Indian Health Service soliciting telemedicine providers to fix shortcomings (US)

In the US, as part of treaty obligations with Native American tribes, the Indian Health Service provides healthcare services for American Indians and Alaska Natives resident both on and off reservations. Shortcomings have been well-documented, but earlier this year in their Great Plains region, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) uncovered serious deficiencies in services, particularly in ERs, at the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Indian Reservations in South Dakota which led to CMS threatening to withhold payment for Medicare and Medicaid billings. While a remediation agreement was reached, IHS is now inviting telemedicine providers by June 6 to propose remote care at its seven hospitals and other facilities in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota, covering emergency services and specialty referrals services including an option for provider-to-provider consultations. Indian Tribes nationally, but especially in the Pacific Northwest and the Southwest, have long been active in telehealth as ‘rural’ is an understatement for many reservations and communities, specialty care is scarce even in hospitals and American Indians are overall underserved in healthcare services. IHS release, RFP information, Chron/Associated Press, mHealth Intelligence

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