On May 22, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced an additional $100 million to the Provider Relief Fund, totaling $500 million for the Indian Health Service (IHS) and Tribal hospitals, clinics and urban health centers to support the Tribal response to COVID-19. Such payments addresses the increasing significant need for personal protective equipment (PPE), medical equipment and increased labor and workforce.
For this funding, the Administration updated a distribution methodology based on service population. HHS identified the service population for most service units, and estimated an operating cost of $3,943 per person per year based on actual IHS spending per user from a 2019 IHS Expenditures Per Capita and Other Federal Health Care Expenditures Per Capita report.
- IHS/Tribal hospitals – $2.81 million base payment plus 3% of their total operating expenses.
- IHS/Tribal clinics – $187,000 base payments plus 5% of the estimated service population multiplied by the average cost per user.
- Urban Indian Organizations – $181,000 base payment plus 6% of the estimated service population multiplied by the average cost per user. Four percent of available funding will be allocated to Urban Indian Health Programs, consistent with rates of patients served by UIOs versus the total IHS user population.
To date, the IHS has distributed $2.4 billion among the Indian health system to provide for new resources to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Indian Health Board continues to work with the Administration on a funding path that is accessible for all Tribes. For questions or more information, contact Carolyn Hornbuckle at [email protected].