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Leave without Pay Detail of IHS Professional Staff

Public Health Service
Health Services Administration
Indian Health Service
Rockville, Maryland


Effective Date:  March 30, 1979


1. Background
2. Policy
3. Guidelines


    The health professional staff within the Indian Health Service (IHS) represents a composite of multitalented and dedicated individuals.  The professional abilities of these are often not limited to one categorical intent but include a diversity of academic and intellectual pursuits.

    In the best interests of the Service, the Indian Health Service has previously permitted a limited number of individuals to be placed on Leave Without Pay details to institutions of higher learning, professional organizations, state or local governments.  The backgrounds of such individuals are usually similar in several respects.

    First, the incumbent has demonstrated an impeccable dedication to the PHS/IHS by virtue of service and requests a period of time outside the Service in order to pursue professional interests or refinement (e.g., one incumbent has assumed a department chairmanship at a highly regarded medical school; another has developed the pediatric psychiatry program at another prestigious medical school).  Second, the incumbent has purported every intention of an PHS/IHS career and the IHS supports the intent of the individual to preserve his/her professional status within the PHS during the period outside of the Service.  Lastly, the incumbent has been considered to be of such caliber to adequately represent the interests of the PHS/IHS at the institution and, in all probability, will indirectly influence or attract other health professionals into the Service.


    In light of the above considerations, the purposes of the Indian Health Service in granting a limited number of Leave Without Pay assignments are:

    1. Stimulate career development and retention by allowing individuals to grow through gaining experience outside the PHS system.
    2. To profit the Service by developing special skills through such experience which ultimately can be realized by PHS programs.
    3. Sharing health personnel with special skills with other non-Federal government institutions so that their contribution can also be realized in the non-Federal sector.  This is also done with the hope that non-Federal health professionals with specific skills can be attracted to Federal services.


    The following statements represent guidelines in determining eligibility and selection of IHS staff for Leave Without Pay details.

    1. Eligibility for LWOP will be considered for an individual who has provided a minimum of four years of active service or duty in the PHS/IHS.
    2. The request by an individual should include statements of intent, indicated return to the Service, and supporting documentation of the request by the officer's immediate supervisor plus appropriate Area/Program or Division Director.
    3. The receiving institution and the individual will provide the required documentation supporting the assignment and the IHS will provide supporting documentation regarding the continued relationship between the PHS and the officer during the detail.
    4. Limitation of any LWOP detail will not exceed two consecutive years except in unusual circumstances where up to an additional two years may be granted.
    5. Selection and final approval of LWOP details will be determined by the Director, IHS, upon recommendation of the Director, DPO.

    /Joe Exendine for/
    Emery A. Johnson, M.D.
    Assistant Surgeon General
    Director, Indian Health Service

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