We believe you will see paramount health care reform within the Native American tribes over the next 10 years, with significant changes starting now. As the tribes become more self-sufficient and self-determined they will assert more control over their heath care needs for their families and nations. They will have an opportunity to blend Native healing with more traditional western and eastern medical practices. This will begin a new phase of healing for all people. As the aging population of “baby boomers” need medical attention, they will seek more non-traditional methods proving new profit centers for Native American Nations. This affects not only direct health care but support services as well, including, nursing homes, assisted living homes and easy living communities. All of this will result in providing more jobs, increased revenue and better education for Native Americans.
The Indian Health Service (IHS), an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, is responsible for providing federal health services to American Indians and Alaska Natives. The IHS provides a comprehensive health service delivery system for approximately 1.9 million of the nation’s estimated 3.3 million American Indians and Alaska Natives. The IHS strives for maximum tribal involvement in meeting the needs of its service population, most of whom live on or near reservations and in rural communities in 35 states, mostly in the western United States and Alaska.
The enacted budget for the Indian Health Service (IHS) for fiscal year (FY) 2010 is $4.05 billion. This is a $471.3 million, or approximately 13 percent, increase over the IHS FY 2009 budget appropriation. Funds will go primarily to Clinical Services (operation of hospitals and clinics and purchase of medical care), and also to other IHS programs that are providing additional services and support functions. The FY 2010 budget includes $43 million in funding for the Urban Indian Health Program, an increase of $5 million. Of the American Indian and Alaska Native people, approximately 60 percent lived in urban areas, with 25 percent (approximately 605,000) of them residing in counties served by urban Indian health programs authorized and funded through Public Law 94-437, Title V.
The IHS federal system consists of:
Through P.L. 93-638 Self-Determination contracts, American Indian Tribes and Alaska Native corporations administer:
The IHS clinical staff consists of approximately
300 dentists, and
The IHS also employs various allied health professionals, such as nutritionists, health administrators, and medical records administrators.