The provision of health care to American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) people in Indian Country and urban areas has become increasingly complex. Health care delivery systems are expected to be more flexible even though health care dollars are becoming scarce. To justify national funding and maintain a high quality of health care, baseline measures must be established. A baseline measure is a tool used to monitor the performance of a health care program. Repeated periodically, a baseline measure may provide a direction for change in a health care program over time. With this understanding, the Baseline Measures Workgroup (BMW) began completing the tasks outlined by the Director of the Indian Health Service (IHS). The BMW drafted a set of baseline measures that can be adopted and modified to meet the needs of local health programs and the communities they serve. The BMW assumptions included: 1) develop guidelines for community based primary care models that integrate public and personal health; 2) IHS has an advocacy role of AI/AN health programs; 3) accurate, complete, and timely program data are essential for program management; and 4) baseline measures should be population/Tribal based where feasible. The database that will be developed from baseline measures and other sources will provide information that is needed to set national policy and make funding decisions. Participating in this database is optional but strongly encouraged in order to preserve the recognition of an AI/AN specific health care agenda at the national level. The BMW recognizes that all programs differ from site to site in terms of level of services provided, and varying cultural and community traditions. The BMW recognizes that each program - Tribal, urban, and federal - strives to operate a quality health care system.
Indian Health Service, Rockville, MD 20857.
Baseline measures workgroup final report. Indian Health Service, Rockville, MD 20857. 1996