Indian Health Service recommended hospital executive for DC job

The Rosebud Hospital is located on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. Photo by Crystal R. Leighton via Facebook

An executive who did little to address problems at a troubled Indian Health Service facility still earned a recommendation from his supervisor at the agency, The Washington Post reports.

James Edward Kyle ran the Rosebud Hospital in South Dakota for just four months last year. The facility suffered from long-standing issues and leaders of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe said he didn't do much to fix them.

Kyle “just up and left, and left us high and dry,” council member William Bear Shield told The Post last month.

The lack of action didn't prevent Kyle's supervisor at the IHS from recommending him for a job with the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health, the paper reported. He was hired as the chief executive of St. Elizabeths Hospital but he abruptly quit on Monday after questions were raised about his qualifications and his shaky record.

The Post didn't identify the supervisor by name and said that person hasn't returned any messages. Based on the way the IHS is organized, that supervisor would have been the regional director of the Great Plains Area.

The director at the time of Kyle's tenure was Ron Cornelius. He was reassigned to another job in February after the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Service threatened to terminate certification for the Rosebud hospital.

The IHS is working with CMS in hopes of preventing that from happening. But the hospital also diverted -- or shut down -- its emergency room, a situation that continues today, forcing tribal members with critical health needs to travel to facilities 45 and 55 miles away.

"Here we are in April and we're still on diversion," Evelyn Espinoza, the tribe's health director, said at a meeting with the leader of the IHS, The Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported. "We have these people losing their lives. We have these children losing their parents."

Get the Story:
Bowser aide calls furor over St. Elizabeths chief executive ‘D.C. politics’ (The Washington Post 4/6)
Bowser’s pick for St. Elizabeths CEO resigns amid questions about qualifications (The Washington Post 4/4)

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Report:
In Critical Condition: The urgent need to reform the Indian Health Service’s Aberdeen Area (December 2010)

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