Skip to site content

2022 Virtual IHS Partnership Conference highlights self-care and quality health care delivery

by Mitchell Thornbrugh, chief information officer and director, Office of Information Technology, Indian Health Service
IHS Partnership Conference 2022

The Indian Health Service Office of Information Technology and the IHS Office of Resource Access and Partnerships hosted the 2022 Indian Health Service Virtual Partnership Conference, August 29 - September 1. This annual event brought together nearly 3,000 people, making the conference the largest to date.

This year’s theme, The Future of Indian Health Care Starts with Us, highlighted the importance of employees taking care of themselves in order to take care of our patients, partners, and customers. The conference originally began as a training opportunity held primarily for business office and health information management staff but the over the years the conference has evolved. This year, attendees had the opportunity to learn about various topics including information technology, cybersecurity, coding, privacy in health IT, account reconciliation, debt and account management, business office best practices, and many others. Conference organizers collaborated with IHS, tribal and urban partners to deliver a series of over 100 training sessions during the four-day event that provided valuable information for federal, tribal, and urban health care administrators, managers and front-line staff who work in the IT, health IT, business office, PRC, and HIM offices.

During the opening general session, former IHS Acting Director Elizabeth Fowler, highlighted the importance of IHS employees partnering to improve quality of care for the patients we serve and continue our efforts to maintain patient-focused, quality health care delivery, while also addressing public health challenges arising from COVID-19. Additionally, the IHS Office of Information Technology placed a significant emphasis on electronic health record modernization and overcoming cybersecurity risks. The OIT sponsored over 50 presentations from a diverse staff of subject matter experts from Area offices, service units, Headquarters, and the Department of Health and Human Services. 

The IHS Office of Resource Access and Partnerships highlighted advances within business office functions and improvements in the Purchased/Referred Care program and strategies to increase efficiencies in the revenue cycle. The ORAP sponsored over 45 presentations highlighting advances within business office functions and improvements in the PRC program. The business office sessions focused on strategies to increase efficiencies in the revenue cycle, use reporting to identify and address gaps in the revenue cycle, and address and respond to policy and operational changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The PRC tracks focused on program basics and intermediate activities for new staff, best practices for case management and reconciliation tasks, hand-on demonstration for the PRC delivery area mapping instrument, and updates for the Catastrophic Health Emergency Fund online tool.

Presentations slides and videos from the breakout sessions will be posted online Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving  by October 31, 2022.

Please be on the lookout for details around the 2023 Partnership Conference, which we hope will have both virtual and in-person components. The Partnership Conference does not charge a registration/attendance fee and with the amount of information shared and training offered, the conference makes a great return on investment for employee attendance.

For any questions please contact

Related Content

The 2019 IHS Partnership Conference highlights quality of care and customer-focused service

2018 IHS Partnership Conference

2017 IHS Partnership Conference

Mitchell Thornbrugh, chief information officer and director, Office of Information Technology, Indian Health Service

Mitchell Thornbrugh, an enrolled member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, is the Chief Information Officer and the Director of the Office of Information Technology for the Indian Health Service. His responsibilities include advising senior IHS leadership on all aspects of information resource management and technology and ensures IHS compliance with information technology laws, regulations, and policies. Thornbrugh previously served as the Chief Operations Officer for the Cherokee Nation Hastings Hospital.