Indian Health Services System
Overview of Indian Health Service
The Indian Health Service (IHS), a federal health system, cares for 2 million of the country's 5.2 million American Indian and Alaska Native people. This system has increasingly focused on innovative uses of health information technology and telemedicine, as well as comprehensive, locally tailored prevention and disease management programs, to promote health equity in a population facing multiple health disparities. Important recent achievements include a reduction in the life-expectancy gap between American Indian and Alaska Native people and whites (from eight years to five years) and improved measures of diabetes control ...view middle of the document...
The 3.2 million members of the American Indian and Alaska Native population not served by the IHS receive care through the private sector or other public systems (the Department of Veterans Affairs, Medicaid, and Medicare) (Zuckerman, Haley, Roubideaux, & Lillie-Blanton, 2004).
Through the tribally operated health facilities, recognized tribes have exercised their right to claim half of the IHS budget allocated by the federal government in order to manage their own health care programs. As of 2010, these facilities consisted of 33 hospitals, 59 health centers, and 50 health stations ("Indian Health Service", 2012).
The directors of IHS Headquarters offices, Area Offices and service units are responsible for maintaining an effective organizational structure within their areas of authority. The directors of these organizations have the authority to review, institute or recommend organizational changes necessary to further the maintenance of an effective organizational structure. Indian Health Services provides health care to American Indians and Alaskan Natives at 33 hospitals, 59 health centers, and 50 health stations. There is twelve area directors each responsible for the organizational structure within their assigned area ("Indian Health Service", 2012).
The administration of the IHS is decentralized, with 12 Area Offices responsible for operating IHS programs within designated geographic areas. IHS operations are managed locally by the staff of service units, which typically serve populations who reside on or near a single Federal reservation. The IHS uniquely combines traditional public health services such as environmental health and public health nursing with clinical services such as medicine, dentistry, and optometry. The base of operations for such activities is typically a small hospital or health center. The level and type of services are determined by officials of the individual Area Offices in consultation with the tribes that they serve. The services are based on the needs of the Indian population and the availability of funds (Rhoades, Reyes, & Buzzard, n.d.).
Vision, Mission& Value Statement of Indian health Service
“To raise the physical, mental, social, and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level ("Indian Health Service", 2012, para. 5).”
“To assure that comprehensive, culturally acceptable personal and public health services are available and accessible to American Indian and Alaska Native people ("Indian Health Service", 2012, para. 6).”
“To uphold the Federal Government's obligation to promote healthy American Indian and Alaska Native people, communities, and cultures and to honor and protect the inherent sovereign rights of Tribes ("Indian Health Service", 2012, para. 7).”
The federal IHS facilities provide comprehensive primary care, some specialty services, and prescription drug...