Alaska Senators Question IHS on Village Built Clinics Resources

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich sent a letter today to Dr. Yvette Roubideaux, Director of the Indian Health Service, asking for answers about the Village Built Clinics program in Alaska – and why the available funds aren’t being directed to rural health concerns.

“We respectfully request that you respond to us in writing regarding the Indian Health Service’s failure to carry out its responsibilities to fully fund the leases IHS has entered into for Village Built Clinics in Alaska (VBC),” the Senators wrote.

“We understand these VBCs are critical to care of Alaska Natives within the villages and to the IHSs responsibility to develop and operate the Community Health Aide Program in Alaska, yet many VBC’s are in poor condition or have had to close due to health hazards, leaving some Alaska Native communities without a clinic or ready access to health care.”

“In your written response, please explain why the IHS has not used available appropriations to fully fund the VBC program.  Please also explain why the IHS has not entered into direct leases with the Villages using IHS’s authority under the Indian Health Care Improvement Act to ensure the leases fully cover the costs such as rent, depreciation, operation and maintenance expenses, and renovation or reconstruction.”

The letter to Director Roubideaux is attached.