PIERRE, S.D. -

South Dakota's U.S. senators say a bill that has passed through a Senate committee would help ensure Native Americans receive quality care from the Indian Health Service.

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on Wednesday approved the bill introduced by South Dakota U.S. Sen. John Thune and Sen. John Barrasso, a Republican from Wyoming.

The bill aims to increase transparency and accountability at the IHS and improve recruiting and retention practices at the often remote hospitals, issues the agency has struggled with for several years.

Thune, a Republican, says officials shouldn't shy away from the difficult work required to ensure tribal members receive quality care. GOP U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota says the plan is a step toward fixing the "broken IHS system."

The measure heads to the full Senate.