Today, I joined HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell and leaders of the agencies of HHS to announce the President's proposed budget for fiscal year 2017. The discretionary amount proposed for IHS for fiscal year 2017 is $5.2 billion, which represents a $377 million increase over the fiscal year 2016 level.
This budget accurately reflects the challenges the Indian health system faces in providing comprehensive health care and public health services in some of the most remote parts of our country. As IHS responds to an expanded mission - from an increasing patient population to new requirements for health information technology to the federal government's commitment to honor the sovereign rights of tribes by fully funding Contract Support Costs - these resources are necessary to raise the physical, mental, social and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level.
The budget proposes additional investments in behavioral health and programs for Native youth. This would enable IHS to expand successful substance abuse and domestic violence prevention programs needed in the communities we serve. The budget also responds critical infrastructure needs for health care facilities. Among other increases, it provides $103 million for sanitation facilities construction for 190,000 homes and $33 million to fully staff five new state-of-the-art facilities.
Robert G. McSwain, a member of the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California, is the Principal Deputy Director for the Indian Health Service (IHS). Mr. McSwain most recently served as the Acting Director for the IHS, and has more than 30 years of experience in Tribal health care.