Tribe wants to operate Winnebago hospital - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Tribe wants to operate Winnebago hospital



Problems at the Winnebago Hospital began to surface ten years ago.

"Surveys were conducted by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and as a result of those surveys there have been many deficiencies identified." said Frank White, Winnebago Tribal Chairman.

This included nurses refusing to serve patients that needed service.

After the death of an individual in 2014, another survey found 25 deficiencies at the hospital.

On July 22, 2015 the Indian Health Services lost certification at the hospital.

Since then, the tribe says they have worked with the Indian Health Services to make sure the problem is getting fixed.

"Their response every time we've met is that they are working on re-certification." said White.

But, White says the tribe hasn't seen that.

"There hasn't been any progress made towards that re-certification. We are continually told that they can not recruit the staff that is needed to get re-certified. That's one of the excuses that they've been making." said White.

The tribe has decided the best option for them is to seek self-governance of the hospital.

"We've been at this for a little over two years now and we've been putting pieces together concerning the Indian Health Service and we've reached a point to where we are definitely going to take this move." said White.

They say this is a necessary step to meet their citizens needs.

Tribal officials have called a 1:00 pm press conference Tuesday afternoon to spell out steps the tribe will take toward self-governance of the Winnebago Hospital.

Indian Health Service spokesperson Leonda Levchuck has issued the following statement as a response to the Winnebago Tribe's actions.

"Tribes have the right to assume responsibility for providing health care to their members and to operate and manage health care programs or services previously provided by IHS, subject to certain requirements. IHS recognizes that tribal leaders and members are in the best position to understand the health care needs and priorities of their communities. Our Self-Determination program is designed to ensure the successful transition from federal to tribal control of health care services by offering information, technical assistance, and policy coordination. We look forward to working closely with the Winnebago Tribe as they work toward entering into self-governance."

Previous Story:

The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska wants to take over operation of the Winnebago Hospital.

The Tribal Council has voted to initiate the self- governance process.

The Tribe plans to ask that the Indian Health Service enter into negotiations so the Tribe can assume operations of the hospital by July 1 of next year.

In 2015, the hospital lost Medicare funding because of deficiencies that officials say put patients in jeopardy.

Tribal officials say they are highly concerned about the loss of CMS certification and the inability of the Indian Health Service to restore certification and improve patient care.

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