indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
The Rise of Tribes and the Fall of Federal Indian Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Senate committee to examine contract health services
Monday, April 7, 2008
Filed Under: Health

The leader of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee is asking tribes for input on an upcoming hearing that will address the contract health services program.

The Indian Health Service uses the program to pay outside providers for care that it cannot provide at its facilities. But tribal people have discovered that the money runs out quickly, leading to the now common refrain -- "Don't get sick after June."

As a result, some Indian patients are forced to pay the cost of the services themselves and if they can't, their credit becomes ruined. In some cases, they go without the critical treatment they need.

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota), the chairman of the committee, says it's clear the contract health services program is "not working." During debate on the Indian Health Care Improvement Act and a measure to add $1 billion to the IHS budget, he described the case of Ardel Hale Baker, a North Dakota woman who felt first-hand the impacts of the funding shortage.

"So Ardel Hale Baker is having a heart attack, and she is wheeled into an emergency room with a piece of paper taped to her thigh that says: Oh, by the way, hospital, admit this woman, and you may not be paid," Dorgan said on March 12.

For fiscal year 2009, the Bush administration is seeking $588 million for contract health services, or $9 million above current levels. That represents an increase of just 1.5 percent, far below the rate of inflation.

Contract health services is part of the clinical services budget at IHS. Dorgan's $1 billion amendment, which was approved by the Senate on March 13 by a 69-30 vote, would go directly to increasing the amount of money available for the program.

"What do they say on Indian reservations? Do not get sick after June, because there is no contract health money," Dorgan said. "If you are going to get sick, it has got to be before June."

During his confirmation hearing, Bob McSwain, the acting director of the IHS, said the budget includes additional funds that will extend the life of the contract health services program. He also said he hopes to fill vacancies that will enable the agency to provide care instead of referring patients outside the system.

"We're looking at possibly getting the CHS funds to go all the way through August now," McSwain, a member of the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California, told the committee.

"Well, that's good, but that gets you through August," responded Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the vice chair of the committee.

"We're moving the ball," said McSwain, whose confirmation is still pending before the committee.

"I think we celebrate the success when we're able to provide for the level of health care services year-round," said Murkowski.

Relevant Documents:
Sen. Dorgan Letter | HHS Budget in Brief

Related Stories:
Senate budget includes $1B boost for IHS (03/14)
Sen. Tester: A victory on Indian health reauthorization (03/05)
Editorial: A big step for improving Indian health (2/29)
Groups praise passage of Indian Health Care Act (2/27)
Senate finally passes IHCIA (2/26)
Senate resumes debate on IHCIA (2/25)
Sen. Dorgan vows approval of Indian Health Care Act (2/25)
Editorial: Pass Indian Health Care Improvement Act (02/19)
Senate to resume debate on IHCIA next week (2/18)
Senate resumes debate on Indian Health Care (2/14)
IHS budget eliminates urban Indian health program (2/7)
Study: Health disparities among urban Indians (08/24)
Senate panel restores urban Indian health program (06/28)
House restores funds to critical Indian programs (05/22)
Urban Indian clinics threatened by Bush budget cut (5/2)
Urban Indian health centers fight Bush budget cut (4/28)
Urban Indians file class action health care lawsuit (4/11)
Law school to file class action Indian health care suit (4/6)
Budget cut affects 34 urban Indian health clinics (03/27)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee seeks better budget (03/06)
Gorton blocked Reagan's cut to urban Indian health (03/03)
Urban Indian clinics in Oklahoma safe from cut (2/28)
Montana urban Indian clinics oppose Bush cut (2/23)
Opinion: Republican presidents pick on urban Indians (2/22)
Editorial: Save urban Indian health program (2/21)
Urban Indian health cut to affect 6,500 in Montana (2/20)
Elimination of urban Indian health care opposed (2/14)
Bush budget details Indian program cuts (2/10)
IHS gets another boost under Bush budget (2/7)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Girls basketball team proudly wears Navajo hairstyle during game (2/8)
National Indian Gaming Commission slated to get a third member (2/8)
Senate committee to host roundtable on Tribal Law and Order Act (2/8)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee postpones field hearing into EPA (2/8)
Senate designates National Tribal Colleges and Universities Week (2/8)
Bill John Baker: Cherokee Nation invests in our people's wellbeing (2/8)
Kevin Washburn: Republicans punish tribe in public lands measure (2/8)
Harold Monteau: Democrats stack the deck for only one candidate (2/8)
Cutcha Risling Baldy: Don't let Leonard Peltier die in prison system (2/8)
Robert Jumper: Keep Eastern Cherokee council meetings on record (2/8)
Brian Pierson: Menominee Nation loses decision at Supreme Court (2/8)
Probe continues into unsolved homicide of 11-year-old Native girl (2/8)
Burns Paiute Tribe might seek to reopen judgment for stolen lands (2/8)
Shinnecock Nation approves plans to join medical marijuana field (2/8)
Teams protest corporate sponsor of Native basketball tournament (2/8)
Rosebud Sioux Tribe faces obstacles with repatriation of students (2/8)
Wallace Coffey resigns as chair of Comanche Nation after 25 years (2/8)
Broker accused of lying to tribal client about $190M in investments (2/8)
Seminole Tribe showcases long-lost declaration of independence (2/8)
Pope Francis to celebrate mass at Indian church for trip to Mexico (2/8)
California communities go without as casino revenue fund dries up (2/8)
Non-Indian firm looking to block Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe casino (2/8)
Umatilla Tribes raise gambling age as sales of liquor start at casino (2/8)
Apology offered to girls who were forced to change Native hairstyle (2/5)
Mark Trahant: Bernie Sanders campaign starts Indian policy group (2/5)
Charles Trimble: Taking responsibility for upkeep of our cemeteries (2/5)
Mary Annette Pember: Memorial to Indian genocide eyed in Russia (2/5)
Terese Marie Mailhot: I guess I'm just one of those 'crazy' Indians (2/5)
Judge weighs compromise for $380M in leftover Keepseagle funds (2/5)
Blackfeet Nation welcomes movement on water rights settlement (2/5)
Yakama Nation wins decision on cost of cleaning up contamination (2/5)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe confident of casino bid despite lawsuit (2/5)
Arizona sees 6.9 percent boost in gaming contributions from tribes (2/5)
Cowlitz Tribe close to reaching agreement with city for new casino (2/5)
Schaghticoke Tribal Nation questions exclusion from casino process (2/5)
Tribal leaders question management changes at IHS in Great Plains (2/4)
IHS chief medical officer apologizes for comments about newborns (2/4)
Group sues IHS for records about water pollution on Yakama Nation (2/4)
Sen. McCain still bothered by failure to block Arizona tribe's casino (2/4)
Gun Lake Tribe announces retirement of longtime chair DK Sprague (2/4)
House Natural Resources Committee passes Indian bills at markup (2/4)
Samuel Winder: Indian defendants face harsher criminal penalties (2/4)
Charles Kader: Tribal burial grounds in Florida are being desecrated (2/4)
Roger Chelsey: Pamunkey Tribe clears last hurdle for federal status (2/4)
Reno Sparks Indian Colony mourns passing of leader William Coffey (2/4)
Native students convince school to name Indigenous People's Day (2/4)
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.