U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) attended today’s Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) hearing to discuss his Restoring Accountability in the Indian Health Service Act of 2017 (S. 1250), legislation that would improve the quality and delivery of patient care throughout Indian Country. Thune joined Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) in introducing S. 1250 on May 25, 2017.
Last year, Thune introduced similar legislation that was ultimately the subject of a June 2016 SCIA field hearing and listening session in Rapid City, South Dakota, that examined the quality of care delivered by the Indian Health Service (IHS).
Thune’s opening statement:
“The Indian Health Service just continues to underperform, and the consequences continue to negatively impact the quality of care, with sometimes devastating consequences.
“So, what we see is taxpayer dollars get wasted, patients are put at risk.
“We have significant problems at the facilities in South Dakota, even after two IHS facilities had entered into Systems Improvement Agreements with CMS, they continue to find serious deficiencies at both facilities.
“These systemic problems are what prompted Sens. Barrasso, Hoeven, and I to introduce the Restoring Accountability in the IHS Act, which is one of the issues that we’re here to discuss today.
“It’s long past time to address the problems with IHS. They have been identified time and time and time again.
“This bill is aimed at giving the Indian Health Service and the tribes the tools they need to provide quality care for patients.
“Our tribes just deserve better than the status quo, and this hearing, I think, is an important first step in getting these reforms passed through Congress and hopefully to the president’s desk for his signature.”