Thursday, March 10, 2016

Udall addressing crisis at IHS

Testimony on the crisis in the Indian Health Service was held in the US Senate Wednesday.

South Dakota's congressional delegation has dropped the ball on medical care funding for America's least fortunate but Democrats are moving forward.
Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico), the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies plans to question Smith about those quality of care issues, according to his office. The emergency room at the Rosebud Hospital in South Dakota has been "diverted" -- a term the IHS uses for a temporary or extended closure. "The conditions recently reported at facilities in the Great Plains region are horrific and unacceptable," Udall said at a Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing last month. He pointed out that the Crownpoint Health Care Facility on the New Mexico portion of the Navajo Nation was subjected to a similar diversion for one month last summer. [indianz]
New Mexico has a high number of people with insurance through Medicaid and like South Dakota many are American Indians.
Full Medicaid coverage now extends to 748,000 adults and children — about 36 percent of New Mexico's 2.1 million residents, according to the state Human Service Department. New Mexico expects Medicaid enrollment to expand by June 2017 to 38 percent of the population. About 13 percent of residents remain uninsured. [Santa Fe New Mexican]
342,000 patients visited the emergency departments of the three biggest New Mexico medical providers in 2015. Forty percent were Medicaid patients.
Nationwide, three-quarters of emergency physicians have seen ER visits surge among Medicaid and other newly insured people since Obamacare took effect, according to a survey by the American College of Emergency Physicians. Many of these patients believed they had no other place to go and some had never gone anywhere else to receive health care. Thus, the Medicaid expansion has saved Albuquerque hospitals millions of dollars, because hospitals are now compensated for those patients, data compiled by the health systems show. Steve McKernan, CEO of UNMH, said his ER staffers have made many referrals to Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless and First Nations Community Healthsource. [Albuquerque Journal]
The costs of the Republican sequester and keeping the Battle Mountain Veterans Administration facility open for about thirty residents have raised concerns that Hot Springs can’t be adapted to meet the VA’s criteria for continued use.

don Juan Thune and South Dakota’s teabagger congressional delegation are doing diddly squat to fund the Indian Health Service or the Veterans Administration working at cross-purposes with Republican Governor Daugaard. It's the same in Wyoming.

Until Democrats regain the US Senate nothing will change.

South Dakota's experiment with a GOP-dominated congressional delegation and Statehouse has failed so many generations that to some suicide looks like the only way out of lives twisted by a special brand of torture.

The Lakota People's Law Project is seeking funding for foster families and homes after SD Department of Social Services employees in Rapid City committed abuses of the Indian Child Welfare Act. The state seizes about 750 American Indian kids every year reaping nearly a billion federal dollars since ICWA was enacted.
This is not about just a legal ruling in the latest round of battling over the state's violation of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). This is about the halting of genocide in America. South Dakota has been committing blatant genocide against the Sioux people in violation of subsection (e) by transferring Indian children to white homes, and also of subsection (b) amid allegations of sexual abuse and drugging of Native children in DSS foster care. This is one version of what the world has come to know as ethnic cleansing. [Albert Bender]
South Dakota is in the eye of a truth and reconciliation hurricane.
The South Dakota congressional outfit talks out of both sides of their mouths about the VA hospital in Hot Springs. The power of votes and money is in Rapid City where there are plans for a new VA hospital. Veterans deserve more respect. Quit using them as cannon fodder for the benefit of powerful corporations. [Marvin Kammerer]
I like the idea of rolling the funding for Tricare, Medicare, the IHS and the VA together then offering Medicaid for all by increasing the estate tax, raising taxes on tobacco and adopting a carbon tax. Reproductive freedoms should be included unconditionally just like the military does under Tricare.

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