IHS Director Redgrave Meets With TEB
The Tribal Executive Board in Poplar met with Billings area director of Indian Health Service Bryce Redgrave during its full meeting Monday, Dec. 11.
Redgrave has been with IHS since 1997. He was joined by Fort Peck Service Unit chief executive officer Marjorie Spotted Bird. Board members expressed dissatisfaction with poor communication between the agency and tribal government resulting in an array of problems.
The morning session of the meeting was devoted largely to discussions with Redgrave, who faced whithering criticism from board members and the board’s legal council regarding the timeliness of negotiations for services, facilities, funding and other issues. Board members said that attempts to follow up on issues brought forward by enrolled members have been largely unsuccessful and that progress on introducing new services and the management of existing services have been challenging due to missed deadlines.
Following the bulk of the questions, board member Roxanne Gourneau said she didn’t feel satisfied with the meeting. “After two and a half hours, I don’t know anything more than when we started,” she said.
Chairman Justin Gray Hawk Sr. said IHS has a burden to make improvements: “The ball is in your court,” said Gray Hawk. “The relationship between the Fort Peck Tribes and Indian Health Service needs to be better.”
Among the questions posed to Redgrave were requests for an IHS waiver and news about a pending joint use agreement.
Redgrave claimed he was unaware of a waiver program but would look into the matter and said he would have hard information and dates about the agreement for the board to look at before the next council meeting. Redgrave concluded with a promise to attend the next full board meeting with additional information.
Relatedly, director of dental operations Adriann Ricker said the Wolf Point IHS dental facility will have to close temporarily to service chairs. Ricker said that some previous dental procedures have been interrupted due to failing equipment and said that the fixes are a must.
“There have been instances when these chairs have stopped working with people in them,” Ricker said. She said patients will have to be seen in Poplar during the repairs and added that the tribes will need to help pay for added expenses.