Group’s Lack of Hospital Stirs Contemporary Debate Over Indian Well being Service

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The hospital is federally run by the Indian Well being Service, primarily based in Rockville, Md. The company was created to hold out the federal government’s treaty obligations to supply well being care providers to eligible American Indians and Alaskan Natives.

Located 60 miles west of Albuquerque, the Acoma-Cañoncito-Laguna Service Unit serves about 126,000 sufferers a 12 months. Earlier than scaling again its providers, it had 25 inpatient beds and served round 9,100 tribal residents from the encompassing tribes. The hospital has been in operation for the reason that mid-Seventies and supplied inpatient and outpatient care, together with dental, optometry, pharmaceutical and medical emergency providers.

Coronavirus instances for the Acoma Pueblo, which has about 3,000 residents, have spiked not too long ago, together with 100 in early November after zero reported instances in September.

The workplace within the Albuquerque space is one in every of I.H.S.’s 12 service areas and serves 20 Pueblos, two Apache bands, three Navajo chapters and two Ute tribes throughout 4 southwest states. There are 5 hospitals, 11 well being facilities and 12 discipline clinics serving the residents of the realm.

Wendy Sarracino, 57, a neighborhood well being consultant for the Acoma individuals, mentioned that when her son broke his leg, she needed to cease at two hospital earlier than he may obtain the care he wanted. On the time of his harm, the Acoma-Cañoncito-Laguna service unit hospital had already closed for the day so Ms. Sarracino drove her son 45 minutes to Grants.

However after the hospital didn’t recognized the a number of fractures in her son’s legs, Ms. Sarracino drove him one other hour to Albuquerque. The hospital in Grants discovered solely a single fracture in her son’s leg, however on the hospital in Albuquerque, an X-ray discovered a number of fractures in each legs.

“That was sort of our lifeline,” Ms. Sarracino mentioned of the hospital. “We didn’t must go very far for well being care. An consciousness must be made that individuals do reside in rural New Mexico and we’d like well being care.”