Indian Health Service facility faulted for treatment of 6-month-old

The Sioux San Hospital is an Indian Health Service facility in Rapid City, South Dakota. Photo by Colorado National Guard Medical Detachment / Flickr

A six-month-old boy suffered a seizure after a provider at an Indian Health Service facility in South Dakota failed to consider his full medical needs, the Associated Press reports.

The boy was taken to the Sioux San Hospital in Rapid City by his mother in April, according to a inspection report obtained by the AP. The first provider diagnosed him with a "viral respiratory infection" and sent him home without getting information about his medical history, the AP said.

When the mother returned 12 hours later, a different provider discovered that the boy had a history of respiratory distress. He ended up suffering a seizure and had to be placed in intensive care in another facility, the AP reported.

“The Hospital failed to provide a medical screening examination (MSE) that was, within reasonable clinical confidence, sufficient to determine whether or not an Emergency Medical Condition (EMC) existed," the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Service wrote in the inspection report obtained by the AP. The first provider acknowledged that he would have acted differently had he known about the boy's history, the AP said.

The CMS has given the IHS until May 28 to come up with a corrective plan. Unless changes are made, Sioux San will lose its ability to bill for Medicaid and Medicare on June 15.

"These deficiencies substantially limit the hospital's capacity to render adequate care and constitute and immediate and serious threat to the health and safety of patients," Steven Chickering, an associate regional administrator at the CMS, said in a May 23 letter to Sioux San.

The facility serves a large urban Indian population in Rapid City. Tribal members from other parts of South Dakota and from neighboring states also go there for services that may not available in their communities.

Sioux San is the third hospital in the Great Plains Area to come under scrutiny. Last summer, the Winnebago Service Unit, which serves the Omaha Tribe and the Winnebago Tribe, lost CMS certification after the IHS failed to correct known problems.

A cut-off was averted at the Rosebud Service Unit and the Pine Ridge Service Unit, both in South Dakota, after the IHS reached agreements with the CMS that will run for the next year while improvements are made.

Get the Story:
South Dakota Indian hospital threatened with funds cutoff (AP 5/24)
IHS hospital in 'immediate jeopardy,' feds say (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 5/24)

Government Accountability Office Report:
INDIAN HEALTH SERVICE: Actions Needed to Improve Oversight of Patient Wait Times (April 29, 2016)

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
Another Indian Health Service facility in Great Plains threatened (5/23)
Roger Birdbear: Obamacare can help address shortfalls at IHS (5/23)
Indian Health Service hires contractor to run emergency rooms (05/18)
Indian Health Service questioned over efforts in troubled region (5/16)
Sen. Rounds seeking support for audit into Indian Health Service (5/12)
Mike Myers: Indian Health Service carries out cultural colonization (05/09)
Lakota Country Times: Rosebud Sioux Tribe sues IHS over shutdown (05/06)
Sen. Rounds to seek system-wide review of Indian Health Service (05/05)
Indian Health Service reaches agreements for troubled facilities (05/02)
Indian Health Service faulted for lengthy waits in patient care (04/29)
Rosebud Sioux Tribe sues Indian Health Service over 'crisis' in care (04/28)
John Thune: Tribal citizens suffer at hands of Indian Health Service (04/27)
Rosebud Sioux Tribe kept in dark about IHS emergency room contract (04/25)
Bill aims to restore some 'RESPECT' in dealings with Native people (04/20)
Indian Health Service seeks new contracts for emergency rooms (04/20)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala leader demands closure of IHS office (04/18)
President of Oglala Sioux Tribe welcomes scrutiny of IHS hospital (04/12)
Indian Health Service sued for patient death in Great Plains Area (04/11)
Mike Rounds: Indian Health Service creates crisis in Great Plains (04/11)
Indian Health Service failing to make progress in troubled region (04/11)
New leader of Indian Health Service promises fixes in Great Plains (04/07)
Indian Health Service recommended hospital executive for DC job (04/07)
New leader of Indian Health Service plans big trip to Great Plains (03/23)
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)
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)
Six of 12 Indian Health Service area directors in 'acting' capacity (02/10)
President Obama seeks another increase for Indian Health Service budget (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 Senate hearing (02/03)
Witness list for Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing into IHS (02/01)
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)