ABSTRACT

Indian Health Service: Relief Funding and Agency Response to COVID-19 Pandemic, Report to Congressional Addressees   [open pdf - 1MB]

From the Highlights: "IHS [Indian Health Service] provides care to about 2.6 million American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN), directly through federally operated IHS facilities (including 24 hospitals) or indirectly through facilities operated by tribal or urban Indian organizations. Regional oversight is provided through 12 area offices. As the COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic progressed, tribal lands became hotspots for rapid spread, with infection rates in some areas, such as the Navajo Nation, among the highest in the country. With higher prevalence of certain diseases, such as diabetes and heart conditions, AI/ANs may be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. At the same time, outdated facilities and equipment, high provider vacancy rates, and few inpatient beds could make an effective response by IHS potentially more challenging. The CARES Act [Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act] includes a provision for GAO [Government Accountability Office] to report on the federal response to the pandemic. This report describes, among other things, COVID-19 relief funding for IHS, tribal, and urban Indian health facilities; and steps IHS took to address challenges that IHS hospitals faced in responding to the pandemic. GAO surveyed all 24 federally run IHS hospitals; reviewed IHS documents; interviewed officials from three IHS area offices selected for variation in geography, incidence of COVID-19, and other factors; and met with national stakeholder organizations. GAO provided a draft of this report to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including IHS. HHS provided technical comments, which GAO incorporated as appropriate."

Report Number:
GAO-22-104360
Publisher:
Date:
2022-02
Series:
Copyright:
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/
Format:
pdf
Media Type:
application/pdf
URL:
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