Indian Health Service (IHS) Director's Corner Bloghttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/directorsblog/IHS updates on important issues affecting the Indian Health Service.en-usCybersecurity Newsletter Wins Award at Conferencehttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/may2016/cybersecurity-newsletter-wins-award-at-conferencehttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/may2016/cybersecurity-newsletter-wins-award-at-conferenceWednesday, May 25, 2016 ]]>For the second year in a row, IHS was awarded first place in the security awareness newsletter contest at the annual Federal Information Systems Security Educators' Association (FISSEA) conference. Hosted by the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST), FISSEA is an organization run by and for information security professionals who assist federal agencies in meeting their information security awareness and training responsibilities. Each year this conference recognizes federal organizations who have made significant contributions in information security education and training. One way they do this is through contests for the best security awareness submissions in categories like newsletter, poster, video and website. Winners are announced for each category, and the Indian Health Service won the following awards:

  • 2016 Best Security Awareness Newsletter award
  • 2016 Peer Choice - Best Security Awareness Newsletter award
  • 2016 Peer Choice - Security Training award
IHS wins Best Security Awareness Newsletter award two years in a row.
IHS wins Best Security Awareness Newsletter award two years in a row.

The Division of Information Security created the winning newsletter in October as part of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. During the month the IHS Chief Information Officer, CDR Mark Rives, sent out weekly newsletters that were designed to help IHS employees recognize their important role in safeguarding the personal information of IHS patients, as well as their own. The winning newsletter focused on a social engineering tactic called phishing, where criminals use email, malicious websites, or phone calls to pose as trustworthy organizations and try to obtain sensitive information. If successful they can use the information for malicious purposes.

The Division of Information Security works diligently to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of protected health information (PHI) and personally identifiable information (PII) of 2.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives and over 15,000 IHS employees. The Division of Information Security is continually adapting to newly discovered cyber threats to ensure that IHS systems and information are protected.

Robert Collins is the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and Director of Information Security for the Indian Health Service. Mr. Collins has over 10 years of experience developing, implementing and reengineering security programs and nine of these directly involved international and domestic health organizations.


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Diabetes Prevention Program teaches healthy lifestyle changeshttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/may2016/diabetes-prevention-program-teaches-healthy-lifestyle-changeshttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/may2016/diabetes-prevention-program-teaches-healthy-lifestyle-changesMonday, May 23, 2016 ]]>Yvonne Iverson, a member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, has a family history of diabetes and was diagnosed in 2000 with gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that develops only during pregnancy, usually disappears upon delivery, and increases the mother's risk of developing diabetes later in life. Concerned that she was at risk for developing diabetes, Yvonne recently enrolled in the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) Diabetes Prevention Program at Warm Springs Health and Wellness Center.

Yvonne says that the SDPI Diabetes Prevention Program has helped her reach her goals. The program encouraged her to make healthier choices, stay on track, and try new foods. Some of the healthy changes that she has implemented in her lifestyle include exercising on a regular basis and making dietary changes, such as reducing sugary beverages.

Yvonne Iverson, a member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, participated in the Diabetes Prevention Program at Warm Springs Health and Wellness Center.
Yvonne Iverson, a member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, participated in the Diabetes Prevention Program at Warm Springs Health and Wellness Center.

"I learned that pop and other sugary drinks are wasted calories, and have very little nutritional value for your body," Iverson said. She credits exercise and drinking water with helping her to maintain a healthy weight.

Nearly six months after completing the 16 week program, Yvonne remains actively involved with the program and continues to see her lifestyle coach. Yvonne's biggest success since joining the program has been reducing her LDL cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) by 50 points. She has done this by watching what she eats and being more physically active.

Yvonne, who also works at the health center as a budget analyst, encourages others in the community to work with their health care team to reduce their risk for diabetes.

Diabetes is preventable. Studies have shown Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov that people at high risk for diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of the disease by losing 5 to 7 percent of their weight.

Here are a few things you can do to help prevent diabetes:

  • Be physically active for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.
  • Eat more fresh vegetables and fruits. Ask about food assistance programs in your community to help you get nutritious foods for your family.
  • Talk to your health care team about programs in your community that you can work with to reach your health goals.

Dean M. Seyler, a member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, joined IHS in 1995. The Portland Area IHS serves more than 100,000 American Indians/Alaska Natives, primarily members of the 43 federally recognized Tribes in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.


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May is Hepatitis Awareness Monthhttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/may2016/may-is-hepatitis-awareness-monthhttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/may2016/may-is-hepatitis-awareness-monthThursday, May 19, 2016 ]]>May is Hepatitis Awareness Month, and May 19 marks the fifth national Hepatitis Testing Day in the United States. American Indians and Alaska Native people have the highest rates of both acute Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HCV-related mortality in the United States.

These observances represent important opportunities to promote hepatitis testing and improve outcomes for the estimated 3.4 million to 5.3 million people living with viral hepatitis in the U.S., many of whom do not know they are infected. Chronic Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) and HCV infection can lead to serious liver disease, liver cancer and even death if undiagnosed and untreated. In the United States, nearly 3 million persons are chronically infected with Hepatitis C, and up to 75 percent of patients do not realize they are infected.

Indian Health Service (IHS) screening rates have more than tripled in the past few years, although we have many more patients to reach. A recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov describes this success in detail. The report highlights the outstanding work that IHS facilities are doing to improve access to life-saving Hepatitis C screening and quality medical care. Congratulations to the many Indian Health system facilities that are already offering widespread HCV screening of our patient population.

Hepatitis Awareness Month offers an important opportunity to generate greater awareness of viral hepatitis as a critical health concern. More widespread understanding about how to prevent, diagnose and treat viral hepatitis is essential if we are to prevent new infections and poor health outcomes among those living with viral hepatitis. There are medications available to cure chronic HCV, including effective new treatments that have fewer side effects than previous options.

Here are some opportunities to get involved and spread the word:

  • Take a five-minute online hepatitis risk assessment Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov and encourage others to do so.
  • Learn more about the ABCs of viral hepatitis Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov and share the information with family and friends or via your social media networks using #HepAware.
  • Download and distribute information Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov from CDC on Hepatitis C.
  • Take and share the online Hepatitis Risk Assessment Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov which provides personalized hepatitis vaccinations and testing recommendations in only a few minutes. 
  • Free resources Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov are available to promote the risk assessment.

IHS is committed to helping communities use all effective tools to stop the spread of Hepatitis C and reduce deaths associated with the disease.

As IHS Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Susan V. Karol (Tuscarora Nation) provides medical advice and guidance to the Office of the Director and staff on American Indian and Alaska Native health care policies and issues. She serves as the primary liaison and advocate for IHS field clinical programs and community-based health professionals.


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NCUIH Conference Concentrates on Strengthening Urban Programshttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/may2016/ncuih-conference-concentrates-on-strengthening-urban-programshttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/may2016/ncuih-conference-concentrates-on-strengthening-urban-programsThursday, May 19, 2016 ]]>The 18th Annual National Council of Urban Indian Health Leadership conference was held at the Viejas Casino & Resort in Alpine, Calif., which is 30 miles east of San Diego on the beautiful lands of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians.

There was great representation of Indian Health Service staff at the conference including Rear Adm. Sandra Pattea who gave opening remarks and spoke about how IHS is working toward a culture of quality care, leadership, and accountability. I was able to update the attendees about the IHS's Urban Indian Health Program strategy, budget updates, and our work in third party revenue, accreditation, and expanding health information technology.

We were able to host several listening sessions with groups from across the country to hear what their concerns are and how we can work collaboratively to provide solutions. Some of the areas that were brought up included continuing work on health information technology issues related to EHR Meaningful Use application and follow up, 100% FMAP, IHS/VA reimbursement, and how to recruit and retain employees at the urban centers.

Rear Adm. Pattea addresses the NCUIH Leadership Conference attendees during the Welcome and Opening Ceremony in Alpine, Calif.
Rear Adm. Pattea addresses the NCUIH Leadership Conference attendees during the Welcome and Opening Ceremony in Alpine, Calif.

Senior Policy Analyst for External Affairs, Wilbur Woodis, spoke to American Indian homelessness and how IHS is working with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to bolster and identify area where they can work together to address this growing issue.

CMDR Mark Rives, IHS Chief Information Officer, and CDR Lori Moore, RPMS Investment Manager led a session that addressed "Data & Health Information Technology," specifically both examining the Resource Patient Management System and Electronic Health Record challenges. The presentation briefing offered an overview of how IHS and OIT plan to address the issues, what has been done to date, and to propose strategies to make changes or correct the problems.

Finally, there was a breakout session led by IHS Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Susan Karol, who encouraged urban Indian health programs to consider IPC 2.0 and integrating behavioral health into primary care as part of their program development and service expansion. She covered information regarding quality care and where the agency is headed as far as strategies for improving patient care and the principals of trauma-informed systems of care.

IHS held Listening Sessions with several Urban Indian Health Programs including this group from California.
IHS held Listening Sessions with several Urban Indian Health Programs including this group from California.

A highlight for many attendees was the short trip into San Diego to visit and tour the San Diego American Indian Health Center. Staff-led tours showed the small but thriving offices dedicated to ambulatory medical, dental, behavioral health, and other related services. They are getting ready to find and move into new offices within the next couple of years and hope to expand both in square footage and services. Another treat was to see the Center's neighboring Youth Program where local Native kids can come together to meet, learn, create video diaries and more. The art exhibition, "We R Urban," was a huge hit.

The opportunity to meet, learn and discuss the issues that urban programs face is important as we work toward improving the health status of our American Indian people.

Sherriann Moore, an enrolled member of the Rosebud "Sicangu" Lakota Tribe in South Dakota, is the Acting Director of the Office of Urban Indian Health Programs. The IHS Office of Urban Indian Health Program supports contracts and grants to programs funded under Title V of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.


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IHS recognizes role of nurses during National Nurses Weekhttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/may2016/ihs-recognizes-role-of-nurses-during-national-nurses-weekhttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/may2016/ihs-recognizes-role-of-nurses-during-national-nurses-weekThursday, May 12, 2016 ]]>National Nurses Week is observed annually from May 6 to 12 to honor the dedicated service of nurses throughout the country and to acknowledge the vital role nurses play in society.

IHS nurses fulfill critical roles in clinics, hospitals and public health outreach programs that are vital to the health of American Indian and Alaska Native individuals, families and communities.

U.S. Public Health Service Lt. Cmdr. Angela Zimmerman, PHN, educates clinic employee Kay Stainbrook on the importance of influenza vaccination for patients of all ages.
U.S. Public Health Service Lt. Cmdr. Angela Zimmerman, PHN, educates clinic employee Kay Stainbrook on the importance of influenza vaccination for patients of all ages.

In recognition of Nurses Week, the Portland Area highlights the Chemawa Indian Health Clinic nursing team as leaders in supporting the mission of the Indian Health Service. Located in Salem, Oregon, the clinic is the primary health care facility for the Chemawa Indian School and provides care to more than 5500 community patients from over 290 recognized tribes.

In fiscal year 2016, the nursing team has focused on educating all of our health care employees in the importance of influenza vaccination. Nursing staff has provided in-services and in-department vaccination services to reach a 99% vaccination rate within the facility.

Chemawa Indian Health Clinic Clinical Team:  Ashley Baisley, NCMA; Susan Holland, NCMA, Shannon Carlton, RMA; Dean Seyler, Portland Area Director; Genny Stone, RN; Dr. Cynkutis, MD; Lane Purser, RN
Chemawa Indian Health Clinic Clinical Team: Ashley Baisley, NCMA; Susan Holland, NCMA, Shannon Carlton, RMA; Dean Seyler, Portland Area Director; Genny Stone, RN; Dr. Cynkutis, MD; Lane Purser, RN

These nurses demonstrate best practices in the delivery of health care to Native Americans and Alaska Natives and model the core values of the Western Oregon Service Unit: Trust, Respect, Integrity, Willingness, and Learning. This team is committed to the clinic's strategic purpose to "Provide a legacy of wellness as your trusted partner of choice."

 

Capt. Laura Herbison, RN, has been with the Indian Health Service since 2002. Throughout her career she has served as a clinical pediatric nurse, ER nurse, director of nursing, collaborative director for the National Improving Patient Care initiative, and currently serves as chief executive officer of the Western Oregon Service Unit.


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IHS ORAP Acting Director, Terri Schmidt, receives alumni honorshttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/may2016/ihs-orap-acting-director-terri-schmidt-receives-alumni-honorshttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/may2016/ihs-orap-acting-director-terri-schmidt-receives-alumni-honorsWednesday, May 11, 2016 ]]>I’m very pleased to announce that Terri Schmidt, IHS Acting Director of the Office of Resource Access and Partnerships, was inducted into the Southwestern Oklahoma State University’s Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame during the university’s 2016 commencement ceremonies on May 7, 2016.

Ms. Schmidt, who received a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Southwestern Oklahoma State University, also received the honor of Outstanding Nursing Alumni for 2016.

Terri Schmidt, IHS Acting Director for the Office of Resource Access and Partnership, was inducted in the Southwestern Oklahoma State University Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame on May 7, 2016 in Weatherford, Ok.
Terri Schmidt, IHS Acting Director for the Office of Resource Access and Partnership, was inducted in the Southwestern Oklahoma State University Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame on May 7, 2016 in Weatherford, Ok..

In her time working at IHS in various capacities, Ms. Schmidt has always shown professionalism and dedication to the work at hand and to our patients. As a nurse, she recognizes the health needs in rural communities and reservations. She has said that Nursing School prepared her to be assertive and a critical thinker while developing leadership skills.

This is certainly not the first time Ms. Schmidt has been recognized for her outstanding work. She has received numerous awards during her professional career, including an IHS Director’s Award for personal dedication, commitment, and accomplishments toward the mission of the Indian Health Service in 1999 and in 2011 for outstanding support of the Contract Health Services Workgroup. In 2005 and 2008 she received the National Council of Chief Executive Officers Managerial Excellence Award. In 2007, Ms. Schmidt received the Oklahoma City Area Superior Support Service award for successfully coordinating the design and construction of a new facility.

Through awards, accolades and work ethic, it is evident that Ms. Schmidt is a leader in the Indian Health Service. As Acting Director of the Office of Resource Access and Partnerships, she plays an integral role in providing direction and leadership on contract care, business office/third-party collections and partnerships with other agencies and organizations.

Ms. Schmidt, a member of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Tribes of Oklahoma, celebrated her recent honors with her husband, Bob, and their family in Oklahoma.

Congratulations, Ms. Schmidt, for your excellent work!

Elizabeth A. Fowler, a member of the Comanche Nation with descendancy from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, is the Deputy Director for Management Operations for the Indian Health Service. Ms. Fowler is responsible for implementing IHS agency goals and mission; providing overall organization management to improve agency performance; developing strategic plans; and planning, directing and evaluating the operations of the Headquarters functions, authorities and responsibilities.


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IHS Hosts Third Public Meeting to Address LGBT2-S Health Issueshttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/may2016/ihs-hosts-third-public-meeting-to-address-lgbt2-s-health-issueshttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/may2016/ihs-hosts-third-public-meeting-to-address-lgbt2-s-health-issuesMonday, May 9, 2016 ]]>On May 5, the Indian Health Service (IHS) held its third public meeting on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and two-spirit (LGBT2-S) health issues via public teleconference.

One essential topic that participants discussed was confidentiality and more than one caller expressed the opinion that all patients need to feel that their privacy is adequately protected by IHS so that they feel safe seeking care and disclosing risk factors to their providers. Participants also spoke at length about preferred terminology and good ways to create a welcoming environment. Callers expressed the strong belief that such steps could improve access to appropriate, sensitive health care services that meet the needs of patients.

There were a total 56 participants on this teleconference. The event was part of a continuing series that IHS is holding to gain a better understanding of the health care needs of American Indian and Alaska Native LGBT2-S people so that IHS can implement improvements in health policy and health care delivery. Meeting participants included representatives from national, regional, and local organizations sharing their experiences in serving the American Indian and Alaska Native LGBT2-S community.

Dr. Alec Thundercloud, Director of the Office of Clinical and Preventive Services for the IHS, opened the call by welcoming the participants and briefly describing the previous feedback gathered from earlier events. Participants brought a number of concerns to the table, including suggestions for the agency in the areas of preferred terminology, clinical practice procedures, creating a welcoming care environment, increasing parity of services, reducing stigma, meeting behavioral health needs, and supporting youth and their families.

We celebrate these important efforts to advance and promote the health of American Indian and Alaska Native LGBT2-S people. Persons interested in contributing more information or elaborating on their comments are encouraged to contact Lisa Neel at lisa.neel@ihs.gov or via phone at 301-443-4305.

Ms. Neel, MPH, a member of the Cherokee Nation, manages the IHS National HIV/AIDS Program. This public health program addresses infectious disease needs in partnership with Native communities throughout the United States.


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IHS, CMS enter Systems Improvement Agreements for Rosebud, Pine Ridge hospitalshttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/may2016/ihs-cms-enter-systems-improvement-agreements-for-rosebud-pine-ridge-hospitalshttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/may2016/ihs-cms-enter-systems-improvement-agreements-for-rosebud-pine-ridge-hospitalsMonday, May 2, 2016 ]]>Providing access to quality medical care is a top priority for IHS. We are committed to making improvements to ensure the safe delivery of care for its patients and to implement reforms to stabilize, strengthen and raise the overall quality of care in the IHS Great Plains Area.

To support this goal, IHS and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)—another part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—have entered into Systems Improvement Agreements for the IHS Rosebud Hospital and the IHS Pine Ridge Hospital. You will find copies of these Agreements here for IHS Rosebud Hospital [PDF – 7MB] and IHS Pine Ridge Hospital [PDF – 8MB].

These agreements are important steps forward for both of these hospitals in ensuring that we are providing quality health care and that improvements are sustainable over time.  These agreements are patient-focused. In the short term, they will allow us continued access to crucial funding sources in Medicare and Medicaid. In the long term, they will allow us to address systemic issues, resulting in improved systems, processes and most importantly, improved patient care at Rosebud and Pine Ridge hospitals.

These agreements will strengthen the foundation for immediate and long-term quality improvements at Pine Ridge and Rosebud Hospitals.

These Systems Improvement Agreements are long-term, 12-month binding agreements to develop and ensure sustainable delivery of high-quality health care services in a manner consistent with Medicare health and safety requirements. In this situation, CMS and IHS concluded that more time to implement additional reforms or investments is likely to yield substantial improvement and is in the best interests of beneficiaries.

The Systems Improvement Agreements are a very significant step forward. These agreements are the starting point to support these hospitals to ensure the quality care that IHS patients deserve. The SIAs bring additional technical assistance and other resources to these facilities.

IHS intends to work diligently to make the best use of the technical assistance and resources available under the terms of the SIA, to take advantage of every opportunity to improve quality of care.

We are excited to take these steps forward with respect to both the Pine Ridge and Rosebud hospitals, and we look forward to working with our tribal partners to ensuring the long-term viability of these hospitals in the communities in which they serve and to ensuring that we are providing quality care.

Ms. Smith, a member of the Cherokee Nation, leads IHS, a nationwide health care delivery program responsible for providing preventive, curative and community health care to approximately 2.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives. Read more


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Tribal Management Grants Available for Tribes and Tribal Organizationshttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/april2016/tribal-management-grants-available-for-tribes-and-tribal-organizationshttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/april2016/tribal-management-grants-available-for-tribes-and-tribal-organizationsFriday, April 29, 2016 ]]>The Indian Health Service is now accepting applications for the Tribal Management Grant Program Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov, a competitive grant for federally recognized Tribes and Tribal organizations that is administered by the Office of Direct Service and Contracting Tribes (ODSCT).

The intent of the grant program is to prepare Tribes and Tribal organizations for assuming all or part of exiting IHS programs, functions, services and activities, and further develop and improve their health management capabilities.

Approximately 16-18 awards will be issued to assist Tribes and Tribal organizations to establish goals and performance measures; assess current management capacity; analyze programs to determine if management is practicable; and develop infrastructure systems to manage or organize the programs, function, services and activities of the current health programs.

The Tribal Management Grant Program consists of four project types with funding amounts and project periods.

  • Feasibility Study: $70,000 (maximum funding) for 12 months
  • Planning: $50,000 (maximum funding) for 12 months
  • Evaluation Study: $50,000 (maximum funding) for 12 months
  • Health Management Structure: $100,000 (average funding) for 12 months; $300,000 (maximum funding) for 35 months

Important deadlines to remember:

  • Applications due: June 8, 2016
  • Review dates: June 20-24, 2016
  • Earliest anticipated start date: September 1, 2016

For more information about Tribal Management Grant Program, contact the Office of Direct Service and Contracting Tribes or at 301-443-1104.

CAPT Chris Buchanan, an enrolled member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, is the Director, Office of Direct Services and Contracting Tribes (ODSCT), for the Indian Health Service. The ODSCT is the focal point for Title I Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act activities and support for Direct Service Tribes. CAPT Buchanan directs this national program with responsibilities which include policy development concerning Title I Indian Self-Determination contracting and the integration of newly recognized Tribes into the IHS system.


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Lawton Service Unit celebrates 100 years of caringhttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/april2016/lawton-service-unit-celebrates-100-years-of-caringhttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/april2016/lawton-service-unit-celebrates-100-years-of-caringFriday, April 29, 2016 ]]>The Lawton Indian Hospital is celebrating 100 years of caring for patients in the Lawton-Ft. Sill area, 85 miles southwest of Oklahoma City. Today, the hospital provides care to more than 23,000 patients.

In the early 1900s, Kiowa tribal leaders lobbied for a hospital. In 1914, Congress approved funding for the Kiowa Indian Hospital. Construction was completed in 1915 and the Kiowa Indian Hospital opened in early 1916. In 1967, the Lawton Indian Hospital was built and most of the original Kiowa Indian Hospital structures were demolished.

The Kiowa Indian Hospital in Lawton, Okla., in 1929.
The Kiowa Indian Hospital in Lawton, Okla., in 1929.

The hospital has seen significant enhancements in the years since, one of the most significant projects was the 2007 addition of an outpatient clinic. This new space houses doctors’ offices, a pharmacy, a chapel and a conference room. In the past 4 years, several departments have been renovated. Just in the last year, the Lawton Indian Hospital has added new modular dental, behavioral health, and public health nursing buildings. The facility is now triple the size of the original 1916 hospital.

Throughout the years several specialized service lines have been established such as dental care, oral maxillary surgery, audiology, optometry, podiatry, ophthalmology, behavioral health and Diabetes treatment and prevention. In the last ten years, services were further expanded to include: CT scan, bone scan, ultrasound, mammography, MRI, wound care, rheumatology, endocrinology, psychiatry, infusion therapy, physical therapy, respiratory therapy and most recently otorhinolaryngology.

The Lawton Indian Hospital is a full service hospital situated in Oklahoma's third largest metropolitan area. The hospital provides over 800 admissions and 100,000 outpatient visits per year.
The Lawton Indian Hospital is a full service hospital situated in Oklahoma's third largest metropolitan area. The hospital provides over 800 admissions and 100,000 outpatient visits per year.

The Lawton Indian Hospital is licensed for 24 inpatient beds. In recent years, the hospital's reputation for providing special services such as long-term antibiotic therapy and end-of-life care has grown to a degree that our services are in very high demand. This extension of our inpatient services, including case management, has helped to improve our average daily patient load as well as our relationships with the tribal social services liaisons and with staff from the surrounding area hospitals.

The Lawton Service Unit has partnered with the seven tribes of Southwest Oklahoma (Apache, Fort Sill Apache, Caddo, Comanche, Kiowa, Wichita, and Delaware), the Veterans Health Administration, Oklahoma Healthcare Authority, Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Bureau of Indian Education, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs to improve the access, continuity of care, and resources utilization for all American Indian and Alaska Native patients.

Capt. Greg Ketcher, Lawton Indian Hospital chief executive officer, speaks during a centennial celebration at the Lawton Indian Hospital in Lawton, Okla., April 27, 2016.
Capt. Greg Ketcher, Lawton Indian Hospital chief executive officer, speaks during a centennial celebration at the Lawton Indian Hospital in Lawton, Okla., April 27, 2016.

Quality and patient safety are the key values and drivers of all patient care provided at the Lawton Service Unit. By implementing initiatives such as: Improving Patient Care, Partnership for Patients Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov, The Joint Commission survey process, College of American Pathologist survey, Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, and Inpatient Quality Reporting Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov we continually strive to improve health outcomes for Native American populations.

Capt. Greg Ketcher, OD, is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. He received both his Bachelor of Science degree in 1987 and his Doctor of Optometry degree in 1988 at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.


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