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Public Health Programs and Policy Fellow

Posted - August 19, 2014

The trouble with trying to sign people up for health insurance when care is already free

by Whitney Shefte - The Washington Post

It’s hard work trying to get people to sign up for health insurance when their care is mostly free to them. Andrea Thomas is working to get Alaska Natives in Sitka, Alaska, to do just that. She’s the outreach and enrollment manager at SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), and it’s her job to sign people up for health insurance coverage through exchanges created as a result of the Affordable Care Act...

Rwad Full Article



Posted - August 8, 2014

CDC Announces Upcoming Tribal Advisory Committee Meeting

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have announced the next face-to-face meeting of the Tribal Advisory Committee (TAC). The meeting will be hosted by the Tribes of the Bemidji Area and will be held August 12-14, 2014 at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa by Traverse City, Michigan. The CDC will be sending out a Dear Tribal Leader Letter soon. This is a good opportunity to consult with Tribal leaders about challenges and successes with health and public health systems and programming, funding, access to information and data, and other related topical areas in order to funnel this information to the official Area TAC representative. As the agenda has not been published yet, it is not known what portions of the meeting will be closed and what will be open, however, attendance is encouraged and a wonderful opportunity to provide live testimony and to listen to the testimony of others.



Posted - August 7, 2014

Maniilaq CEO reaches out for federal IHS funds up front

By Jillian Rogers - The Arctic Sounder

After a few months on the job, Maniilaq Association CEO Tim Schuerch said the organization is more financially stable now than it was when he started.

However, delays in federal funding are causing headaches when it comes to running the facilities and hiring healthcare workers.

Last week Schuerch took Maniilaq's plight to the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs, chaired by Congressman Don Young, to urge them to pass a bill that would provide Indian Health Service funding in advance...

Read Full Article

Related Article: "American Indians Look to Veterans’ Model for Stable Health Budgets"



Posted - July 1, 2014

SAMHSA Accepting Feedback on Tribal Consultation Policy

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has released a Dear Tribal Leader letter within the past month soliciting feedback on the latest revisions to their Tribal Consultation Policy (TCP). The policy can be read here, http://beta.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/tribal-consultation.pdf. SAMHSA is requesting that all feedback on the revised policy be submitted via e-mail to tribalconsultation@samhsa.hhs.gov by August 29, 2014.



Posted - June 18, 2014

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Cancels Six Federal Trademark Registrations for the Washington Redsk*ns

Today, the United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled six federal trademark registrations for the name of the Washington Redsk*ns. As grounds for cancellation the Patent and Trademark Office ruled that the name is "disparaging to Native Americans" and cannot be trademarked under federal law that prohibits the protection of offensive or disparaging language. The plaintiff's lead counsel said in a press release that they "presented a wide variety of evidence - including dictionary definitions and other reference works, newspaper clippings, movie clips, scholarly articles, expert linguist testimony, and evidence of the historic opposition by Native American groups - to demonstrate that the word 'redsk*n' is an ethnic slur." The defendants in this case will most likely appeal the ruling and the trademark protection will continue through the appeals process.

For additional information see the links below:

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/washington-redskins-trademarks-canceled-107990.html?hp=f1

http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/06/18/patent-office-cancels-washington-redskins-trademark-155362



Posted - June 12, 2014

NIHB Applauds Legislation Introduced to Provide Medicare Like Rates for All Care Purchased by the Indian Health Service

WASHINGTON, DC- June 12, 2014- Yesterday Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK), co-chairs of the Congressional Native American Caucus, introduced H.R. 4843, the "Native Contract and Rate Expenditure (CARE) Act." The bill would extend the Medicare-Like Rate cap on payments made by Purchased/Referred Care (PRC) (formerly Contract Health Services) programs at the Indian Health Service (IHS) and Tribal levels to all Medicare participating providers and suppliers. The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) worked closely with Congresswoman McCollum and Congressman Cole's offices to assist in the development of this legislation and is very pleased to see the bill introduced. The introduction of this legislation is an essential first step in allowing IHS and Tribal health facilities spend precious PRC resources most effectively and efficiently...

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Posted - June 4, 2014

CMS SUBMITS NAVAJO NATION MEDICAID AGENCY FEASIBILITY REPORT TO CONGRESS ON JUNE 3, 2014

The Indian Health Care Improvement Act, as reauthorized by the Affordable Care Act, required the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct a study and report to the Congress on the feasibility of establishing a Navajo Nation Medicaid Agency. A copy of the report was submitted to Congress by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The report was prepared in consultation with the Navajo Nation.

CLICK HERE to access the report.



Posted - May 11, 2014

Dear Tribal Leader Letters from IHS Acting Director Dr. Yvette Roubideaux

SDPI:
IHS Acting Director Dr. Yvette Roubideaux wrote to Tribal Leaders on May 9, 2014 to provide an update on the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI). The letter notes that that the SDPI program has been renewed by Congress for 1 year and that the Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee (TLDC) recommended that IHS continue the same funding distribution in FY 2015. The TLDC also recommended that IHS continue discussions on recommendations for any future extension that might be for multiple years, and encouraged IHS to request a waiver to allow for a continuation application rather than a competitive application.
View Letter (PDF)

CSC:
On May 12, 2014, IHS Acting Director Dr. Yvette Roubideaux wrote to Tribal Leaders to provide an update on Contract Support Costs (CSC). The letter addresses: 1) the Indian Health Service’s (IHS) progress on resolving past CSC claims; 2) consultation activities on a long-term solution for CSC as requested by Congress; 3) CSC appropriations and payments in fiscal year (FY) 2014; and 4) CSC in the FY 2015 President’s Budget Request.
View Letter (PDF)



Posted - April 2, 2014

Native American Leaders Promote Affordable Care Act in National Indian Health Board Video

BILLINGS, Mont.--April 3, 2014--During its full day of free Affordable Care Act training for Tribes, today in Billings, MT, the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) launched a media campaign featuring American Indian elders. The launch was marked by the national debut of a public service announcement (PSA) for American Indian and Alaska Native elders highlighting how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) improves the health care for Native elders.

Read Full Article




Posted - March 4, 2014

President releases the FY 2015 Budget request to Congress

Today the President released the FY 2015 Budget request to Congress. This officially kicks off the appropriation season. In the coming months, Congress will use this request as a baseline as it develops the FY 2015 budget.

Overall, the FY 2015 budget request totals $3.901 trillion and would increase taxes on the wealthy (by formalizing the “Buffet Rule”), cut the size and pay of the military and expand social programs. Most of the proposal will not be enacted by Congress, but will still serve as a benchmark as FY 2015 spending is finalized. You may also find this infographic from the Washington Post interesting:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/presidential-budget-2015

For the Indian Health Service the President requested $6 billion, and increase of $228 million or 4 percent over FY 2014. The budget fully funds contract support costs and provides increases for Purchased/referred care (aka contract health service) for medial inflation (5%); and clinical services. The budget also restores the cuts that were made to the Indian Health professions; tribal management and self-governance accounts in the FY 2014 operating plan in order to fully fund contract support costs.

The Administration has released a brief (attached) today but more details will be shared in the coming days. Please stay tuned for a more detailed analysis from NIHB. You can view the whole Health and Human Services Department brief here: http://www.hhs.gov/budget/#brief

IHS FY 2015 Budget in Brief (PDF)



Posted - February 20, 2014

Indian Health Service releases its FY 2014 operating plan

On February 18, 2014, the Indian Health Service released its FY 2014 operating plan. As you may recall, on January 17, 2014, Congress passed an appropriations bill to fund the Federal government for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2014 (FY 2014). The law removed caps on Contract Support Costs (CSC) and created a way for the Indian Health Service (IHS) and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to fully fund CSC in 2014. Given the parameters of the legislative language, the “way” to fully fund CSC was by moving money from other IHS and BIA line items into CSC.

Today, IHS released their FY 2014 operating plan which details the funding for each spending account for the remainder of the fiscal year. The plan funds Contract Support Costs and made reductions in other areas from FY 2013. Accounts receiving those reductions for FY 2014 include Self-governance ($1 million), Tribal Management ($1 million) and Indian Health Professions ($5 million).

IHS Budget Review FY2012-2014: Click Here (PDF)

IHS Budget FY2014: Click Here (PDF)

BIA Budget FY2014: Click Here (PDF)

Please contact Caitrin Shuy at cshuy@nihb.org with any questions on the FY 2014 budget.



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