Native Sun News Today: Urban Indians lose emergency services at Indian Health Service facility

The Sioux San Hospital is an Indian Health Service facility in Rapid City, South Dakota. Photo by Colorado National Guard Medical Detachment

Indian Health Service announces closing of Emergency Room at Sioux San Hospital
A shift from emergency care to urgent care
Ernestine Chasing Hawk
Native Sun News Today Editor

RAPID CITY – For many Indians living in and around Rapid City, news that Indian Health Service would temporarily be closing their emergency room at Sioux San Hospital comes as a surprise.

Indian Health Services in a press release Tuesday stated that to “help focus services on the majority of patients seen at the hospital and ensure that all individuals receive the best possible care as quickly as possible, IHS is announcing that it has notified area tribes of the planned temporary closure of the Sioux San Hospital Emergency Department effective as of September 20 at 8:00 a.m. MT.”

According to IHS the change in emergency department service means that all IHS patients needing immediate emergency services will be transferred to appropriate facilities, which for many Indians living in Pennington County is Rapid City Regional Hospital.

However they state that the majority of patients utilizing the Sioux San emergency department are in need of urgent care such as non-complicated splinting of broken bones; wound care; nausea, vomiting and diarrhea; and non-life-threatening allergic reactions and that those services will continue and be available 24 hours a day seven days a week.

The change however is that beginning September 20, patients experiencing a medical emergency such as a heart attack, severe wound or amputation, or car accident are being asked to call 911 or go directly to the nearest 24-hour emergency department.

Currently when patients with critical care needs utilize the Sioux San emergency room, they are frequently transferred to Rapid City Regional Hospital, oftentimes at their own expense. Patients are charged for the Ambulance ride to Regional which can cost as much as $800 or more depending on emergency services provided on the 5 mile trip.

Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun News Today website: Indian Health Service announces closing of Emergency Room at Sioux San Hospital

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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