Jul 23, 2019

The Indian Health Service is still in turmoil

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Indian Health Service remains deeply troubled, according to two new reports released yesterday from the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General.

Why it matters: The IHS is responsible for more than 2 million Native Americans — a population that tends to need a lot of care, much of it specialized. Yet the IHS has been beset for years by underfunding and mismanagement.

Driving the news: IHS hospitals often do not follow protocols for dispensing opioids, and they don't use states' prescription drug monitoring programs to track opioid prescriptions, the OIG said.

  • Hospitals within the IHS system also don't have strong cybersecurity protections in place, according to the audit (although that's not unique to IHS facilities).

A separate audit details one of the highest-profile examples of the IHS' shortcomings — the staffing shortages and safety problems that prompted the government to temporarily close the emergency department in IHS' Rosebud hospital, in South Dakota, in 2015.

The other side: Some tribes seem to be able to do better on their own.

  • Kaiser Health News spotlights Cherokee Indian Hospital in North Carolina — a new, 20-bed facility practicing an integrated care model that's performing well on metrics like controlling tribal members' blood pressure and blood sugar.

Yes, but: The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, which operates the North Carolina hospital, was in a unique position to opt out of the IHS, thanks to a casino whose revenues largely paid for the new hospital.

  • “Not all tribal communities have access to the economic opportunities that we have,” Casey Cooper, the hospital's CEO, told KHN. “Some tribes are in these desolate, remote locations where there are no natural resources or economic development opportunities. I get that.”

Go deeper: Government shutdown hits Native Americans especially hard

Go deeper

George Floyd updates

Protesters gather north of Lafayette Square near the White House during a demonstration against racism and police brutality, in Washington, D.C. on Saturday evening. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Tens of thousands of demonstrators have been rallying in cities across the U.S. and around the world to protest the killing of George Floyd. Huge crowds assembled in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Chicago for full-day events on Saturday.

Why it matters: Twelve days of nationwide protest in the U.S. has built pressure for states to make changes on what kind of force law enforcement can use on civilians and prompted officials to review police conduct. A memorial service was held for Floyd in Raeford, North Carolina, near where he was born. Gov. Roy Cooper ordered all flags to fly at half-staff to honor him until sunset.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 6,889,889 — Total deaths: 399,642 — Total recoveries — 3,085,326Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 1,920,061 — Total deaths: 109,802 — Total recoveries: 500,849 — Total tested: 19,778,873Map.
  3. Public health: Why the pandemic is hitting minorities harder — Coronavirus curve rises in FloridaHow racism threatens the response to the pandemic Some people are drinking and inhaling cleaning products in attempt to fight the virus.
  4. Tech: The pandemic is accelerating next-generation disease diagnostics — Robotics looks to copy software-as-a-service model.
  5. Business: Budgets busted by coronavirus make it harder for cities to address inequality Sports, film production in California to resume June 12 after 3-month hiatus.
  6. Education: Students and teachers flunked remote learning.
Updated 6 hours ago - World

In photos: People around the world rally against racism

Despite a ban on large gatherings implemented in response to the coronavirus pandemic, protesters rally against racism in front of the American Embassy in Paris on June 6. Photo: Julien Mattia/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Tens of thousands of people have continued to rally in cities across the world against racism and show their support this week for U.S. demonstrators protesting the death in police custody of George Floyd.

Why it matters: The tense situation in the U.S. has brought the discussion of racism and discrimination onto the global stage at a time when most of the world is consumed by the novel coronavirus.