O’Halleran Urges Indian Health Services to Provide Tribes with Guidance, Resources

March 17, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON—Today, Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) sent a letter to Rear Admiral Michael D. Weahkee, the top official at the Indian Health Services (IHS), voicing his concerns that tribal leaders and health officials are neither receiving adequate guidance from IHS, nor the resources that they need in a timely manner. 

“Native American communities, Native Nations, and tribal groups make up roughly 25% of the population in Arizona’s First Congressional District,” began Rep. O’Halleran. “Their health care needs are unique, and we must ensure they are not being overlooked as we continue to address the spread of the Coronavirus.

“I am concerned that tribal leaders and tribal public health officials I talk to are frustrated by the lack of information and resources they are receiving from the Indian Health Services. I hope to receive a swift response from Rear Admiral Weahkee on this matter, and will continue to perform close oversight of the agency as we work together to address this public health crisis.”

In the letter, O’Halleran asks:

  1. What is the agency doing to ensure that Tribes who are operating health care clinics and hospitals pursuant to Public Law 93-638 have the necessary supplies and resources amid a rapid increase in confirmed cases?
  2. Similarly, does the agency have the necessary supplies and resources to treat patients in direct service clinics and hospitals?
  3. Does the agency intend to work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response to ensure that tribal health care providers have access to the Strategic National Stockpile so they can safely treat patients?

View the full letter, here.