HHS to review Indian Health Service after documentary on pedophile physician airs

HHS Secretary Alex Azar has called for a review of the Indian Health Service after a joint investigation by The Wall Street Journal and PBS revealed the agency allowed a pedophile physician to treat pediatric patients for more than two decades, the WSJ reports.

Four things to know:

1. The joint investigative documentary detailed the IHS' handling of Stanley Patrick Weber, MD, a pediatrician convicted in 2018 of sexually assaulting pediatric patients. The investigation found IHS officials transferred Dr. Weber to different agency-run facilities for more than two decades despite officials' discovery that he had molested children in 1995. The organizations' documentary premiered Feb. 13.

2. In a Feb. 13 speech to the National Congress of American Indians, Mr. Azar said "the quality of care at IHS facilities has not always met the standards we set," and that the OIG will conduct a review of HHS' policies on handling abuse allegations.

3. The OIG previously conducted a criminal investigation into Dr. Weber that resulted in two indictments in 2017 and 2018 in South Dakota and Montana. In Montana, he was convicted of sexually assaulting two boys during a federal trial, and is expected to undergo a second federal trial in South Dakota in September. He was sentenced in January to serve more than 18 years in prison, according to the WSJ.

4. The IHS also plans to hold an independent review of its handling of Dr. Weber's case, to be conducted by an independent third party.

To access the full report, click here.

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