The report focused on the IHS Winnebago Hospital in Winnebago, Neb. In 2015, CMS revoked the hospital’s Medicare and Medicaid certification, citing “immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety.” The Winnebago Tribal Council has taken its concerns to the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in hopes of remedying the dangerous conditions and lack of funding prevalent in IHS hospitals.
Tori Kitcheyan, treasurer of the Winnebago Tribal Council, has personally dealt with the detrimental effects:
Losing a loved one there and knowing that many of our other tribal members have lost their lives or have been misdiagnosed hits home. It hurts to know that our people still have to go there … The health care that we have here, it’s like Third World healthcare.
With more than 25% of Native Americans in the United States uninsured, the failings of the IHS pose a direct threat to the health of what is already one of the country’s most underserved populations.