NEW ORLEANS, La.-Shelly Rae Harris, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the Indian Health Service (IHS) Rosebud Comprehensive Health Care Facility in Rosebud, S.D., has been selected to receive the American Hospital Association (AHA) 2006 Federal Health Care Executive Special Achievement Award. The award was presented March 22, in conjunction with the American College of Health care Executives Congress in New Orleans, LA.
The AHA's recognition program was created by the AHA Governing Council of the Federal Hospitals Constituency Section to recognize federal career health care executives who have distinguished themselves through leadership or innovative achievements that have contributed substantially to the mission of the federal health care system.
Harris, an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Tribe, assumed the duties of CEO for the IHS Rosebud Comprehensive Health Care Facility, part of the IHS Aberdeen Area, in May 2005. Harris has been employed with the IHS since 1989.
"Ms. Harris has made positive changes at the Rosebud Comprehensive Health Care Facility that have resulted in improvements in the delivery of health care," stated Dr. Charles Grim, IHS Director. "Her management style integrates customer service and satisfaction into the health care delivery system. This award acknowledges her leadership, enthusiasm, and commitment on behalf of American Indian and Alaska Native people. We are very proud of her achievements."
It was Harris' sense of commitment and dedication to the IHS that have enabled her to reduce physician and nursing personnel turnover and vacancy rates within the facility. She has also decreased the facility's financial deficit.
Harris also spearheaded a Community Outreach program where she incorporated the assistance and teamwork of not only IHS employees, but tribal employees as well. The Community Outreach involved going into the surrounding communities and identifying customers who were eligible for Medicare or Medicaid and assisting them in completing the application for assistance.
As a result of her leadership, the number of customers seen at the facility who have some form of third-party resources has increased by over 900 since September 2006.
Through various communication strategies, Ms. Harris has formed a good working relationship with the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council, Rosebud Sioux Health Board, and members of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. Accordingly, there has been a positive difference in the working relationship between the IHS and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in the areas of customer service and the delivery of quality health care, resulting in increased productivity.