Thursday, an entrepreneur with a goal to create healthcare equality for Native Americans called Indian Health Services a ‘third world healthcare system’.
IHS is the federal agency responsible for all medical care on tribal lands.
The latest statistics we could find from 2014 said IHS spent about $3,100 per person on health services that year. In comparison, $8,100 is the average amount spent per person, per year in the U.S.
James Driving Hawk, the IHS Great Plains Area Director said there’s just never enough funding from the federal government. But, he said they’re still working to improve care on reservations with what they have.
He said aging medical facilities on tribal lands across the state are the highest priority. Many of the hospitals have not been updated in 15 to 25 years.
“Our budget for new facilities is very limited, and so, consequently we have to stand in line and wait for our funding,” Driving Hawk added.
He told us Standing Rock’s hospital is first on the list; next is Belcourt’s.
This discussion to update North Dakota’s tribal hospitals began over a year ago. IHS is still in the planning stages as of now.