(a) All functions, responsibilities, authorities, and duties of the Department of the Interior, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Secretary of the Interior, and the Commissioner of Indian Affairs relating to the maintenance and operation of hospital and health facilities for Indians, and the conservation of the health of Indians, are transferred to, and shall be administered by, the Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service, under the supervision and direction of the Secretary of Health and Human Services: Provided, That hospitals now in operation for a specific tribe or tribes of Indians shall not be closed prior to July 1, 1956, without the consent of the governing body of the tribe or its organized council.
(b) In carrying out his functions, responsibilities, authorities, and duties under this subchapter, the Secretary is authorized, with the consent of the Indian people served, to contract with private or other non-Federal health agencies or organizations for the provision of health services to such people on a fee-for-service basis or on a prepayment or other similar basis.
(Aug. 5, 1954, ch. 658, §1, 68 Stat. 674; Pub. L. 93–222, §6(a), Dec. 29, 1973, 87 Stat. 935; Pub. L. 96–88, title V, §509(b), Oct. 17, 1979, 93 Stat. 695.)
1973—Pub. L. 93–222 designated existing provisions as subsec. (a) and added subsec. (b).
Act Aug. 5, 1954, ch. 658, §6, 68 Stat. 675, as amended by Pub. L. 86–121, §2, July 31, 1959, 73 Stat. 268, provided that: "Sections 1 to 5, inclusive, of this Act [enacting this subchapter and repealing sections 444 to 449 of Title 25, Indians] shall take effect July 1, 1959."
Office of Surgeon General abolished by section 3 of Reorg. Plan No. 3 of 1966, eff. June 25, 1966, 31 F.R. 8855, 80 Stat. 1610, and functions thereof transferred to Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare by section 1 of Reorg. Plan No. 3 of 1966, set out as a note under section 202 of this title. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare redesignated Secretary of Health and Human Services by section 509(b) of Pub. L. 96–88, which is classified to section 3508(b) of Title 20, Education. Office of Surgeon General reestablished within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, see Notice of Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Mar. 30, 1987, 52 F.R. 11754.