- Associated Press - Thursday, December 25, 2014

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - A southwest South Dakota tribal president wants to tackle substandard health care on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation by kicking out the Indian Health Service and contracting with Sanford Health.

Oglala Sioux Tribal President John Yellow Bird Steele says the tribe needs to make clear that health care is a government obligation, but escape the Indian Health Service. Instead, he suggests that Sanford take over operations of tribal health care and deal with the government for the tribe.

A tribal councilwoman says the tribe’s human services committee would examine the fledgling plan and says it would require at least a vote of the full council.

The tribes have long criticized the Indian Health Service’s standard of care. A Sanford official says the company welcomes continued conversations on meeting tribal needs.

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