Rapid City Mayor Endorses New Indian Hospital

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Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender has come out in favor of a proposal to build a new Indian health care hospital in Rapid City.

Allender is endorsing an idea being put forward by the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board which is proposing a facility on the east side of Rapid City, and independent from the present Sioux San Hospital.

A federal law allows tribes to take control of their own health care. Out of the roughly 700 tribes in the United States, more than half are doing that. They’re starting facilities independent from the Indian Health Service.The Great Plains Tribal Health Board could be next.

“The reason, in my opinion, they’re doing it is to gain more control over Indian health care. The Indian health care system, in my opinion, we’re at a crisis level,” Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender said.

Allender says there are two paths.

“They can get total control of health care including administration or they can get a lesser amount of control but still have a huge advantage over an IHS built and run system,” Allender said. 

Allender says an additional hospital would be an important improvement for Indian health  care in western South Dakota. 

“Here in Rapid City, 12 percent Native American permanent population who don’t have that health care option, you know, it’s beyond time to get this done,” Allender said. 

Allender will submit his endorsement to Rapid City’s Legal and Finance Committee, and to the City Council.

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