The problems under investigation in the Billings Area Indian Health Service are not unique in the national system. Twice, the Aberdeen Area IHS office in South Dakota has been investigated by the federal government, once in 1993 and again in 2010. In 1993, then-U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., requested the GAO conduct a study of IHS employment practices, specifically in the areas of salaries and recruitment programs. “Scrutiny over the management of Indian Health Service has been a continual concern over the past decade,” said U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. “The federal government has a treaty and responsibility to provide quality health care to American Indians throughout the United States.” Johnson said he will continue to engage with IHS to ensure high quality standards are met when it comes to management, staffing and patient care. [Cindy Uken, Billings Gazette]From the Rapid City Journal:
U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., said Wednesday that he added language to a Veterans Affairs funding bill that would put the realignment of VA medical facilities in Hot Springs and elsewhere on hold. The language, Johnson said, is in a bill attached to the Senate version of the 2015 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriation Bill.It would be a ridiculous exercise for President Obama to fire VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and engage in another confirmation spectacle with the earth haters.
Democrats should honor Shinseki's decades of service then move on a merger of the two services: urge Senator Tester and Senator Johnson to hold hearings on that consideration.