Great Plains tribes testify on bill to reform Indian Health Service

Tribal leader from the Great Plains attended a Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing in Washington, D.C, on February 3, 2016. Photo by Indianz.Com

Leaders of tribes that have been deeply affected by problems at the Indian Health Service are testifying on a bill to reform the troubled agency.

The Tuesday afternoon hearing on H.R.5406, the Helping Ensure Accountability, Leadership, and Trust in Tribal Healthcare Act (HEALTTH Act), features witnesses from the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, the Omaha Tribe and the Winnebago Tribe. The three tribes have been hit hard by reductions in services at facilities in their communities after the IHS failed to correct long-standing problems in the Great Plains Area.

The HEALTTH Act aims to address some of their concerns by encouraging more tribal partnerships, improving employee recruitment, hiring and discipline policies, and making updates to the Purchased/Referred Care Program. The bill also requires the IHS to establish regulations to "measure the timeliness of the provision of health care services" in response to complaints about long wait times at facilities.

The hearing, which will be webcast, takes place at 2pm in Room 1334 of the Longworth House Office Building. The full witness list follows:
PANEL I
The Honorable Kristi Noem
Congresswoman from South Dakota

PANEL II
Ms. Mary Smith
Principal Deputy Director
Indian Health Service
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Honorable William Bear Shield
Chairman
Rosebud Sioux Tribal Health Board
Rosebud, SD

The Honorable Vernon Miller
Chairman
Omaha Tribe of Nebraska
Macy, NE

Ms. Victoria Kitcheyan
Secretary
Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska
Winnebago, NE

Ms. Jerilyn Church
Chief Executive Officer
Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board Rapid City, SD

Ms. Stacy Bohlen
Executive Director
National Indian Health Board
Washington, DC

House Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs Notice:
Legislative Hearing on the "HEALTTH Act" (July 12, 2016)

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