U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Indian Health Service: The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives
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Director's Blog

Direct Service Tribes Advisory Committee Quarterly Meeting

The IHS Direct Service Tribes Advisory Committee held their Quarterly Meeting in Window Rock, AZ, on the Navajo Nation in February 2012. They conducted site visits at health facilities in the area. Here are some pictures from the meeting:

Click on the thumbnails for larger images

  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Direct Service Tribes Advisory Committee
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Chinle Mobile Unit
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Chinle Service Unit
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Direct Service Tribes Advisory Committee meets Miss Navajo Nation

IHS Tribal Consultation Summit

IHS hosted its second Tribal Consultation Summit on March 13-14, 2012, in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the Summit was to serve as a “one-stop shop” for tribal leaders and other interested individuals to learn about IHS' current consultation activities. The IHS Director’s Advisory Workgroup on Tribal Consultation, the Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee, and the Direct Service Tribes Advisory Committee provided updates on their activities. Workshops were held on current consultation topics. The next Tribal Consultation Summit will be held August 7 - 8, 2012, in Denver, CO. Save the date! Here are some pictures from the Summit:

Click on the thumbnails for larger images

  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Tribal Consultation Summit opening
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Tribal Consultation Summit participants
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Tribal Workgroup presenters
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - CHS Workgroup session
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Contract Support Costs panel
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Health Care Facilities Construction session
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Long Term Care session
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - VA IHS session

Annual HHS Tribal Budget Consultation

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) held its annual Tribal Budget Consultation in the first week of March. The format was a little different this year; in addition to the Tribal Resource Day, the first morning was set aside for tribal delegation meetings with the various Operating Divisions in HHS. These sessions were very popular with the Tribes. The rest of the meeting consisted of sessions with tribal leaders and HHS leadership on a variety of topics, and the IHS Tribal Budget Formulation Workgroup presented their top budget priorities and recommendations to the HHS Secretary’s Budget Council. Here are some pictures from the meeting:

Click on the thumbnails for larger images

  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - HHS Annual Tribal Budget Consultation
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Secretary Sebelius - HHS Photo by Chris Smith
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Affordable Care Act Panel
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Tribal Budget Formulation Workgroup

Here are some pictures from the Tribal Delegation Meetings with IHS at the HHS Tribal Budget Consultation:

Click on the thumbnails for larger images

  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Tribal Delegation Meetings - Chin Indian Community
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Tribal Delegation Meetings - Confederated Tribes Umatilla
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Tribal Delegation Meetings - Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Tribal Delegation Meetings - Ho Chunk Nation
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Tribal Delegation Meetings - Paskenta Band Nomlaki Indians
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Tribal Delegation Meetings - Pueblo of Tesuque
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Tribal Delegation Meetings - Rosebud Sioux Tribe
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Tribal Delegation Meetings - Santa Clara Pueblo
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Tribal Delegation Meetings - Tohono O'odham

Tribal Delegation Meetings: March

IHS met with several Tribes during the month of March. Here are pictures from the meetings with Tanana Chiefs Conference, Tohono O'odham Nation, Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), and Ukpeaqvik Inupiat Corporation:

Click on the thumbnails for larger images

  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Tanana Chiefs Conference
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Ukpeaqvik Unupiat Corporation
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Tohono O'odham Nation
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC)

Tribal Delegation Meetings: February

In February, IHS held Tribal Delegation Meetings with the following Tribes and Tribal organizations: SouthCentral Foundation, Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Crow Creek Tribe, and the Maniilaq Association. Here are pictures from the meetings:

Click on the thumbnails for larger images

  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Southcentral Foundation
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Crow Creek Tribe
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
  • Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Maniilaq Association

Celebrating 2 Years of the Affordable Care Act and Continued Progress on the Indian Health Care Improvement Act

Two weeks ago marked the 2-year anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act. This is a great opportunity to remember that the health care law included the permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, the law that authorizes Indian Health Service (IHS) programs and services.

IHS has worked with our partners across the federal government to implement several provisions that improve the services and resources for IHS, tribal, and urban Indian health programs. Some examples include:

  • Over 50 Tribes have already applied to purchase federal health and life insurance for their employees through the same system as federal employees do. This means those employees will get access to better health insurance coverage and the Tribes will save money on employee insurance premiums.
  • The law makes sure that any third-party reimbursements that a local facility collects will remain at the facility to help them improve local staffing and services.
  • Health care professionals in tribal facilities are now allowed to work under a license from any State, which helps with recruitment efforts.
  • And the law also makes sure that if a patient is referred to an outside provider and their referral is authorized for payment by the Contract Health Services program, the outside provider cannot go after that patient for the billed charges.

The Affordable Care Act and the permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act both contain many more provisions that are important to the health of Indian Country. IHS continues to work in partnership with Tribes on implementation, and I am pleased to share with you an updated table summarizing these efforts. [PDF - 233KB]

VA IHS Consultation Update

Today, VA and HHS/IHS continue consultation to facilitate the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) reimbursement for direct care services provided by the Indian Health Service (IHS) and Tribal health facilities to eligible American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) Veterans.

On March 5, 2012, VA and IHS sent Tribes a letter requesting input on the main points we propose to include in a draft underlying agreement. While we are reviewing the input submitted by Tribes on the main points document, we are now requesting Tribal input on the draft agreement, which is available in the link below. Comments are due on May 7, 2012.

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Dr. Yvette Roubideaux
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