Recent Press Releases

Washington, DC —  Due to the Indian Health Service's plan to shift its Wagner Service Unit (WSU) emergency room service from a 24-7 operation to a 7AM to 11PM Monday through Saturday operation, Senator Thune offered a measure that would allow dollars allocated for staff quarters to be used to keep the current emergency room hours.

"The entire Wagner community supports keeping the current level of operations at the WSU emergency room," said Senator Thune. "That is why I have been aggressively exploring ways to prevent the reduction in emergency room hours."

The measure (S. 2174) offered by Senator Thune would have allowed the IHS to use $500,000 to keep the emergency room open for a period of time to allow for other funding options to be examined. In the waning hours before the Senate adjourned for the year, Senator Thune attempted to pass his bill by unanimous consent, but it was met with resistance from some Senate Democrats.

"The majority of the Indian Affairs Committee, including Chairman McCain, as well as the entire Republican caucus, thought this was a good bill worthy of passage," said Thune. "This was a good compromise measure that contained concessions on my part and on the part of IHS and it was the last best chance to keep the emergency room open.

"I will continue to work to find ways to solve the problems faced by the Yankton Sioux Tribe."

Senator Thune has also been in contact with Dr. Grim, Director of IHS, and has requested that he keep the emergency room open.