US hires contractor to run ERs at hospitals on reservations

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – U.S. officials have hired a contractor to provide emergency services at three government-run hospitals located on Native American reservations.

The Indian Health Service on Tuesday announced that it has hired Arizona-based AB Staffing Solutions LLC to run the emergency rooms of hospitals on the Rosebud and Pine Ridge Indian reservations in South Dakota and the Winnebago Reservation in Nebraska.

The move to privatize the emergency rooms comes after federal inspectors found serious deficiencies at the three hospitals. The failures found at the Rosebud Hospital in early December prompted the Indian Health Service to shutter the facility’s emergency department, forcing people needing immediate care to travel about 50 miles away.

The contract with a $60 million ceiling is for one year and could be extended to up to five years.