Glacier County filed a lawsuit against the Indian Health Service of the United States along with Bryce Redgrave, Director of the Billings Area Indian Health Service (IHS) on Tuesday, Dec. 17. Glacier County Attorney Terryl Matt filed the “complaint for declaratory judgment” in the U.S. District Court in Great Falls.
According to the complaint, Glacier County is seeking a “mandatory injunction requiring IHS to make immediate payment to EMS in an amount no less than $1.8 million to enable EMS to continue to provide necessary services…”
Matt alleges in the complaint, IHS owes Glacier County more than $1.8 million for services provided by Glacier County EMS between 2014 and 2018.
“As a result of the nonpayment of EMS claims, (Glacier County) EMS faces financial crisis. The County has determined that, absent prompt payment sufficient to cover necessary expenses, including payroll, it must lay off 11 County employees who work for EMS, and run County EMS with volunteer staff.”
The County is asking the U.S. District Court to require IHS to provide Glacier County EMS with purchase orders for all patients provided service under the IHS Blackfeet Service unit during that four-year period as well as “make immediate payment” for those services.
The United States IHS and Redgrave have 60 days to respond to the complaint once they have been served.