to work for summer (8/27)
Gabe Galanda: Academia won't tackle tribal disenrollment issue (8/27)
Misty Lynn Ellingburg: 'Four Winds' is a literary magazine for us (8/27)
Declination rates for Indian Country crime steady for third year (8/27)
DOJ awards grants to address violence in Bakken energy region (8/27)
Another pipeline spills saltwater on reservation in North Dakota (8/27)
Navajo voters oust incumbent president Ben Shelly in primary (8/27)
Three brothers on the ballot for Passamaquoddy Tribe election (8/27)
Daily Beast: Border Patrol runs free on Tohono O'odham Nation (8/27)
KTOO: Cook Inlet Tribe turns to video game to represent culture (8/27)
Former IHS information security officer convicted for child porn (8/27)
Crow Reservation murder defendant to make court appearance (8/27)
9th Circuit sets oral arguments in Big Lagoon Rancheria dispute (8/27)
Forest County Potawatomi Tribe cuts gaming payment to state (8/27)
State raises concerns about Chumash Tribe's casino expansion (8/27)
Cowlitz Tribe sees setback in infrastructure plan for casino site (8/27)
Native Sun News: Tribes take on Air Force over expansion plan (8/26)
Charles Trimble: Pine Ridge -- the Hollywood of Indian Country (8/26)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Iroquois on both sides for War of 1812 (8/26)
Heather Kendall-Miller: GOP candidate a threat to Native rights (8/26)
Fired Oglala Sioux Tribe police officer indicted for taser incident (8/26)
Sen. Jon Tester to hold session on trafficking in Indian Country (8/26)
Hoopa Valley Tribe takes action due to large number of arsons (8/26)
Non-recognized tribe in Texas hails ruling in eagle feather case (8/26)
Jodi Lee Spotted Bear: Supporting Native language immersion (8/26)
Proposal filed for Wampanoag language public charter school (8/26)
Gila River Indian Community mourns loss of first female leader (8/26)
Jose Barreiro: Indigenous leaders hold historic meeting in Cuba (8/26)
Tribes use reservations to restore rare and endangered species (8/26)
Rival factions unite in takeover attempt within Chukchansi Tribe (8/26)
Darlene Miller seeks to be first female Seneca Nation president (8/26)
7th Circuit bars tribal jurisdiction in Indian payday loan dispute (8/26)
Law school in Colorado sets conference on sovereign immunity (8/26)
Mississippi Choctaw family believes same person behind deaths (8/26)
Cherokee Nation to break ground on casino on Indian allotment (8/26)
Stillaguamish Tribe finally secures reservation status for casino (8/26)
Mashantucket Tribe to open retail concourse at casino on Friday (8/26)
Opinion: Predatory gaming companies exploit tribes and patrons (8/26)
Caesars Entertainment debuts $442M urban casino in Baltimore (8/26)
Tim Giago: Farewell to my childhood friend Eugene Long Soldier (8/25)
Mark Trahant: Tapping the power of social media for Native vote (8/25)
Native Sun News: Laguna Pueblo still affected by uranium mine (8/25)
Oliver Semans: Seeing the light on Native voting rights struggle (8/25)
John Hopkins: Navajo Nation Council delegate makes bad choice (8/25)
James Mills: Non-Indian firm helps tribes create stronger nations (8/25)
Navajo voters to narrow field of 17 candidates for president's job (8/25)
Judge Humetewa hands down sentence in Indian child abuse case (8/25)
Scientists publish lengthy book based on study of Kennewick Man (8/25)
Rival tribe spends big in fight over Tohono O'odham Nation casino (8/25)
Eastern Cherokees resist Catawba Nation casino in North Carolina (8/25)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe seeking investors for Class II facility (8/25)
WUWM: Menominee Nation still waiting for off-reservation casino (8/25)
Editorial: Vote on Enterprise Rancheria Class III gaming compact (8/25)
Native Sun News: Indian farmers question Keepseagle attorneys (8/22)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.