March 04, 2020
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.), all members of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, wrote to Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar requesting that the Department provide the Committee with an unredacted copy of the internal audit report on the Indian Health Service (IHS) management response to former IHS pediatrician Stanley Patrick Weber’s patient abuse compiled by HHS contractor Integritas Creative Solutions, LLC, within seven business days. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee has jurisdiction and oversight responsibility regarding IHS.
“The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and IHS leadership have committed repeatedly to full transparency, openness, and accountability regarding all issues related to IHS patients abuse generally and Weber’s abuse of minor IHS patients specifically,” the senators wrote. “However, recent decisions made by HHS regarding the disclosure of the referenced Integritas report appear to contradict those commitments.”
Following revelations of longstanding abuse of child patients by former IHS Pediatrician Stanley Patrick Weber, as well as IHS’ failed management response to Weber’s abuse HHS commissioned an internal audit report from Integritas Creative Solutions, LLC. Thus far, HHS has not released the report publicly and has limited congressional access to a limited viewing of a redacted report in contradiction of federal law and long-established Congressional oversight process.
“There is no legal basis for the IHS to withhold or limit access to its unredacted findings from review by the congressional committee of jurisdiction,” the senators continued. “As a coequal branch of government, we expect full transparency from your Department and the agency regarding this report and on all instances of employee mismanagement and criminal sexual misconduct. HHS and IHS must uphold their commitment to transparency on the Weber incident and issues of patient abuse.”
The full text of the letter is available HERE.
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