Reform bills would benefit Indian Health Service

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism, and he has blogged for Covering Health ever since.

Mark Trahant, writing for InvestigateWest, points out that, because it’s in both the House and Senate versions of the bill and thus safe in conference committee, the reauthorization and extension of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act will pass as long as the larger reform package does.

ihsThe Parker Indian Health Services Hospital in Parker, Ariz. Photo by churl via Flickr.

Originally enacted in 1976, the IHCIA has, in various iterations, been the primary vehicle for the delivery of health care to the country’s American Indians and Alaska Natives.

The latest version of the bill would adjust the Indian Health Service budget to account for medical inflation and population growth, increase efforts to recruit and retain health care professionals, introduce coverage for long-term care, improve youth suicide prevention programs and encourage innovation that will help provide easier access to health facilities.