Indian Health Grabs Spotlight At Meeting!
"The distressing part if that those diseases are preventable", said Jon Perez, director of the Indian Health Service's Division of Behavioral Health. The per capita health expenditure for all Americans will be
estimated at $5,775 but the Indian Health Service only spends about $1,600 per person and on the Navajo Reservation that amount is less than $800 per person.
According to Charles Grim, Indian Health Service director,
Indian health care facilities lack funding and adequate staff. Indian health care can be improved through recruitment and programs for medical professionals as well as cultural training for health care providers. Scholarships, loan repayments and other incentives would help to keep specialists on the job.
After tribal leaders told the commission that the Indian Health Service does not provide specialized treatment or sufficient services and the facilities are under funded and over crowded, Commission Chairwoman Mary Frances Berry said, "I have high hopes that as a result of trying to put the spotlight on the issues Congress can benefit from the discussions that have taken place here as they pass legislation to ultimately benefit these programs."
The hearing came as lawmakers look to review and expand the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. The current Act, which expires this year, is a guide to federal health and education spending for Native American tribes.
This article has been edited from an AP news story bylined Patricia L. Garcia, datelined Albuquerque.