Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law - University of Tulsa College of Law
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Health | Opinion
Yvette Roubideaux: IHS committed to reform in Aberdeen Area


"On Sept. 28, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held a hearing on the serious management issues within the Aberdeen Area Indian Health Service. As a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, I am acutely aware of the longstanding problems and challenges within the Aberdeen Area, including insufficient accountability with respect to performance and financial management; the difficulties of providing care in rural, remote and impoverished communities; and limited resources to address the problem. I have witnessed these problems firsthand, and see the consequences for Indian people.

As I stated at the hearing, these problems and issues are unacceptable, and that is why we are working to correct them. While we have made some progress, we have a long way to go. Sen. Dorgan and I share the same goal – we believe the Aberdeen Area IHS must do a better job of serving its communities. We also share a mutual conviction that the management policies, principles and practices must continue to change and improve in the Aberdeen Area and throughout IHS. I believe effective collaboration between IHS and Congress is essential to helping us achieve our shared goals, and IHS is cooperating fully with the committee’s investigation.

As a part of our priority to reform the entire IHS, we are working to improve the way we do business and how we lead and manage our employees by putting into place fundamental reforms in management practices and our organizational culture to create lasting change. This starts with a strong tone at the top. I have communicated clearly to all IHS employees the importance of improving our customer service, professionalism and ethics, and have insisted that we do a better job of holding employees accountable for poor performance or improper conduct. I have implemented a stronger performance management process with higher performance standards for our employees, including measurable goals to ensure that we can more effectively manage performance."

Get the Story:
Yvette Roubideaux: IHS reform and the Aberdeen investigation (Indian Country Today 10/1)

Committee Hearing:
OVERSIGHT HEARING titled, In Critical Condition: The Urgent Need to Reform Indian Health Service's Aberdeen Area (September 28, 2010)

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