Indian Health Service announces Office of Quality

BY STAFF REPORTS
01/22/2019 04:00 PM
WASHINGTON – The Indian Health Service recently announced its new Office of Quality to strengthen the agency’s ongoing efforts to ensure the delivery of quality health care at federally operated facilities serving American Indian and Alaska Native people.

According to the agency’s press release, the IHS Office of Quality will provide leadership and promote consistency in health care quality across the agency by consolidating and enhancing oversight of these efforts at IHS headquarters.

“The Indian Health Service places a high priority on ensuring the delivery of quality health care to our patients,” said Rear Adm. Michael D. Weahkee, IHS principal deputy director. “The IHS Office of Quality will bring together key functions and responsibilities to maximize our quality improvement efforts and integrate quality in a collaborative and organized manner across the entire IHS.”

The plan to create the office was developed in consultation with the tribes served by IHS in response to challenges in delivering quality health care in Indian Country. The Office of Quality will be led by IHS Deputy Director for Quality Health Care Jonathan Merrell.

Other recent quality improvement efforts by IHS include:

• implementing a centralized credentialing software system,

• creating a national accountability dashboard for quality,

• establishing a patient wait time standards,

• developing a patient experience of care survey, and

• developing the Partnership to Advance Tribal Health, in collaboration with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The reorganization plan is included in the Federal Register and was expected to be effective on Jan. 26.

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