April 27, 2009

Nominee to Head Indian Health Service Appears Before Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Indian Health Service (IHS), Dr. Yvette D. Roubideaux, appeared before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee Thursday, April 23 and was warmly received. Both Chairman Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Vice Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) indicated they intend to vote for her confirmation.
Dorgan has scheduled a vote on the nomination at a committee business meeting on Thursday, April 30, where Dr. Roubideaux is expected to win approval. Her nomination will then move to the full U.S. Senate. If confirmed, she would become the first Native American woman to lead the Indian Health Service.
At the hearing, Dr. Roubideaux told the committee her four top priorities at IHS would be to: (1) strengthen IHS partnerships with tribes; (2) reform IHS;(3) improve quality and access to health care for Native Americans; (4) and make sure that IHS is transparent, accountable and fair with all patients.
Also testifying at Roubideaux’s nomination hearing was Dr. Gerald Hill, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, President of the Association of American Indian Physicians. He also supported Roubideaux’s nomination.
You can view the full hearing by clicking here. Documents from the hearing are available by clicking here.
The IHS is responsible for fulfilling the federal government’s trust responsibility to provide health care for the members of 562 federally recognized tribes throughout the United States, which is about 1.9 million Native Americans and Alaska Natives who live on or near Indian reservations. The IHS has approximately 700 health facilities within its service delivery areas. The 2009 annual IHS budget is approximately $3.58 billion.