Indian Health Service (IHS) Director's Corner Blog http://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/directorsblog/ IHS Director's updates on important issues affecting the Indian Health Service. en-us All-Tribes Call Update http://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/directorsblog/january2015/alltribescallupdate http://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/directorsblog/january2015/alltribescallupdate Friday, January 23, 2015 ]]> Yesterday, we held the IHS Monthly All-Tribes Call for January to provide an update on IHS and answer questions. The call was actually a webinar and we showed slides that summarized the FY 2015 appropriation for IHS. Here is a copy of the slides [PDF – 277KB] used in the presentation. We will soon send a notification of the date and time of the next call in February to Tribes.


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Affordable Care Act Update http://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/directorsblog/january2015/affordablecareactupdate http://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/directorsblog/january2015/affordablecareactupdate Wednesday, January 21, 2015 ]]> Here are some helpful resources on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The first document is the toolkit [PDF – 133KB] that was handed out at the White House Tribal Nations Conference that includes talking points for American Indians and Alaska Natives, a calendar of events, and some helpful resource links.

The ACA Health Insurance Marketplace enrollment period goes through February 15, 2015. While tribal members can enroll monthly throughout the year, for them and for everyone else who only has the opportunity to enroll until February 15 - the sooner you enroll, the sooner benefits are available. For more information on ACA benefits and enrollment, go to www.healthcare.gov. Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov

All Americans need to have health insurance coverage each year or claim an exemption; otherwise they will have to pay a penalty, also called a shared responsibility payment, on their taxes. Tribal members and individuals eligible for IHS services can apply for an exemption from this requirement through an application on the Health Insurance Marketplace, or can claim it on their tax forms each year. The former process requires submitting documentation with an application on www.healthcare.gov,Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov getting approved for the exemption, and getting a certificate number that you must put on your tax forms each year. The latter involves claiming the exemption on the tax form and keeping your documentation with your tax information in case you get audited in the future. There are also other exemptions available.

For those of you now getting ready to do your taxes for 2014, here are some resources:

Last week, HHS Secretary Burwell and Treasury Secretary Lew held a call with tax preparers. For information on their remarks, go to the press release. Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov

I have attached the fact sheet included in this link [PDF – 123KB].

For individuals wanting to claim exemptions, including the exemptions for tribal members and those otherwise eligible for IHS services, I have also attached the tax form 8965 [PDF – 84KB] and its instructions [PDF – 294KB] just for your information. Part I is where you can put your certificate number if you already applied for a Marketplace exemption; Part III is where you can enter the code to claim your exemption on the tax form. The Instructions explain the exemptions available and how to claim them.

The purpose of this blog is to provide factual information, and not to give tax advice.Beyond this summary information, you should always consult the IRS or a tax advisor for your individual situation.


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Affordable Care Act Update: Urban Indian Days of Action http://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/directorsblog/january2015/affordablecareactupdateurbanindiandaysofaction http://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/directorsblog/january2015/affordablecareactupdateurbanindiandaysofaction Thursday, January 15, 2015 ]]> The Indian Health Service has partnered with the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education, the National Indian Health Board, the National Council of Urban Indian Health, and local Urban Indian and community organizations to organize four Urban Indian Days of Action for Affordable Care Act enrollment. These days of action will take place in select cities with large populations of Urban Indians. Each city will be hosting community events for individuals and families to learn about insurance options and receive free in-person assistance from trained enrollment assistors. The enrollment assistors will be available to answer questions, assist with enrollment in Medicaid or a Qualified Health Plan through the Marketplace, or assist with applying for the exemption from the shared responsibility payment. The assistors will have special training related to the Indian provisions in the Affordable Care Act.

The benefits available under the Affordable Care Act to American Indians and Alaska Natives are especially important to Urban Indian consumers who may live too far away to receive care from their Tribe’s hospital or clinic. They also may not be eligible to receive any purchased/referred care due to not living within the Purchased/Referred Care Service Delivery Area. The Marketplace offers an opportunity for Urban Indian consumers to obtain a plan that will allow them to receive care from local providers.Depending on their income, they may qualify for Medicaid or a zero or low cost plan through the Marketplace.

The select cities that will be hosting events include Dallas on January 16, Salt Lake City on January 20, Chicago on January 27-28, and Houston on February 5. Please see the IHS Affordable Care Act page for specific details for each of these events.


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Medicare-like Rates NPRM Update http://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/directorsblog/january2015/medicare-like-rates-nprm-update http://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/directorsblog/january2015/medicare-like-rates-nprm-update Wednesday, January 14, 2015 ]]> Based on tribal input, IHS posted a notice in the Federal Register [PDF - 223 KB] today that we are extending the comment period for the IHS Medicare-like Rates Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) for 15 days, so comments are now due by February 4, 2015. For more information, see my blog post from when the original notice was posted on 12/5/2014.


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IHS Joint Venture Construction Program Update http://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/directorsblog/january2015/ihsjointventureconstructionprogramupdate http://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/directorsblog/january2015/ihsjointventureconstructionprogramupdate Monday, January 12, 2015 ]]> The Indian Health Service (IHS) has completed the final phase of the IHS Joint Venture Construction Program (JVCP) solicitation initiated on August 1, 2014. The IHS JVCP is a partnership in which a Tribe pays for the construction of a health facility and IHS agrees to request additional staffing for the facility from Congress once the facility is completed. Timing and availability of appropriations are key considerations for this program and determine the number of applicants that can be approved to move forward. This round of applications was highly competitive. From the initial 37 pre-applicants, 13 were selected to submit a more comprehensive final application for further review and ranking by a panel comprised of tribal and federal personnel.

IHS has selected the top seven applicants to move forward, and the remaining six applicants will be considered as alternates to the top seven in the event that circumstances change and impact the final execution of a JVCP agreement. IHS will notify each applicant individually of their final ranking. Then at certain intervals, the top seven will receive a specific notice to proceed with preparation and submission of planning documents to the IHS in order to enter into a JVCP agreement with the agency. The number of agreements to be executed each year will depend upon construction schedules and the projected budget environment. In recent years, two to three applicants each year have been notified to proceed. As JVCP agreements are signed, we will work with the applicant on a formal public announcement.

Thank you to all of the Tribes and tribal organizations that submitted applications in the interest of partnering with the IHS in improving access to health care for American Indian and Alaska Native people. The IHS anticipates another JVCP solicitation will occur in 3-5 years.


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January 2015 Blogs http://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/directorsblog/january2015 http://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/directorsblog/january2015 Thursday, January 1, 2015 ]]>
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Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! http://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/directorsblog/december2014/happy-holidays-and-happy-new-year http://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/directorsblog/december2014/happy-holidays-and-happy-new-year Wednesday, December 31, 2014 ]]> We hope you've enjoyed catching up with us in the last few days with all the blogs from the last few months. We were so busy with all the events, we got behind. Our New Year's resolution is to try to better keep up with the blogs! You can contact our Public Affairs office if you would like a better resolution copy of any photos, and also if you did not see a photo we took with you on the blog. We are working on a new Flickr site where it will be easier to access photos starting in 2015.

On behalf of the Indian Health Service, we hope you have had a wonderful holiday season, and we look forward to working with you in the new year!

Here is a copy of our IHS Senior Staff holiday photo:

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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from the IHS Senior Staff

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Tribal Delegation Meetings http://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/directorsblog/december2014/tribal-delegation-meetings http://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/directorsblog/december2014/tribal-delegation-meetings Wednesday, December 31, 2014 ]]> IHS held Tribal Delegation Meetings with the following Tribes in December: Smith River Rancheria, Ione Band of Miwok Indians of California, Wilton Rancheria, and the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association. Here are pictures from the meetings:

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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Smith River Rancheria delegation, December 2014
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Ione Band of Miwok Indians of California delegation, December 2014
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Wilton Rancheria delegation, December 2014
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association delegation, December 2014

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Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee Meeting http://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/directorsblog/december2014/secretary-s-tribal-advisory-committee-meeting http://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/directorsblog/december2014/secretary-s-tribal-advisory-committee-meeting Wednesday, December 31, 2014 ]]> The Department of Health and Human Services Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee met in December. Here are pictures from the meeting:

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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee Meeting, December 2014
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee Meeting, December 2014
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee Meeting, December 2014
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee Meeting, December 2014
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee Meeting, December 2014
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee Meeting, December 2014

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2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference http://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/directorsblog/december2014/2014-white-house-tribal-nations-conference http://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/directorsblog/december2014/2014-white-house-tribal-nations-conference Wednesday, December 31, 2014 ]]> The 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference was held December 3, 2014, at the Capitol Hilton in Washington, D.C. IHS participated in the conference, including two breakout sessions involving behavioral health, access to healthcare, and the Affordable Care Act. If you have not heard the President's speech yet, please make sure you take time to do so. He talks about how his meeting with the Standing Rock youth moved him to direct the federal government to do more for Native youth, and he makes announcements about new initiatives. Here's the link Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov to the speech, and here are pictures from the conference:

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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference

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