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Indian Health Service Sets Standards For Wait Times

The Indian Health Service has set agency standards for patient wait times. This comes more than a year after the IHS was criticized by a government watchdog for doing a poor job tracking them.

The IHS says the wait time will be 28 days for a primary care visit, with 48 hours for urgent care, on average.

Chief Medical Officer Captain Michael Toedt said the standards are meant to improve access to health care for American Indians and Alaska Natives.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office found wait times at IHS facilities were reviewed inconsistently or not at all. The report issued last year said some tribal members waited months to see a doctor. Tribes that run health care facilities under contract with IHS set their own standards.

The Associated Press Contributed to this report.

Stina Sieg was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2013 to 2018.