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H.R. 2662 (115th): Restoring Accountability in the Indian Health Service Act of 2017

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on May 25, 2017.

Restoring Accountability in the Indian Health Service Act of 2017

This bill amends the Indian Health Care Improvement Act to require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a pay system for health care professionals employed by Indian Health Service (IHS) that is competitive with the salary of health care professionals employed by the Veterans Health Administration. HHS may establish incentives related to IHS employee recruitment and retention by providing relocation costs and rental assistance to employees under certain circumstances.

In addition, IHS must: centralize its credentialing system for licensed health professionals seeking to provide health care services at its facilities, establish standards to measure the timeliness of health care services in its facilities, implement an annual mandatory program that provides cultural training for certain IHS employees and contractors, and establish a demonstration project to provide additional staffing resources to understaffed IHS facilities. Liability protections are given to certain health care professionals who volunteer at IHS facilities.

The bill expands the IHS student loan repayment program to include loan repayments for degrees related to health administration. HHS may: (1) directly hire candidates to positions within IHS; and (2) remove, transfer, or demote certain IHS employees based on performance or misconduct. HHS must establish a tribal consultation policy for IHS. The bill establishes: (1) whistle blower protections for IHS employees, and (2) requirements concerning IHS fiscal accountability and transparency.