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October 2015 Blogs

Posted on Oct 27, 2015

Blackfeet Hospital Wins Montana State Award

The Indian Health Service's Blackfeet Community Hospital in Browning, Montana, has received a 2015 Health Hero award from the Eat Right Montana Coalition and the Montana Action for Healthy Kids Team. This award program is designed to recognize individuals or programs that have gone considerably beyond the requirements of a job or worked hard to promote healthy nutrition and/or physical activity. The Health Hero Award Ceremony and Luncheon was held October 23, 2015, in Helena during the annual Eat Right Montana and Action for Health Kids meeting.

The Blackfeet Hospital's Department of Obstetrics was awarded this distinction for achieving the prestigious Baby-Friendly designation and for their tireless efforts in supporting optimal infant nutrition practices. The IHS Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is working to create a healthy start for babies and prevent childhood obesity. As part of this initiative, IHS is encouraging clinicians in Indian Country to support policies and practices that foster breastfeeding as the exclusive feeding choice for infants in their first six months of life. By doing so, clinicians will reduce current and future medical problems and decrease health care costs. This initiative will use quality improvement processes to improve breastfeeding rates through new maternity care and infant feeding practices.

As part of the Baby-Friendly process, new mothers are provided education about breastfeeding, beginning with their first prenatal visit, which gives them the skills and confidence to breastfeed. Hospital staff members are trained to support breastfeeding and teach new mothers how to nurse. As a result of this initiative, breastfeeding initiation rates at many of the IHS Obstetric facilities are now in the 90th percentile for breastfeeding, and exclusive breastfeeding rates have continued to climb. The IHS is also encouraging all tribally-managed facilities to work toward their Baby-Friendly designation.

We are very proud of our staff at the Blackfeet Hospital for being presented this important statewide honor and congratulate the entire staff for their dedicated work and unwavering efforts to raise the level of care for the children in Montana.

Visit the IHS BFHI website for more information, and to read the entire list of designated IHS hospitals.

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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Kristen Krane and her child, with Supervisory Clinical Nurse Charlene Ramirez, Obstetrics/Inpatient Ward at Blackfeet Clinical Hospital


Posted on Oct 21, 2015

Urban Indian Health Centers Receive Grants to Improve Services

The Office of Urban Indian Health Programs is pleased to announce several grant awards for two programs. The first is for the Health Resources and Services Administration New Access Point Grant Awards which awards new Community Health Centers with ACA funding. The second is for the 2015 Navigator Grantees which are awarded through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

HHS Secretary Burwell announced approximately $101 million in ACA funding to new health center sites for the delivery of comprehensive primary health care services in communities that need them most. These new health centers are projected to increase access to health care services for patients.

The investment will add to the more than 550 new health center sites that have opened in the last four years as a result of the ACA. Today, nearly 1,300 health centers operate more than 9,000 service delivery sites that provide care to nearly 22 million patients -nearly 5 million more patients than at the beginning of 2009.

Community Health Centers have also been critical in helping people sign up for health insurance through the Marketplace. Since 2013, health centers assisted more than 9 million individuals in their efforts to become insured.

The following Community Health Centers received awards:

  • Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center, Inc., Lyle Ignace, MD, Executive Director, Milwaukee, WI
  • American Indian Health & Family Services, Scott Black, Executive Director, Santa Barbara, CA
  • San Diego American Indian Health Center, Joe Bulfer, Executive Director, San Diego, CA

View the complete list of current Urban Indian organizations and tribal Community Health Centers. [PDF - 83 KB]

The second award for the 2015 Navigator Grantees Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov is being awarded for a three year (36 month) project period, which runs through September 1, 2018. Navigators serve as an in-person resource for Americans who want additional assistance when shopping for and enrolling in plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

The following Urban Indian organization received a Navigator grant:

  • Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake, Shawn Jimerson, Executive Director, Salt Lake City, UT for $180,656.00

The Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake, a 2014 Navigator grantee, will target tribal and urban American Indian members of the Ute Tribe of the Ouray and Uintah Reservation, the Confederated Tribe of the Goshutes of Ibapah, and the Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake who reside along the Utah's Wasatch Front. It plans to build on their experience and implement a community based, health facility/clinic based outreach and one-to-one patient and family enrollment assistance project.

Congratulations to these centers for their high achievement and work to secure these important grants!

Sherriann C. Moore
Acting Director
Office of Urban Indian Health Programs


Posted on Oct 14, 2015

IHS Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee Quarterly Meeting - Oct. 6-7, 2015

The Indian Health Service Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee held its quarterly meeting in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 6-7 with nearly 50 Tribal leaders, technical advisors and national organization representatives in attendance. The agenda covered several topics, including: IHS budget, Contract Support Costs, the Affordable Care Act and the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, aligning quality data and performance measurement, and more.

The Affordable Care Act, including its reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, continue to be an important topic of discussion for Tribes. Third-party collections-such as collections from Medicaid or private insurers for patients newly covered under the Affordable Care Act-allow IHS Service Units, Tribal health facilities and Urban Indian health facilities to apply additional resources to needed activities like purchasing more care, facilities improvements and hiring more health professionals.

Through the IHS Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee and the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe, IHS is continues Affordable Care Act outreach and education efforts. IHS Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee will host an Affordable Care Act webinar each month and supplement that webinar schedule with additional trainings at various national tribal conferences. As part of its outreach work, the IHS Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee has collected and published self-governance success stories on the positive impacts of enrollment Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov of Tribal members in the Marketplace.

Mr. McSwain expressed that the fiscal year 2016 budget has not yet been finalized, and the government is operating under a Continuing Resolution that expires on Dec. 11 at fiscal year 2015 enacted levels.
The next IHS Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee meeting will be held on Jan. 27-28, 2016 in D.C. Please visit the IHS Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov website for more information.

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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee Quarterly Meeting held October 6-7, 2015


Posted on Oct 6, 2015

FY 2016 Appropriations Update for the Indian Health Service

The Indian Health Service currently is operating under a continuing resolution (CR), which provides funding from October 1 through December 11, 2015. Therefore all IHS-funded programs should be open for business as usual. Payments to Tribal programs with October 1 start dates are anticipated to be made in mid to late October. Contact your Area Director with any specific questions about your FY 2016 funding. As the CR expiration draws near, continue to check back for additional updates on our FY 2016 appropriations.

Please know that throughout this process we remain committed to providing a high standard of quality health care. We will continue to carry out our important mission of raising the physical, mental, social and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level.


Posted on Oct 2, 2015

Indian Health Service welcomes the Osage Nation to the IHS Tribal Self-Governance Program

Today, the Osage Nation assumed control of the Pawhuska Indian Health Center by entering into a Compact and Funding Agreement with the IHS under the authority of Title V of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act. The IHS congratulates the Osage Nation on entering into this historic partnership with the United States of America through Tribal Self-Governance by enabling the Nation to assume full funding and control over programs, services, functions and activities that the IHS would have otherwise provided. The IHS Tribal Self-Governance Program provides Tribes with the flexibility to manage its program funds to best fit the needs of their Tribal citizens and communities.

The Osage Nation joins over 350 federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes participating in the IHS Tribal Self-Governance Program. Today, the IHS has 88 Compacts and 113 Funding Agreements.

The Nation celebrated with a ribbon cutting and new name for the center. It is now called the Wah Zha Zhi Health Center.

Visit the IHS Tribal Self Governance Program website for more information.

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    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Ribbon cutting ceremony. Photo courtesy of the Osage News.