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IHS releases half billion in funds

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced that IHS will release $500 million allocated for improvements in Indian health as part of the stimulus act.

“These Recovery Act funds will provide critical assistance to American Indian and Alaska Native communities,” said newly-appointed IHS Director Yvette Roubideaux, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. “These funds will help improve health care, create jobs and make our Native communities stronger.”

The Recovery Act funds are to be doled out by IHS as follows: $227 million for health facilities construction; $100 million for maintenance and improvements; $85 million for health information technology; $68 million for sanitation facilities construction; and $20 million for health equipment to help improve health care in Indian country.

Agency officials said the Recovery Act health facility construction funds will be used to complete the construction of the new IHS Eagle Butte Health Center in Eagle Butte, S.D. and the Norton Sound Regional Hospital in Nome, Alaska.

Sanitation facilities funds will be used to complete 169 sanitation facilities projects constructed in 24 states.

The stimulus money will fund 302 maintenance and improvement projects. Agency officials noted that many IHS and tribal facilities require structural renovations, additional space and design updates to accommodate modern health care delivery practices.

The funding will also be used to purchase more than 200 pieces of medical equipment, including 35 ambulances and 10 computed tomography scanners, all of which will contribute to patient care.

A list of IHS-funded projects is available online.