02.28.17

Rounds Introduces Bill to Audit Indian Health Service

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today introduced legislation to provide for a comprehensive audit of the Indian Health Service (IHS). This bill would require the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to use existing funds to contract with an independent firm to assess the state of IHS.

“The inadequate care being delivered at IHS facilities across the country has reached crisis level,” said Rounds. “It is a serious issue that requires tangible solutions. An outside audit of the failing agency – which has never been done before despite its ongoing problems – will help us better understand where the problems lie so that the federal government, working in close collaboration with the tribes, can take steps forward to fix them. Only after identifying specific areas of concerns through the audit can we make the necessary changes to fulfill the federal government’s trust responsibility of delivering timely, adequate health care to tribal members.”

Rounds then sent a letter to the Inspector General of HHS in July 2016, requesting an audit of the financial aspects of hospital and health care, medical services and overall financial management at IHS. HHS was only able to fulfill a portion of the audit request submitted by Rounds.

Rounds’ request for a comprehensive audit of IHS is supported by the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association, which passed a resolution in 2016 calling upon Congress to demand an audit of IHS. Earlier this year, the South Dakota State Legislature passed a resolution urging Congress to audit IHS. 

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