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Anyone have experience working for the Indian Health Service

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  • Avatar HikingDO 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 258
    Joined: 03/09/2017

    I’m trying to move from fulll time to part time, and the wonderful physician friendly (sarcasm font needed) large hospital group that I work for isn’t going to allow it. I found a job with the IHS about 30 minutes from my house that will allow me to work the hours that I want. Does anyone have experience working with the IHS?

    #194622 Reply
    Avatar okayplayer 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 76
    Joined: 05/25/2016
    #194623 Reply
    SerrateAndDominate SerrateAndDominate 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 311
    Joined: 02/01/2018

    Tried to get my wife hired by a local IHS clinic. I know nothing about the above article, but I could tell the hiring process was pretty prolonged. Stated preference given to Native Americans. And they never emailed back to say not interested. So be prepared for a drawn out process

    Earn everything.

    #194624 Reply
    Liked by HikingDO, Tim
    Avatar snowcanyon 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 318
    Joined: 10/22/2018

    What field are you in?

    I did EM locums at one of their larger sites, and I enjoyed it very much. Interesting patients, lots of visiting students from Harvard, variable docs. It’s site and specialty dependent. Agreed that the outlying IHS facilities really have a hard time.

    Feel free to PM me.

    #194633 Reply
    Liked by HikingDO
    Avatar SLC OB 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 301
    Joined: 06/23/2018
    There was also a very damning Frontline episode.

    Click to expand…

    Only watched 2 minute of it… but horrible!!!!  Sounds like they need good docs!

     

    I have no experience with IHS but nice that they will accommodate your schedule. Good luck!

    #194641 Reply
    Liked by HikingDO, Tim
    Avatar FJSD 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 4
    Joined: 05/07/2017

    Howdy,

    I’ve been working at an IHS site in Northern Arizona for the last 3.5 years.  I’m fairly convinced that the IHS represents a secret haven for emergency medicine.  There are no RVU’s, no frankly unreasonable protocols (sepsis alerts in flu season), and in general no administrators regularly breathing down your neck.  It attracts docs who are interested in a county population in an under resourced setting – we have docs from all over the nation and our community of providers is wonderful because we all joined for the same reason.  The hospital has even attracted orthopods and surgeons from the nearby community site who were interested in working for a good cause.  It is rural medicine, and you won’t have many backups, but if actions speak louder than words I can say that I’m nearly 4 years into what I thought would be a 2 year tour and I don’t have any plans on leaving.  Try something weird, give the IHS a shot.

    PM me if you have questions…

     

    Avatar Tim 
    Participant
    Status: Accountant
    Posts: 1419
    Joined: 09/18/2018

    This may be a wonderful part time opportunity. A lot of the result will depend on the satisfaction you get from the specific situation. I copied ONE review from Glassdoor that by no means is representative. Sarcasm aside, government related employment comes with it’s own frustrations. In either situation, you can work and get paid for the reduced schedule. IHS is a large hospital group too. In a shortage, I can see IHS wanting to move you back to a full schedule as well. Large hospital system to large hospital system. Pick your poison! Good luck with your choice.
    One person AZ had a few opinions.

    “Pros
    salary, security, location, commute, location
    Cons
    work environment; politics; funding, work ethics
    Outsiders walk on egg shells, USPHS outdated and outmoded and exists as a good government job. Race preference permeates all aspects of work. Non Indians expected to appreciate cultural events. Lots of social service work. Stifled and suppressed work environment. Everything relies on government checks. Long term employees look bitten and tired.“

    #194649 Reply
    Liked by HikingDO
    Avatar snowcanyon 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 318
    Joined: 10/22/2018

    This may be a wonderful part time opportunity. A lot of the result will depend on the satisfaction you get from the specific situation. I copied ONE review from Glassdoor that by no means is representative. Sarcasm aside, government related employment comes with it’s own frustrations. In either situation, you can work and get paid for the reduced schedule. IHS is a large hospital group too. In a shortage, I can see IHS wanting to move you back to a full schedule as well. Large hospital system to large hospital system. Pick your poison! Good luck with your choice.
    One person AZ had a few opinions.

    “Pros
    salary, security, location, commute, location
    Cons
    work environment; politics; funding, work ethics
    Outsiders walk on egg shells, USPHS outdated and outmoded and exists as a good government job. Race preference permeates all aspects of work. Non Indians expected to appreciate cultural events. Lots of social service work. Stifled and suppressed work environment. Everything relies on government checks. Long term employees look bitten and tired.“

    Click to expand…

    I’m not sure who wrote this review, but perhaps not an MD.  Here’s my take:

    -Indian preference- sure, it exists, and if you want to be an administrator, this might be an issue. It certainly wasn’t for the docs, of whom there is a chronic shortage. If you are employed, they really can’t get rid of you easily. I certainly never walked on eggshells, even as locums.

    -I think if you work for the IHS, you should kind of appreciate the history and culture. I mean, why work there otherwise?

    -Government work has frustrations. Yes. I found them less than the private sector. YMMV.

    -Salary was not so great for EM, and it was busy, busy, busy and high acuity. Med mal is great, though.

    As to the PT/FT thing- well, that’s a problem with the general culture of work in the US. Seems like many places would rather have an empty spot than a PT doc. This I do not understand. Th IHS was flexible IME.

     

    #194804 Reply
    Liked by HikingDO, Anne, Tim
    Avatar MWPT 
    Participant
    Status: Other Professional
    Posts: 5
    Joined: 10/18/2018

    I interned at an IHS facility a while ago as a physical therapy student and had a positive experience, so can comment from that perspective. As a practicing PT, not having to spend time on insurance authorizations and the decreased productivity metrics I would now consider sanity saving. Also, the clinicians I was with made their careers with the IHS, but certainly didn’t practice like they were there to “just get their 20 years”, which was refreshing… and beneficial to my education.

    I honestly wasn’t there long enough to comment on the larger operation, but feel HCPs generally had more autonomy and less stress. Good luck!

    #194891 Reply
    Liked by HikingDO, Anne, Tim
    Avatar HikingDO 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 258
    Joined: 03/09/2017

    Thanks for your replies everyone! It definitely gives me something to think about, I’m sure it’ll be a challenge, but after doing and getting bored of FM in affluent suburban Phoenix for years, I think it’s time for something new.

    #195199 Reply
    Liked by Tim
    Hank Hank 
    Moderator
    Status: Attorney
    Posts: 1116
    Joined: 03/27/2017

    Before you leave Scottsdale for Show Low, you might want to spend a few weekends up there. I have in-laws in both locations, but living conditions can be quite different despite the relatively few miles between the two locales.

    #195392 Reply
    Liked by Tim
    Avatar Ha 
    Participant
    Status: Spouse
    Posts: 21
    Joined: 01/25/2018

    My husband has been working for ihs in nm for the past 1 1/2 years and has loved it. He’s a fam doc. I think it depends on what you are looking for professionally and lifestyle wise.

     

    We have enjoyed more more family time, more vacation time, and less stress but it was definitely an adjustment moving to a rural area.

    #197867 Reply

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