IHS reportedly employed several 'problem physicians,' WSJ finds

A joint investigation by The Wall Street Journal and PBS' "Frontline" found the Indian Health Service agency, run by HHS, has employed "a number of problem physicians," including a pedophile who was allowed to treat children for more than two decades.

Rahima Nasa, a reporter with "Frontline," interviewed WSJ reporter Christopher Weaver on his experience working on the story involving Stanley Patrick Weber, MD, who was indicted in 2017 and 2018 for sexually assaulting six patients in Montana and South Dakota.

Mr. Weaver said he and his teams at PBS and the WSJ came across the story of Dr. Weber after investigating several IHS hospitals in the Dakotas that had faced regulatory issues.

"One of the other things that began to emerge was that a lot of the doctors who were employed by the Indian Health Agency had issues clinically, like maybe they had malpractice claims against them or some track record of adverse effects in the operating room. Also, there were doctors with conduct problems," he said.

He added that Dr. Weber eventually faced justice for his crimes, not because of the IHS or federal officials, but because a tribal investigator took the initiative to pursue the case. Mr. Weaver said one of the most challenging parts of the investigation was that he and his teams were not able to access many tribal or federal records about Dr. Weber's misconduct.

"The federal records, the Indian Health Service's own records, have been really hard to come by. They've not produced substantive responses to our [Freedom of Information Act] requests in many cases. In some measure it's a reflection of the dysfunction of the agency, because I don't think they are stonewalling us on some specific requests. They may just not have documentation of stuff that you would expect a government agency that's running hospitals to have at its fingertips," he added.

To access the full report, click here.

To learn more about the case, click here.

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