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Indian Health Service The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives

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Director's Blog

Posted on Dec 15, 2014

Affordable Care Act Update - Deadline Today

Please note that there are two important deadlines today related to the Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment:

  1. If you purchased a health insurance plan through the Marketplace in 2014, you are encouraged to update your information by the end of today – including updating your income information and reviewing your coverage, as well as comparing it to other available plans, some of which may be new and better than your current coverage; or
  2. While open enrollment goes until February 15, 2015, if you want to purchase coverage that starts on January 1, 2015, you need to enroll by today.

Remember, if you are eligible for IHS but are not a member of a Tribe, your only chance to enroll is during the Open Enrollment period, which ends on February 15, 2015. Members of Tribes can enroll monthly even after Open Enrollment ends.

For more information, please go to www.healthcare.gov Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov.


Posted on Dec 5, 2014

Notice of Proposed Rule-Making: Medicare-Like Rates

Today, a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) was published in the Federal Register to amend the current rule to apply Medicare payment methodology to all physician, other health care professional, and non-hospital based services that are authorized for purchase by the IHS and tribal Purchased/Referred Care (PRC) program or urban Indian health programs. Comments provided by Tribes during consultation in the last year provided overwhelming support for Medicare-Like Rates (MLR) for physician and non-hospital-based services similar to the current authorization for hospital-based services, and the Government Accountability Office has estimated that this could save IHS millions of dollars on referred care. The NPRM is seeking comment on how to establish reimbursement that is consistent across federal health care programs, aligns payment with inpatient services, and enables IHS to expand beneficiary access to medical care. It also is seeking comment on whether facilities should be allowed to negotiate a rate higher than the MLR in certain circumstances. Comments are due 45 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register. IHS plans to convene the PRC Tribal Workgroup to review the proposed rule during the comment period, and encourages Tribes to comment. Here is a fact sheet [PDF - 45K] on the NPRM, and the Federal Register notice can be found here Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov.


Posted on Nov 26, 2014

IHS Bemidji Area Listening Session

IHS held a listening session with Tribes from the IHS Bemidji Area. Here are pictures from the session:

Click on the thumbnails for larger images

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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Bemidji Area Listening Session
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Bemidji Area Listening Session
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Bemidji Area Listening Session
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Bemidji Area Listening Session
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Bemidji Area Listening Session
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Bemidji Area Listening Session
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Bemidji Area Listening Session
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Bemidji Area Listening Session
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Bemidji Area Listening Session


Posted on Nov 25, 2014

IHS Albuquerque Area Consultation

I held a conference call with Tribes in the IHS Albuquerque Area during their consultation session with the Area. Here are pictures from the meeting:

Click on the thumbnails for larger images

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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Albuquerque Area Consultation
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Albuquerque Area Consultation
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Albuquerque Area Consultation
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Albuquerque Area Consultation
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Albuquerque Area Consultation
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Albuquerque Area Consultation


Posted on Nov 25, 2014

IHS Alaska Area Listening Session

IHS held a listening session with Tribes in the IHS Alaska Area. Here are pictures from the session:

Click on the thumbnails for larger images

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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Alaska Area Listening Session
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Alaska Area Listening Session
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Alaska Area Listening Session
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Alaska Area Listening Session
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Alaska Area Listening Session
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Alaska Area Listening Session
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Alaska Area Listening Session
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Alaska Area Listening Session
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Alaska Area Listening Session
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Alaska Area Listening Session
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Alaska Area Listening Session
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Alaska Area Listening Session


Posted on Nov 24, 2014

National Tribal Advisory Committee on Behavioral Health

The IHS National Tribal Advisory Committee on Behavioral Health met in August. Here are pictures from the meeting:

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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - National Tribal Advisory Committee on Behavioral Health
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - National Tribal Advisory Committee on Behavioral Health
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - National Tribal Advisory Committee on Behavioral Health
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - National Tribal Advisory Committee on Behavioral Health
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - National Tribal Advisory Committee on Behavioral Health
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - National Tribal Advisory Committee on Behavioral Health


Posted on Nov 24, 2014

Southern California Youth Regional Treatment Center Groundbreaking

A groundbreaking ceremony was held in August for the Southern California Youth Regional Treatment Center. Here are pictures from the event:

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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Southern California Youth Regional Treatment Center Groundbreaking
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Southern California Youth Regional Treatment Center Groundbreaking
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Southern California Youth Regional Treatment Center Groundbreaking
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Southern California Youth Regional Treatment Center Groundbreaking
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Southern California Youth Regional Treatment Center Groundbreaking
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Southern California Youth Regional Treatment Center Groundbreaking
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Southern California Youth Regional Treatment Center Groundbreaking
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Southern California Youth Regional Treatment Center Groundbreaking
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Southern California Youth Regional Treatment Center Groundbreaking
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Southern California Youth Regional Treatment Center Groundbreaking
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Southern California Youth Regional Treatment Center Groundbreaking
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Southern California Youth Regional Treatment Center Groundbreaking


Posted on Oct 3, 2014

Affordable Care Act Exemption for Individuals Eligible for Services from an IHS Provider

This week I sent a letter to Tribes reporting that Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell made an announcement at last month’s Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee meeting that individuals eligible to receive health care from an Indian Health Service (IHS), tribal, or urban Indian health care provider will be able to claim an exemption from the shared responsibility payment through the tax filing process starting with the 2014 tax year. Please see letter [PDF - 23KB] and diagram [PDF - 80KB] for further information. We also posted a press release last week.

We are grateful to Secretary Burwell and the Treasury Department for helping make this important Tribal recommendation a reality!


Posted on Oct 3, 2014

Contract Support Costs Past Claims Settlement Update

IHS continues to make progress on settlement of past claims for Contract Support Costs (CSC). Here is a chart showing progress as of October 3, 2014, compared to baseline data in November 2013. Of note, we have settled 641 CSC past claims to date, for a value of $633 million. For Tribes with questions on the status of their past CSC claims, please contact your IHS Area Director.

Click on the thumbnails for larger images

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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Bar graph showing IHS CSC claims settlement progress.


Posted on Sep 29, 2014

HHS Secretary Burwell Visit to IHS Headquarters

In July, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell visited IHS Headquarters and met with senior leadership, a group of employees in a small meeting, and employees in an all-hands meeting. Here are pictures from the event:

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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell at IHS Headquarters, July 2014
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell at IHS Headquarters, July 2014
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell at IHS Headquarters, July 2014
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell at IHS Headquarters, July 2014
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell at IHS Headquarters, July 2014
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell at IHS Headquarters, July 2014
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell at IHS Headquarters, July 2014
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell at IHS Headquarters, July 2014
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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell at IHS Headquarters, July 2014