Navigating the Indian Health Service
The Indian Health Service (IHS), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is responsible for providing federal health services to American Indians and Alaska Natives. The IHS provides health services for American Indians and Alaska Natives who are members of 566 federally recognized tribes across the U.S.
If you are a member of a federally recognized tribe, you may be eligible for health services within the Indian Health Service. Depending on where you live, there may be an IHS facility close to you.
Two types of services are provided by the Indian Health Service: (1) direct health care services, which are provided by an IHS facility, or (2) purchased and referred care services (PRC), which are provided by a non-IHS facility or provider through contracts with the IHS. PRC services are provided principally for members of federally recognized tribes who reside on or near the reservation established for the local tribe(s). The eligibility requirements are stricter for PRC than they are for direct care.
A member of a federally recognized tribe may obtain care at any IHS hospital or clinic if the facility has the staff and capability to provide the medical care. Many facilities can provide mammography services, and some provide many other breast services, including breast biopsies and treatment for benign (non-cancerous) and cancer-related breast problems. You can find more information about the Indian Health Service, including IHS facilities near you, on the Indian Health Service website: www.ihs.gov