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Urban Confer Policy

Urban Indian Organizations are a major provider of health care to urban American Indian/Alaska Native people across the country. Congress has specifically declared in the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA) that it is the policy of the Nation "to ensure the highest possible health status for Indians and urban Indians." 25 United States Code (U.S.C.) § 1602(1). To that effect, when Congress reauthorized the IHCIA, it included a requirement that the Indian Health Service (IHS) "confer," to the maximum extent practicable, with Urban Indian Organizations in carrying out the IHCIA.

On March 22, 2023, the IHS published an updated policy on conferring with Urban Indian Organizations consistent with the authority. The IHS Urban Confer Policy provides guidance for seeking input from Urban Indian Organization Leaders on health matters to ensure the health care needs of urban Indians are considered at the local, Area, and national levels, when implementing and carrying out the IHCIA. The IHS Urban Confer Policy ensures accountability, raises awareness of confer outcomes and indicates whether a meaningful urban confer happened.

The IHS Urban Confer Policy is available on the IHS Website at