Seneca Nation wins judgment

The Seneca Nation of Indians has won a $7.4 million judgment against the Indian Health Services (IHS), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The judgment, plus accrued interest, compensates the Nation for IHS under funding for Seneca Nation health care services in 2010 and 2011.

The ruling was made on May 23 by U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary M. Collyer, United States District Court for the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C. and announced Friday by the Senecas.

Each year, the Nation and IHS representatives work out the budgetary planning for its health care services for the patients served at the Nation’s health clinics. For the years 2010-2011, the Nation’s federal contract award accounted for 33 percent fewer patients than the Nation’s clinics actually serve. The Nation sought and obtained contract amendments to correct the funding shortfalls, but the federal agency failed to fund the amount the law required the agency to provide. The Seneca Nation filed its lawsuit in 2012 to resolve the matter.

“In 2000, the Nation entered into a self-determination contract with IHS so that we could administer our own healthcare programs moving toward an accountable care delivery system to better manage access, efficiency, quality of care and cost,” said Seneca Nation President Barry E. Snyder, Sr. “The data is the data and records don’t lie. We are pleased that Judge Collyer restored this lost funding so that we can ensure the delivery of services to the Seneca people who entrust us with their care.”

The IHS is the principal federal health care provider and health advocate for members of federally-recognized tribes. Its goal is to raise their health status to the highest possible level.

The IHS provides health service patient funding for American Indians and Alaska Natives who are members of 566 federally recognized Tribes across the U.S.