South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds is calling for a sweeping investigation into the Indian Health service program.

Rounds released a statement after calling for an investigation on Thursday (February) "Tribal members have been in the midst of a government-induced health care crisis for decades due to poor leadership and mismanagement at the Indian Health Service (IHS). For far too long, tribal members who rely on IHS for health care have faced unimaginable horrors." said Rounds "Troubling reports from a number of IHS facilities have found gross mismanagement, dirty medical equipment, broken sanitizers, and blatant corruption. In one outrageous case, a woman gave birth to her baby on a bathroom floor with no nurses or doctors around to help her. Many of these horror stories happen right here in South Dakota."

Rounds introduced legislation to require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary to launch an assessment of IHS’ health care delivery and financial management processes.

"This is the same bill I introduced last Congress, which passed out of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee with bipartisan support. We’re optimistic we can bring it past the finish line this Congress." said Rounds.

Rounds is citing some of the worst health care in the nation on South Dakota reservations, which could possibly have lead to a lower life expectancy, highest diabetes death rate, highest tuberculosis rates.

A recent report from the Wall Street Journal and a PBS program documented an IHS pediatrician whom they say is also a child predator. Their reports claim the IHS moved this doctor among several reservations in an attempt to cover up the abuse. Although an investigation was launched into how the IHS deals with abuse allegations, Rounds says a more thorough and comprehensive assessment is needed including operations, funding, quality of care and management at the agency.

 

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