indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Indian Law Online Master Degree - University of Tulsa College of Law
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...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: A ride-along with a South Dakota county sheriff (4/17)
Lakota Country Times: Sen. Tester pushes for tribal college funds (4/17)
Native Sun News: Walk hits uranium mining sites on reservations (4/17)
Brandon Ecoffey: Vincent Brewer was a family man and a cowboy (4/17)
Delphine Red Shirt: Restoring our sacred peak to its original name (4/17)
Clara Caufield: A faithful servant to the Northern Cheyenne Tribe (4/17)
Steve Russell: Shocking students with the truth about US history (4/17)
Sunnie Clahchischiligi: Get on board with Ho-Chunk Nation player (4/17)
Navajo Nation candidates enter final stretch of bumpy campaign (4/17)
Man from Tulalip Tribes enters not guilty plea to firearms charge (4/17)
Colorado lawmaker continues tradition of bolo ties on Capitol Hill (4/17)
Editorial: End discrimination against Native Americans in Michigan (4/17)
Editorial: Virginia's tribes need federal recognition from Congress (4/17)
Indiana lawmakers not so welcoming to Pokagon Band casino bid (4/17)
Arizona agency threatens to block Tohono O'odham Nation casino (4/17)
Kansas seeks injunction to stop Quapaw Tribe gaming expansion (4/17)
Mohegan Tribe's casino enterprise named one of best employers (4/17)
Native Sun News: Senate field hearing focuses on tribes and coal (4/16)
Lakota Country Times: Program brings healthy food to Pine Ridge (4/16)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Death rituals among the Mohawk people (4/16)
James Giago Davies: Just another crazy breed Lakota in the IHS (4/16)
Karin Eagle: UNITY media summit draws people to reservation (4/16)
Walt Lamar: Addicts in Indian Country turning to spiked heroin (4/16)
Congress passes renewal of Indian Country diabetes program (4/16)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee takes up tribal labor measure (4/16)
Sen. Barrasso highlights 100 days of work on Indian legislation (4/16)
Alaska to make changes to Indian Child Welfare Act procedures (4/16)
Lower Brule Sioux Tribe council meeting ends in shouting match (4/16)
Manitoba agrees to pay funeral bill for murdered Native woman (4/16)
New York City approves marker where Indian slaves were sold (4/16)
President of Rosebud Sioux Tribe removed after ethics hearing (4/16)
Colorado House approves bill to restrict use of Indian mascots (4/16)
Lumbee Tribe remains in long quest to gain federal recognition (4/16)
Senate votes to confirm Jonodev Chaudhuri as leader of NIGC (4/16)
Letter raises legal issues for new tribal casinos in Connecticut (4/16)
Mohegan Tribe went to South Korea to discuss potential casino (4/16)
Quapaw Tribe faces opposition over possible casino in Arkansas (4/16)
Colville Tribes plan ceremonial debut of $68M casino next month (4/16)
Rincon Band contributes $9.5M to highway projects near casino (4/16)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux district endorses marijuana (4/15)
Native Sun News: Candidates to debate on tribal college campus (4/15)
Native Sun News: Former police chief runs for Rapid City mayor (4/15)
Mark Trahant: Millions of Native Americans wait on health care (4/15)
Dana Lone Elk: Francis Pumpkin Seed always had a bright smile (4/15)
Stephen Pevar: Tribes and families fight back with ICWA lawsuit (4/15)
Paul Moorehead: Tribes need greater control of their own lands (4/15)
Obama to visit city near Sisseton Wahpeton Reservation in May (4/15)
Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes host honoring for Suzan Shown Harjo (4/15)
DOI issues $10.5M in offers on Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation (4/15)
Navajo Nation signs buy-back cooperative agreement with DOI (4/15)
Indian arts organization seeks replacement for top executive (4/15)
National Park Service releases eight grants for NAGPRA efforts (4/15)
Bill introduced in Senate to support placing woman on $20 bill (4/15)
Judge Judy chooses reservation school for graduation speech (4/15)
Museum named after famed Pueblo woman artist closes doors (4/15)
Quick justice for assault of woman on Chitimacha Reservation (4/15)
WBUR: Reporter discusses youth suicide in Oglala Sioux Tribe (4/15)
Editorial: Agua Caliente Band can help ease tensions over land (4/15)
BIA hears from public on Pokagon Band gaming plan in Indiana (4/15)
Fond du Lac Band spars with city over services for urban casino (4/15)
Seminole Tribe faces complaints over business deals at casino (4/15)
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.