Sunday, November 28, 2010

IHS and VA Sign MOU

The Indian Health Service (IHS) and the VA have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to improve the health of American Indians and Alaska Native Veterans. The MOU outlines a plan for coordination, collaboration, and resource sharing between the two agencies. The goal for the Indian Health Service and the VA in partnership with the American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) people, is to raise their physical, mental, social, and spiritual health to a higher level.

The MOU expands the partnership established through a previous MOU in 2003 that improved communication between the agencies and tribal governments and developed strategies to share information services and information technology.

The MOU will enable the IHS and the VA to:

• Expand the Tribal Veterans Representative program into the IHS system
• Improve the coordination of care, including co-management for AI/AN veterans by developing and testing innovative approaches
• Improve the development of health IT by sharing technology with both agencies
• Use telehealth services such as telephsychiatry and telepharmacy, mobile communication technologies, and enhanced telecommunications infrastructure in remote areas
• Develop payment and reimbursement policies
• Pay attention to cultural issues in caring for AI/AN veterans
• Improve quality through training and workforce development
• Address emergency, disaster, and pandemic preparedness and response to include sharing contingency planning and preparedness efforts