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Indian Health Service and the Tohono O'odham Nation Enter into Self-Governance Compact and Funding Agreement for the Sells Service Unit

Compact with Tucson Area Tribe brings self-governance to all IHS Areas.

Effective July 1, the Indian Health Service and the Tohono O’odham Nation of Arizona entered into a self-governance compact and funding agreement as authorized by Title V of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act. This agreement in the Tucson Area brings self-governance activities into all 12 IHS Areas.

This agreement transfers the programs, services, functions and activities (PSFAs) associated with the administrative and clinical operations of the IHS Tucson Area’s Sells Service Unit in Sells, Arizona with all associated funding, to the Tohono O’odham Nation, except for a limited number of PSFAs retained by the IHS at the Nation’s request. The Nation will directly manage and provide services for its tribal members. The Tohono O’odham Nation is one of two Tribes in the IHS Tucson Area.

“With this self-governance compact with the Tohono O’odham Nation, there will now be self-governance activities in all 12 IHS Areas for the first time which is a great accomplishment for the Tribe and IHS. This is a clear realization of the vision of Tribal leaders, Congress and the federal government in upholding the federal policy of self-determination,” said IHS principal deputy director Mary Smith. “IHS will continue to work with Tribes interested in entering self-governance compacts in support of tribal sovereignty and self-determination, and in order to support the shared goal of both IHS and tribes in providing quality health care to American Indian patients.”

IHS will work with the Tohono O’odham Nation to ensure a smooth transition so all IHS patients in the area have uninterrupted access to care. Self-governance compacting affords tribes the most flexibility to tailor health care services to the needs of their communities.

The IHS Tribal Self-Governance Program includes the participation of 354 of the 567 federally recognized tribes that have negotiated 90 compacts and 115 funding agreements under the authority of Title V of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act. These compacts and funding agreements represent the transfer of over one-third of the total IHS funding to American Indian and Alaska Native tribes to operate and manage health care programs, services, functions or activities (or portions thereof) previously provided by the Indian Health Service. This program constitutes approximately $1.8 billion of the IHS budget.

The Tucson Area provides primary health care and community outreach services to members of the Tohono O'odham Nation and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona. The Sells Service Unit operates a 14-bed hospital and three outpatient health centers on the Tohono O'odham Nation Reservation, treating approximately 20,000 patients annually.

The IHS, an agency in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides a comprehensive health service delivery system for approximately 2.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives.