"I had a productive meeting with Dr. Grim," Thune said. "I thanked him for his cooperation in keeping Wagner's emergency room available until October, while a long-term solution is explored. I again brought to his attention the outdated status of the impact study that IHS is required to produce before any IHS facility closures can be approved. Dr. Grim assured me he is willing to work together on this and other important health issues impacting Native Americans in South Dakota.
"With the Department of Veterans Affairs' plans to construct a Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Wagner, I also brought to Dr. Grim's attention the idea of integrating the VA's outpatient clinic with the Wagner Service Unit, which could bring about some efficiencies to the facility. I will continue to explore ways we can anchor the Wagner Service Unit's emergency room service so it is kept open on a long-term basis to care for the families of the Wagner community.
"In addition to discussing the Wagner emergency room, I was also pleased to bring the issue of funding for Urban Indian Health programs to Dr. Grim's attention. I'm hopeful the Urban Indian Health program will be funded at last year's levels, and I will be joining some of my colleagues in sending a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee to make this request in the near future."