FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 19, 2009
Contact: HHS Press Office
Recovery Act Includes $500 Million for Indian Health Service
Funds Will Boost Economy, Modernize Facilities, Improve Equipment and Care
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced today that the Indian Health Service (IHS) has been allocated $500 million in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Recovery Act funds will strengthen the economy, support the construction and modernization of IHS health facilities and strengthen the use of health information technology at those facilities.
“The Recovery Act will help meet many critical health needs in Indian communities, create jobs and boost our economy,” said IHS Director Robert G. McSwain. “These funds will support construction of new health care facilities, expansion of our health information technology activities and our work to ensure Indian communities have safe and clean water.”
The Recovery Act calls for the IHS to spend $227 million for health facilities construction, $100 million in maintenance and improvements, $85 million for health information technology, $68 million for sanitation facilities construction and $20 million for health equipment and will help improve health care in Indian Country.
American Indians and Alaska Natives born today have a life expectancy that is 4.6 years less than average Americans. Investing in health care in Indian communities can yield immeasurable benefits and improve the health of American Indian and Alaska Natives. American Indians and Alaska Natives die at significantly higher rates than average Americans from tuberculosis (750 percent higher), diabetes (190 percent higher) and unintentional injuries (150 percent higher).
The Recovery Act includes funds to complete the construction of the Norton Sound Regional Hospital in Nome, Alaska. The new Norton Sound facility replaces an outdated 61-year-old hospital that is too small to serve an estimated 10,000 users. The project will create a substantial number of new jobs in construction, transportation, and other professions and help fight unemployment in Nome. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in the Nome area was 12.7 percent as of January, 2009.
Other Recovery Act projects, intended to help create new jobs and ease unemployment in Indian communities across the country will be announced in the coming months.
For more information about the Indian Health Service, visit www.ihs.gov.
The activities described in this release are being funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). To track the progress of HHS activities funded through the ARRA, visit www.hhs.gov/recovery. To track all federal funds provided through the ARRA, visit www.recovery.gov.
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Last revised: May 7, 2011