Helping AI/AN Veterans

The Indian Health Service (IHS) www.ihs.gov and the Veterans Administration www.va.gov  signed a Memorandum of Understanding to help improve the health status of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) veterans.

The agreement was augmented in 2012 with a reimbursement agreement allowing the VA to financially compensate IHS for direct healthcare provided to AI/AN veterans that are eligible for and enrolled in the VA’s health system.

In January 2017, Mary L. Smith Principal Deputy Director IHS signed an amendment with the VA to extend the period of a national reimbursement agreement for direct healthcare services through June 30, 2019.

Also, a new interagency agreement was just signed with the VA authorizing the IHS to use the VA’s Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy (CHOP). The VA CMOP is a mail order pharmacy program which uses seven automated facilities to deliver filled prescriptions directly to patient homes across the U.S.

In another effort to help AI/AN patients, NIH www.nih.gov awarded the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium http://anthc.org and partners a five year grant for $20 million to address health disparities facing Native communities in Alaska and Montana. Partner organizations include Blackfeet Community College, University of Montana, University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Alaska Anchorage, and Southcentral Foundation.

The grant will fund the American Indian-Alaska Native Clinical and Translational Research Program with Montana State University www.montana.edu acting as the home institution. The project aims to strengthen each state’s clinical and translational research infrastructure and increase the number of clinical investigators in Native health disparities research.

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