- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 27, 2016

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - The Indian Health Service has awarded a one-year, $700,000 contract to an independent expert to help federal government-operated medical facilities improve patient care and safety.

The IHS says the contract with The Joint Commission for accreditation services will help test the readiness of IHS hospitals for compliance surveys conducted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Officials say the training and education will benefit IHS facilities in the Dakotas, Arizona, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico and Oklahoma.

The IHS says it’s also responding to requirements of agreements with CMS for the Rosebud and Pine Ridge hospitals in South Dakota. Recent issues at those hospitals have highlighted poor health care services at government-run facilities caring for Native Americans across the country.

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