Tester Secures Exemption for Indian Health Service from Hiring Freeze

Senator’s Work Allows For Hiring of Doctors and Nurses in Indian Country

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester has successfully urged President Donald Trump’s administration to exempt many critical Indian Health Service employees from the current federal hiring freeze.

After Tester called on the Administration to ensure that Native Americans are not harmed by the President’s Executive Order, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services decided that both direct and indirect patient care services would be exempted from the hiring freeze. These positions include physicians, clinical fellows, nurses and therapists, as well as food service, housekeeping and administration services. Not all positions were exempted from the freeze, and employment decisions for some positions will have to be made on a case-by-case basis.

“The Indian Health Service already faces large staffing shortages and it cannot afford to suffer under any additional burdens,” said Tester, a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. “I appreciate that the President is recognizing the country’s trust obligation to Tribal communities. But my hope is that he will take this one step further and exempt all Indian Health Service employees, as well as teachers and law enforcement officers in Indian Country.”

Tester wrote to the Administration on February 1st with concerns that the freeze would disproportionately affect Native communities.