U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Indian Health Service: The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives
A - Z Index:
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z
#

Director's Blog

Status of IHS with Passage of Health Reform Legislation

Some have expressed worry that IHS would no longer exist with the passage of U.S. health insurance reform legislation. This is incorrect. The IHS is still here, and the passage of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act reaffirms that IHS is here to stay – permanently. The bill permanently reauthorized the IHS. Health reform just means that in general, American Indians and Alaska Natives can continue to be eligible for and use IHS, Tribal, or urban Indian health programs, but if they want to, they will be able to purchase health insurance through the exchanges, which should have more affordable options. If they don’t want to purchase health insurance, as long as they get their care through our I/T/U system, they won’t have to pay a penalty. The expanded eligibility for Medicaid in the health reform bill will also likely help many of our patients.

This also means that if more American Indians and Alaska Natives have access to health insurance and if we see them in our system, we can bill for third party reimbursements and help better fund our health services. However, they could also choose to leave us and get their healthcare somewhere else. Then we would lose our patients and potential reimbursements. All the more reason for us to change and improve the IHS, and emphasize customer service! We have to remain competitive and be the first and best choice for our patients.

IHS Director message on passage of the IHCIA and health reform

History was made today, March 23, as President Obama signed Health Insurance Reform legislation, H.R. 3590, which includes the long-sought permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA). I am grateful to the President for his strong support of this reauthorization, and to many others who worked so long and hard for this. Since 2000, the IHCIA has not been updated or reauthorized by Congress. Additionally, the passage of H.R. 3590 provides some additional benefits to American Indians and Alaska Natives All of this will do so much to elevate the health status of American Indian and Alaska Native people.

Here's the President's statement:

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 23, 2010

Statement by the President on the Reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act

Earlier today, I signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the health insurance reform bill passed by Congress. In addition to reducing our deficit, making health care affordable for tens of millions of Americans, and enacting some of the toughest insurance reforms in history, this bill also permanently reauthorizes the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, which was first approved by Congress in 1976. As a Senator, I co-sponsored this Act back in 2007 because I believe it is unacceptable that Native American communities still face gaping health care disparities. Our responsibility to provide health services to American Indians and Alaska Natives derives from the nation-to-nation relationship between the federal and tribal governments. And today, with this bill, we have taken a critical step in fulfilling that responsibility by modernizing the Indian health care system and improving access to health care for American Indians and Alaska Natives.


We will provide more information about what is in these bills for American Indians and Alaska Natives, Tribes, and the Indian health system in the very near future along with plans for implementation. Check back frequently for announcements.

IHS Director holds Tribal Consultation meeting with Bemidji Area Tribes

I recently traveled to Minneapolis, MN to meet with the Tribes served by the Bemidji IHS Area as a part of my goal to hold an in-person consultation session in all 12 IHS Areas over the next 3-4 months. The Tribes presented their priority issues and made recommendations for how to improve our Tribal consultation process at the national, Area and local levels. Common priority issues included the need for more funding, especially contract health services funding, recruitment and retention of healthcare providers, and contract support costs. Here are some pictures from the meeting:

Tribal Consultation meeting with Bemidji Area Tribes
Tribal Consultation meeting with Bemidji Area Tribes
Tribal Consultation meeting with Bemidji Area Tribes
Tribal Consultation meeting with Bemidji Area Tribes

IHS Director holds IHS Portland Area Tribal Consultation Session

I recently traveled to Portland, Oregon to meet and consult with Tribes served by the Portland IHS Area. The Tribes made recommendations on how to improve Tribal consultation at the national, Area and local levels and discussed the following priority areas: more funding, Contract Health Services funding, and a proposal for an innovative regional healthcare facility. Here are some pictures from the meeting:

IHS Portland Area Tribal Consultation Session
IHS Portland Area Tribal Consultation Session
IHS Portland Area Tribal Consultation Session
IHS Portland Area Tribal Consultation Session

IHS Director holds Tribal Consultation meeting with California Area Tribes

I recently traveled to southern California to meet with the Tribes served by the California IHS Area as a part of my goal to hold an in-person consultation session in all 12 IHS Areas over the next 3-4 months. The Tribes presented their priority issues and made recommendations for how to improve our Tribal consultation process at the national, Area and local levels. Common priority issues included the need for more funding, especially for the Contract Health Services Program and the need for progress on the southern and northern Youth Regional Treatment Centers. Here are pictures from the meeting:

Tribal Consultation meeting with California Area Tribes
Tribal Consultation meeting with California Area Tribes
Tribal Consultation meeting with California Area Tribes
Tribal Consultation meeting with California Area Tribes

Tribal Delegation Meetings

One of the ways we consult with Tribes is to hold Tribal Delegation Meetings at the IHS Headquarters. These meetings are usually at the request of the Tribe when they are in the Washington, D.C., area. This type of meeting allows the Tribe to talk with us about a few pending issues or to provide input. Here are pictures of attendees at recent meetings:

Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation Attendees

Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation

Ketchikan Indian Community Attendees

Ketchikan Indian Community

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Attendees

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Attendees

SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Attendees

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

Chippewa Cree Tribe Attendees

Chippewa Cree Tribe

IHS Director holds Tribal Consultation meeting with California Area Tribes

I recently traveled to southern California to meet with the Tribes served by the California IHS Area as a part of my goal to hold an in-person consultation session in all 12 IHS Areas over the next 3-4 months. The Tribes presented their priority issues and made recommendations for how to improve our Tribal consultation process at the national, Area and local levels. Common priority issues included the need for more funding, especially for the Contract Health Services Program and the need for progress on the southern and northern Youth Regional Treatment Centers. Here are pictures from the meeting:

Tribal Consultation meeting with California Area Tribes
Tribal Consultation meeting with California Area Tribes
Tribal Consultation meeting with California Area Tribes
Tribal Consultation meeting with California Area Tribes

IHS Director holds IHS Portland Area Tribal Consultation Session

I recently traveled to Portland, Oregon to meet and consult with Tribes served by the Portland IHS Area. The Tribes made recommendations on how to improve Tribal consultation at the national, Area and local levels and discussed the following priority areas: more funding, Contract Health Services funding, and a proposal for an innovative regional healthcare facility. Here are some pictures from the meeting:

IHS Portland Area Tribal Consultation Session
IHS Portland Area Tribal Consultation Session
IHS Portland Area Tribal Consultation Session
IHS Portland Area Tribal Consultation Session

IHS Director holds Tribal Consultation meeting with Bemidji Area Tribes

I recently traveled to Minneapolis, MN to meet with the Tribes served by the Bemidji IHS Area as a part of my goal to hold an in-person consultation session in all 12 IHS Areas over the next 3-4 months. The Tribes presented their priority issues and made recommendations for how to improve our Tribal consultation process at the national, Area and local levels. Common priority issues included the need for more funding, especially contract health services funding, recruitment and retention of healthcare providers, and contract support costs. Here are some pictures from the meeting:

Tribal Consultation meeting with Bemidji Area Tribes
Tribal Consultation meeting with Bemidji Area Tribes
Tribal Consultation meeting with Bemidji Area Tribes
Tribal Consultation meeting with Bemidji Area Tribes

HHS Tribal Consultation held in Washington, D.C.

I attended the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Annual Tribal Consultation session on March 4-5, 2010 and listened to Tribal priorities for the FY2012 budget for IHS. The Tribes proposed a $700 million increase in the IHS budget that included priority increases for the Contract Health Service Program, maintaining Clinical Services, Contract Support Costs and a number of other items. They also presented their estimates of the total need for the IHS budget ($21.2 billion). Here’s a link to their budget formulation recommendations for FY2012 Exit Disclaimer [PDF- 350K]

Tribal leaders also gave recommendations for the overall HHS Budget and other HHS Operating Divisions at the meeting. Here are pictures from the HHS Tribal Budget Consultation – Secretary Sebelius attended to hear Tribal recommendations and sat next to Reno Franklin, Chair of the National Indian Health Board. Tribal elected officials were at the roundtable during this discussion:

Tribal officials sitting at table

HHS Secretary Sebelius and Reno Franklin
Photos courtesy of the National Indian Health Board

Page: 1 · 2

top of page

Dr. Yvette Roubideaux
Recent Posts
Archives