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Posts published in “Day: August 5, 2014”

Rethinking a medical system

trahant MARK


At a Billings hearing in May, Sen. Jon Tester expressed frustration about the management of the Indian Health Service.

The Montana Democrat said: “We need to live up to our trust responsibility and offer tribes the health care they deserve. Ongoing issues around service delivery, transportation for critical care, billing and reimbursement issues abound. We need to prioritize these issues and solve them.”

Tester, of course, is chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. So his call for improving the agency is worth considering.

Then again, when former Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) was chairman of the same committee, he also held hearings and published a report about the poor management record at IHS. “The investigation identified mismanagement, lack of employee accountability and financial integrity, as well as insufficient oversight of IHS' Aberdeen Area facilities. These issues impact overall access and quality of health care services provided to Native American patients in the Aberdeen Area. Many of these issues may stem from a greater lack of oversight by the area office and IHS headquarters fostering an environment where employees and management are not held accountable for poor performance.” The year was 2010.

So what kind of progress has the Indian Health Service made during those four years? Unfortunately that’s the wrong question.

In the blink of an eye, the very structure of health care has changed and is continuing to change dramatically in the United States. Yet the structure of the Indian Health Service is the same.

Take the name: Indian Health Service. On the agency’s web page it adds the descriptive line, “The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives.” (more…)

On the front pages


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

AG approves St Lukes takeover of Elks Rehab (Boise Statesman)
Ada County, Caldwell adopt police video (Boise Statesman)
Idaho Co: Nez Perce tribe owes $300K garbage bill (Lewiston Tribune)
Lewiston considering human rights ordinance (Lewiston Tribune)
Army Corps will review pollution at dams (Lewiston Tribune)
City pay raise in Pullman (Moscow News)
McMorris ahead in campaign funds (Moscow News)
Crime down a bit in Moscow (Nampa Press Tribune)
Caldwell chooses dog park location (Nampa Press Tribune)
West Nile mosquitoes on rise again in area (Nampa Press Tribune)
Rains eases fires in southern Idaho (TF Times News)
More whooping cough cases (TF Times News)
Twin Falls annexes land for elementary school (TF Times News)

Wildfire smoke hits lower Willamette (Eugene Register Guard)
Festival of Eugene still trying to organize (Eugene Register Guard)
Wildfires roaring across southern Oregon (KF Herald & News)
Salmon may get more water if die-off happens (KF Herald & News)
Phosphoric acid found on rail car (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Kitzhaber, Hayes note engagement (Salem Statesman Journal) accesses state history database (Salem Statesman Journal)

Gun club gets rejection in Kitsap (Bremerton Sun)
Ellensburg fire still roaring (Yakima Herald Republic, Kennewick Herald)
Army Corps will disclose pollution from dams (Spokane Spokesman, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Kennewick Herald, Longview News)
Lake Crescent wildfire stopped (Port Angeles News)
Seattle cops inadvertently turn on cell tracker (Seattle Times)
Voting deadline is here (Spokane Spokesman)
Benton blasts Inslee on Vancouver port (Vancouver Columbian)
Vancouver considers year-round fireworks (Vancouver Columbian)
WA Supreme Court sends fish/game cases to prosecutors (Yakima Herald Republic)