Opinion: Money not the only problem at IHS
"I applaud Sen. Max Baucus' recent directive to Inspector General Daniel Levinson to complete an investigation of the Indian Health Service. Many of us in Montana have known about the serious problems with the IHS long before recent headlines highlighting the $15 million worth of missing equipment. Personally, I am intimately familiar with these problems: I am a family physician who has been working for the IHS for the past 10 years, initially in Oklahoma, and most recently in Crow Agency. As I prepare to leave Montana to pursue employment in the private sector, I would like to share my insider's perspective on the dysfunctional IHS.

We've known for years that there are issues with funding discrepancies when it comes to the IHS. It is well established that the per capita funding for federal prisoners is significantly higher than for IHS beneficiaries. And while I understand that Baucus' call for investigation targets how the IHS allocates resources and funding to reservations across the country, I especially want to encourage him to avoid the temptation to simply lobby for additional funding for the IHS until the organization cleans up its act."

Get the Story:
G. Kirk Gastineau: Much more than lack of money ails Indian Health Service (The Billings Gazette 10/22)

Related Stories:
PBS: Inadequate funding kills Indian patients (10/16)
Sen. Baucus names health advisory council (10/14)
Broken promise on Indian health care bill (10/13)