Editorial: Don't close Yankton emergency room

"It's been a long, hard fight for the Yankton Sioux Tribe.

Since 1994, the tribe has been fending off efforts by the Indian Health Service to close the Wagner Service Unit's emergency room, converting it into an urgent care clinic.

For the tribe, which seems always on the brink of losing the clinic, the only good news is that it's not yet over.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Piersol of Sioux Falls dismissed the tribe's lawsuit, which claimed IHS had not followed the proper protocols in choosing to close the facility. That cleared the way for a long-feared closure.

Closing the emergency room would tax the neighboring hospital in Wagner to the breaking point. IHS only pays third-party claims in cases where life, limb or senses are at risk. That means that in the overnight hours, any emergency room visits to the non-Indian hospital that don't fit that criteria won't be paid by IHS."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Wagner ER vital to tribe's well-being (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 8/12)

Relevant Links:
Indian Health Service - http://www.ihs.gov

Related Stories:
IHS can close emergency room in South Dakota (8/7)
Judge orders IHS to keep emergency room open (10/2)
Editorial: Good work in keeping tribe's ER open (02/16)
Yankton Sioux Tribe emergency room gets reprieve (02/01)
Yankton Sioux Tribe emergency room gets reprieve (02/01)
Yankton Sioux Tribe to lose emergency room (01/23)