WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, today joined U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, Indian Health Service Acting Director Michael Weahkee, and tribal leaders to discuss priorities and improvements for the Indian Health Service (IHS).
The White House brought in tribal chairmen from around the country and asked that Secretary Price and Senator Hoeven, Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, meet with them. Mark Fox of the Three Affiliated Tribes flew in today to attend the meeting. The leaders discussed how the Indian Health Service could be improved, and other important issues.
During the meeting, Hoeven stressed the need to preserve and build upon the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.
“It’s important that Congress, the administration and tribal leaders maintain an active and open dialogue as we work together to improve patient care,” according to Hoeven.
The senator also highlighted legislation he recently introduced alongside Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and John Thune (R-SD) to increase accountability and transparency at the Indian Health Service (IHS).
The Restoring Accountability at the Indian Health Service Act would make several critical improvements to the delivery of care at IHS facilities, including expanding removal and discipline authorities for problem employees at the agency and requiring the Secretary of HHS to issue standards to measure the timeliness of health care services provided to patients. The legislation also includes provisions to strengthen the recruitment and retention of competent medical staff and leadership.