- Associated Press - Thursday, December 3, 2015

ROSEBUD, S.D. (AP) - The federal government has threatened to remove the Rosebud Indian Health Service Hospital from the Medicare program because of regulatory violations.

Removing the southwestern South Dakota hospital from the Medicare program would mean the government would stop reimbursing it for care provided to Medicare patients. The 35-bed medical and surgical facility on the Rosebud Indian Reservation serves more than 12,000 Native Americans.

A notice published Nov. 27 said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services determined the hospital wasn’t “in compliance with regulatory requirements,” but did not further explain the noncompliance.

Mike Fierberg, a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokesman, declined to give the Rapid City Journal (http://bit.ly/1Ir2kth ) examples of violations while the matter is ongoing.

“The deficiencies were serious enough to have to threaten a termination, which means that they were fairly serious,” he said.

Fierberg said hospitals typically respond to termination notices by negotiating a correction plan to keep them in the Medicare program. He said the Rosebud hospital submitted a plan and was awaiting an inspection sometime before the Dec. 12 termination date.

The federal government is obligated to provide health services to members of federally recognized tribes, and the services are delivered by the Indian Health Service. The agency’s funding from Congress is limited, the newspaper reports, and agency hospitals seek additional funding, including reimbursement for care for Medicare-eligible patients.

Indian Health Service spokeswoman Theresa Eisenman said the hospital was cited Nov. 19 “for failing to meet the conditions of participation for emergency services.” She did not disclose anything further about what was deemed wrong with emergency services.

The Indian Health Service says it’s “taking the notification seriously and is working diligently to avert the termination.”

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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