Leech Lake Band declares health care crisis

The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe is urging tribal members to write to Congress to seek more funds for the Indian Health Service.

“We need to call it what it really is — a crisis of health care," Secretary-Treasurer Mike Bongo said at a tribal hearing, The Bemidji Pioneer reported. “If it happened anywhere else in America, it would not be tolerated.”

Bongo said the tribe's share of IHS funds has been cut every year over the past decade or so. Tribal members said they aren't able to receive the services they need.

That means patients have to be referred elsewhere, which costs even more money. “The funding isn’t where it needs to be,” Jennie Jenkins of the IHS said, according to the paper.

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Leech Lake Tribal Council: Health care concerns voiced (The Bemidji Pioneer 8/28)