News Archive


Posted - July 1, 2014

Comment period for HRSA Tribal Consultation EXTENDED to July 28

Comment period for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Tribal Consultation Policy has been extended for an additional 30 days through Monday, July 28, 2014 (the original comment period was set to end June 27, 2014).

HRSA has asked for input regarding the current HRSA Tribal Consultation Policy. HRSA policy requires review of the consultation policy every two years, and revision to the policy if necessary. HRSA is seeking Tribal input and asks for comments no later than Monday, July 28, 2014.

Please continue to send comments to the dedicated mailbox: [email protected]

Posted - June 25, 2014

Proposed CMS Rule on Certified EHR Technology

On May 20, 2014, HHS published a new proposed rule (click here to see an easy to read pdf) that would provide eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals more flexibility in how they use certified electronic health record (EHR) technology (CEHRT) to meet meaningful use. The proposed rule, from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), would let providers use the 2011 Edition CEHRT or a combination of 2011 and 2014 Edition CEHRT for the EHR reporting period in 2014 for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.

The proposed rule also includes a provision that would formalize CMS and ONC’s previously stated intention to extend Stage 2 through 2016 and begin Stage 3 in 2017.

To submit comments please visit:!documentDetail;D=CMS-2014-0064-0002

Comments are due July 21, 2014, 11:59pm EST.

Posted - May 29, 2014

Montana and Wyoming Tribes Testify to Dire State of Healthcare, Funding Shortfalls

Indian Country Media Network Staff | 5/28/14

Representatives of seven Montana and Wyoming reservations testified to the critical state of health care services and injustices suffered by their members during a U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing in Billings, Montana, on May 27. The Indian Health Service regional office in Billings, Montana, serves approximately 80,000 tribal members from Montana and Wyoming.

"All too often, tribal members complain of ailments but get sent home from the Indian Health Service with cough medicine or pain killers. Later we learn the situation is much more serious, like cancer," testified A.T. "Rusty" Stafne, chairman of the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of northeast Montana’s Fort Peck Indian Reservation, reported the Associated Press...

Read full article at Indian Country Media Network

Posted - May 28, 2014

CDC Announces New Series of Public Health and Chronic Disease Prevention Funding Opportunities – including an American Indian and Alaska Native-specific Grant

CDC is announcing a series of six funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) dedicated to one or more of the leading risk factors for the major causes of death and disability in the United States: tobacco use, poor nutrition, and physical inactivity.

  • A number of the FOAs also address key health system improvements and community supports to help Americans manage their chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and pre-diabetes.
  • All the FOAs involve partnerships at the national, state, or local level because public health cannot solve these problems alone.
The FOAs that have already been announced and released by CDC and are posted on include:
  • DP14-1417: Partnership to Improve Community Health
  • DP14-1418: National Implementation and Dissemination for Chronic Disease Prevention
  • DP14-1419: Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH)
  • DP14-1421: A Comprehensive Approach to Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country
  • DP14-1422: Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention Program and Diabetes Prevention State and Local Public Health Actions to Prevent Obesity, Diabetes, Heart Disease and Stroke

Of particular note is DP14-1421PPHF14: A Comprehensive Approach to Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country. This 5-year, $14 million/year initiative aims to prevent heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and associated risk factors in American Indian tribes and Alaskan Native villages through a holistic approach to population health and wellness. The initiative will support efforts by American Indian tribes and Alaskan Native villages to implement a variety of effective community-chosen and culturally adapted policies, systems, and environmental changes. These changes will aim to reduce commercial tobacco use and exposure, improve nutrition and physical activity, increase support for breastfeeding, increase health literacy, and strengthen team-based care and community-clinical links. Funds will support approximately 12 American Indian tribes and Alaskan Native villages directly and approximately 12 Tribal Organizations (one of each in each of 12 IHS administrative areas) to provide leadership, technical assistance, training, and resources to American Indian tribes and Alaskan Native villages within their IHS Administrative Areas.

Click here to view the FOA:

Posted - March 18, 2014

Comment Period for MSPI and DVPI Funding

Indian Health Service recently released a Dear Tribal Leader Letter that was calling for comments from Tribal leaders regarding potential future funding for the Methamphetamine and Suicide Prevention Initiative and the Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative. The comment period closes on March 27, 2014. This is an important opportunity for Leaders to support two critical programs in our communities… Read More

Posted - March 24, 2014

National Tribal Day of Action To #GetCoveredNow

Today is the National Tribal Day of Action for Affordable Care Act Enrollment. Over 65 events are being hosted in tribal communities across the nation and President Obama wants to ensure that every American Indian and Alaska Native has the information they need to take advantage of new health care options available under the health care law...

Read full article at

Posted - March 24, 2014


Get Covered on Today's National Tribal Day of Action for ACA Enrollment

Today is the National Tribal Day of Action for the Affordable Care Act Enrollment. This is a prime opportunity for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace at

The open enrollment deadline set for March 31, 2014 is quickly approaching. And, even though members of federally recognized Tribes have a special monthly enrollment status, it is important for AI/AN individuals and families to learn about their insurance options. Whether it's purchasing insurance through the Marketplace or qualifying for Medicaid, knowing that you have quality coverage will provide peace of mind.

Read More

Posted - January 16, 2014

February 18 & 19 -- CDC/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Tribal Consultation Session & Tribal Advisory Committee Meeting (TAC)

Times and Dates: 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., February 18, 2014 (TAC Meeting); 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., February 19, 2014 (10th Biannual Tribal Consultation Session)

Location: TAC Meeting and Tribal Consultation Session to be held at CDC Headquarters, 1600 Clifton Road NE., Global Communications Center, Auditorium B3, Atlanta, Georgia 30333

Status: The meetings are being hosted by CDC/ATSDR and are open to the public.

Topics and Format: The TAC and CDC leaders will discuss the following public health issue topics identified by Tribal leaders: Native specimens, behavioral risk factors, and disease-specific topics. There will also be a listening session with the CDC Director/ ATSDR Administrator and a roundtable discussion with CDC and ATSDR leadership.

Written Testimony: Tribal Leaders are encouraged to submit written testimony by 12:00 a.m., EST on January 24, 2014, to April R. Taylor, Public Health Analyst for the Tribal Support Unit, or CAPT Craig Wilkins, Acting Director for the Tribal Support Unit, CDC/OSTLTS, via mail to 4770 Buford Highway NE., MS E-70, Atlanta, Georgia 30341 or email to [email protected]

Registration Required: All attendees must pre-register by January 29th.

Learn More: Registration forms, agendas, and hotel information can be found on the CDC/ATSDR Tribal Support website at

Updated - January 6, 2014
Deadline for TAC Nominations Extended to January 17, 2014

Call for Nominations for the Tribal Advisory Committee (TAC) to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (CDC/ATSDR)

The CDC/ATSDR is seeking nominations to fill open positions on the Tribal Advisory Committee (TAC). Out of 16 seats, there are 11 seats open (Aberdeen, Albuquerque, Billings, California, Nashville, Phoenix, Portland, and 4 At-large seats). Nominations for the TAC will be accepted until January 17, 2014.

For more information on the TAC and instructions on how to submit a nomination please follow the links below:

For additional assistance, questions, or concerns, please contact CAPT Craig Wilkins, Acting Director, Tribal Support Unit at [email protected] or (404) 498-2208.


Posted - December 9, 2013

Joint letters from the National Indian Health Board, National Congress of American Indians, National Indian Education Association and the National Indian Child Welfare Association to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees outlining FY 2014 funding priorities for Indian Country.

Posted - November 29, 2013

Join NIHB for a Capitol Hill briefing on the Special Diabetes Program for Indians – Thursday, December 5, 2013

On December 5, the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) will host a Special Diabetes Program Indians (SDPI) briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C from 10:00 – 11:15 AM in 2218 Rayburn House Office Building. The SDPI is making a tremendous difference in the health of American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs), who are burdened disproportionately with type 2 diabetes at a rate of 2.8 times the national average.

As SDPI is set to expire in September 2014, the program must be renewed this year to ensure that critical programs around the country can continue. This is your opportunity to hear directly from SDPI grant program directors and other SDPI stakeholders on specifically how SDPI funding is changing the diabetes landscape for AI/ANs and how SDPI is saving lives, lowering medical expenditures and demonstrating a real return on the federal investment. To view the SDPI briefing invitation, CLICK HERE (PDF).

To RSVP for the SDPI briefing, please contact Jeremy Marshall, NIHB Senior Legislative Associate, at [email protected] or at (202) 507-4078.

Posted - November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving overshadowed by sequestration in Indian Country

This Thanksgiving, as with every year since 1970, Native Americans and supporters of indigenous peoples throughout Canada, Mexico and the U.S. will march on Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts to protest the turkey jubilee and reappropriate the holiday as National Day of Mourning (NDOM)...

Read full article at

Posted - November 1, 2013

76 Senators Sign Support Letter for the Special Diabetes Program for Indians

76 Senators have signed the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) Senate support letter this year, translating into over 75% of the U.S. Senate supporting this critical program. This is an increase from last year’s total of 72 Senate signatures. To view the SDPI Senate support letter (with signatures), CLICK HERE (PDF)

Posted - October 30, 2013

NIHB Board Secretary Sally Smith Receives Demientieff Award

October 24, 2013, Fairbanks, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell today presented the 2013 Shirley Demientieff Award to H. Sally Smith at the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) Convention in Fairbanks. The award, presented each year at AFN, is given by the governor for advocacy on behalf of Alaska Native women and children.

To read more, click here.

Posted - October 28, 2013

On October 14, 2013, NIHB, in partnership with the United South and Eastern Tribes and 22 other Tribes and Tribal Organizations, sent a letter to President Obama, asking the Administration to withdraw the proposal to cap Contract Support Costs for Tribal contracts and promptly resolve all past claims.

Click here to view the letter (PDF).

Posted - October 23, 2013

336 House Members Sign On in Support of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians

336 U.S. House of Representatives Members have signed the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) support letter, translating into over 75% of House Members signing on in support of SDPI. This is an increase from last year’s total of 268 House Member signatures. Please note that the House SDPI Support Letter contains 335 signatures. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX-32) provided his own support letter.

To view the House SDPI Support Letter (with House Member signatures), CLICK HERE (PDF).

Please note that the House SDPI support letter contains 335 actual signatures. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX-32) provided his own support letter, bringing the total to 336. While a final copy of the U.S. Senate SDPI support letter has not been provided by the Senate Diabetes Caucus at this time, we can confirm that 76 Senators have signed the Senate SDPI support letter. The Senate SDPI support letter (with signatures) will be posted on the NIHB homepage once its released.

For more information, contact Jeremy Marshall (NIHB Senior Legislative Associate) at [email protected] or at (202) 507-4078. Stay tuned to the SDPI Resource Center website at for regular updates on the SDPI renewal campaign and how you can become involved.

Posted - October 22, 2013

Senator Begich Introduces Legislative Bill to Streamline the Definition of Indian in the Affordable Care Act

On October 16, 2013, Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) with Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) introduced a bill (S.1575) that would streamline the Definition of Indian in the Affordable Care Act. This is an important first step in ensuring that all American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) receive the benefits and protections intended for them in the Affordable Care Act (ACA)...

Read More (PDF)

Posted - October 4, 2013

Indian Health Among Tribal Programs That Could Re-Open Under Mini Continuing Resolution

Yesterday (October 3, 2013), the House of Representatives approved for House Floor consideration several measures which would end the government shutdown for select agencies. Among these was a resolution offered by Chairman of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Mike Simpson (R-ID) to continue funding for several programs critical to Indian Country. The “American Indian and Alaska Native, Health, Education, and Safety Act” (H.J.Res.80), would fund the Indian Health Service (IHS), The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) until December 15, 2013. This bill would provide funding for these programs at FY 2013 funding levels, and still maintain sequestration cuts. In addition to this bill there were also measures approved for consideration that would fund nutrition assistance for low-income women and children (H.J.Res.75) Impact Aid, (H.J.Res.83) and Head Start (H.J.Res.84)...

Read More (PDF)

Posted - October 4, 2013

Government shutdown's hit magnified for tribes; 300 in Crow Tribe furloughed

Billing's Gazette

CROW AGENCY — American Indian tribes have more than access to national parks on the line with the government shutdown, as federal funding has been cut off for crucial services including foster care payments, nutrition programs and financial assistance for the needy.

For the 13,000 members of southeast Montana's Crow Tribe, the budget impasse had immediate and far-reaching effects: Tribal leaders furloughed more than 300 workers Wednesday, citing the shutdown and earlier federal budget cuts...

Read full article:

Posted - October 3, 2013

Native American communities hit hard by government shutdown

By Kevin Taylor and Jenni Monet

No roads link the tiny town of Fort Yukon, Alaska, to the rest of the United States, but that doesn't mean the federal government shutdown won't reach the nearly 600 inhabitants, mostly members of the Alaska Native population, who still fish and hunt for subsistence.

Ed Alexander, 36, is second chief of the Gwichyaa Zhee band of Gwich'in Indians who reside there, and he spent most of Tuesday online trying to determine what exactly the shutdown's impact will be. The timing is terrible for Alaska Native villages, he said, hurting students who have not yet received scholarship money they need for faraway universities and creating unemployment — the government is a core employer — just as people are preparing for an interior Alaska winter...

Read full article at:

Posted - October 1, 2013

What you need to know about the Government shutdown and Indian Health

The U.S. government has officially shutdown as of 12a.m. on October 1 due to Congress’s failure to pass a continuing resolution, or “CR,” to fund the government. Late last night, the House of Representatives sent back a version of the CR to the Senate which delayed the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act and eliminated health premium subsidies for members of Congress, their staff and the president, his cabinet and political appointees. However, the Senate immediately rejected this proposal. The House then voted to go into a “conference” with the Senate to work out a final CR. However, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refused noting, “We will not go to conference with a gun to our head." Both chambers are in session today, but a path forward is unclear.

What does this mean for Indian health?...


Posted - September 10, 2013

White House Trying to Cheat Tribes on Health Costs

Rob Capriccioso
September 09, 2013 | Indian Country Today Media Network

In June 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Salazar v. Ramah Navajo Chapter that the federal government must pay for the full contract support costs (CSC) incurred by tribes while providing healthcare and other governmental services for their tribal citizens through Indian Self-Determination Act contract agreements.

In opposition to that ruling, the White House shared with Congress late this summer a continuing resolution budget proposal that would allow the federal government to forgo paying millions of dollars worth of CSC to tribes...

Read Full Article

Posted - August 8, 2013

$47 Million in CMS EHR Incentive Payments to Indian Country

Providers and hospitals signed up with the NIHB REC

WASHINGTON, DC—August 7, 2013—According to a recent report by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the National Indian Health Board’s (NIHB) Regional Extension Center contributed to producing $47 million in CMS Electronic Health Records (EHR) incentive payments to Indian Country...

Read Full Story (PDF)

Posted - August 6, 2013

IHS Director Yvette Roubideaux Writes to Tribal Leaders on the Special Diabetes Program for Indians

In June, Indian Health Service Director Yvette Roubideaux sent a “Dear Tribal Leader” letter with an update on the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI). In April of this year, the Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee (TLDC) recommended that the national funding distribution for the SDPI remain the same for FY 2014. IHS Director Roubideaux concurred with this recommendation provided by the TLDC.

The Letter also provides an update on efforts to address the $3 million sequestration cut to SDPI funding in FY 2013. IHS has worked hard to find ways within current SDPI funding levels to address the $3 million reduction and has announced that SDPI grant amounts will not be reduced due to sequestration in FY 2013. SDPI programs established in Indian Country will continue to receive the necessary resources and funding to fight diabetes in Tribal communities.

To view a copy of the “Dear Tribal Leader” letter, CLICK HERE

July 23, 2013 - New York Times Editorial

Abandoned in Indian Country

It’s an old American story: malign policies hatched in Washington leading to pain and death in Indian country. It was true in the 19th century. It is true now, at a time when Congress, heedless of its solemn treaty obligations to Indian tribes, is allowing the across-the-board budget cuts known as the sequester to threaten the health, safety and education of Indians across the nation...

Read full article

Published: July 17, 2013
New York Times

Letter to the Editor: Cuts to Indian Health

Re “Broken Promises,” by Byron L. Dorgan (Op-Ed, July 11):

The National Indian Health Board, an advocacy group serving the 566 federally recognized tribes, calls on Congress to acknowledge the harm that health care cuts are having on tribal communities and to exempt the Indian Health Service, a federal agency, from further reductions...

Read full article

July 12, 2013 - New York Times

Pain on the Reservation

Photo by Kevin Moloney for The New York Times

At Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, one of the poorest parts of the United States, the budget cuts known as sequestration have slashed millions of federal dollars in funding.

New York Times

PINE RIDGE, S.D. — The Red Cloud-Bissonette family needs a new trailer. Frank, who is disabled, and Norma, his wife, are members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe who live on the sprawling grasslands of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Despite their constant efforts to patch the seams of one of their trailers that was hauled here in 1988, rot and mold continue to climb up the walls.

The family has punched a hole in the ceiling for a chimney for their wood stove, a necessity given the harshness of the winters but a fire hazard in the dry climate...

Read Full Article

View Other Sequestration Stories

Posted: July 11, 2013


One of many videos from the 2012 Native Youth Conference:
Suicide Prevention Story created by: Corina Williams (Village of Togiak) and Evrocenia Wassillie (Village of Togiak)
View all the 2012 Native Youth Summit videos

The Youth Summit will take place at the NIHB 30th Annual Consumer Conference (ACC) in Traverse City Michigan on August 23-26, 2013. This year’s Summit focuses on creating Digital stories related to Diabetes and Cancer in your community. We encourage all Native Youth to apply and tell us why you would like to be a part of this year’s Summit.

To find out more information on the 2013 3rd Annual NIHB Native Youth Summit, please click here and see Digital Stories produced at last year’s Summit.

Native Health Summit

The 2013 National Indian Health Board’s Native Youth Summit of the 30th Annual Consumer Conference will bring together youth throughout Indian Country to focus on health care issues in their communities. This year we will offer full workshops on two critical health care issues in Indian Country: Cancer and Diabetes. With support from the Mayo Clinic’s Spirit of Eagles Program and the American Diabetes Association, these two issues will be the focus of Digital Story-telling workshops and productions. The Digital Stories will be featured at the end of the track during a Native Youth Film Festival held on Monday, August 26th following the Annual Consumer Conference Opening Reception!

More information/ Register

For further questions regarding the Summit please call 202-507-4081.

Posted: July 11, 2013

Help Fight Diabetes in Indian Country: Urge Your Senators and Representatives to Sign on the Special Diabetes Program for Indians Support Letter

This week, the House Diabetes Caucus released a Dear Colleague letter to support the renewal of the Special Diabetes Program and the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDP/SDPI). Both of these programs expire at the end of next fiscal year - September 30, 2014. You can read the Senate letter here and the House letter here.

SDPI is a critical investment to prevent and treat Type 2 diabetes in the American Indian/Alaska Native Communities. This program is saving lives and saving taxpayer dollars. If this program is not renewed, Tribes across Indian Country will not only lose funds but will continue to suffer from Type 2 diabetes at alarming rates.

HOUSE SDP Dear Colleague and Joint Letter (PDF)

SENATE Special Diabetes Program Dear Colleague and Joint Letter (PDF)

Please contact your representatives and urge them to sign onto this letter. The deadline to sign on is July 31, 2013.

Last year's letter had signatures from 268 House members and 72 Senators and was instrumental in the renewal of SDPI. Please help us make this year's letter an even bigger a success!

Posted: July 11, 2013

New York Times Op-ed: Broken Promises by Bryon Dorgan

Broken Promises

WASHINGTON — WHEN I retired in 2011 after serving 30 years in Congress, there was one set of issues I knew I could not leave behind. I donated $1 million of unused campaign funds to create the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute, because our country has left a trail of broken promises to American Indians.

As chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, I once toured a school near an Indian reservation where I encountered a teacher who told me that when she asked a young Indian student what she wanted for Christmas, she said she wanted the electricity turned on in her house so she could study at night...

Read More

Posted: July 8, 2013

2012 National Indian Health Board Native Youth Summit Digital Story Films

In 2012 the Annual Consumer Conference in Denver, Colorado featured the 2nd Annual Native Youth Summit. This track brought together Native Youth from around Indian Country to develop digital stories focused on health and wellness in their communities. These stories created by the youth over a two day Digital Story workshop dealt with topics ranging from Obesity to Suicide to Stress and Cultural Identity.

View the videos

Posted: July 5, 2013

National Indian Health Board and National Congress of American Indians Propose Candidates for United States Surgeon General

Washington, DC – Today, the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) was joined by the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) requesting that the administration appoint one of the four candidates it proposed for Surgeon General of the United States. The candidates include foremost leaders in the field of Indian Health: Lori Arviso-Alvord, MD (Navajo), Donald Warne, MD, MPH (Oglala Lakota), Charles Grim, DDS (Cherokee) and Rear Admiral Craig Vanderwagon. The NIHB announced its support for the four candidates at the close of the National Indian Health Board’s National Annual Tribal Public Health Summit June 19, which was held on the Seminole Nation, in Florida...

Read More/ View Candidates (PDF)

View the NIHB and NCAI Letter to the President (PDF)

Posted: June 27, 2013

Department of Health and Human Services Offers Partial Solution Definition of Indian

On Wednesday, June 26, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a final rule that provides a hardship waiver that will prevent American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) from receiving a tax penalty if they fail to retain minimum essential coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) applauds HHS’s decision to move forward with this waiver and appreciates the Secretary responding to the comments of the Tribes and Tribal advocates to address definition of Indian issue. Yet, there are many other benefits included in the ACA specific to AI/ANs that need to be addressed in order for all AI/ANs to be afforded the opportunities provided for in the Act.

Read NIHB’s full statement (PDF)

Read the final rule (PDF)

Posted: June 27, 2013

“S.H.O.W.” SDPI Grantee Site Visit Toolkit: Connect with Your Member of Congress Today!


On June 19th, the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) launched the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) renewal campaign. As SDPI will expire on September 30th, 2014, NIHB asks you to help Congress understand the impact of SDPI in your communities by inviting your Member of Congress to visit your SDPI program in August during the Congressional recess. NIHB has created the “Schedule, Host, Organize, and Witness” (S.H.O.W.) SDPI Grantee Site Visit Toolkit, a step-by-step guide on how to host a site visit with your Member of Congress...Read More (PDF)

Posted: March 9, 2013

On Thursday, President Obama signed the Violence Against Women Act at the Department of the Interior

See a video and hear comments of those that attended the ceremony at

Posted: March 4, 2013

Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Releases Report to Congress on the Joint Committee Sequestration for Fiscal Year 2013

On March 1, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released its Report to the Congress on the Sequestration for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013. The Report provides calculations of the amounts and percentages by which various federal agency budgetary resources are required to be reduced over the seven months remaining in the fiscal year and a listing of the reductions required for each non-exempt budget account.

As a result of the Congress’s failure to enact legislation to stop the sequester, President Obama was required by law to issue a sequestration order on March 1 canceling $85 billion in budgetary resources across the federal government for FY 2013. As noted in the Report, the Indian Health Service (IHS) discretionary lines – IHS services and facilities – are subject to a 5% cut, which translates into a cut of $195 million for services and a $22 million reduction for facilities in FY 2013. The IHS mandatory account for the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) is subject to a 2% cut of $3 million.

For a copy of the OMB March 1 Report, CLICK HERE

Posted: February 28, 2013

NIHB ACTION ALERT: Urge Your House Member to Support S. 47

This morning, the U.S. House of Representatives has begun consideration of S. 47, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) legislation that was passed by a strong bipartisan Senate majority earlier this month. Today, the House is expected to vote first on the House VAWA substitute bill, which aims to give non-Indian perpetrators the ability to take their cases from Tribal court to federal court at any point in the legal process if they assert that their Constitutional rights are being violated by a Tribal court. If the vote on the House VAWA substitute fails, the House will then hold a vote on S. 47, which includes more favorable Tribal jurisdiction provisions. S. 47 appropriately addresses the high incidence of domestic and sexual abuse of American Indian women by giving the necessary authority to Tribal police and courts to prosecute non-Indian perpetrators.

We respectfully ask you to contact your House Members this morning and urge them to vote “No” on the VAWA House substitute and vote “Yes” on S. 47. For more information, attached is a VAWA Action Alert (PDF) that provides information on how to contact your House Members and a copy of S. 47 (PDF).

Posted: March 4, 2013

House of Representatives Votes to Renew the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

On February 28, the House of Representatives voted in support of S. 47, a renewal of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The legislation passed on a vote of 286 to 138, with 199 Democrats joining 87 Republicans in support of the reauthorization of the landmark 1994 law, which assists victims of domestic and sexual violence. The successful measure passed the Senate last month with 78 votes — including those of every woman, all Democrats and just over half of Republicans. The approved VAWA measure includes a key provision that will allow Tribal courts to prosecute non-Native perpetrators accused of assaulting Indian women on Tribal lands. The measure is now on its way to the desk of President Obama to be signed into law.

The alternative unveiled by the House last week immediately came under sharp criticism from Democrats and women’s and human rights groups for failing to include protections in the Senate bill for gay, bisexual or transgender victims of domestic abuse. The House bill eliminated “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” from a list of “populations” that face barriers to receiving victim services — and also stripped certain provisions regarding American Indian women on reservations. With House Republicans divided, House leadership agreed that it would allow a vote on the Senate bill if the House version could not attract sufficient votes. It failed on a vote of 257 to 166. Sixty Republicans joined 197 Democrats in opposition; 164 Republicans and 2 Democrats voted for it.

Starting February 25, 2013

Pain and Addiction Course

Brought to you by Indian Health Service’s TeleBehavioral Health Center for Excellence and the University of New Mexico’s Center for Rural and Community Behavioral

Presented by Snehal Bhatt, MD and Joanna Katzman, MD, MSPH

This 15-session course will address:

- Pain Management within a primary care setting.
- Risk Management with pain patients.
- Assessing aberrant behavior in pain patients.
- Diagnosing and managing Opioid Addiction within a primary care setting.
- Practical assessment and intervention.

Sessions will occur weekly on Mondays

More Information (PDF)

The 15th U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Annual Tribal Budget Consultation (ATBC)

March 6-8, 2013
Washington, DC

As in previous years, HHS will continue to work with you to improve the consultation process. The Department understands the importance of hearing from tribes on national crosscutting issues, regional perspectives, as well as tribal-specific concerns. The consultation session will provide a forum for tribes to collectively share their views and priorities with HHS officials on national health and human services funding priorities and recommendations for the Department’s FY 2015 budget request. We hope the consultation will provide a venue for a two-way conversation between tribal leaders and HHS officials on program issues and concerns that will lead to recommended actions. The schedule for this year’s consultation is as follows...

Read More (PDF)

January 24, 2013

Senators Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Improve Mental Health Services & Prevent Youth Suicide

On January 23, in an effort to improve mental health services for young people and prevent youth suicides, U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act Reauthorization bill. The Reauthorization will help improve access to counseling for at-risk teens and promote the development of statewide suicide early intervention and prevention strategies. It will also increase federal funding for competitive grants to help States, colleges, universities, and Tribes improve mental and behavioral health counseling services...

Read More (PDF)

January 24, 2013

Violence Against Women Act Bills Re-introduced in Congress

On January 22, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Sen. Michael Crapo (R-ID) introduced S. 47, a bipartisan bill that would reauthorize the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in the new 113th Congress. On the same day, Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) introduced H.R. 11, a House companion bill identical to the bipartisan Senate bill S. 47...

Read Full Article (PDF)

January 24, 2013

House Passes Legislation to Suspend the Debt Limit

On January 23, the House of Representatives passed debt legislation that would suspend the country’s debt limit through May 18. House Members voted 285-144 to pass H.R. 335, with 86 Democrats supporting the measure and 33 Republicans opposing it.

H.R. 335 automatically increases the current $16.4 trillion ceiling to accommodate additional debt accumulated before May 18. Without action, the federal government would reach its borrowing ceiling as early as mid-February. H.R. 335 would also tie Congressional pay to passage of a budget plan by suspending salaries of House or Senate Members if either chamber does not adopt a budget resolution by April 15.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said that the Senate will pass H.R. 335 and the White House has indicated that it will not block the measure. The timing of the Senate vote to pass the measure has not been determined. Stay tuned to for updates as they develop.

January 11, 2013

Connecting Kids to Coverage Outreach & Enrollment
Grant Announcement - Due Date: Feb. 21, 2013

Today the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a solicitation for applications for Connecting Kids to Coverage Outreach and Enrollment Grants This solicitation seeks applications for Connecting Kids to Coverage Outreach and Enrollment (Cycle III) grant funding, provided under the Section 2113 of the Social Security Act, as amended by section 10203(d)(2)(E)(i) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (Pub. L. 111-148).

A total of $32 million is available for grants to states, local governments, community-based and non-profit organizations. Indian health care providers and tribal entities also are eligible to apply for grants under this FOA. In addition, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will be announcing a separate FOA exclusively for Indian health care providers and tribal entities, under which $4 million will be made available for outreach and enrollment grants. Cycle III grants will support outreach strategies similar to those conducted in previous grant cycles, and also will fund activities designed to help families understand new application procedures and health coverage opportunities, including Medicaid, CHIP and insurance affordability programs under the ACA.

All grant applications must be submitted electronically through and are due on February 21, 2013. Applications received through until 3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on February 21, 2013, will be considered "on time."

Teleconferences for Applicants:
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will hold at least two applicant teleconferences to provide an opportunity to ask questions about this solicitation. The first teleconference will take place on January 16, 2013, from 2 p.m. to 3 pm eastern time. The dates, times, and call information for this and future teleconferences will be posted on the Insure Kids Now website at

Click here to see the full announcement

January 2, 2013

Congress Votes to Renew the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI)

Congratulations! As one of the final acts of the 112th Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate approved H.R. 8 – American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 – a bipartisan bill that included a one-year renewal of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) at the current funding level of $150 million. The reauthorization of the SDPI is a significant accomplishment in the current challenging political and fiscal environment in Congress. The measure is expected to be signed by the President shortly.

This victory is due to your tremendous dedication in spending countless hours connecting with Congress. The renewal of the SDPI was a top legislative priority of the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) and for the past year, we focused much of our efforts, with your help, on demonstrating to Congress that SDPI is an urgent priority that must be renewed. With this extension, SDPI programs can continue through September 2014 to make a real difference in the lives of people in Tribal communities who fight diabetes on a daily basis.

In the coming days, NIHB will be releasing information on how you can thank your Members of Congress for their support of SDPI renewal. In the meantime, NIHB thanks each of you for your great outreach efforts to Congress. Lastly, for more information about the details of the fiscal deal package, please see the fact sheet issued by the White House.

View the Tax Agreement Fact Sheet (PDF)

January 1, 2013

SDPI Renewal Included in Senate Fiscal Cliff Package

Early this morning, by a vote of 89-8, the Senate passed legislation - H.R. 8 - American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 - that not only neutralizes the across-the-board tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to take effect at midnight but also includes a one-year extension for the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) at the current funding level of $150 million. The renewal would extend SDPI through September 2014. The one-year renewal of SDPI will continue to provide Indian County with the necessary resources to continue to make significant advances in diabetes education, treatment, and prevention in Tribal communities.

Other key highlights of this legislation include:
  • Tax rates will increase for individuals with annual incomes above $400,000 and couples with incomes above $450,000, generating about $600 billion in new revenue to the federal government over the next ten years.
  • The sequester is delayed for two months.
  • The scheduled payment cuts to doctors under Medicare would be avoided for a year.
  • The Farm Bill is extended for nine months.

The House of Representatives convened at Noon today and will hopefully pass the legislative package so it can be sent to President Obama and signed into law.

NIHB continues to monitor the situation and will provide updates as they develop. For more information on SDPI, please visit the SDPI Resource Center at

To view the text of H.R. 8, CLICK HERE


December 17, 2012

19 States Will Establish a State Exchange

19 states, including the District of Columbia, have announced their intent to establish a state exchange before last Friday’s deadline, December 14, 2012.

To view which states are establishing a state exchange, visit NIHB’s Tribal Reform Resource Website at

The National Indian Health Board is pleased to announce our new initiative GO the EXTRA MILE

The National Indian Health Board is pleased to announce our new initiative GO the EXTRA MILE, the result of our Executive Director Stacy A. Bohlen signing the CEO Pledge. The CEO Pledge is part of a national campaign to encourage Executive Directors to commit to supporting and fostering a physically-active workplace. NIHB’s GO the EXTRA MILE initiative achieves these goals by creating a workplace that supports physical activity for every member of its staff. Through the GO THE EXTRA MILE with NIHB initiative, staff is required to walk at least one mile each day for a year. We will aggregate these miles and “virtually” walk to each of the 12 Indian Health Service Areas, either to an Area Indian Health Board or to a Tribal Partner in Areas that do not have a Board.

To view the letter from our Executive Director, Stacy A. Bohlen about the CEO Pledge and the GO the EXTRA MILE, CLICK HERE.

On November 1, 2012, the first day of both American Indian Heritage Month and Diabetes Awareness month, NIHB will launch its GO THE EXTRA MILE initiative, and we invite you to join us on this year-long journey. The kickoff walk will take place at 8 AM in front of the National Museum of American Indians in Washington, D.C. NIHB wants to begin this journey by walking the first mile together!

To see Kickoff Walk flyer CLICK HERE.

We invite you to join NIHB by signing the CEO pledge and participating in the November 1st launch. You will have access to the NIHB Go The Extra Mile website (available on November 1st), which will include a toolkit, electronic mapping for your journey, and access to information like “Hot Health Tips” from our partner, the Association of American Indian Physicians.

For additional information about the GO the EXTRA MILE, CEO Pledge, and the kickoff walk, please contact Liz Heintzman at [email protected] and/or 202-507-4072. CLICK HERE to view the GO the EXTRA MILE proposal and CLICK HERE to view NIHB’s virtual walking plan.

November 19, 2012

NIHB Special Analysis Series Post-General Election 2012: What it Means for Indian Health Policy

The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) is producing several fact papers about the post-election 2012 and the health reform implications, focusing specifically on how they pertain to Indian Country.

For an update about the health exchanges and the approaching deadline for states to announce their decision to implement a state exchange, click here (PDF).

To view a state by state comparison of governors’ decisions on implementing state exchanges, click here (PDF).

For an update about the general post-presidential and congressional election results, click here (PDF).

Stay tuned for more NIHB Special Analysis Series fact sheets.

November 13, 2012

NIHB Chairperson Cathy Abramson Speaks Up for Indian Programs

On October 26th, National Indian Health Board (NIHB) Chairperson Cathy Abramson (Board Member, Treasurer, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians) provided remarks and chaired the Health Subcommittee meeting at the 69th Annual National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Convention & Marketplace in Sacramento, California. The focus of NIHB Chairperson Abramson’s remarks was to provide an update on NIHB’s efforts to secure the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) reauthorized by Congress and the importance of protecting Indian programs from sequestration...

Read More (PDF)

OMB Sequestration Report Released: Significant Impact on Indian Health Service

On September 14, 2012, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued its Sequestration report. As noted in the report, many of the federal health programs and services provided to and accessed by American Indians and Alaska Natives will experience significant cuts if sequestration goes into effect in 2013. In particular, the Indian Health Service’s discretionary accounts for services and facilities will be subject to an 8.2% across-the-board cut, which is quite different from what many originally understood and reported, and the IHS mandatory account of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians is subject to a 2% cut. The report notes that the 2% limit, as provided for the Indian Health Service’s services and facilities accounts under the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, applies “only for a discretionary cap sequestration and such accounts are fully sequestrable under a Joint Committee sequestration.” This means that nearly the entire Indian Health Service’s budget is subject to an 8.2% cut, and the total estimated automatic cut to the IHS budget is $356 million in Fiscal Year 2013.

OMB Sequestration Report (PDF)

NIHB Submits Statement on the Special Diabetes Program for Indians

August 24, 2012

On August 22, the National Indian Health Board submitted an official statement to the Senate Finance Committee in response to the August 8th Field Hearing at Crow Agency, MT, titled: Healing in Indian Country: Ensuring Access to Quality Health Care. The purpose of the Field Hearing was to address accessing quality health care in Indian Country. In addition to the tribal testimony provided at the Field Hearing, the statement highlights two additional recommendations: Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) reauthorization and protection of the Indian Health Service budget through any cuts enacted through the sequestration process next January. The SDPI statement will be posted on the Senate Finance Committee website in the coming months as it becomes a part of the official record.

NIHB Field Hearing Statement on SDPI 8.22.12 (PDF)

Today, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services announced the final rule for Stage 2 of meaningful use in the EHR Incentive Payments Program and ONC announced the standards and certification criteria final rule!

To continue positioning yourselves as a trusted advisor, it is important for you to announce this milestone to your stakeholders as soon as possible. Your timely communication reinforces your connection to the federal agencies that make these impactful determinations.

To quickly push out the announcement, utilize the attached template email and below tweets.

Stage 2 Final Rule released on CMS website: CMS announces new Stage 2 meaningful use rule for #EHRs.
Read more (PDF).

ONC Final Rule released Standards & Certification Criteria (Health Information Technology: Standards, Implementation Specifications, and Certification Criteria for Electronic Health Record Technology, 2014 Edition; Revisions to the Permanent Certification Program for Health Information Technology): ONC announces new Stage 2 meaningful use rule for #EHRs. Read more (PDF).

CMS Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs: Stage 2 Final Rule (PDF)

ONC Fact Sheet: 2014 Edition Standards & Certification Criteria (S&CC) Final Rule (PDF)

NIHB Announces National Call-In Day Event in Support of SDPI

On Wednesday, November 14th - World Diabetes Day - please join NIHB and Tribal communities from across the country in asking your Senators and Representatives to support renewal of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) this year! Congress will be back in session and we need to make sure that they renew SDPI!

Read More (PDF)

NIHB Submits Letter to VA an IHS on the All-Inclusive Reimbursement Rate

On October 16, the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Indian Health Service (IHS) recommending that Tribes receive the Medicaid All-Inclusive Reimbursement Rate rather than the Medicare Fee Schedule Reimbursement Rate. The Medicaid All-Inclusive Rate provides a fairer level of reimbursement that more adequately addresses the costs of providing services in small, often rural locations; assuring the availability of needed programs.

Earlier this year, Alaska Tribal Health programs executed reimbursement agreements with the VA under which the Medicaid All-Inclusive Rate would be paid for both inpatient and outpatient services. When Tribes outside of Alaska sought to negotiate a similar arrangement, VA indicated to Tribes that all reimbursement for Indian health outpatient services provided outside Alaska would be limited to the Medicare Fee Schedule Reimbursement Rate. In Tribal consultation sessions with VA, Tribes have objected this change in policy by VA.

This issue will play a critical role in allowing American Indians and Alaska Natives access to quality health care, especially as Tribes enter into negotiations with the VA on terms and conditions for reimbursement rates for direct services.

Letter to VA and IHS on All Inclusive Rate (PDF)

TTAG Releases Draft Strategic Plan

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is pleased to share their draft for a revised American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) Strategic Plan for CMS for the period 2013‐2018.

This is the third AI/AN Strategic Plan for CMS that the Tribal Technical Advisory Group (TTAG) has prepared. The previous plans were issued in 2004 and 2009. It is urgent that the plan is updated because there has been legislation that has resulted in policy and regulatory changes since the last plan was issued, which will significantly impact AI/ANs’ access to health care and the Indian health care delivery system. These changes include the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, which also permanently authorized the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA).

The draft plan has goals, objectives, tasks, and budgets organized around the five themes of Tribal consultation, Policy Development, Long Term Care, Outreach and Enrollment, and Data. The Plan requests significant increases in CMS funding for AI/AN initiatives over the 5‐year period.

In addition to providing a roadmap for CMS, the plan is informative and useful, particularly Appendix B, which provides an updated summary of the "Legal Basis for Special CMS Provisions for American Indians and Alaska Natives."

The TTAG would like to hear from you about this plan before we finalize this draft and send it to CMS. Please send your comments to Elizabeth Heintzman via email [email protected] no later than October 30, 2012. Our intention is to complete the plan with your input by the end of the year.

A Word version of the Plan is available HERE, in which you can use to make red edits of your recommendations.

Also, visit the TTAG website HERE.



Washington, DC September 17, 2012 – The National Indian Health Board has completed Milestone 1 for Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records as mandated by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

Read Full Press Release (PDF)

HHS announces next steps to promote use of electronic health records and health information exchange

August 23, 2012

Today, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the next steps in the Obama administration’s work to help doctors and hospitals use electronic health records.

“The changes we’re announcing today will lead to more coordination of patient care, reduced medical errors, elimination of duplicate screenings and tests and greater patient engagement in their own care,” Secretary Sebelius said.

Read More (PDF)

IHS Tribal Consultation Update

The final agenda for the IHS Tribal Consultation Summit being held in Denver, CO on August 7-8, 2012, can be located on the IHS Director’s Blog. Click here to for the final agenda.

Also posted on the Director’s Blog were several new Dear Tribal Leader (DTL) letters providing updates on consultation activities that the DTL letters have initiated a few new consultations. IHS has also developed a summary of all consultation activities initiated since June 2009 with brief updates on their status and outcomes. Click here to view those updates.

Please note that if the letter does not state a deadline for comments, then IHS requests comments be submitted within 60 days from the date of the letter. Comments are should be addressed to Dr. Yvette Roubideaux at IHS Headquarters in Rockville, MD, or by email to [email protected].

CDC Orientation for New Health Officials
October 15–17, 2012

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support is pleased to inform you about the upcoming CDC Orientation for New Health Officials, October 15–17, 2012. The orientation will be held at CDC’s headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.

Read More

NIHB Launches New SDPI Resource Center

July 3, 2012
The Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) is set to expire September 2013 unless Congress takes action to renew the program.  And, as in past renewal campaigns, it is critical for Congress to renew the program as soon as possible to avoid disruption in programs and staff.  That means we must all work together – in this difficult budget and political climate – to convince Congress to RENEW SDPI THIS YEAR.  And it will take all of us working together and sharing information. 

That is why NIHB has created a new resource to share information and new tools to make it easy for you and your communities to get involved.  Today, we are happy to announce the launch of our new NIHB SDPI Resource Center!  Click Here  to visit this new site and to start using this valuable tool.

This website will contain up to date information on the status of the renewal campaign in Congress; materials created by grantees and tribes that showcase successes and personal stories, state specific information, and a new tool – a Congressional Tracker – that will give you current information on your Member of Congress relevant to the SDPI renewal campaign. 

» View New SDPI Website

It’s Official! Indian Health Care Improvement Act Permanent! Affordable Care Act Stands!

NIHB Celebrates the Supreme Court’s Health Reform Decision

June 28, 2012
In today’s landmark decision of National Federation of Independent Business et al. vs. Sebelius, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and affirms the permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA) included in the ACA. Now, with this important Supreme Court decision regarding the ACA with it permanent reauthorization of the IHCIA, the Indian health care system can begin a new chapter in the delivery of quality health care to American Indians and Alaska Natives. NIHB will continue to fight to protect the ACA and the continuous improvement of health care for American Indians and Alaska Natives...

Read More (PDF)

U.S. Supreme Court rules for the Tribes in the Salazar v. Ramah Navajo Chapter, Contract Support Cost (CSC) Case

On Monday, June 18th the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the government must fully reimburse the Ramah Navajo Chapter and other Native American tribes for millions of dollars they spent on federal programs. The federal government had agreed to pay contract support costs to tribes that entered into agreements to manage federal programs, but Congress capped the amount of money earmarked for that reimbursement. The tribes sued, and the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver and said the money must be fully reimbursed. “Consistent with longstanding principles of government contracting law, we hold that the government must pay each tribe’s contract support costs in full,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote for the majority. The U.S. Congress has long been keen to the funding issues that plague tribes, but it has never taken legislation actions for an appropriation solution. The high court now states that the executive branch must now make up the difference.

Attached below are both the April 18, 2012 Oral Argument transcript and the June 18, 2012 Decision of the Court.

Click here to view the Oral Argument.
Click here to view the Decision of the Court.

NIHB Submits Comments on Federally Facilitated Exchange (FFE)

On May 16th, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued guidance documents to advance the implementation of Insurance Exchange under the Affordable Care Act. One of these documents addressed the federally facilitated exchange. If a state decides not to operate an exchange, HHS will operate a federally facilitated exchange (FFE) in that state. This guidance describes how HHS will consult with stakeholders to implement a federally facilitated exchange, how states can collaborate with HHS through a state partnership exchange to implement certain functions of this exchange, and key policies for the exchange. Through the work of the MMPC, NIHB submitted comments regarding the FFE to the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) at Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Monday, June 18th.

Click here to read the comments.

NIHB Submits Comments on IHS-VA Draft Agreement Summary

On April 4, the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) submitted comments to the Indian Health Service (IHS) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) regarding the agencies’ draft agreement for reimbursement for direct health care services.

Click here to read the comments

NIHB, and Tribes, Make the Case to Protect Indian-Specific Provisions

With 449 Tribes and Tribal organizations from across the nation, the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) filed an amicus brief to protect the permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA) and other Indian-specific provisions included in the ACA in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) case in the United States Supreme Court... Read More

NIHB Celebrates the 2nd Anniversary of Health Care Reform

Click Here for more information (PDF)

February 10, 2012 -
NIHB Co-Hosts a Tribal and State Health Collaborative Roundtable
February 3, 2012 - Atlanta, GA

On February 3, 2012, a Tribal and State Health Collaborative Roundtable was hosted by ASTHO, the National Indian Health Board, the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board, and the Centers for Disease Control at the Marriott Century Center in Atlanta, GA. The meeting began with dinner at 6pm on Thursday, February 2nd and ended at 3pm on Friday, February 3rd. The purpose of this meeting was to assemble state and tribal health leaders to identify opportunities to improve state health and Medicaid agencies’ collaboration with tribal health leaders and to discuss pertinent issues in regard to public health programming, federal funding, and strategic relationships. Preliminary steps were taken to develop an action plan for on-going work among states, tribes, CDC and Center for Medicare and Medicaid. Based on discussions and work at this meeting, a primer will be developed to promote enhanced communication between new State Health Officers and Tribal Leaders and enhance collective understanding of their roles and responsibilities.

Click here to view PDF

February 9, 2012 -
NIHB Participates in Drafting a Consensus Statement for the Internal Revenue Service’s Community Health Needs Assessment for Tax-exempt Hospitals

NIHB participated in the ASTHO Community Benefits Consensus Statement Meeting on February 6, 2012. The purpose of this meeting was to convene stakeholders to create a consensus statement to inform the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and non-profit hospitals on specific state and local public health expertise and inputs for community health needs assessments. NIHB attended the meeting on behalf of all federally recognized Tribes who may be running 501(c)(3) hospitals in Indian Country to ensure that AI/AN input was provided.

Meeting objectives included:
  • Identify key principals of consensus
  • Identify specific parameters to assure true engagement of public health experts in IRS required CHNA
  • Agree on common definitions which will be core guiding consensus recommendations
  • Identify current collaborations and opportunities among non-profit hospital for local and state health agencies to support of community health needs assessments
  • Identify next steps for stakeholders in addressing the role of public health in collaborating with hospitals conducting community health needs assessments, including a concept outlines and possible tools for departments of health and hospitals on leveraging public health

NIHB has since sent out information on the pending policy changes to Tribal leaders and health organizations potentially impacted. Please contact Paul Allis, Senior Public Health Manager at [email protected] for any questions or comments. The deadline for comments included in the draft consensus statement are due to ASTHO on February 9, 2012.

Jan 11, 2012 -
HHS Releases 2012 Tribal Budget and Regional Tribal Consultation Dates

On January 11th, the Department of Health and Human Services released a “Dear Tribal Leader Letter” inviting Tribes to the 14th Annual U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tribal Budget Consultation (ATBC) which will take place from March 7- 9, 2012, in the Great Hall of the Hubert H. Humphrey Building at 200 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC as well as to its 2012 Annual Regional Tribal Consultations held across the country.

Read More

Jan 9, 2012 -
NIHB Submits Comments on FACA to IHS

The National Indian Health Board has submitted comments to the Indian Health Service (IHS) in response to a November 9th “Dear Tribal Leader Letter” regarding the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) and IHS Advisory Groups.

Click here to read NIHB’s comments.

Click here to read the “Dear Tribal Leader Letter”

Jan 6, 2012 -
OPM Releases Dear Tribal Leader Letter on FEHB

Read More


Dec 20, 2011 -
This weekend, Congress approved a $1 trillion omnibus appropriations package containing a 6% increase in funding to the Indian Health Service (IHS).

Please click here for details.

Update on Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Appropriations

Although Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 officially began on October 1st, Congress has yet to pass nine of the twelve appropriations bills for this year. This includes the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which contains funding for the Indian Health Service (IHS)...

Read More (PDF)

On December 2, 2011, the White House will host its third annual Tribal Nations Conference. NIHB has created fact sheets on current issues in Indian Health for the use of Tribal Leaders and others at this event.

The Indian Health Services Budget and Sequestration (PDF)

Affordable Care Act and Indian Health Care improvement Act Implementation (PDF)

The Special Diabetes Program for Indians (PDF)

Suicide and Substance Abuse Prevention (PDF)

Supercommittee Fails

On November 21st, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction aka Supercommittee officially admitted defeat in the quest to find $1.2 trillion in federal deficit reduction over the next 10 years.

Click here for more information on what this means for federal spending and the Indian Health Service.

Supreme Court to hear Health Reform Cases

On November 14th, the Supreme Court announced announced that it will hear arguments regarding the constitutionality of various provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the controversial individual mandate, this March.

Click here for an NIHB update.

NIHB, NCAI, NCUIH Release Health Reform Survey

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the National Indian Health Board (NIHB), and the National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH) have been jointly awarded a grant from the Indian Health Service (IHS) to collaborate on the National Indian Health Education and Outreach initiative.

Through this partnership, our organizations are working together to develop the necessary tools and resources to assist Tribal nations and their communities in making more informed decisions about their new health care options under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

In order to have a better understanding of what resources and tools Tribal nations and their communities might need regarding health care delivery and options, we are encouraging Tribal leaders, American Indian and Alaska Native community members, Tribal employers, and health directors to complete a survey on the ACA.

Click here to take the survey!

NIHB Comments on Proposed Rules Related to ACA

The National Indian Health Board commented on six proposed federal rules related to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act on October 31st. Five of the proposed rules were issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), regarding eligibility for federal health coverage and the establishment of new state-run health insurance exchanges (online marketplaces where consumers can compare pricing and services to choose the best health insurance option for themselves and their families):

Read full article

HHS Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee: Current Vacancies, Nomination Request

In 2010, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) created a Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee (STAC) and has successfully been meeting for nearly a year. The STAC was one of the first Cabinet Level Tribal Advisory Committee to any Secretary in the Administration...

Read full article

U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) Releases Report on IHS and Forensic Data Collection in Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence Cases

On October 26th, 2011, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report entitled, "Indian Health Service: Continued Efforts Needed to Help Strengthen Response to Sexual Assaults and Domestic Violence."...

Read Full Article

NIHB Board Member Sally Smith Testifies at Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Field Hearing

On October 22, 2011, NIHB Board Member and Alaska Area Representative, H. Sally Smith, testified at a Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Oversight Field Hearing at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Entitled, “H.O.P.E. for the Future: Helping Our People Engage to Protect Our Youth,” the hearing centered on root causes of the youth suicide epidemic currently plaguing Indian Country and featured witnesses from the federal government, as well as Alaska Native witnesses. Ms. Smith’s testimony on behalf of NIHB focused on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) as a major cause of suicide and called for greater funding for the Indian Health Service, mental health studies, and suicide prevention grant programs.

Click here to read the testimony

Senators Urge Improvements to IHS Contract Health Services

On September 27th, seven senators from the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs sent a letter to HHS Secretary Sebelius and IHS Director, Dr. Yvette Roubideaux, urging the Secretary and other top administration officials to act quickly to improve health care delivery to American Indians and Alaska Natives. The Senators pointed to a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report issued September 23rd that highlights billing and other problems in the IHS system that make it difficult for American Indians and Alaska Natives to receive care from health providers and makes it difficult for health care providers offering the services to get reimbursed.

The senators requested that IHS submit a comprehensive corrective action plan to address each of the problems and recommendations made in the GAO report, including a timeline for (1) corrective actions, (2) a date when each action will be commenced, (3) a date when each action is expected to be completed, and (4) identifiable goals that will lead to completion of each corrective action.

To view the letter, please visit:

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its report on Contract Health Services today.

The report is available at

Purpose of the Study: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires GAO to study the adequacy of federal funding for IHS’s CHS program. To examine program funding needs, IHS collects data on unfunded services—services for which funding was not available—from the federal and tribal CHS programs. GAO examined (1) the extent to which IHS ensures the data it collects on unfunded services are accurate to determine a reliable estimate of CHS program need, (2) the extent to which federal and tribal CHS programs report having funds available to pay for contract health services, and (3) the experiences of external providers in obtaining payment from the CHS program. GAO surveyed 66 federal and 177 tribal CHS programs and spoke to IHS officials and 23 providers.

What GAO Recommends: GAO recommends that HHS direct IHS to ensure unfunded services data are accurately recorded, CHS program funds management is improved, and provider communication is enhanced. HHS noted how IHS would address the recommendations; describing the proposed new method to estimate need. IHS’s steps will address some recommendations, but immediate steps are needed to improve the collection of unfunded services data to determine program need.

Presidential Proclamation -- National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

Since the 1970s, the rate of childhood obesity in our country has tripled, and today a third of American children are overweight or obese. This dramatic rise threatens to have far‑reaching, long-term effects on our children's health, livelihoods, and futures. Without major changes, a third of children born in the year 2000 will develop Type 2 diabetes during their lifetimes, and many others will face obesity‑related problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma...Read Full Article

Living Within Our Means and Investing in Our Future: The President’s Plan for Economic Growth and Deficient Reduction

The President’s Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction lives up to a simple idea: as a Nation, we can live within our means while still making the investments we need to prosper – from a jobs bill that is needed right now to long-term investments in education, innovation, and infrastructure. It follows a balanced approach: asking everyone to do their part, so no one has to bear a disproportionate share of the burden. And it says that everyone – including millionaires and billionaires – must pay their fair share. Pursuing a balanced approach to deficit reduction is critical to being able to keep our promises made to all Americans...Read Full Article



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