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Barrasso, Thune Introduce Bill to Reform Indian Health Service

(Photo by ihs.gov)

WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) reintroduced the Restoring Accountability in the Indian Health Service Act of 2022. This legislation, which passed out of the Committee on Indian Affairs with bipartisan support in 2018, will improve the quality and delivery of patient care throughout Indian Country.

Unmet staffing needs and a lack of employee accountability and financial oversight at the Indian Health Service (IHS) have led to substandard health care for patients, families, and communities. This legislation will increase accountability and transparency to ensure Native Americans across the country have access to reliable, quality health care.

“The Indian Health Service (IHS) has continually fallen short in providing high-quality medical care throughout Indian country. These failures are appalling and cannot continue,” said Sen. Barrasso. “Our bill will provide much needed reform at the IHS to ensure tribal members receive the high-quality medical care they deserve. By increasing accountability, transparency and quality of care, our bill will change the culture at the IHS to one that finally puts patients and families first.”

“Our bill would make several critical improvements to the delivery of care at IHS facilities in South Dakota and around the country, and it would hold IHS accountable to Congress and, more importantly, the tribal members they serve,” said Sen. Thune. “I look forward to continuing to work with members of the South Dakota tribes and my colleagues in Congress to do everything we can to fix the severely broken IHS system once and for all.”

U.S. Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Steve Daines (R-M.T.) are original cosponsors of the Restoring Accountability in the Indian Health Service Act of 2022.

Representative Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) is introducing companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“Our tribal communities deserve access to efficient, safe, and high-quality care through the IHS. The Restoring Accountability in the Indian Health Service Act modernizes the IHS credentialing system and allows IHS to more quickly remove employees who have a history of misconduct,” said Rep. Johnson. “I am proud to advocate and support South Dakota’s tribes along with my Senate colleagues to ensure that shortcomings of the IHS are addressed and remedied.”

A full text of the legislation can be found here.

A section-by-section summary can be found here.

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