'Left in the Dark': IHS Shuts Down Vital Hospital Services in Acoma Pueblo During Pandemic
January 5, 2021
Amid the worst wave of the Covid-19 pandemic yet, the Indian Health Service has moved some medical treatment from the Acoma-Canoncito-Laguna Service Unit (ACL Hospital) in Pueblo of Acoma, N.M. to a new facility in nearby Pueblo of Laguna.
The Pueblo of Acoma is critical of the way that IHS is handling the move, which they say is negatively impacting their community in the middle of the global health crisis. On Nov. 6, Pueblo of Acoma Gov. Brian Vallo declared a state of emergency in Acoma Pueblo due to the discontinuation of some services at the ACL Hospital.
In a Sept. 29 press release, IHS Director Rear Adm. Michael D. Weahkee commented on the ramp down of services at the ACL Hospital, stating that "IHS has met with leaders from all affected tribes to inform them of the contract proposal and to begin discussions on the potential impact to operations and related health services." According to the press release, impacted tribes were consulted on the rearrangement of local health services.