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March 12, 2024: IHS Updates for Tribes and Tribal and Urban Indian Organizations

This bi-weekly update provides up to date information on recent events, meetings, conferences, upcoming deadlines, and recognition of the work being done across the Indian Health Service, other federal agencies, and Indian Country. For more information or questions, email

Statement from IHS Director Roselyn Tso on the President’s Fiscal Year 2025 Budget

The President’s Fiscal Year 2025 Budget, released on March 11, builds on the historic achievement and successful implementation of advance appropriations and includes a total of $8.2 billion for the Indian Health Service in FY 2025, which is an increase of $1.1 billion or 16 percent above FY 2023.

The FY 2025 budget is reflective of tribal and urban Indian organization leader priorities, as it includes significant funding increases beginning in FY 2025 towards the top tribal budget recommendations. In FY 2025, the budget includes $8 billion in discretionary funding and $260 million in proposed mandatory funding for the Special Diabetes Program for Indians.

Read more.

Crow Tribe Hosts Roundtable on Victim Services with IHS Director and U.S. Attorney General

Last week, IHS Director Roselyn Tso participated in a significant roundtable on victim services hosted by the Crow Tribe, alongside U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. The focus of the meeting was to engage in meaningful dialogue to explore how the U.S. Department of Justice and IHS can enhance their partnership to support victim services. The meeting was a testament to our collective commitment to listen intently and identify actionable steps for better coordination and utilization of available resources.

As the IHS director, Ms. Tso said her commitment to bolstering our services for those depending on the IHS is deeply personal. The pressing issue of violence against Indigenous women and the wider community calls for our immediate and unwavering attention. The meeting emphasized the critical need to confront intergenerational trauma, a scourge with roots in the boarding school era, and its ongoing repercussions within our families and communities. The role of behavioral health supports, and culturally sensitive addiction treatment and recovery services are fundamental in our efforts to assist victims of violent crimes. Ms. Tso thanked Attorney General Garland and everyone who played a part in this roundtable, which proved to be a crucial venue for informal discussions on the work of victim services at the Crow Tribe. It underscored the importance of collective action among various agencies and tribal members to tackle these significant challenges.


IHS Director Roselyn Tso with U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland at the roundtable event

California Area Tribal Consultation and Urban Confer

Also last week, Ms. Tso joined tribal leaders and urban Indian organization leaders for tribal consultation and urban confer sessions in San Francisco. The director said each moment spent discussing the health and resource needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives is deeply important to her. These gatherings aren't just meetings, they're opportunities to come together to share updates, celebrate successes, and forge paths forward. The director noted how remarkable the past year has been, noting the opening of new tribal and urban health care facilities throughout the California Area, expanding access to health care that not only meets medical needs, but also honors our cultural heritage. Ms. Tso extends her heartfelt gratitude to California Area Director Beverly Miller and her dedicated team. Their exceptional work with California's tribes and urban Indian organizations is making a real difference in our communities.


IHS Director Tso Meets with U.S. Rep. Mary Sattler Peltola

Earlier this month, IHS Director Roselyn Tso met with U.S. Rep. Mary Sattler Peltola from the State of Alaska. Peltola is the first Alaska Native elected to Congress and this is her first term. Ms. Tso and the representative discussed a number of issues including the IHS Purchase/Referred Care Program, funding questions specific to Alaska, and the IHS Consultation Policy. They also talked about sanitation facilities construction funding that has been distributed to IHS Areas for the past three fiscal years under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation. At the conclusion of their productive meeting, the director presented Rep. Peltola with the IHS 2023 Accomplishments summary and a summary document of IHS activities for removing the IHS from the High-Risk List of the Government Accounting Office.


A Journey of Resilience and Unity: Director Tso’s Visit to the Hopi Reservation

In February, Ms. Tso had the opportunity to visit the Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona to meet with community members and learn more about their initiatives to secure health drinking water for all residents, a vision fueled by the teachings and beliefs passed down from their elders. The director says visit was a journey of discovery, learning, and profound admiration for a community that stands as a beacon of resilience, unity, and unwavering commitment to its values and vision. The story of Oraibi Village and the broader Hopi community is a powerful reminder of what can be achieved when people come together, guided by the wisdom of their ancestors, to forge a sustainable and healthy future for generations to come. Read more in the latest IHS Blog.


Now Available — Tribal Boarding School Toolkit for Healing

The Indian Health Service supports the use of evidence-based practices and tools to address behavioral and mental health issues related to intergenerational and historical trauma. In doing so, the IHS is committed to ensuring that culturally appropriate health care services are available and accessible to American Indian and Alaska Native people. To ensure patients receive quality care, the IHS partnered with the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board, who contracted with Kauffman and Associates, Inc., to develop a Tribal Boarding School Toolkit for Healing, which we are excited to announce is now available. The toolkit’s development is in support of the federal report commissioned by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, titled “Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative.” The toolkit serves as an important first step for many in acknowledging the history of the boarding school era on Indigenous people and helps to initiate healing and wellness focused on intergenerational and historical trauma.

Thank you to the Northwest Portland Indian Health Board and Kauffman and Associates Inc. for their partnership, as we continue to work with tribes and the communities we serve.


Xylazine Test Strips are Now Available via the National Supply Service Center

Xylazine, a non-opioid veterinary tranquilizer not approved for human use, has been linked to an increasing number of overdose deaths nationwide. It is often mixed with synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, unbeknown to the person using the substances. Xylazine test strips (XTS) are a form of drug-checking equipment that detect the presence of xylazine in a person’s supply to reduce the risk of unintentional overdose. They are quick and easy to use, but are not intended for diagnostic purposes.

On February 26, the IHS Special General Memorandum No. 24-02 was released to support the purchase of drug checking equipment and expand access to harm reduction resources across Indian Country. The IHS National Supply Service Center has a limited amount of XTS available for order using an IHS-413 form. Interested sites should consider local tribal and state paraphernalia laws to create an awareness of restrictions that may impact staff or harm reduction program participants. For more information about drug checking equipment, visit the IHS Opioids website or reach out to Cmdr. Samantha Gustafson with questions.

Office of Resources Access and Partnership Announces new Purchased/Referred Cared Delivery Area Expansion Webpage

The Office of Resources Access and Partnerships is pleased to announce a new Purchased/Referred Care Delivery Area Expansion (PRCDA) webpage on the Purchased/Referred Care website. It includes a status tracker of submitted PRCDA Expansion requests, the PRCDA Listing, and a summary of PRCDA versus Service Delivery Area. A PRCDA refers to the geographic area within which PRC services will be made available by the IHS to members of an identified Indian community who reside in the area, subject to the provisions of 42 C.F.R. Part 136 Subpart C. Tribes may seek PRCDA re-designation or expansion to increase their geographical coverage to include beneficiaries not covered under their existing PRCDA. The PRCDA Expansion webpage will be updated on a routine basis with updated information as needed.

Section 222 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act provides protection for IHS beneficiaries with authorized referrals. Vendors are prohibited against billing beneficiaries of the IHS for care provided under the PRC program. In summary, patients are not liable for services that are authorized by PRC and vendors are prohibited from collecting any payments for these services from the patient, whether directly or through referral to an agent for collection. Patients experiencing this should promptly contact their service unit’s PRC program to resolve the billing issue. Vendors who continue to bill patients despite notification can be reported to Area PRC leadership and IHS attorneys for further action.

Health IT Team Attends Program Kickoff to Plan for Upcoming Implementation of New Enterprise EHR Solution

The IHS Health Information Technology Modernization Program continues to progress towards building a new enterprise electronic health record solution with our partners. Members from IHS, Division of Health Information Technology Modernization and Operations leadership and staff, and General Dynamics Information Technology, Inc. recently gathered in Falls Church, Virginia, for a DHITMO Program Kickoff. This event provided an opportunity for collaboration and planning for the upcoming implementation of the new enterprise EHR solution. The kickoff included a product demonstration, governance highlights, timeline discussions, and Program Management Office and Organizational Change Management updates. Email IHS at for questions about the program or how to get involved.


IHS leaders in attendance at the DHITMO Program Kickoff (Left to Right): Deputy Chief Information Officer and Deputy Director Andrea Scott, Chief Information Officer Mitchell Thornbrugh, Chief Medical Information Officer Dr. Howard Hays, Director of DHITMO Jeanette Kompkoff

Webinars Highlight Awareness for National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Please join us to increase awareness of colorectal cancer. The IHS Health Promotion/Disease Prevention Program offers two webinars on the importance of early detection and screening:

  • “Colorectal Screening Quality Improvement Project: Mescalero Service Unit” on March 13 at 1:00 p.m. ET | Join here.
  • “Using Multiple Approaches to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening” on March 20 at 2:00 p.m. ET | Join here.

Community Health Representatives Program Launches Indian Country ECHO Webinar Series

The IHS Community Health Representative Program conducted its first ECHO Program session titled “CHR Strategic Plan” in February, which was delivered to more than 100 participants by Whitney Moseley, BSN, RN. The ECHO Program Health Series provides comprehensive information for IHS, tribal, and urban Indian CHRs to decrease barriers, improve access, and provide holistic, culturally appropriate local care for Indian Country. Led and facilitated by experienced faculty and offered in partnership with the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board, the sessions are designed to provide mentorship, peer support, and training. Certificates of completion will be provided. All are invited to join the Community Health Representatives ECHO Program session on the third Monday of each month at 3 p.m. ET. For a schedule of upcoming sessions, visit the Community Health Representative ECHO Program - Indian Country ECHO website.


The Advancement in Diabetes Webinar Series Highlights National Nutrition Month

Join the IHS in celebrating National Nutrition Month in March! The IHS Division of Diabetes is offering three Advancements in Diabetes webinars on nutrition and diabetes throughout the month. For information on the upcoming sessions, or to join a live webinar, click here.


IHS Signs Agreement to Purchase Renewable Energy from Yakama Power

The IHS Portland Area and Yakama Power recently signed a “first-in-the-nation" agreement for a federal agency to purchase renewable solar energy from a tribal utility. Slated for 20 years, the agreement calls for the IHS to receive about 72.2 kilowatts of power, nearly 30 percent of the Yakama Power solar farm’s energy output. It is estimated to generate 1,810 megawatts of clean energy over the 20-year period. This is equal to nearly seven percent of the IHS Yakama Service Unit’s annual energy consumption.

Yakama Power, a tribally owned and operated utility company, supplies power for five IHS health clinic buildings. In 2021, Yakama Power installed a 216kW community solar farm. General Manager Ray Wiseman approached IHS Sustainability Consultant Jonathan McNamara with the idea of the agency purchasing renewable energy from the tribe. It made business sense, not only saving the government money, but also meeting the goals of Executive Order 14057, Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability. They worked with the Department of Energy’s Raymond Redcorn, Chandra Shah, Tracy Niro, and Jordin Metz to draft the agreement.

After the details were finalized, Portland Area Director of Acquisitions Richard Dandasan executed the contract at the end of 2023. This agreement took persistence, outside-the-box thinking, interagency cooperation, and local and leadership support. The hope is that this contract can be used as an example for larger projects in IHS and other federal agencies interested in doing similar projects.


IHS staff touring the Yakama Power Solar Farm with Yakama Nation Council members and staff

Drug-Free Communities Support Program Releases Notice of Funding Opportunity

The Drug-Free Communities Support Program released a new, streamlined Notice of Funding Opportunity in fiscal year 2024 that provides community coalitions with grant funding and an extensive, national support system to mobilize local youth substance use prevention efforts. Recipients receive $125,000 a year for up to 10 years, programmatic and grants management support, and technical assistance for coalition development, program implementation, and data collection. This year, the NOFO has been updated to provide more support to tribes and tribal-serving organizations.

Those interested in applying for the Drug-Free Communities Grant should apply via by April 17. For questions or technical assistance, please contact CDC’s Drug-Free Communities Support Program at

Martin Waukazoo Retires as CEO of Native American Health Center

IHS Chief Performance Officer Dr. Rose Weahkee and California Area Director Beverly Miller recently attended the retirement event for Martin Waukazoo (Lakota), chief executive officer of the Native American Health Center in Oakland, California. Waukazoo’s 40-year tenure at NAHC highlighted his unwavering dedication to Native American health and wellbeing, and he leaves behind a powerful legacy. His leadership steered NAHC through landmark achievements, from spearheading advocacy that influenced health care policy on local, state, and federal levels to magnifying the organization’s reach and capabilities. Waukazoo is currently serving as executive director of the Friendship House in San Francisco, California where he will close out his career, carrying on the legacy of his late wife Helen Waukazoo (Navajo). Congratulations on your well-deserved retirement, Mr. Waukazoo!


IHS Chief Performance Officer Dr. Rose Weahkee and Native American Health Center Chief Executive Officer Martin Waukazoo at his retirement celebration

Loan Repayment Program Award Cycle for Fiscal Year 2024

The IHS Loan Repayment Program recently kicked off its 2024 award season. The LRP offers up to $25,000 per year in student loan repayment for full-time clinical health professionals working at Indian health facilities. It helps dedicated health professionals to chart a course for a long-lasting and successful health care career. This is in exchange for an initial two-year service commitment to practice in health facilities serving American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Opportunities are based on Indian health program facilities with the greatest staffing needs in specific health profession disciplines. To apply, please visit the Loan Repayment Program website.


Public Health Nursing Program Visits Grant Recipient Working to Mitigate STIs

On February 27, the IHS Division of Nursing Services – Public Health Nursing Program performed a site visit to the American Indian Health Service of Chicago to support the Public Health Nursing Case Management: Reducing Sexually Transmitted Infections grant. The purpose of this IHS cooperative agreement is to mitigate the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections within Indian Country through a case management model that utilizes the PHN as a case manager. PHN Grant Coordinator Theresa Tsosie-Robledo and PHN Consultant Tina Tah met with Dr. Albert Mensah and his team — Sharon Fung, Anthony Anderson, and Rejina Delos Santos.


President’s Cancer Panel Releases New Report and Digital Toolkit

Recently, the President’s Cancer Panel released its latest report, President’s Cancer Panel Initial Assessment of the National Cancer Plan: A Report to the President of the United States. In the report, the panel highlights recommendations that encompass key challenges and opportunities for the implementation of the National Cancer Plan, with the goal of ending cancer as we know it. Please help us spread the word by sharing information about the report with your colleagues, partners, or on your social media channels. This digital toolkit includes sample messages and images that can be shared on social media. We encourage you to follow the Panel on X/Twitter at @PresCancerPanel and on LinkedIn at President’s Cancer Panel, and to join the conversation on social media using the #NationalCancerPlan hashtag. Visit for more updates. Please contact their office at with any questions.

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