Gov. Shutdown Forces Oneida Nation to Cut Health Services
Photo: Video by nbc26.com
CREATED Oct. 4, 2013
ONEIDA -- As we continue through the government shutdown, impacts are being felt for members of the Oneida Nation.
The tribe's annual budget took effect on Tuesday, and the next day, leaders put emergency measures in place to make sure they have enough money for health services.
“Actually, in essence, they're playing with our health,” said Kathryn Newbanks, a member of the tribe.
She needs her medicine for diabetes and heart problems, but instead of her usual 90-day supply, this time it’s cut short.
“I have to come back in 30 days to pick up more medicine,” she said.
It's just one way the tribe is cutting back. They get about 48% of their budget from the federal government.
“Normally that's between $18-20 million,” said Debbie Danforth, Oneida Health Division Director.
Along with 30 day prescriptions, no over-the-counter medications will be given out. They're also limiting contract health services to a 1A Priority, taking only life or death situations.
“If someone is severely injured in a motor vehicle accident, someone having severe chest pains,” said Danforth.
The clinic is the other option. Another measure, substance-abuse programs will only be done as out-patient.
“It does put a great burden on a lot of our members,” said Danforth.
The shutdown is hurting more than the Oneida Nation. The Potawatomi Tribe has also made changes.
“It's really heart wrenching to see its affecting people's livelihood,” said Lori Jacobsen, from the tribe.
Now, people directly affected can only wait until a deal is finished.
“Grin and bear it I guess, what can you do?” said Newbanks.
Leaders met today for an update to the service cuts. They're going to meet again next Tuesday to see if any other areas will need to scale back because of the shutdown.