Indian Health Service (IHS)

What is the Indian Health Service (IHS)?

The Indian Health Service (IHS) is a governmental agency in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) responsible for improving the mental, physical, spiritual and social health of Indigenous peoples. The IHS partners with other entities to offer quality healthcare to around 2.6 million individuals.  

The IHS is also a health system incorporating more than 300 health centers and 35 hospitals

The IHS faces some challenges, such as trouble with physician recruiting, underfunding, limited specialty services and remote care delivery. 

Why is the Indian Health Service (IHS) important to healthcare?

The Indian Health Service is important because it increases access to quality, culturally appropriate and comprehensive healthcare for Indigenous peoples. The IHS also advocates on behalf of the health of Indigenous peoples.