Sunday, July 12, 2009

Dan Barry from Indian Country in South Dakota

Dan Barry's most recent "This Land" report is from Eagle Butte, South Dakota, population 619. (The Census Designated Place, North Eagle Butte, is also rural under the U.S. Census Bureau definition, with 2,163 ). Barry reports on a new health care facility being built on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation there, supported with significant federal stimulus funds.

The story's headline is "A Rising but Doubted Dream on a Reservation," and an excerpt follows:
[I]n 2002, the Indian Health Service, the federal agency responsible for providing health care to American Indians and Alaska Natives, approved the proposal for an “alternative rural hospital,” with more attractive housing. Architects were soon traveling around the reservation to hear what people wanted, meeting in the bingo halls and community rooms of remote places like Bear Creek and White Horse and Thunder Butte. They especially listened to the elders.
Wonderful as the new facility sounds--with even a traditional healing room--it will not have a CT scanner. Lack of economies of scale and all that, or as the Indian Health Service spokesman put it, "a formula that takes into account several factors: staffing, workload and population size." The nearest CT scanner will remain a 3-hour drive away, in Rapid City, South Dakota, population 59,607.

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