Johnson Bill Reforms Indian Health Service

Johnson Bill Reforms Indian Health Service

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) reintroduced the Restoring Accountability in the Indian Health Service Act of 2024 to improve quality and delivery of patient care.

Due to a lack of oversight, financial integrity, staffing needs, and employee shortcomings at the Indian Health Service (IHS), tribal patients have been receiving substandard care for far too long.

“Tribal communities deserve access to efficient, safe, and high-quality care through the IHS,” said Johnson. “This bill would bring necessary changes to improve the quality of service and care for tribal members.

Background:

The Restoring Accountability in the Indian Health Service Act of 2024 seeks to improve the delivery of care for Native Americans relying on IHS by promoting the recruitment and retention of staff, best practices on information-sharing, cultural awareness, and accountability. Specifically, the bill:

  • Incentivizes recruitment and retention of staff by establishing a competitive pay system and expanding eligibility for IHS loan repayment program.
  • Strengthens information-sharing practices between IHS and state medical boards on provider professional conduct violations.
  • Establishes a tribal consultation policy with IHS.
  • Directs IHS to establish standards for timeliness of care.
  • Protects whistleblowers from retaliation.
  • Promotes fiscal accountability and requires reports on spending at all levels of IHS.
  • Requires HHS Inspector General to report on patient harm/deaths and deferrals/denials of care in Service units.

U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-W.Y.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) are leading similar legislation in the Senate.

A full text of the legislation can be found here.

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