Much of the Stimulus Money for Native American Care Will Replace Two Facilities

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , May 18, 2009

About half of the $500 million in federal stimulus funds released to improve Native American healthcare last week will be used to replace two Indian Health Services hospitals, one in Eagle Butte, SD, and the other in Nome, AK, the Indian Health Service has announced.

The $227 million will build a hospital for a population of 9,300 American Indians in the Cheyenne River area of South Dakota as well as replace a 61-year-old hospital for the 10,000 population Norton Sound area in Alaska.

Another $100 million will be used to improve Indian health buildings, including making them more energy efficient. About $85 million will be spent on advancing electronic medical records, $68 million to improve sanitation facilities, and $20 million will go for better medical equipment, including ambulances and CT scanners.

The government did not release total spending in each of the 29 states to receive money, but the big winners in terms of the number of programs funded are Arizona, 96 projects; Oklahoma, 87; California, 78; Alaska, 72; and New Mexico, 68. About 302 maintenance and improvement projects received allocations.

"These Recovery Act funds will provide critical assistance to American Indian and Alaska Native Communities," said IHS director Yvette Roubideaux. "These funds will help improve health care, create jobs and make our native communities stronger."

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