Tribes in Nebraska demand resignations of senior IHS officials

A view of the Winnebago Hospital on the Winnebago Reservation in Nebraska. Image from Google Maps

The Omaha Tribe and the Winnebago Tribe are calling for the removals of Indian Health Service officials after a hospital that serves both communities lost a key source of funding.

The tribes are upset with the way IHS has managed the Winnebago Service Unit, which is located on the Winnebago Reservation. They want IHS Area Director Ron Cornelius, Great Plains Chief Medical Officer Mark Jackson, hospital CEO Randy Jordan and other administrators to be dismissed.

"Today we choose to take this action as a step toward resolving this debacle once and for all," Winnebago Chairwoman Darla LaPointe said.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services investigated the hospital after a patient died earlier this year. Tribal members have lodged numerous complaints about the level and quality of care there.

But many were shocked to learn that CMS revoked Medicare funding for the hospital. Winnebago leaders said Cornelius misled them by saying no action would be taken while an appeal was being pursued.

"[T]his demonstrates the IHS’s flagrant disregard for its treaty and trust responsibilities to the Omaha and Winnebago Tribes, as well as a callous disregard for the lives, health and safety of the members of the Omaha and Winnebago Tribes," the tribes said in a joint resolution.

The Winnebago Tribe hopes to take control of the facility but not until IHS addresses numerous deficiencies.

Get the Story:
Winnebago, Omaha tribes demand resignation of top hospital, IHS officials (The Sioux City Journal 8/1)
Winnebago, Omaha Tribes Calls Out IHS Over Hospital Issues (ABC9 News 8/12)

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Winnebago Tribe upset with IHS over loss of funds at hospital (8/6)

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