Tribes of the Sioux San, Authorize Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board to Assume Management of the Rapid City IHS Hospital

Rapid City, SD – In a move described as “a historic, self-governance effort at a magnitude never before initiated in the Great Plains”, the Oglala Sioux Tribe, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe announced that they have authorized the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s’ Health Board (GPTCHB) to assume the management of the Sioux San Hospital.  The three tribes each passed separate resolutions to allow the GPTCHB to negotiate for the operation of Rapid City Service Unit, including construction PSFAs for a new facility under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act.


This action follows a decision made by the Indian Health Service (IHS) to temporarily close of the Sioux San Hospital Emergency Department and to begin focusing its services on outpatient and urgent care in September 2016.  In July of 2017, IHS gave notice to Congress that it intends to permanently close the inpatient and emergency departments of the Sioux San Hospital, a change the Tribes have vehemently objected. The Tribal resolutions formalize the Unified Health Board as the advisory board to which tribes will appoint members to guide the GPTCHB regarding the planning for the Rapid City Service Unit and any new facility construction to replace the hospital.  The Tribes declaratively stated that they are choosing to exercise their rights for the Tribal assumption of the IHS PSFAs, citing a desire to assure continuity of care as well as confidence in GPTCHB’s proven experience and expertise in program administration. Other Tribes across the nation have taken similar action since ISDEAA Title V statute was passed in 2000, repeatedly demonstrating that doing so increases transparency and accountability to the Tribes served. 


The resolutions come after months of discussion and much inter-Tribal deliberation about how to solve the crisis-level issues which have plagued the federal health programs directly administered by the IHS.  Chronic underfunding and inability to adequately staff facilities had severely affected the quality of care for Tribal members throughout the Great Plains Area.  Tribes are confident that significant improvements will result under a self-managed system. The next steps will be for the GPTCHB to provide notice to the IHS requesting Pre-award and Start-up funding for the planning and implementation of this historical transition from federal to the Tribal management of the Service Unit.


Founded in 1986, Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board serves as an advocate and liaison to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) entities, including the Indian Health Service, and state and local partners on behalf of its 17 member tribes and one Indian Service Area in the Great Plains states of South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa. In addition, GPTCHB works with tribal communities through its multifaceted research, preventive, outreach, academic, recovery support, technical assistance and epidemiologic programs to improve the health status of and eradicate health disparities among the region’s 170,000 tribal members.


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The Rosebud Indian Reservation (RIR) is an Indian reservation in South Dakota, United States. It is the home of the federally recognized Sicangu Oyate
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