- By Kaili Berg
Some of the achievements include IHS receiving its first-ever advance appropriations, significant progress in efforts to modernize healthcare technology and systems, and breakthroughs in partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
“As you review this quarterly report, I hope that you are as pleased as I am to see how the tireless commitment of IHS’s extraordinary team of employees continues to advance the IHS mission “to raise the physical, mental, social, and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level,” Roselyn Tso (Navajo), Director of IHS, said in the report.
Here is a list of some of the noteworthy first-quarter achievements:
IHS Receives First-Ever Advance Appropriations
IHS received its first-ever advance appropriations for fiscal year 2024, which means a majority of IHS funding for 2024 became available on October 1, 2023. The IHS team accomplished fiscal year transition activities swiftly, allowing them to initiate the disbursement of 2024 funds within days of the fiscal year’s start. The historic enactment of advance appropriations has already made a positive impact by increasing funding stability for the entire Indian health system.
IHS to Provide Additional Funding for Diabetes Treatment and Prevention
In October, the IHS Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention announced a new 2024 funding opportunity for all federally recognized tribes, tribal organizations, urban Indian organizations, and/or federal healthcare facilities that currently do not have a 2023 Special
Diabetes Program for Indians grant. The 2024 Special Diabetes Program for Indians 2.0 will be a four-year program to address diabetes treatment and prevention efforts in AI/AN communities.
Supai Health Station Hosts Grand Opening
After the works of two decades, IHS held a grand opening ceremony on November 8 for the new Supai Health Station in Havasupai, Arizona. Accessible only by helicopter, mule or horse, or on foot; the health station provides space for primary care, dental, pharmacy and medication dispensing, lab, and radiology services.
IHS Announces Selection of EHR Solution Provider
IHS achieved a major milestone in its work to improve the health status of AI/ANs when it announced the selection of General Dynamics Information Technology to deploy an enterprise electronic health record (EHR) solution across Indian Country that uses Oracle Health technology.
IHS and AISES Sign Agreement to Promote STEM Opportunities in Indian Country
The American Indian Science and Engineering Society and IHS signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote AI/AN STEM opportunities across Indian Country. This MOU will be a vital resource for the IHS as the agency continues to hire engineers, technicians, and support staff to support implementation of the $3.5 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for the Sanitation Facilities Construction Program.
IHS/Department of Veterans Affairs Unveil Reimbursement Agreement
The IHS completed negotiations with the Department of Veterans Affairs for a Reimbursement Agreement that facilitates repayment for healthcare and related services provided by the IHS to eligible AI/AN veterans.
This replaces the prior agreement that was finalized in 2012 and secures the maximum amount for veterans. Since that time, healthcare programs operated by the IHS and tribal health programs have received over $186 million from the VA for care to more than 15,000 AI/AN veterans enrolled in VA healthcare across 74 participating IHS sites and 116 tribal health program sites.
Gallup Indian Medical Center Emergency Department Has Ribbon Cutting
The Gallup Indian Medical Center held a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony on December 15 for the new 14-bed emergency department building. The new building offers a CT scanner for radiology services and additional trauma rooms.
IHS Awards Forensic Nursing Consultation Contract to Texas A&M
On December 18, the Division of Nursing Services announced that it had awarded the Forensic Nursing Consultation Program contract to the Texas A&M Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing. The contract will provide for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner/Sexual Assault Examiner/Forensic Nurse Examiner training, education, and technical assistance for federal, tribal, and urban healthcare providers. The training will also ensure providers are prepared to offer patients trauma-informed medical forensic examinations following violent crimes, such as sexual assault and abuse, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, strangulation, and human trafficking. The contract will also support continuing education and mentorship opportunities, enhancing forensic health care efforts across Indian Country.
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