Two federal agencies that provide health services for Native American veterans need to work more collaboratively and improve coordination of resources and care, said the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in a report released April 26. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Indian Health Service (IHS) both provide health services to dually eligible veterans.
The VA and IHS face unique challenges related to consulting with the 566 federally recognized tribes to coordinate efforts in ways that improve health care delivery to eligible Native American veterans, the GAO reported (http://tinyurl.com/ceuofvy). Tribal sovereignty—the inherent right to govern and protect the health, safety, and welfare of tribal members—allows tribes to choose whether they will participate in the 2 agencies' efforts to collaborate and coordinate services.
Native American Veterans. JAMA. 2013;309(22):2317. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.6819