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President Obama proposes increase in Indian Health Service budget
President Obama has announced a proposed 2.7 percent increase in the Indian Health Service budget for fiscal year 2013. The total proposed budget authority for the IHS is $4.42 billion. This is a $116 million increase over the IHS fiscal year 2012 budget appropriation. Tribal consultation is fundamental to the IHS budget process, and the proposed budget incorporates tribal priorities and recommendations.
The budget request, which supports and expands the provision of health care services and public health programs for American Indians and Alaska Natives, includes the following:
- An increase of $54 million in contract health service funds to purchase essential health care services that the IHS and tribes are unable to provide in their local facilities.
- An increase of $49 million to support staffing and operating costs for six new and expanded health facilities.
- A total of $81 million for health care facility construction to continue construction of two outpatient facilities in Arizona and a $1.7 million increase for maintenance and improvement of health care facilities.
- An increase of $5 million for contract support costs to assist tribes in covering administrative functions for their compacts or contracts under the authority of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act.
- An additional $6 million to help the IHS Health Information Technology system provide and enhance essential HIT services for third-party reimbursement and support for the electronic dental records program.
- An additional $1 million to strengthen administrative oversight and accountability.
If the proposed budget is enacted, the IHS discretionary budget will have increased 32 percent since the 2008 fiscal year.
The IHS, an agency in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides a comprehensive health service delivery system for approximately 2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives who are members of federally recognized Tribes.