Indian Health Services

The Pine Ridge Indian Health Services hospital has regained accreditation status and can now bill Medicare for services.  

The Great Plains Area Director for the IHS says the announcement is thanks to lasting changes in facility operations. 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ended its provider agreement with the Pine Ridge IHS facility in 2017, citing the facility’s failure to meet care standards. Losing that agreement meant the facility couldn’t reimburse treatments through those programs

Victoria Wicks

Stanley Patrick Weber will serve the rest of his life in federal prison.

The former Indian Health Services pediatrician was convicted earlier this year of raping and sexually assaulting boys who were his patients at Pine Ridge IHS.

Weber was sentenced in Rapid City federal court on Monday, Feb. 11.

In crafting the sentence, Federal Judge Jeffrey Viken considered the lifelong damage done to each victim.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

Kristina Barker, Wall Street Journal, PBS

Stanley Patrick Weber was convicted Friday, Sept. 27, of 11 counts of sexual abuse against four Pine Ridge boys who were his patients. The former Indian Health Services pediatrician was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney, and trial took place in the federal courthouse in Rapid City.

Weber was previously convicted in Montana of similar charges and sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Weber's crimes garnered national attention, in particular in a joint investigation by PBS's Frontline and the Wall Street Journal.

U.S. Attorney

Stanley Patrick Weber was convicted on Friday, Sept. 27, of 11 counts of sexual abuse against four Pine Ridge boys who were his patients.

The former Indian Health Services pediatrician was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's office, and the trial took place in the federal courthouse in Rapid City.

Weber was previously found guilty in Montana of similar charges and sentenced to 18 years in prison.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks sat through the trial and reported during the week.

Testimony has ended in the federal trial of Stanley Patrick Weber, the former IHS pediatrician accused of sexually assaulting Native boys at Pine Ridge. The trial started Monday, Sept. 23, in Rapid City.

Seven witnesses testified that Weber raped them or made sexual contact with them when they were under the age of 16, going as far back as 1995. All of them are now grown men. Weber is charged with crimes in South Dakota against only four of them.

Weber has chosen not to testify.

PBS Frontline

Jurors in the trial against Stanley Weber heard testimony on Wednesday, Sept. 25, from two men from Montana. They say the former IHS pediatrician sexually assaulted them when they were boys.

Weber faces similar charges in South Dakota from his time at Pine Ridge.

One of the Montana men was transported to Rapid City by federal prison officials from Kentucky, but the other did not answer his subpoena. The parties circumvented the problem with a courtroom version of readers' theater.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this story.

Tuesday, Sept. 24, was the second day of the trial against Stanley Patrick Weber, and we'll start with a warning: This story contains language necessary to tell of allegations of child sexual abuse.

Three men took the stand and testified that the former Indian Health Services pediatrician raped them when they were children. Their stories are similar: Weber first had contact with them when they were patients at the IHS clinic at Pine Ridge.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

A jury has been selected in the trial of a former Indian Health Services pediatrician accused of sexually assaulting young male patients.

The trial began Monday, Sept. 23, at the federal courthouse in Rapid City.

According to federal prosecutors, Stanley Weber, now 70, served at Pine Ridge IHS between 1995 and 2001.

Prosecutors say Weber gained access to children when they were patients in his clinic and eventually invited them to his home, where he gave them food, alcohol, and money, grooming them for sexual activity. The boys ranged in age from 9 to late teens.

Photo by Victoria Wicks

This weekend, July 20 and 21, people gathered at Sioux San in Rapid City to celebrate the opening of the Oyate Health Center.

At midnight Saturday, the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Health Board assumed primary control of management at the Indian Health Services facility.

The celebration started with a reception at 11 p.m. and a ribbon cutting and smudging ceremony an hour later.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

An Indian Health Services doctor convicted of raping adolescent male patients was sentenced in Montana on Thursday, Jan. 17. Stanley Patrick Weber was found guilty by a Great Falls jury in September on four counts of sexual abuse. Weber faces similar charges from his time working with IHS in South Dakota. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has more of this report.

USD Center for Disabilities Establishes Oyate' Circle

May 14, 2018

The University of South Dakota Center for Disabilities is launching an educational outreach effort focused on Native Americans with disabilities. The Oyate’ Circle will host educational workshops in tribal communities. 

Jim Warne is a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe and has more than 20 years of experience running disability-focused training groups in San Diego, California. He’s been hired to lead the new program, and says he’s excited to help his own tribe and others in the state.

Management of the Rapid City Indian Health Services Hospital is in the early stages of transferring from the federal government to area tribes. The Oglala Sioux, Cheyenne River Sioux and Rosebud Sioux Tribes all authorize the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Health Board to operate the facility. 

The Sioux San hospital is a secondary care unit for members of those three tribes. Poor federal inspection results and last year’s proposed closure of the inpatient and emergency departments prompted the tribes to investigate other management options.

Lee Strubinger / SDPB

For about a decade the rate of uninsured Native American children in South Dakota declined by almost fifty percent. In the same period, the rate of uninsured adults went up.

That’s according to a recent study out of Georgetown University, which finds South Dakota is one of two states in the country where that happened.

According to a nationwide study of health insurance coverage rates from 2008 to 2015, the uninsured rate for American Indian and Alaska Native children and families has declined.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Governor Dennis Daugaard says South Dakotans should not expect millions of dollars from IHS. A deal with the Indian Health Service would have covered medical care for Native Americans who qualify for IHS and Medicaid. The governor says that can’t happen for now.

Indian Health Service leaders agreed to cover millions in medical costs that South Dakota picks up using Medicaid. Governor Dennis Daugaard says that arrangement hinged on the state’s expansion of Medicaid. Because that isn’t happening, does the deal still work?

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakotans don’t have answers to many of their health care questions. Between federal administration changes and decisions at the state level, the issue of delivering quality, cost-effective health care is bathed in uncertainty. Local advocates say patients should not panic; instead they say people can better understand the factors at play nationally and within South Dakota – and know that people are fighting for their wellness.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Medicaid expansion in South Dakota may not happen, but many health care providers say they’re not giving up on reforms that could help the working poor. Some health leaders are looking for other ways to deliver medical care to thousands of people.

Doctor Tim Ridgway says the point of the complicated medical system is to take care of people and improve the health of all individuals in communities.

Ridgway says navigating those elements and figuring out how to pay for all of it is an intricate process.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

State lawmakers say improving quality of health care remains a legislative priority. This on the heels of Governor Dennis Daugaard’s announcement that he will not support Medicaid expansion in 2017. That has lawmakers examining work between the state and federal government.

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Lee Strubinger / SDPB

South Dakota Congresswoman Kristi Noem says the Sioux San Indian Health Service hospital in Rapid City will pass federal Medicaid and Medicare accreditation in September.  

Some IHS hospitals in South Dakota have struggled with accreditation and funding this year.

Noem took a  walkthrough Sioux San this week. She says the hospital has had its challenges with CMS accreditation.  She says funding could have been pulled this month but the deadline was pushed back.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

State leaders are talking weekly with federal officials as they work on a change that could prompt Medicaid expansion in South Dakota. Governor Dennis Daugaard says federal leaders need to settle their policy before South Dakotans can decide whether the state can financially support as many as 55,000 more people on Medicaid.

The Medicaid expansion discussion typically falls along party lines. Democrats push for the state to accept federal dollars and change the rules to make more people eligible for the program, while Republican lawmakers and the governor says it’s too expensive.

The Indian Health Service is giving nearly $1 million to prevent methamphetamine use and suicide in South Dakota. The funds are part of more than $13 million awarded nationwide.