IHS Spokesperson Comments on Two-Spirit Input to Improve Services

IHS Logo(WASHINGTON, DC) As reported by TwoSpiritJounral.com, on June 5, 2015, Indian Health Service (IHS) put a call out for public comments to inform its efforts to advance and promote the health needs of the Two-Spirit community though the US Federal Register’s Notice of Request for Information.

“IHS is seeking to gain a better understanding of the health care needs of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals so that the agency can implement health policy and health care delivery changes to advance the health care needs of the AI/AN LGBT community,” said Lisa Neel, HIV Program Coordinator.

Ms. Neel continues, “The agency is seeking to increase community access to and engagement with IHS leadership and secure a legacy of transparent, accountable, fair, and inclusive decision-making specific to AI/AN LGBT people. This request for information seeks public comment on several key dimensions of the health needs of the AI/AN LGBT community. This information will help IHS better engage with stakeholders around the implementation of improvements in healthcare delivery, identify gaps or disparities in existing IHS services offered to LGBT persons, and develop plans to improve the overall health care for the LGBT community.”

When asked about when the Two-Spirit community could see an improvement is services at IHS, Ms. Neel told the TwoSpiritJournal.com, “Improving health care and meeting the needs of all AI/AN patients is a priority for the IHS. We expect to continue to implement changes later this year.”

IHS requests public comment on several key dimensions of the health needs of the Two-Spirit community, including but not limited to the following questions:

  • Are there effective models and best practices surrounding the health care for the Two-Spirit community that should be considered for replication? Please include rationale for their use in the IHS service population.
  • What are the specific measures that could be used to track progress in improving the health of Two-Spirit persons?
  • How can IHS better engage with stakeholders around the implementation of improvements?
  • Are there gaps or disparities in existing IHS services offered to Two-Spirit persons?
  • What additional information should the agency consider while developing plans to improve health care for the Two-Spirit community?

Comments must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on July 6, 2015.

Electronic responses are encouraged and may be addressed to lisa.neel@ihs.gov or written responses sent to:

Indian Health Service
Attention: LGBT Feedback
801 Thompson Avenue
Suite 300, Rockville, MD 20852

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