The Tribal Self-Governance Evaluation Feasibility Study, being conducted by Westat, Project HOPE Center for Health Affairs, and Kauffman and Associates, Inc., will provide the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation with in-depth background information and detailed review of issues and data systems that may affect the extent to which a rigorous and defensible evaluation of Tribally managed health and social services programs of the Indian Health Service and other non-IHS programs can be conducted. While a number of assessments of Tribally managed services programs have been conducted, these have been primarily qualitative in nature. OASPE is interested in determining the feasibility of conducting an evaluation that examines both processes associated with successful Tribal management of health and social services programs and impacts of Tribal management on outcomes, including access to care, services, quality, costs, financial performance and resources, customer satisfaction, and program stability.
During the initial four months of this project, a substantial amount of information was assembled by the project team, as background for understanding and laying the groundwork for developing the evaluation issues, research questions, and data requirements for the Evaluation Feasibility Study. These activities included:
- Development of a Draft Work Plan for the Evaluation Feasibility Study, including a set of preliminary evaluation issues, questions, and data requirements;
- Review of the research and other literature on Tribal self-governance and preparation of the Draft Literature Review;
- Preparation of a Draft Report on Legislative History and Development of Tribal Self-Governance and Contracting;
- Obtaining data from IHS and other DHHS agencies on specific programs that Tribes are currently managing under self-governance compacts and under contracts and grants, and a Draft Tribal Matrix Report was prepared that indicated specific programs operated by each federally-recognized Tribe;
- Preparation of a Draft Communications Strategy Report, addressing plans and mechanisms for communicating information, throughout the project, to the Evaluation Feasibility Study Technical Working Group, to all Tribes, and other interested parties; and
- Compiling data of socioeconomic, demographic, and other data for each federally-recognized Tribe and preparing a set of tables presenting this information for each Tribe.
In addition, the project team and the Task Order Managers worked jointly to identify and recruit 10 individuals to serve on the Technical Working Group that will advise, guide, and review the process and information through which the Tribal Self-Governance Evaluation Feasibility Study is developed and implemented.
The first meeting of the Technical Working Group was held in Washington, DC on February 3, 4, and 5, 2003. The Technical Working Group provided background, review, and guidance on the project goals. They also provided detailed comments on each of the draft deliverables that had been provided to them in advance of the meeting.