Evaluation of the IHS urban health business office concept.


Purpose The "Evaluation of the IHS Urban Health Business Office Concept," commonly called the Supplementary Security Income (SSI) Project, was a ten month grant demonstration project that was contracted to the American Indian Health Care Association (AIHCA) by the Indian Health Service (IHS) with cooperation of the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA was mandated to increase minority and target population enrollment for SSA benefits. The SSA provided funding to the IHS to oversee a project designed to locate and assist urban American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) in applying for SSI. Methods Originally, the project was to be administered from the urban Indian clinics' business offices. Since many urban clinics do not have a "business office," AIHCA , IHS, and SSA agreed that locating eligible candidates would be more effectively conducted through established outreach programs. Three urban Indian health programs were chosen as project sites: Minneapolis, Minnesota; Seattle, Washington; and Detroit, Michigan. An AI/AN outreach worker was hired at each site with the responsibility to locate and assist potentially eligible clients from the clinic. The outreach worker reported their findings weekly to the Project Coordinator at AIHCA. Conference calls between the Project Coordinator and outreach workers allowed staff to exchange support and site information. The Project Coordinator made three site visits to each site over the course of the data collection period (March to June 1992). Results A total of 78 people participated in the SSI Project by completing the pre-screening forms and speaking to an outreach worker about the SSI program: 17 from Minneapolis; 13 from Seattle; and 48 from Detroit. Results from this analysis have shown that before this project, 41% of the clients that had completed the intake form had incorrect information about SSI; 17.9% had never heard of SSI before; and 11.5% did not know how to contact SSI. In addition, most staff at the urban Indian health programs had little or no information about SSI. Conclusion The SSI Project has furthered the objectives of the Social Security Administration as well as the American Indian Health Care Association, and has assisted the urban Indian health programs by identifying AI/ANs eligible for SSI as well as other SSA program benefits. This SSI study improved recipients' lives and qualities of life by increasing their income, access to assistance services and health care benefits.

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Location Description: 

Michigan MI,Washington WA,Minnesota MN

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