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
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
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:
Indian Country cheers historic decision on Dakota Access Pipeline (12/5)
Tribes and Dakota Access headed back to court for hearing in D.C. (12/5)
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp again parts with Indian Country on #NoDAPL (12/5)
Dave Archambault: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe thanks many allies (12/5)
Mark Trahant: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe continues to defy history (12/5)
Democracy Now: Thousands of veterans deploy to Standing Rock (12/5)
Dana Lone Hill: Lakota prophecy warns of our water turning black (12/5)
James Giago Davies: Finding the real enemy in the #NoDAPL fight (12/5)
Senate committee ready for hearing on Cobell buy-back program (12/5)
Bureau of Indian Affairs extends comment period on probate rule (12/5)
Native American Farming and Ranching panel gets new members (12/5)
Class III gaming compacts for five tribes in California take effect (12/5)
Lakota Country Times: 'Tanka Bar' company recognized as leader (12/5)
Native Sun News Today: Northern Cheyenne leaders inaugurated (12/5)
Harlan McKosato: Don't believe everything you read on Facebook (12/5)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Why election was dangerous for Indian people (12/5)
Indian Republicans associated with Trump seek trust land changes (12/5)
Quinault Nation prepares for journey to Standing Rock encampment (12/2)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Iroquois prophecies warn of grave dangers (12/2)
Brandon Ecoffey: Media gets it wrong on Dakota Access frontlines (12/2)
Bronson Koenig: What I found during my journey to Standing Rock (12/2)
Timothy Egan: Fake cowboys cheered while the real Indians suffer (12/2)
Lakota Country Times: Laced marijuana finds its way to Pine Ridge (12/2)
Native Sun News Today: Owner of Wounded Knee site lowers price (12/2)
David Ganje: An opportunity for tribes to clean up their homelands (12/2)
Mary Annette Pember: Tribal member arrested for string of arsons (12/2)
Tiffany Midge: The women are here and we have a message for you (12/2)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe calls for safety as veterans head to camp (12/1)
North Dakota sheriff scrubs Facebook of incriminating information (12/1)
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp considers role in Donald Trump administration (12/1)
Daniel Brown: Ho-Chunk Nation celebrates a new day in Wisconsin (12/1)
Lakota Country Times: #NoDAPL kitchen in need of more supplies (12/1)
Native Sun News Today: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe summons allies (12/1)
Vi Waln: Sacred fire burns at Oceti Sakowin camp in North Dakota (12/1)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Veterans at Standing Rock for the good fight (12/1)
Native Sun News Today: Duane Big Crow relishes role in coaching (12/1)
Clara Caufield: Community at Northern Cheyenne stays connected (12/1)
Steven Newcomb: A message to the Donald Trump administration (12/1)
Alaska Native designer brings subsistence fashion to new audience (12/1)
Tohono O'odham Nation and state remain at odds in casino dispute (12/1)
United Keetoowah Band won't talk about plans for potential casino (12/1)
Wilton Rancheria continues to face mysterious opposition to casino (12/1)
Non-Indian firm set to open $1.3B casino outside of nation's capital (12/1)
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.