IN August, a report which was published by the Government Accountability Office or GAO said that it is now a quarter, but all the positions for nurses, physicians as well as other care providers at Indian Health Service (IHS) facilities are vacant.
A large amount of vacancy in IHS facilities has to prevent the agency to deliver timely and quality health care to the people.
This was established in the year 1955 to provide direct care to all the enrolled members of 573 recognized tribes. It has been said that IHS is operating about 55 health centres, 21 health stations, and 26 hospitals in rural areas. In the year 2016, these facilities have said to be received about 5.2 million outpatient visits and fro them admitted about 15,000 inpatients. In the same year, the facility has got about $1.9 billion for the services.
As per the GAO report, it has focused on about eight geographical areas and found out that between 13 and 31 percent of provider positions were now vacant. It has also been found out that many patients have received the curtailed services due to this. As per a doctor, the vacancy in the services is like a never-ending cycle as the vacancy never gets fulfilled ever.
The IHS facilities which are present in the rural areas are said to be isolated hardship sites. They are designated as difficult posts for the providers. This type of problem is seemed to frequently stem which is for the inability of them to provide the salaries and even housing for the providers.
There are many incentive programs which are like the student loan repayment which is done in exchange for the service contracts as it lacks funding. It has also been seen that some of the clinics and hospitals also had to cut the services due to this.
Nevada Skies Youth Wellness Center, due to the shortages of the staff has led to the decrease in the number of the beds available. At South Dakota, it is seen that the patients have been diverted to the facilities which are about 45 miles away. There are some of the examples of the problems arises due to a shortage in staff and services.
The report from GAO has recommended to IHS director to obtain some information about the temporary employment contracts to run the facility in the more better way. This is a government to government relationship which is between American Indian and Alaska Natives. They promised to provide with all type of assistance that includes medical services.