The Civilian Board of Contract Appeals last week approved a settlement that will require the Indian Health Service to pay Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp., which provides health care services in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region in Alaska, more than $48 million for services provided since May 1996, the Anchorage Daily News reports. Under the settlement, IHS must pay $25 million plus interest.
According to YKHC Vice President and General Counsel Dan Winkelman, the lack of payments from IHS for health care services has led to problems for the region, which has high rates of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, suicide and accidental injuries related to excessive drinking. YKHC -- which operates a hospital, 45 village clinics and four larger clinics in the region -- has not decided on a plan to spend the payments from the settlement.
IHS for many years has paid Indian tribal and Alaska Native groups to provide health care services to members, but the federal government began to reduce the payments in the 1990s because Congress did not allocate adequate funds, Lloyd Miller, an attorney in Alaska who has filed lawsuits against IHS, said. He added that the latest settlement marks the largest to involve IHS.
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation