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Rounds Statement on HHS Inspector General Report of Rosebud Hospital Emergency Department Closure and Reopening

Report shows poor planning, systemic mismanagement and staffing problems

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) made the following statement after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report on the Indian Health Service’s (IHS) management of the closure and reopening of the Rosebud Hospital Emergency Department:


“The OIG report examining the closure and reopening of the Rosebud Hospital Emergency Department underscores the need for a comprehensive assessment of IHS,” said Rounds. “While the report’s findings are disappointing, they are not surprising. For years, I have pushed for a comprehensive assessment of the agency because we’ve heard countless stories from tribal members about the horrors of receiving treatment at an IHS facility. This year, I again introduced legislation to require an assessment of IHS, and I will pursue all avenues to make sure the IHS is held accountable for its shortcomings. This week’s OIG report proves that the IHS has not made significant efforts to improve its facilities or the care it delivers to tribal members. IHS has a trust and treaty responsibility to provide proper health care to tribal members and it continues to fail in its duty. By evaluating and analyzing the systemic problems at IHS, we will be able to fully understand the needs of the agency and, in consultation with the tribes, work toward long-term solutions that will benefit those who use IHS for their health care.”


In 2015, IHS decided to close the Rosebud Emergency Department after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) placed the Rosebud Hospital on “Immediate Jeopardy” deficiency status due to multiple failures by the service to provide adequate and timely treatment to at least four patients. When questioned by the OIG, IHS officials and hospital staff attributed those deficiencies to insufficient staffing, inconsistent leadership and lack of oversight and communication by the IHS Area Office. Just one year after the reopening of the Rosebud Emergency Department in July 2016, CMS again cited the hospital with “Immediate Jeopardy” deficiencies in the Emergency Department. The OIG report found that many of the issues that led to the initial closure at the Emergency Department remained: lack of leadership, difficulty maintaining staff and a failure on the part of the hospital and the Great Plains Area Office to maintain policies, procedures and training.


The OIG report on IHS’ management of the Rosebud Hospital Emergency Department closure and reopening can be found HERE.


Rounds has introduced legislation that would require a comprehensive assessment of the IHS. Information on his legislation can be found HERE