indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

Printer friendly version
Bush administration asked to halt IHS changes
WEDNESDAY, MAY 7, 2003

The Bush administration was asked Tuesday to engage in a "comprehensive tribal consultation process" before carrying out controversial changes at the Indian Health Service (IHS).

Later this year, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plans to take over the Indian agency's human resource staff. The move is pitched as a way to streamline services and cut costs.

But Jefferson Keel, a vice-president of the National Congress of Americans (NCAI) and lieutenant governor of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, said the proposal will have a drastic effect on Indian Country. He called on the department to delay reorganization until alternatives can be developed.

"Centralizing all of the Indian Health Service human resources staffing from all 12 of its its area offices and service units to one location in the Washington, D.C., area will seriously degrade and compromise its ability to fulfill its mission nationwide," Keel told a gathering of federal officials and tribal leaders.

Last month, Dr. Charles Grim, the interim IHS director, announced the transfer of 200 human resource positions to HHS. In a letter to staff and tribal leaders, he said they will be managed out of an office in Baltimore, Maryland.

The change is part of the "One HHS" initiative first announced more than a year ago, Grim added in an interview yesterday. He said the department has acknowledged concerns of tribal leaders about the consolidation and a related restructuring of IHS.

"We've taken input up until this time," he said. "We've continued to consult."

But the removal of the HR positions "continues to move forward," he noted. He praised high-level staff for accepting an IHS recommendation to keep the HR employees in the field. In earlier talks, they would have been required to relocate to Baltimore.

When the HR positions are transferred, effective October 1, they will lose their Indian preference status. Qualified American Indians and Alaska Natives won't get a boost in the recruitment and hiring process. IHS will not advertise for the positions or make hiring decisions.

And once an employee in the HR unit retires or leaves, the position will be re-evaluated for possible relocation to IHS. Grim said the department will consult with tribes when that happens.

Tribal leaders warned against any "downsizing" of IHS during yesterday's meeting with top HHS officials, including Deputy Secretary Claude Allen, who has been nominated for a federal appeals judgeship. Although they called this administration one of the most accessible in history, and welcomed Secretary Tommy Thompson's active participation, they underscored the federal government's trust responsibility.

"We pre-paid for this health care," said NCAI president Tex Hall, referring to treaties and other agreements with the federal government. "Unfortunately, that pre-payment has not been honored over the years."

Rachel Joseph, chairwoman of the chairwoman of the Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone Tribe of California, recited a list of statistics that show American Indians and Alaska Natives suffer from diabetes, cancer, tuberculosis and other diseases at higher rates than any other group. "These disparities are largely attributed to insufficient funding," she said.

The day-long session, held at HHS headquarters, was to receive tribal views on the fiscal year 2005 budget, which is still in the planning stages. Tribal and Indian health leaders called for increases in a wide range of programs.

For fiscal year 2004, Congress is hoping to allocate about $3.3 billion for IHS.

With about 15,000 employees, IHS is the second largest division within HHS. The agency serves more than 1 million Native Americans.

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

Related Stories:
IHS positions to lose Indian preference under Bush plan (04/24)
Indian health bills criticized by Bush official (04/10)
Senate committee holds Indian health hearing (4/9)
Opposition mounts to Bush IHS initiatives (4/3)
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: Violence against Native women is on the rise (10/24)
Morgan Howard: Corporate dividends confict with Tlingit values (10/24)
David Wilkins: Abandon the Doctrine of Discovery in Indian law (10/24)
Navajo Nation candidate Chris Deschene won't halt campaign (10/24)
Tribes receive $1.2M in Sovereignty in Indian Education funds (10/24)
Language preservation a top issue as AFN opens annual meet (10/24)
Rep. Don Young to speak to Alaska Natives amid controversy (10/24)
Think Progress: South Dakota county suppresses Native vote (10/24)
Opinion: Tribes turn their acumen to Internet lending industry (10/24)
Chickasaw Nation signs compact with state for license plates (10/24)
Federal judge won't be removed from Miccosukee Tribe's case (10/24)
Radio: NPS allowed destruction of tribal burial mounds in Iowa (10/24)
BIA announces intent to put Cowlitz Tribe gaming site in trust (10/24)
Feinstein opposes North Fork Rancheria off-reservation casino (10/24)
Salt River Tribe arrests man who left children in casino garage (10/24)
Closure of Chukchansi Tribe's casino could affect contributions (10/24)
Opinion: Shinnecock Nation's casino plans remain under cloud (10/24)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe heads to election season (10/23)
Al Caroll: Recognize tribal sovereignty in new US Constitution (10/23)
Michael Baines: Senate candidate battles Alaska Native rights (10/23)
President Barack Obama urges early voting for Alaska Natives (10/23)
Ho-Chunk Nation woman named president of Girl Scouts board (10/23)
3rd Circuit won't force town to repatriate Jim Thorpe's remains (10/23)
Navajo Nation's top court orders new ballots without candidate (10/23)
Alaska Federation of Natives ready to open annual convention (10/23)
Alaska governor to sign Native languages bill six months later (10/23)
Rep. Don Young blames government 'largesse' for suicide rate (10/23)
Washington player says tattoo represents Cherokee heritage (10/23)
Crow Tribe seeks renewal of Indian Coal Production Tax Credit (10/23)
Native advocates come together to combat domestic violence (10/23)
Agua Caliente Band and DOJ submit briefs in water rights case (10/23)
Former health executive from Chippewa Cree Tribe sentenced (10/23)
Final person sentenced in theft from Blackfeet Nation program (10/23)
Opinion: Tribes exploit loopholes in America's political system (10/23)
Otoe-Missouria Tribe announces plans for new gaming facility (10/23)
Rival leaders of Chukchansi Tribe to meet amid casino closure (10/23)
Navajo Nation challenges lawsuit over death of casino patron (10/23)
Law Article: Judge restricts BIA authority in Class III dispute (10/23)
Column: Election won't end North Fork off-reservation casino (10/23)
Eyapaha Today: Oneida singer follows in mother's footsteps (10/22)
Native Sun News: Candidate seeks investigation into program (10/22)
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.