Rep. Kristi Noem today introduced the Drug-Free Indian Health Service Act, which would implement a mandatory random drug testing program for employees of the Indian Health Service (IHS).  Among many reports of mismanagement, there have been repeated instances in which health care providers and administrators at IHS facilities were under the influence of drugs while on the job.

“There is absolutely no excuse for IHS employees that provide health care while under the influence of drugs,” said Noem.  “The IHS has understood this was a challenge for nearly a decade and still failed to take the meaningful action required to ensure the sobriety of their on-duty employees. We need to raise the standards, which is something the Drug-Free Indian Health Service Act aims to do in a very targeted and accountable way.”

The Drug-Free Indian Health Service Act, would implement a mandatory random drug testing program for part- or full-time IHS employees who provide health care or administrative services to patients.  If an employee is found to have engaged in illegal drug use, that employee may be prohibited from performing any service, referred to a rehabilitation program, or fired.

This legislation is part of Noem’s ongoing efforts to fundamentally reform the IHS.  Earlier this year, she introduced the Restoring Accountability in the IHS Act, which offers a series of reforms to address both medical and administrative challenges. 

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