Indian Health Service failing to make progress in troubled region

The Pine Ridge Hospital on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Photo from Dean Kurtz Construction

The Indian Health Service is still having trouble addressing long-standing problems in the Great Plains Area.

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Service plans to withdraw certification to the Pine Ridge Service Unit on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota unless an agreement can be reached to resolve numerous deficiencies. Without certification, the hospital will be unable to bill the federal government for services provided to Medicare and Medicaid patients after May 16, the Associated Press reported.

The Rosebud Service Unit on the neighboring Rosebud Sioux Reservation is facing the same deadline. The emergency room there was placed on "diversion" in December and it looks like the situation will continue for a least a couple more months, The Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported. A "diversion" in the term that the IHS uses a for shutdown in services.

“When you tell us that quality is your priority, it’s hard for us to believe that," Evelyn Espinoza, the health administrator for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, told Mary Smith, the acting director of the IHS, at a meeting last week, the paper reported. "How many more relatives are going to be dying because of this?"

A third facility in the Great Plains -- the Winnebago Service Unit in Nebraska -- lost CMS certification last summer. The hospital serves the Omaha Tribe and the Winnebago Tribe.

Get the Story:
2 reservation hospitals now face funding-cutoff deadline (AP 4/9)
IHS head: Rosebud ER unlikely to re-open soon (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 4/9)
South Dakota hospital set to lose Medicare status (Becker's Hospital Review 4/8)

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

Join the Conversation
Related Stories
New leader of Indian Health Service promises fixes in Great Plains (04/07)
New leader of Indian Health Service plans big trip to Great Plains (03/23)
House subcommittee takes testimony on Indian Country budget (03/21)
Rosebud Sioux Tribe left 'high and dry' by IHS hospital executive (03/21)
Indian Health Service extends comment period on emergency fund (03/11)
Indian Health Service aims to save certification for troubled facility (03/09)
Mary Smith: Bringing more accountability to Indian Health Service (03/09)
New leader of Indian Health Service to testify about budget request (03/08)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs to hold hearing on tribal budget (03/07)
IHS facility on Rosebud Sioux Reservation loses key certification (03/03)
Cherokee Nation citizen Mary Smith to helm Indian Health Service (03/01)
Editorial: Quality of Indian Health Service is a scandal in Montana (02/29)
Mike Myers: Exposing problems at the Indian Homicide Service (02/25)
Rosebud Sioux Tribe frustrated by treatment from HHS agencies (02/17)
Another IHS hospital threatened with loss of Medicare funding (02/16)
Brandon Ecoffey: Treaties guaranteed health care for our people (02/11)
President Obama seeks another increase for Indian Health Service budget (02/10)
Six of 12 Indian Health Service area directors in 'acting' capacity (02/10)
Kristi Noem: Indian Health Service remains in a state of emergency (02/10)
Tribal leaders question management changes at IHS in Great Plains (02/04)
IHS chief medical officer apologizes for comments about newborns (02/04)
Indian Health Service makes changes ahead of big SCIA hearing (2/3)
Witness list for Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing into IHS (2/1)
Inspections of IHS facilities in Great Plains turn up big problems (1/28)
Senate committee reschedules IHS hearing and listening session (01/25)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee expands look at substandard IHS (1/22)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee to look at 'substandard' care at IHS in Great Plains (01/12)
Mary Annette Pember: Native women affected by cutbacks at IHS (12/29)
Lakota Country Times: IHS restricts care at Rosebud hospital (12/24)
Nebraska tribes recognized for efforts to hold IHS accountable (09/24)
Tribes in Nebraska demand resignations of senior IHS officials (08/12)
Winnebago Tribe upset with IHS over loss of funds at hospital (8/6)
Winnebago Tribe looking to address deficiencies at IHS hospital (08/05)
Winnebago Tribe hopes to prevent Medicare cutoff at hospital (5/28)