WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA), today met with tribal leaders and representatives from the National Indian Health Board to discuss needed improvements in the quality and delivery of Indian health care.
“To raise the quality of life throughout Native communities, we must ensure that tribal members and families have access to quality and reliable health care,” Hoeven said. “This is often not the case for the many individuals whose sole option for a health care provider is the Indian Health Service. Tribes deserve better – that’s why we’re working to reform the broken health care system for Natives.”
“Our committee is currently working with members from the House and Senate to co-introduce legislation that will increase accountability for the Indian Health Service. I am optimistic that this collaborative effort with tribes, the agency and key partners such as the National Indian Health Board will be the necessary first step to improve patient care in Indian country.”
As chairman, Hoeven has made Indian health care a top priority for the committee. In March, the SCIA held an oversight hearing on the Indian Health Service’s Special Diabetes Program for Indians and passed out of committee S. 304, the Tribal Veterans Health Care Enhancement Act. The bill, sponsored by Senator John Thune (R-SD) and cosponsored by Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD), will allow the Indian Health Service to cover the co-payments of Native veterans.