U.S. House Representative Dusty Johnson (R) made a visit to the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community to tour the River People Health Center on January 20. Johnson, who represents South Dakota’s at-large Congressional district, met with SRPMIC Vice-President Ricardo Leonard, RPHC Director Joe Remitera and members of the Young River People’s Council.
“Congressman Johnson came out to the River People Health Center to tour the facility and also to listen to some of our concerns,” said Remitera. He said the visit was about making sure Johnson understands how important funding is for facilities like the RPHC.
“We have employed over 100 Community members since we’ve opened, and we have also seen 300 new patients per month,” said Remitera. “It was great to share the Community’s success story with Mr. Johnson [about] how the River People Health Center is impacting the lives of SRPMIC and the people we see.”
Johnson has supported bills to address issues important to tribes such as improved education, transportation and home ownership opportunities within tribal communities. He has sponsored bills on Native veterans’ support groups. Last September, he sponsored House Resolution (H.R.) 8937, the Restoring Accountability in the Indian Health Service Act of 2022.
According to the bill’s provisions, it would provide improved pay and benefits for Indian Health Service employees, establish direct-hire authority to speed up recruitment, and create a centralized credentialing system for hiring of employees at IHS facilities.