Emergency rooms shut down for months. Hospital policies putting it’s patients at risk for opioid abuse and overdoses. A longtime pediatrician charged with sexually abusing children.
The federal agency that administers health care to more than 2.5 million Indigenous Americans has been plagued with problems seemingly since it’s inception. Money, staffing, infrastructure, health disparities and lack of accountability all have played a part. A federal report released this week said things won’t get better unless the Indian Health Service takes a serious look at its organizational structure across the board. The report by the US Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General is meant to maintain pressure on a division that operates within them. The agency recently released a five-year plan to address access to health care, quality, management and operators.
Health and Human Services says change will take time but for Indigenous Americans whose life expectancy is the lowest in our nation, this kind of waiting game is deadly.