WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Tom Udall, ranking member of the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee and vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and Martin Heinrich, along with U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján and Deb Haaland, announced that the Indian Health Service (IHS) allocated $114.2 million in funding to continue planning and construction for three key New Mexico facilities. The award will enable IHS to move forward with critical projects at three facilities, including $87.2 million to complete replacement of Pueblo Pintado Health Center in Crownpoint, $25 million to fund the construction of a new Albuquerque West Health Center in Albuquerque, and $2 million in planning funds for the replacement of the Gallup Indian Medical Center in Gallup.
“As vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, I understand that the federal government has a trust and treaty responsibility to ensure every Native American has access to quality, affordable health care. That can’t happen without strong investments in IHS facilities to make sure that they can meet the demands of a 21st century health care system,” said Udall. “This award is an important step toward addressing the infrastructure needs at key IHS facilities and improving access to vital, lifesaving services for Native families in New Mexico. I’ll keep fighting to ensure that Indian Country gets the resources it needs for the health and wellness of all Native communities.”
“We have a trust obligation under federal treaty rights to guarantee that tribes have the funding and resources they need to provide health care to their members,” said Heinrich. “For too long, aging Indian Health Services facilities in need of major repairs and replacement have stood in the way of delivering on that responsibility. I am pleased to welcome this funding that will help us finally make major advances for these three important facilities. I will continue advocating for resources to complete these projects and ensure all of our tribal communities have access to high quality health care.”
“We have a responsibility to ensure Native Americans have quality and affordable health care, and I’m proud to have worked closely with the New Mexico delegation to secure $114 million in grant funding to bolster, rebuild, and expand Indian Health Service facilities across the state, ” said Luján. “This funding is a critical step forward to expand health care services across the state so that our friends and neighbors are not forced to drive hundreds of miles to access basic services. I will continue working with tribal and indigenous communities to ensure we are doing everything possible to bolster health care access and affordability.”
“Health care is a basic necessity that any group of people deserves – however the constitutional and trust obligation that the federal government has failed to fulfill causes a severe shortage in health care services in Indian Country,” said Haaland, Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus. “Though this funding will be helpful to make basic services available, it’s only a drop in the bucket to the chronic underfunding IHS has experienced over decades. We need to make adequate funding a priority so our people don’t continue to suffer from lack of access to health care services.”
The New Mexico facilities that will receive funding are:
- Pueblo Pintado Health Center — $87.2 million
- Albuquerque West Health Center — $25 million
- Gallup Indian Medical Center — $2 million
The Indian Health Service (IHS) is the primary federal agency responsible for providing health care services to 2.6 million American Indian and Alaska Natives through a system of 605 federally-funded hospitals, clinics, and health stations.