Financing American Indian Health Care: Impacts and Options for Improving Access and Quality of Care

The researchers examined health care access and quality of care for American Indians who receive care through the Indian Health Service (IHS). In particular, they: 1) determined the resources (national and regional per capita spending) available for health care for this population from 2000 to 2005; 2) assessed service priorities and the mechanisms for explicit and implicit rationing of care; 3) analyzed the impact of priorities and rationing mechanisms on access to care, availability of services, quality, and outcomes; and 4) developed options for improving access and quality for American Indian heath care and analyze the feasibility and costs of these options. The objective of the project was to contribute to the understanding of the impact of current financing and organization of the Indian Health Service on access and quality and the contribution of these factors to the health disparities experienced by this population.