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April 2013 Blogs

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Posted on Apr 18, 2013

FY 2014 President's Budget Update

Here is a press release [PDF - 63K] on the Presidents FY 2014 Budget Proposal, which includes a proposed $124 million increase for the Indian Health Service.

Click on the thumbnails for larger images

 
Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - HHS FY 2014 Budget Rollout


Posted on Apr 15, 2013

IHS/Tribal/Urban Indian Health Program Qualified Health Plan Addendum Released

Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services released a letter to potential issuers in state marketplaces that included information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) regarding the Model Qualified Health Plan Addendum. This Addendum enables issuers to contract more efficiently with Indian health care providers to ensure that American Indians and Alaska Natives can continue to be served by their Indian provider of choice. It is anticipated that the Addendum will help issuers meet the Qualified Health Plan certification standards and facilitate acceptance of network contracts by IHS, tribal, and urban Indian health program providers. CMS strongly encourages issuers and providers to use this Addendum, but use is optional. The Addendum was recommended by Tribes and co-developed with CMS and IHS through tribal consultation and the engagement of issuers. You can access the Addendum on the Qualified Health Plan website Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov. A list of the Indian health providers will be posted in the near future.


Posted on Apr 12, 2013

Update on Insurance Marketplace Essential Community Provider Requirements

This week, I sent a communication through our Area Directors to all IHS, tribal, and urban Indian health (I/T/U) facilities alerting them to the Essential Community Provider (ECP) requirements for qualified health plans (QHPs) that will be offered on the Marketplaces in 2014. One of the purposes of the requirements is to help ensure there are enough ECPs in their networks to provide access for low-income and medically underserved individuals.

QHPs are finalizing their networks in the next few months and may be approaching I/T/U facilities with offers to join their provider networks. Whether or not they are currently engaged with private insurers, I/T/U facilities should be attentive to these discussions. Many patients will be eligible to purchase health insurance from these QHPs, and these plans will begin coverage on January 1, 2014. It could be beneficial for these individuals to choose QHPs with networks that allow them the choice of maintaining continuity of care with their current practitioners, including I/T/U facilities.

The communication IHS sent to I/T/U facilities has a link to a listing the Department of Health and Human Services posted on March 26, 2013, of providers that meet the ECP statutory definition. This list is not exhaustive. For example, it does not include Federal IHS facilities that might otherwise qualify as ECPs under the regulatory standard. If a tribal or urban Indian health program is not on the list, they should let issuers in their area know that they are an ECP so that they have the opportunity to include the facility in their network. Here is a link to the letter sent to I/T/U facilities [PDF - 42KB].

The health care law offers new opportunities for you to better serve those who come to us for care, and we encourage you to learn more about the law and your options.


Posted on Apr 5, 2013

California 1115(a) Demonstration Announcement

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a decision on the California 1115(a) Demonstration to Tribes today. Here is the email to Tribes [Word - 30KB] and the letter sent to the State of California [PDF - 99KB] approving the demonstration that allows uncompensated care payments to IHS and tribal health facilities in California.


Posted on Apr 3, 2013

House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing

I testified at a hearing before the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies in March. During that hearing, IHS was able to discuss the recent increases in funding and how they have enabled IHS to make significant improvements and reforms, as well as improvements in measurable outcomes. Here is a copy of my written testimony[PDF - 112K].


Posted on Apr 2, 2013

HHSinnovates Award Ceremony

I attended the HHSinnovates Award Ceremony where Secretary Sebelius announced her picks for winning innovations submitted in the recent HHSinnovates competition. Congratulations to the IHS California Area for the selection of their online "Portal System: Linking Health Care Clinics" project as one of the top six innovations/finalists! The team from the California Area got to meet Secretary Sebelius and pose for a picture with her, and receive their award from Deputy Secretary Bill Corr. Here are pictures from the ceremony:

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Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - HHSinnovates Award Ceremony, 2013
 
Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - HHSinnovates Award Ceremony, 2013


Posted on Apr 1, 2013

Tribal Delegation Meetings - March

IHS held Tribal Delegation Meetings with the following Tribes in March: Pit River Tribe; Hopi Tribe; and Colorado River Tribe. Here are pictures from the meetings:

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Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Pit River Tribe
 
Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Hopi Tribe
 
Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Colorado River Tribe