Acoma tribal governor says hospital cut vital services

November 14, 2020 GMT

ACOMA, N.M. (AP) — Native American officials at Acoma Pueblo say that federal authorities have suspended emergency and in-patient medical care at a hospital on Acoma tribal lands.

In a statement Friday, Acoma Gov. Brian Vallo condemned the suspension of services at Acoma-Canoncito-Laguna Service Unit hospital by Indian Health Service as reckless in the midst of a major coronavirus infection surge.

The Indigenous community of about 3,000 people says it has experienced a surge of COVID-19 cases, with about 100 positive tests in November.

Vallo said the decision by Indian Health Service to curtail services at Acoma is “baffling.” He says tribal members will have to travel an hour by car for intensive medical care in Albuquerque, where emergency rooms are strained by the contagion.


“The Indian Health Service carried out its underhanded actions without any meaningful consultation with the Pueblo,” he said in the statement. “It also failed to adequately inform Congress, a federal requirement.”