Julianne Jennings: Denied health services at Indian facility

"Recently, I sought medical care at a local Native Health Care Center. Their mission statement is defined as, A tradition of wellness―to continually strive to improve the lives of American Indian families by offering high quality, culturally competent health-related services that enhance the well-being of the whole person and the Native American community. My physical examination revealed I had high blood pressure, 167/96. Native American Health Center then referred me to the Indian Medical Center to register as an American Indian patient and have my prescription filled for hypertension medication."

Soon, it was determined services would not be rendered because my state status; even though my Rhode Island birth certificate identifies me as an “American Indian.” The federal government uses my birth record for statistical purposes to provide funding for native programs based upon that information. The Indian Medical Center could have, but did not, offer me a few pills to hold me over, giving me time to find a doctor or a health care facility willing to treat me. Shame on them."

Get the Story:
Julianne Jennings: Rights and Privileges of Indian Health Care (Indian Country Today 3/29)

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