Indian Health Unit Frequently Asked Questions

What is an I/T/U?

I/T/U is a common acronym for Indian health facilities: (“I”) Indian Health Service, (“T”) Tribally operated facility/program, and (“U”) Urban Indian clinic.

Can an Indian Health Facility also be a SoonerCare (Oklahoma Medicaid) PCP/CM?

Yes. Most providers in I/T/U facilities are SoonerCare providers and may serve as Primary Care Providers (PCP). As PCPs, I/T/U providers can provide culturally sensitive case management to Native American SoonerCare members, make referrals and coordinate additional services such as specialty care and hospitalization when patients access care at facilities that are not operated by tribes or IHS. Native American SoonerCare beneficiaries can select a contracted tribal facility, Indian Health Service facility or Urban Indian facility (I/T/U) as their SoonerCare Primary Care provider. Additionally, the beneficiary can self-refer to any I/T/U facility for the services which can be provided within the facility.

Should an Indian person who is eligible for SoonerCare apply for SoonerCare?

Yes. Since health care is provided to the AI/AN population free of charge, arising from trust responsibility, many AI/ANs do not see any reason to enroll in SoonerCare (Oklahoma Medicaid) or Medicare. However, by also enrolling in SoonerCare, adults and children may be able to access additional services which may not be available at all I/T/U facilities or through contract health, such as neurology, lab and x-ray, cardiology, etc.

What is contract health?

Contract Health Services (CHS) contracts or purchases services from private and local community healthcare providers such as outpatient care, dental, hospital care, physician services, transportation (ambulance), pharmacy, radiology and laboratory. It is important to note that contract health services are usually purchased through a prior authorization arrangement. Since Indian Health is not an insurance company, it is not obligated to pay for health care services which have not been authorized by the facility. There are several eligibility requirements for CHS and an extensive authorization process.