Johnson, Thune, Rounds Introduce Bill to Reform Indian Health Service, Increase Accountability and Transparency

Press Release

Date: Sept. 22, 2022
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) and U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) introduced the Restoring Accountability in the Indian Health Service Act of 2022. A lack of oversight, financial integrity, unmet staffing needs, and employee accountability at the Indian Health Service (IHS) has led to the delivery of substandard health care for patients, families, and communities. This bicameral legislation would increase transparency and accountability at the IHS to ensure Native Americans have access to reliable, quality health care.

"Our tribal communities deserve access to efficient, safe, and high-quality care through the IHS," said Johnson. "The Restoring Accountability in the Indian Health Service Act modernizes the IHS credentialing system and allows IHS to more quickly remove employees who have a history of misconduct. I am proud to advocate and support South Dakota's tribes along with my Senate colleagues to ensure that shortcomings of the IHS are addressed and remedied."

"Our bill would make several critical improvements to the delivery of care at IHS facilities in South Dakota and around the country, and it would hold IHS accountable to Congress and, more importantly, the tribal members they serve," said Thune. "I look forward to continuing to work with members of the South Dakota tribes and my colleagues in Congress to do everything we can to fix the severely broken IHS system once and for all."

"For far too long, the Indian Health Service has failed to provide adequate and reliable health care to tribal members," said Rounds. "This legislation would work to reform IHS to increase accountability and transparency at the agency. Real change needs to happen so IHS can deliver the care the federal government has a trust and treaty obligation to provide to tribal members."

The bill was led by U.S. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and was co-sponsored by U.S. Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), and John Hoeven (R-N.D.).