Today, I sent an update to all IHS with a summary of progress on our efforts to change and improve the IHS. Today is the 2-year anniversary of my tenure as the IHS Director, and I see that while there is still much to do, we are making real progress to reform the IHS. I continue to be optimistic about the potential we in this time of unprecedented support for IHS. Here is a copy of the letter [PDF - 34K] and a copy of the text from a recent presentation [PDF - 65K] for a more detailed summary of our progress. I hear that more people are following this blog and I will continue to use this blog to provide regular updates on our activities.
In response to consultation input from Tribes, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has included a requirement for States in its proposed unified application for the 2011 and 2013 Community Mental Health Services Block Grant and Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant. Guidance and Instructions include a request that States provide a description of how they consulted with Tribes in their State and how the concerns of Tribes were addressed in the State’s Block Grant plan(s) (pg. 40 of block grant planning section). A Federal Register Notice [PDF - 70K] was recently published requesting comments. The comment period on the draft block grant application ends June 9th. For further information, go to the State Mental Health and Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grants web site.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recently issued a press release on the availability of new recommendations for media reporting of suicide. Safe media reporting of a suicide can help educate the public and can help prevent further suicides. A helpful summary document [PDF - 483K] is attached.
IHS, partnership with the Department of Interior (Bureau of Indian Affairs) and SAMHSA, is planning a National Suicide Awareness Conference on August 1-4, 2011 with a location TBD. Save the date, more details soon.
I sent a letter [PDF - 41K] to Tribes with an update on several provisions that had deadlines as of the one year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act and the reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA). IHS met all of the statutory deadlines as of March 23, 2011 and continues progress with implementation.
I attended the Improving Patient Care (IPC3) Learning Session 2 in Denver, CO, on April 26, 2011 and provided an IHS update. Our new sites are making progress in this initiative that focuses on creating a medical home for our patients. I emphasized how important their activities were as we reform the IHS and improve the quality of and access to care, our third priority. Here are pictures from the meeting.
IHS held a webinar on April 28, 2011 to launch its new Healthy Weight for Life initiative, which will unify all our efforts to promote a healthy weight among American Indians and Alaska Natives across the lifespan. We now have Action Guides and a website that provide evidence-based, proven approaches to help fight the obesity epidemic that is threatening the health and well-being of Indian people. While progress has been made, overweight and obesity continue to drive up high rates of chronic disease.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is providing an update on progress to implement IHCIA Section 157, Access to Federal Insurance at the 2011 Self Governance Annual Conference this week. We know that implementation of this provision is a top tribal priority. OPM and HHS/IHS appreciates the input from Tribes during the recent consultation, which is helping to shape implementation of this provision in a way that best meets the needs of participating Tribes and Tribal organizations.
A letter [PDF - 1MB] was mailed to this week to eligible Tribes, Tribal organizations and urban Indian organizations and they will have opportunities to consult/confer with OPM on implementation details soon.
I met with the Committee on Native American Child Health of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Here are some pictures from the meeting.
I attended the National Council of Urban Indian Health Annual Leadership Conference on April 20, 2011. Here is a picture with the NCUIH Board members.
I sent a letter to Tribes in January 2011 requesting input on the recent 2-year extension of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians through FY2013. The Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee made recommendations to keep the distribution of the funding the same and use a continuation process for grant renewals. Today I am sending a letter [PDF - 22K] to Tribes and urban Indian health programs with my decision. I am grateful for this extension as it allows us to continue these important programs that are working every day to prevent and treat diabetes in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
The National Indian Health Board held a Summit on Implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the Indian Health Care Improvement Act on April 19-20, 2011 in Washington, DC. Here are pictures from the event:
NIHB Board at Summit
Charles Galbraith, White House IGA
Here are pictures from some Tribal Delegation Meetings in April, 2011.
Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians
Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah)
Ft. Sill Apache Tribe