Employees from All Native Group, a division of Ho-Chunk, Inc., will comprise the Indian Health Service (IHS) Critical Care Response Team, created to provide life-saving medical care to COVID-19 patients across 44 federally and Tribally managed IHS facilities.
These expert medical professionals of physicians, registered nurses, and other healthcare professionals, will conduct hands-on clinical education while treating patients, expanding capacity and training frontline health care professionals on the most current information for the management of COVID-19 patients, and other critically ill patients.
In the event a hospital or other medical location needs additional resources, the critical care response team can be mobilized and at the bedside of the patient within 24-48 hours notice.
“Across Indian Country, we’re in need of COVID-19 medical experts to help keep our communities safe and healthy,” Bryan Collins, VP of Operations, All Native Group said. “Our Tribes are quickly adapting to this global pandemic, and we have the responsibility of educating and supporting IHS hospitals to ensure Indian Country communities receive the best health care possible.”
The IHS system received $2.4 billion in new funding to support COVID-19 response. The critical care response team will be staffed through a 12-month contract awarded to Fire Creek Services Company—an All Native Group subsidiary.
The critical care response team will serve hospitals as needed which include a network of 44 hospitals— Tribal and Federal.
The IHS is responding to COVID-19 with an all hands-on-deck approach to address the potential surge in hospitalized and critically ill patients. For instance, the IHS is working to rapidly deploy telehealth services as needed to allow critical care consultation for patients managed in an IHS intensive care unit, and for critically ill patients receiving care at hospitals before they transfer to a higher level of care. The IHS also continues to work with Tribal, State and local partners to operate alternate care sites using existing buildings for patients who have been transferred from the hospital but still require some level of medical care. These patients may require oxygen and medications but do not require extensive nursing care or assistance with activities of daily living.
“A critical care response team will further enhance patient care across the Indian health system,” said IHS Director Rear Adm. Michael D. Weahkee in a statement. “This is a positive step in providing access to quality critical health care services, strengthening organizational capacity, improving operations and giving additional support to our frontline health care workers. Additional expert critical care support will assist IHS hospitals during a crisis and provide our most vulnerable patients the greatest chance of survival.”