10/08/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 10/08/2019 14:55
For more than two decades, the IHS Joint Venture Construction Program has strengthened partnerships with tribes across the country and expanded access to comprehensive, culturally acceptable health services for American Indian and Alaska Native people.
The highly competitive program enables a partnership wherein a tribe constructs, acquires, or renovates a facility using non-IHS funds, and IHS requests funding from Congress to staff, operate and maintain the facility for 20 years. More than 25 tribes have partnered to provide more than 30 facilities, from health centers to hospitals, providing increased access to quality health care services for their communities.
The program began in 1991 to highlight the potential of cooperative efforts between the IHS and tribes. A demonstration project was developed to assist tribes and tribal organizations desiring to use tribal funds to increase the level of health care services provided to their population. The first congressionally approved joint venture project between IHS and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs resulted in a 37,246 square foot health and wellness center constructed in 1993. The project was completed on schedule and below budget. Tribal leaders reported a very positive experience, stating 'this health and wellness center will forever be a source of community pride because it truly belongs to our community.'
With the success of this demonstration project, IHS established the JVCP for future projects. The JVCP became an opportunity for adding healthcare space across the country for American Indians and Alaska Natives as an alternative to the Healthcare Facilities Construction Priory System.
IHS is currently accepting pre-applications from tribes for Fiscal Year 2020. The pre-application phase is used to determine if the proposed project is eligible for consideration and has the potential for successful competitive selection. Pre-applications are due by CLOSE OF BUSINESS on October 11, 2019. For more information on program requirements and evaluation criteria, please visit the Division of Facilities Planning and Construction's 'Programs' page .
Gary J. Hartz, P.E., is the director of the IHS Office of Environmental Health and Engineering. He leads IHS efforts to provide functional, well maintained health care facilities and staff housing, technical and financial assistance to tribes on safe water and wastewater systems, and a broad range of environmental health and injury prevention activities throughout Indian Country.