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Indian Health Service: The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives
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Director's Blog

IHS Area Directors Meeting

We held a meeting with all 12 IHS Area Directors in December to review progress on IHS priorities and to develop specific plans and activities to continue to make progress on how we are changing and improving the IHS. We also met with the Department of Health and Human Services Regional Directors to discuss how to further collaborate on common issues, including education on the Affordable Care Act. Here is a picture from the meeting:

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  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Area Directors Meeting

HHS Supporting Tribal Access to Grants Workshop

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) held a workshop on December 6, 2011, entitled “Supporting Tribal Access to Grants.” The purpose of the workshop was to help educate HHS staff on barriers to grant funding opportunities for tribal governments and to provide strategies on how to improve access for Tribes to HHS grant opportunities. Over 200 grant and program officials from across HHS attended. This workshop was developed in response to tribal consultation input and recommendations from the Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee. HHS plans to hold additional sessions in the future. Here are some pictures from the event:

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  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Dr. Roubideaux speaks at Supporting Tribal Access to Grants Workshop
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Supporting Tribal Access to Grants Workshop

White House Tribal Nations Conference

The White House Tribal Nations Conference was held on December 2, 2011, and I attended several events during the week of the meeting. The White House held regional listening sessions during the two days prior to the meeting to give Tribes an additional opportunity to engage with federal officials. The White House also hosted an event to honor Native youth leaders as Champions of Change. The actual White House Tribal Nations Conference included a presentation by HHS Secretary Sebelius, breakout sessions on various topics of interest to Tribes, and remarks by President Obama. Here are a few pictures from the events of the week:

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  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Champions of Change – Native youth leaders (NCAI photo)
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - President Obama
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Director Roubideaux
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - HHS Secretary Sebelius
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Navajo Code Talkers (NCAI photo)
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Color Guard (NCAI photo)
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - White House Regional Listening Session

Tribal Delegation Meetings - December

IHS met with two Tribes in December: Norton Sound Health Corporation, and Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. Here are photos from the meetings:

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  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Norton Sound Health Corporation

Urban Indian Health Program Retreat

Urban Indian Health Programs held a retreat in November and conducted some strategic planning on issues that may impact their future business practices and operations. Here is a picture from the meeting:

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  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Urban Indian Health Program Retreat
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Urban Indian Health Program Retreat

Tribal Delegation Meetings - November

IHS met with the following Tribes in November: Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe; Ute Indian Tribe of Uintah and Ouray; and Crow Nation. Here are some pictures from those meetings:

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  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Ute Indian Tribe of Uintah and Ouray
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe and Walker River Paiute Tribe
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Crow Nation

Letter to Tribes on Indian Health Care Improvement Fund Consultation

I sent a letter to Tribes to provide information on my decision from the consultation on the Indian Health Care Improvement Fund (IHCIF). When Congress provides a program increase for this fund, IHS uses a formula to fund the lowest funded health programs according to a distribution methodology developed in consultation with Tribes. The consultation was initiated a year ago to determine if Tribes wanted IHS to change the IHCIF formula. We received a significant amount of input on this issue, and based on that input, I decided to keep the formula the same under the original agreement and to authorize certain proposed improvements to the data in the formula. For more details, please review the letter [PDF - 65KB].

SDPI Diabetes Prevention & Healthy Heart Initiatives Meeting

In November, I attended the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) Diabetes Prevention and Healthy Heart Initiatives Meeting in Albuquerque, NM. I viewed posters from each of the 68 grant programs that documented their successful prevention activities through photos, activity summaries, and client testimonials. I met the hard-working staff, learned about their accomplishments, and thanked them for their commitment to improving the health of American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Here are photos from the poster session:

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  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Zuni Pueblo
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - United Indian Health Services, Inc.
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Albuquerque Service Unit
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Tuba City Regional Health Care Corp
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Ketchikan Indian Community
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Rosebud Sioux Tribe

Direct Service Tribes Advisory Committee Meeting

I met with the Direct Service Tribes Advisory Committee during their meeting in November in Tucson AZ. I provided an update on progress on IHS priorities, and we had a great discussion on several issues, including the IHS budget, Contract Health Services, and coordination of care for veterans. Here is a picture from the meeting:

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  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Direct Service Tribes Advisory Committee

National Congress of American Indians 68th Annual Convention

I attended the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) 68th Annual Convention in Portland, OR, in November. I provided an IHS update, participated in a federal panel to gather input on the upcoming White House Tribal Nations Conference, and attended the health and human services committee meetings. Here are some great photos from NCAI. Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov

FY2012 Budget Update: Rescheduled Time and Call-In Number

Thank you for your understanding as we rescheduled the call to Friday, December 9, 2011. We heard there was confusion over the correct call-in number on Tuesday, and we wanted to make sure everyone had the right information. We also heard that there was a competing CMS call at 2 pm tomorrow, so we are now holding this call at 4 pm EDT on Friday, December 9.

The call in number is 877-917-9492; passcode: 6967089.

Budget Update: Rescheduled

Due to confusion over the correct call-in number, we are rescheduling this call to Friday at 2pm EDT. We will post and send out the call-in number later today. We changed the number to accommodate more lines but realize that not everyone got the change. Thanks for your understanding.

FY2012 Congressional Action - Budget Update

The Indian Health Service (IHS) began the FY2012 budget formulation process almost two years ago with input from our tribal budget formulation process. The final President's FY2012 budget request, announced in February 2011, proposed an increase of $555 million (14 percent) for IHS and funded top tribal priorities, such as Contract Health Services (CHS) and Contract Support Costs (CSC). I'd like to provide you with an update on congressional action on the Budget to this point.

The 2012 fiscal year began on October 1. However, Congress has not yet enacted a budget for all of 2012. Currently, we are on a Continuing Resolution until December 16 at a slightly reduced amount compared to last year. Congress has passed three of nine appropriations bills for FY2012 so far. We do not know what our final budget will be since so many other factors are in play. If Congress passes an Interior appropriations bill, we will know their final decision on our proposed increases. If Congress is not able to pass an appropriations bill, we may end up on a Continuing Resolution for the rest of the year. We do not know the outcome but will keep you updated.

The FY2012 House bill for IHS includes an overall increase of $397 million (10 percent). The increase includes: $163 million for Contract Support Costs, $155 million for inflation, $63 million for Staffing of new Health Care Facilities, and $46 million for Health Care Facilities Construction.

The FY2012 draft Senate bill for IHS includes an overall increase of $123 million (5 percent). The increase includes: $63 million for Staffing of new Health Care Facilities, $50 million for Contract Health Services, $46 million for Health Care Facilities Construction, $45 million for Contract Support Costs, and $20 million for the Indian Health Care Improvement Fund.

The next step will be for the House and Senate to iron out the differences between their bills. As the two conference, they will have to agree on a final budget that must then pass the House and the Senate as a part of the Interior Appropriations bill. Through our formal and informal consultations with Tribes, we are aware of tribal priorities. We developed the FY 2012 request with the priorities you expressed in mind, and we are working to communicate these priorities to Congress as they work on the final FY2012 level. As always, when Congress asks us to provide technical assistance or to provide updated information, we do our best to make sure we are as responsive as possible.

We will update you as soon as we hear anything on the outcome of the FY2012 IHS budget. I have heard that tribal leaders have some questions about the budget request and I am therefore scheduling a conference call for Tuesday, December 6 at 11:00 am EDT to discuss the overall budget, and any of the priorities such as CHS and CSC. The call in number is 888-989-7590 Participant Passcode : 5679726

I hope that you can join me for this call. I appreciate the partnership we have with Tribes as we work together to strengthen the IHS.

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Dr. Yvette Roubideaux
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