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December 2010 Blogs

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Posted on Dec 30, 2010

Consultation on Indian Health Care Improvement Fund

I am mailing a letter to Tribal Leaders to initiate a consultation on the Indian Health Care Improvement Fund (IHCIF) and its formula. The IHCIF was established to determine the overall level of need funded for IHS-funded Federal and Tribal health care facilities. Each year, if we get an increase for the IHCIF, we use a formula to fund the lowest funded facilities. Given Tribal input so far and new language in the recent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA), my letter to Tribes requests input on several related topics. A copy of the letter is posted below. Comments are due March 1, 2011.

IHCIF Tribal Leader Letter [PDF - 226K]


Posted on Dec 29, 2010

Update on Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Investigation of Aberdeen Area

This week, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs posted the report of its investigation into the management of the Aberdeen Area IHS. IHS has cooperated fully with this investigation and has worked to implement a series of corrective actions and improvements in the Aberdeen Area and IHS-wide in response to the Committee's findings. We are also developing a plan to ensure that the problems identified by the Committee are not occurring elsewhere in IHS, and will begin reviews of the agency's other Areas in 2011. When I met with Senator Dorgan in December, I thanked him for his help in identifying areas for improvement and assured him that IHS would take the findings of the investigation seriously and implement reforms as soon as possible. We will continue to work closely with the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in 2011 on these and other issues as part of our ongoing effort to bring meaningful and lasting change to IHS. A copy of the testimony I submitted for the hearing that was planned for December, which details some of our actions so far, is attached.

Statement to Oversight Hearing on Aberdeen Area Review [PDF - 32K]


Posted on Dec 28, 2010

IHS Area Directors Meeting

I met with the IHS Area Directors in December at their quarterly meeting. We discussed progress on IHS priorities and our reform efforts. They came up with action steps to address several issues, including financial management improvements, human resources/hiring reforms, SCIA investigation findings and Area reviews, CMS certification, CEO training and pharmacy issues, among others. The Area Directors also met with the Direct Service Tribes Advisory Committee members who were meeting at the same hotel. Here?s a picture from the meeting:

IHS Area Directors Meeting
IHS Area Directors Meeting


Posted on Dec 27, 2010

White House Tribal Nations Conference

President Obama spoke at the White House Tribal Nations Conference on December 16, 2010 and announced support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was a historic moment that resulted in a standing ovation from the tribal leaders in attendance. During the conference, tribal leaders gave input in breakout sessions - I was a panelist in the Education/Health/Community Service breakout session where we had a great discussion with tribal leaders. Here are some photos from the conference.

Director with Jefferson Keel, President NCAI and Bill Corr, HHS Deputy Secretary
Director with Jefferson Keel, President NCAI and Bill Corr, HHS Deputy Secretary

Nation to Nation Relationship Breakout Session
Nation to Nation Relationship Breakout Session

Director with Navajo Code Talkers
Director with Navajo Code Talkers

White House Tribal Nations Conference
White House Tribal Nations Conference

Alaska Delegation
Alaska Delegation

Director at Closing Session
Director at Closing Session


Posted on Dec 27, 2010

HHS Secretary's Tribal Advisory Council

I attended the HHS Secretary's Tribal Advisory Council meeting on December 13-14, 2010. This was the first meeting of the group and was historic because it is the first Cabinet-level group of its kind. The picture shows Secretary Sebelius signing the updated HHS Tribal Consultation Policy. The press release from HHS is at this link: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2010pres/12/20101221c.html Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov

STAC Signing


Posted on Dec 27, 2010

Affordable Care Act/IHCIA Implementation Listening Session

HHS held a listening session on implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the Indian Health Care Improvement Act on December 14, 2010 at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC. The purpose of this event was to provide an opportunity for Tribal leaders in town for last weeks events surrounding the White House Tribal Nations Conference to learn about the new law and provide input on implementation. IHS, OPM, CMS, IRS, HRSA and SAMHSA participated and provided updates. Here are some pictures from the event:

Affordable Care Act and the Indian Health Care Improvement Act listening session (photo 1)

Affordable Care Act and the Indian Health Care Improvement Act listening session (photo 2)

Affordable Care Act and the Indian Health Care Improvement Act listening session (photo 3)

Affordable Care Act and the Indian Health Care Improvement Act listening session (photo 4)


Posted on Dec 22, 2010

IHS Director meets with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director

I met with Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, Director of CDC in November to discuss our collaborative efforts and priorities for our future work.  Here’s a photo from our meeting:

IHS Director with CDC Director


Posted on Dec 22, 2010

Updates: October/November Events

There have been so many events in the last several weeks, I am behind on my blog postings! Here are some photos from events in October and November:

IHS Director with Surgeon General and Joy Harjo
HHS Native American Heritage Month speakers including Surgeon General and Joy Harjo

CDC  Native American Heritage Month Event
CDC Native American Heritage Month Event

IHS Director with Acoma Pueblo Dancers at White House Native American Heritage Month Event
Acoma Pueblo Dancers at White House Native American Heritage Month Event

IHS Director at Long Term Care in Indian Country Conference
Long Term Care in Indian Country Conference

Meeting on Conferring with Urban Indian health programs
Meeting on Conferring with Urban Indian health programs

IHS Director at NIH Academy meeting
NIH Academy meeting

Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Group meeting
Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Group meeting

Agency Lead Negotiators meeting
Agency Lead Negotiators meeting

IHS Director at National Council on Urban Indian Health meeting
National Council on Urban Indian Health meeting


Posted on Dec 22, 2010

Special Diabetes Program for Indians - Diabetes Prevention and Healthy Heart Initiatives

I attended the kick-off meeting for the new phase of the SDPI Diabetes Prevention and Healthy Heart Initiatives meeting in Albuquerque, NM, in November. We celebrated the successful results of the demonstration projects and encouraged them to continue their great work in preventing diabetes and cardiovascular disease in our tribal communities. Here are some pictures from the meeting:

IHS Director group photo

IHS Director group photo

IHS Director group photo

IHS Director group photo


Posted on Dec 22, 2010

National Congress of American Indians Annual Convention

I attended the NCAI Annual Convention in Albuquerque in November. IHS participated in a number of sessions, including an HHS briefing on the Affordable Care Act, a Listening Session on the special provisions for Indians in the State Exchanges of the Affordable Care Act, the general sessions, the health committee meetings, and we held three tribal delegation meetings. Here are some pictures from the convention:

IHS Director speaking
IHS Director in General Session

IHS Director attends briefing
HHS Affordable Care Act Briefing

IHS Director attends health care session
Governance Issues in Health Care Session

IHS Director speaking to Native America Calling
IHS Director Interview on Native America Calling

Members of Navajo Nation TDM
Navajo Nation TDM

Members of Eight Northern Pueblos TDM
Eight Northern Pueblos TDM

Members of White Mountain Apache Tribe TDM
White Mountain Apache Tribe TDM


Posted on Dec 9, 2010

Tribal Leaders Listening Session: Affordable Care Act/Indian Health Care Improvement Act

HHS is hosting a listening session for Tribal leaders on implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the Indian Health Care Improvement Act reauthorization next week during the events around the White House Tribal Nations Conference. The listening session is next Wednesday, December 15, 2010 in the afternoon at the National Museum of the American Indian. Here’s the full announcement sent out today:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Tribal Leaders Listening Session
Affordable Care Act and Indian Health Care Improvement Act Implementation

Please join policy leaders from H.H.S. at a listening session for Tribal Leaders to continue the dialogue regarding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.This listening session is being held in conjunction with the White House Tribal Nations Conference being held next week. Policy leaders will brief Tribal Leaders on progress related to implementation of both laws and obtain feedback.

When: Wednesday December 15, 2010; 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Where: National Museum of the American Indian
Rasmuson Theater
Fourth Street & Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20560
Who: Tribal Leaders and Policy Leaders from H.H.S.


Posted on Dec 7, 2010

IHCIA Implementation Update: New Letter to Tribes

Today we are mailing a letter to all Tribes updating them on progress on implementation of more provisions in the recent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA). The letter explains the provisions and steps we are taking to implement them. This is the second letter in a series of updates to Tribes. Here’s a copy of the letter: