By Associated Press - Friday, April 29, 2016

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - The government agency that administers hospitals on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Indian reservations faces a Friday deadline to reach crucial agreements with federal health officials to avoid losing funding.

The Indian Health Service and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services must agree on proposals that could lead to significant quality-of-care improvements at each hospital.

Without the agreements, the hospitals won’t be allowed to bill the government for services provided to Medicare- and Medicaid-eligible patients after May 16.

The hospitals have faced challenges for years, but they’ve been under intense scrutiny after inspections uncovered serious deficiencies.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued the funding cutoff threat after the inspections, but also offered the hospitals the opportunity to reach last-chance remediation agreements giving time to implement “robust” changes.

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