Please join the National Indian Health Board on Thursday, September 19, 1:00pm – 4:30pm, for the Diabetes and Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) Summit!!*

This Summit is open to Tribal and Urban Indian participants ONLY. The summit will address pressing policy issues related to the prevention and treatment of diabetes in Tribal communities. Discussion items will include the future of the SDPI, one of the most effective public health programs in Indian Country ever implemented. *The SDPI summit will be held in conjunction with the National Tribal Health Conference in Temecula, CA but does not require registration and is free. Read more.

Announcing the 2019 Heroes in Health Awards Gala on Wednesday, September 18th!

Tickets and Tables Available.

For more information, CLICK HERE.

Registration Now Open for the 36th Annual National Tribal Health Conference!

September 16-20, 2019


NIHB Board Member Andy Joseph, Jr. Testifies to Congress on the President's 2020 Budget Request for Indian Programs


NIHB Announces New Board Executive Committee!


Advocating for Indian Health Priorities with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)


NIHB Vice Chairman Bill Smith and Member At-Large Andy Joseph Speaking with Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA)


Sept. 16-19,2019


Sign up to stay up-to-date!

NIHB publishes weekly newsletters to keep Tribal leaders, public health program directors, providers, and advocates up to date on the latest news impacting Indian health.
  • The Washington Report
  • The Public Health Broadcast
  • Climate Mailings

NIHB is Hiring!

We are seeking qualified candidates for the following open positions based in Washington DC:

Director of Congressional Relations

Congressional Relations Associate

Public Health Project Associate

Public Health Project Coordinator

Event and Meeting Manager

Posted: September 19, 2019

NIHB Conference Attendees Learn About Medicaid Opportunities, Threats to Access and Delivery of Services

TEMECULA, Calif.—September 19, 2019—On Wednesday during the second plenary session of the National Indian Health Board's (NIHB) annual National Tribal Health Conference, attendees heard from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) about three main areas of the agency’s work with tribes – enrolling more American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) in Medicaid, educating tribal citizens about coverage benefits and increasing third-party revenue for the Indian health system through CMS reimbursements.

"Many of our tribal citizens are eligible to receive health care through the Medicaid system, and the tribes' partnership with CMS is critical as the agency contributes significantly to the delivery of health care to American Indians and Alaska Natives," said NIHB Board Chair and Great Plains Area Representative Victoria Kitcheyan.

Read More

Posted: September 18, 2019

National Indian Health Board Opens National Tribal Health Conference with Discussions on Sovereignty, Responses to Broken Promises Report

TEMECULA, Calif.—September 18, 2019—Yesterday nearly 600 Tribal health providers, experts and advocates gathered for the opening session of the National Indian Health Board's (NIHB) annual National Tribal Health Conference to hear how Tribal leaders are strengthening sovereignty while partnering with federal agencies to ensure trust obligations are upheld.

A Tribal leader panel discussion focused on tribal sovereignty in relation to health equity. Panelists included NIHB Chair and Great Plains Area representative, Victoria Kitcheyan; National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) President and Chickasaw Nation Lt. Governor, Jefferson Keel; St. Regis Mohawk Nation Tribal Chief, Beverly Cook; and Lummi Nation Tribal Councilmember, Nick Lewis. NIHB Chair Kitcheyan said that sovereignty means "we are in charge of the destiny of our people, and we cannot let the federal government dictate what we do on our lands. I want to remind people that our Tribal nations existed before their role and will live on past their role. So, we must remind them of our sovereignty."

Read More

Posted: September 17, 2019

Tribal Leaders, Health Advocates Press Federal Agencies for More Tribal Involvement in Policymaking, Regulations

TEMCULA, Calif.—September 17, 2019—During Monday’s pre-conference day, the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) hosted four federal agency tribal consultation or listening sessions at its National Tribal Health Conference where tribal leaders and health advocates put the conference theme in motion – "Health = Sovereignty" – by reaffirming that the government is obligated to uphold its trust responsibility and that Tribes must be involved in every step of the policymaking process.

"Tribes are sovereign nations, and it is imperative that we continue to strengthen the government-to-government relationship with federal agencies to ensure that our Tribal voices are heard and realized through policies and regulations that makes sense and actually work for our Tribal communities," said NIHB Chairperson and Great Plains Area Representative Victoria Kitcheyan. "Tribes have a collective need for quality health care, but the access and delivery may be different. It's important for federal agencies to be reminded that not all Tribes are the same and there is not one cookie-cutter approach."

Read More

Posted: September 16, 2019

National Indian Health Board, Indian Health Service Meet to Discuss Funding for Tribal Health Programs, Services

TEMECULA, Calif.—September 16, 2019—Yesterday, during a quarterly board meeting and in advance of the National Indian Health Board's (NIHB) National Tribal Health Conference, the NIHB Board of Directors met with the Indian Health Service (IHS) leadership to discuss funding for programs. The Board also voted on a new executive committee member and resolutions to support its work in Washington, DC and throughout Indian Country.

IHS Principal Deputy Director RADM Weahkee was joined by Deputy Director for Intergovernmental Affairs P. Ben Smith and Director of the Office of Management Services Athena Elliot. They spoke about efforts to work with NIHB to continue its current cooperative agreements that fund a portion of the organization’s advocacy and technical assistance work with tribes, like the Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee and outreach and education on the Affordable Care Act.

Read More

Posted: August 21, 2019

CMS Rejects Partial Medicaid Expansion in Utah's 1115 Demonstration

On Friday, August 16, 2019, CMS rejected an element of Utah's 1115 Demonstration that would have imposed enrollment caps on Medicaid in the state. In its letter, CMS stated that it would "only approv[e] section 1115 demonstrations under which the section 1905(y)(1) match rate is provided if the demonstration covers the entire adult expansion group." This means that the agency will not provide enhanced FMAP to Utah because enrollment caps preclude the expansion of Medicaid. Earlier this year, Utah indicated that if CMS would not approve per capita caps by January 2020, then the state would implement a "fall-back" plan, expanding Medicaid up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL).

Other components to Utah's 1115 Demonstration are still under CMS review. This would include subjecting all Medicaid recipients to mandatory enrollment into managed care and instituting work requirements for Medicaid beneficiaries. However, there is an exemption from Medicaid work requirements for members of federally recognized Tribes.

NIHB is monitoring this issue closely and will provide updates as they are available.

Posted: August 13, 2019

Senators Request Feedback from Tribes and Native Hawaiians on Impacts of Climate Change

In July, a group of Senators from both the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and the Senate Special Committee on the Climate Crisis submitted a letter to American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian community leaders requesting information on the impacts of climate change on Tribal and Native Hawaiian communities. The Senate letter invited responses that outlined potential policy solutions around climate change mitigation and adaptation, including information about how climate change threatens Indigenous and traditional lifestyles and overall well-being.

Read More

Posted: August 9, 2019

Fifth Circuit Court Rules in Favor of the Indian Child Welfare Act

In Victory for Tribes, Circuit Court Overturns Lower Court Ruling

TODAY, the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in Brackeen v. Bernhard , where it upheld the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), reversing the decision of the Northern District of Texas. In its decision ( available here ), the Circuit Court found ICWA to be constitutional because it is based on a political classification that is rationally related to the fulfillment of Congress’ unique obligation toward Indians.

"The National Indian Health Board is very pleased that the Fifth Circuit Court ruled in favor of the Indian Child Welfare Act," said NIHB Chairperson Victoria Kitcheyan. "The Court's ruling affirms the federal government's unique political relationship with Tribes. We hope that this groundbreaking law will continue to help keep Indian families whole."

Earlier this year, NIHB, along with 325 Tribal nations and 57 Tribal organizations signed on to an amicus brief supporting ICWA. This followed passage of a resolution by the NIHB Board of Directors in strong support of ICWA in 2018.

Posted: August 6, 2019

IHS Extends Deadline for Opioid Consultation to September 3, 2019

The Indian Health Service (IHS) has extended its Opioid Grants Program Tribal Consultation and Urban Confer period until Tuesday, September 3, 2019. IHS is seeking Tribal guidance as it develops an Opioid Grant Program with $10 million dollar increase in funding in the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program budget line to better combat the opioid epidemic. The IHS is specifically seeking your comments on the following questions about the new Special Behavioral Health Pilot Program...

Read More

August 2, 2019

Congress Passes Two-Year Budget Deal - President Signs Budget Deal into Law

On Thursday, August 1, 2019, by a final vote of 67-28 with five Senators not voting, the U.S. Senate passed a sweeping two-year budget deal that staves off the impending debt limit, increases both defense and non-defense spending caps for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 and FY 2021, and permanently ends discretionary sequestration. The House of Representatives had passed the deal last Thursday, July 25, by a final vote of 284-149, before that chamber departed for August recess. On Friday August 2, 2019, President Trump signed the two-year budget deal into law.

To read NIHB's more detailed analysis of the Budget Deal, click here.

Posted: July 30, 2019

House Committee Advances SDPI Renewal at Flat Funding

On July 17, 2019, the House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced legislation to renew the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI). SDPI is a vital program that gives Tribes the tools they need to combat diabetes in their communities, through both prevention and treatment. SDPI will expire on September 30, 2019 unless Congress renews it...

Read More

Posted: July 29, 2019

NIHB Submits Testimony Defending IHCIA in Response to a Hearing before the House Oversight and Reform Committee Regarding the ACA Lawsuit

On July 10, 2019, the House Oversight and Reform Committee held a hearing to discuss the ongoing lawsuit in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The hearing focused on the May, 2019 decision from the Trump Administration reversing its original position defending the ACA to instead concurring with the federal district court ruling that the entirety of the law is unconstitutional and should therefore be struck down.

The National Indian Health Board (NIHB), along with 483 Tribal Nations and Tribal organizations, filed an amicus brief before the Fifth Circuit conveying to all involved parties that the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA) and Indian-specific provisions enacted in tandem with the ACA serve an entirely distinct purpose from the rest of the legislation, and exist to partially fulfill the federal government's constitutional obligations to provide health services to Tribal Nations and American Indian and Alaska Native Peoples.

NIHB reaffirmed this position in written testimony to the House Oversight and Reform Committee, highlighting the inherent severability of IHCIA and the Indian-specific provisions of the ACA. NIHB continues to be highly engaged in defending IHCIA and ensuring that the significant Indian-provisions are preserved.

To access NIHB’s testimony, click here

Posted: July 24, 2019

2-Year Budget Deal Agreement Reached: House to Vote on Passage Tomorrow

After weeks of negotiations, Congressional leaders and the Trump Administration agreed to a 2-year $1.37 trillion Budget Deal that raises spending caps, increases the debt limit, and permanently ends sequestration for discretionary programs, including for the Indian Health Service (IHS). The agreement was reached in principle with an announcement by the President on Monday, July 22, 2019, with House and Senate leaders now working to build broad support among their members to ensure passage of the deal on the floor...

Read More

Posted: July 9, 2019

NIHB Seeking Interviewees for Report on Health IT Modernization in Indian Country

NIHB is undertaking an exciting partnership with the Regenstrief Institute, a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) contractor, to do an assessment of the Health Information Technology (IT) needs of the Indian Health Service (IHS). This work will result in a report that will make recommendations on IHS' Health IT Modernization efforts. NIHB's role is to help Regenstrief gain unique perspectives on the Indian health system from interviews with Tribal Leaders and with patients of IHS and Tribal Health Programs. Information shared through these interviews will result in tools like amalgamated persona narratives and journey maps that will help the Administration and Congress truly understand Health IT needs so that a realistic congressional appropriation can be given to fund it.

NIHB needs your help in identifying patients and Tribal leaders who would be good to interview for this effort. We are looking for a variety of people from all age ranges, health statuses, and communities. Regenstrief is especially interested in interviewing people from the following Areas:

  • Portland
  • Billings
  • Nashville
  • Navajo

CLICK HERE to schedule an interview.

Please let NIHB's Director of Policy, Devin Delrow ([email protected]), know if you have any questions or would like more information. We only have until the end of July to complete these interviews so that Regenstrief can turn these into helpful tools by the time the report comes out in the fall.

Posted: June 17, 2019

New Behavioral Health Provider Report Available

NIHB, in partnership with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, created this administrative tool to assist Tribes in both in making informed staffing decisions and in achieving full reimbursement for Medicaid services delivered. The report examines state Medicaid programs across the country to determine what behavioral health, substance abuse and addiction services are reimbursable. It also identifies which practitioners have been authorized to bill for those services (and what their educational and licensing requirements are). Wherever possible links to web-based Tribal Billing guides or other state resources are included.

The report can be found here.

Posted: June 13, 2019

UPDATE: CHAP Expansion Comments Due July 8, NIHB Comment Now Available

In 2016, the Indian Health Service (IHS) announced that it was expanding the Community Health Aide Program (CHAP) to Tribes outside of Alaska. The Indian Health Care Improvement Act gave the IHS the authority to expand the program, and based off the success in providing frontline medical, behavioral, and dental health service to Alaska Native communities, IHS elected to do so after Tribal consultation.

In 2018, IHS chartered the Community Health Aide Program Tribal Advisory Group (CHAP TAG) to develop an interim policy on CHAP expansion. That policy would establish the infrastructure for CHAP certification and academic review at the Area level and would be the program's guiding policy document while the agency worked with Tribes on a permanent policy. CHAP TAG has worked with the Indian Health Service for over a year to develop the agency's draft interim policy for national expansion of CHAP.

It is important to note that the draft interim policy for CHAP expansion does not impact the Community Health Representative program in any way. The two programs would remain distinct in the Fiscal Year 2020 House Interior Appropriations bill, which funds IHS. NIHB’s comment is now available here.

Posted: June 4, 2019

2019 National Tribal Health Conference Call for Proposals Now Open!

The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) is excited to announce that the Call for Proposals for the 2019 National Tribal Health Conference (NTHC) is now available! This year's conference, scheduled for September 16-20, 2019, will be held at the Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, California.

Tribal leaders, health directors, policy specialists, advocates, and allies are invited to submit abstracts. NIHB encourages presentations highlighting innovative and Tribally-driven approaches to improving the quality of health systems, strengthening the business of medicine, expanding pathways for successful advocacy efforts, enhancing government to government relationships, and evidenced based, wise, best or promising practices developed in and for Tribal communities.

This year's five conference tracks address a wide breadth of Tribal health priorities. Namely, they are:

  • Legislation and Advocacy
  • Federal Relations and Advocacy
  • Native Health Infrastructure and Quality Improvement
  • Opioids, Methamphetamines, Substance Use, and Behavioral Health
  • Emerging Trends in Native Health and Sovereignty

Submissions are due by 11:59 pm ET on July 12, 2019.

To access the Call for Proposals page, click HERE.

Posted: May 28, 2019

SDPI Renewal Bill Introduced in House of Representatives!

H.R. 2680 Renews SDPI for 5 Years at $200 Million per Year This is the First Funding Increase for SDPI in 15 Years!

Call your member of Congress and urge them to support H.R. 2680 (Special Diabetes Program for Indians) and H.R. 2668 (Special Diabetes Program)

Representative Tom O'Halleran (D-AZ) has introduced legislation (H.R. 2680) to renew the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) for 5 years at $200 million per year!

H.R. 2680 reflects two longstanding Tribal goals for the program that NIHB has worked to achieve: long term reauthorization and a funding increase...

Read More

Posted: May 28, 2019

House Appropriations Committee Passes FY 2020 Interior Bill, Includes Significant Increases for Indian Health Service

On Wednesday May 22, 2019, on a 30-22 party-line vote, the House Appropriations Committee, chaired by Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), passed a $37.3 billion Interior-EPA spending package that included top-line and line item increases to the Indian Health Service (IHS) budget. The FY 2020 Interior-EPA bill boosts spending overall by 4%, and increases the IHS budget by $537 million overall, to a total of $6.3 billion...

Read More

Posted: May 28, 2019

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) Reintroduce CARE Act to Address Opioid Crisis

Earlier this month, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Elijah Cummings reintroduced the Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, which provides $100 billion in federal funding over a ten year period to combat the opioid epidemic, including over $800 million per year in direct funding to Tribal governments and organizations for substance and opioid use disorder prevention and treatment...

Read More

Posted: May 16, 2019

First Nations Actor, Physician Gives Keynote Address at the American Indian and Alaska Native National Behavioral Health Conference

ALBUQUERQUE, NM—May 16, 2019—The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) continued a week of networking, learning and sharing with its American Indian and Alaska Native Behavioral Health Conference taking place May 16-17, 2019. Over 600 hundred tribal health leaders, behavioral health practitioners and community health workers heard from Dr. Evan Adams, Coast Salish actor and Chief Medical Officer of First Nations Health Authority , Canada, about seeing health and healing in two realities – indigenous and western...

Read More

Posted: May 16, 2019

Native Youth Health Advocates Contribute to the National Indian Health Board National Tribal Public Health Summit

ALBUQUERQUE, NM—May 16, 2019—A group of three Native youth volunteers acted as reporters and photographers on the ground this week at the National Indian Health Board’s (NIHB) 10th Annual National Tribal Public Health Summit . For two days they interviewed Summit presenters and attendees and learned about Tribal public health programs from across Indian Country...

Read More

Posted: May 14, 2019

National Indian Health Board Honors Three Public Health Innovators

ALBUQUERQUE, NM—May 14, 2019—During the 10th Annual National Tribal Public Health Summit opening reception, the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) presented two individuals – one from Alaska and the other from North Dakota – and one Tribal organization from California with the 2019 Native Public Health Innovation Awards for their effective approaches to and significant impact on American Indian and Alaska Native public health...

Read More

Posted: May 13, 2019

National Indian Health Board Opens 10th Annual National Tribal Public Health Summit to Over 600 Tribal Health Professionals, Advocates

Messages from national leaders, public health experts to improve health outcomes for Indian Country.

ALBUQUERQUE, NM—May 13, 2019—The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) kicked off its 10th Annual National Tribal Public Health Summit with messages from national leaders committing to work jointly with tribes and discussions from experts on adverse childhood experiences, HIV and Alzheimer’s in Indian Country. This year’s two-day Summit also features dynamic national speakers, interactive workshops and roundtable discussions, the annual Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) poster session and presentation of the 2019 Native Public Health Innovation Awards...

Read More

Posted: May 8, 2019

NIHB Chair Victoria Kitcheyan Elected Chair of HHS Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee

Chairman Chester Antone Stepping Down After Long Career Fighting for Tribal Health

Phoenix, AZ--Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee (STAC) met for its annual meeting in Indian Country. STAC is an invaluable resource for both HHS and the Tribes, as the Committee works to ensure the Tribal voice is heard at all levels of HHS. The STAC routinely meets with agency officials from across the operational divisions of HHS to exchange views, share information, and provide advice and recommendations to HHS and its divisions. For the past three years, Chester Antone, Councilman from Tohono O'odham Nation, has served in the critical role of Chair of the STAC. Chairman Antone has used this role to fight tirelessly for Indian Country's health and for the federal government to uphold the trust responsibility...

Read More

Posted: May 8, 2019

NIHB Board Member Andy Joseph, Jr. Testifies to Congress on the President's 2020 Budget Request for Indian Programs

Mr. Joseph advocated for full funding for IHS, Advance Appropriations, and the protection of the Community Health Representatives Program

Washington, DC.--Today, National Indian Health Board’s Member at Large and Portland Area Representative, Andy Joseph Jr. testified before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs regarding the President's Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget Request for Indian programs. He testified alongside leadership of the Department of Interior, the Indian Health Service (IHS), and the National Congress of American Indians. You can watch a recording of the hearing here...

Read More

Posted: May 7, 2019

May 5 Marks National Murdered and Missing American Indians and Alaska Natives Awareness Day

On Friday May 3, 2019, President Trump signed a new proclamation declaring May 5 as a national day of awareness for murdered and missing American Indians and Alaska Natives. The White House proclamation coincided with a similar resolution passed by the United States Senate that declared May 5 as National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls. That resolution, S.Res.144, was introduced by Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) and agreed to under unanimous consent on Thursday May 2...

Read More

Posted: April 30, 2019

Tribal Leaders Consult with HHS Officials on FY 2021 Budget

On April 23-24, Tribal Leaders from across the country met with top officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as the department hosted its annual Tribal Budget Consultation. This consultation provided a forum for Tribes to engage with HHS officials on national Tribal health funding for the Department's Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 budget request.

The two day consultation included discussions with the Department's leadership, including Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan. Tribal leaders expressed their concerns with the President's FY 2020 budget request, which would cut the HHS budget by 12 percent and cut programs critical to improving health outcomes for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN). They also noted the need for Tribal consultation before decisions impacting AI/ANs are made by agencies within the Department...

Read More

Posted: April 30, 2019

House Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee Releases Draft Legislation for FY 2020

On Monday, April 29, 2019, the House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee (commonly referred to as Labor-HHS) released its draft legislation appropriating funds for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. The bill funds several key health care and public health agencies working in Indian Country, and its annual release is followed closely by NIHB and the Tribes. It is important to note that the Indian Health Service (IHS) is funded through the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, not Labor-HHS.

The bill, which still must be marked up by the Subcommittee and the full Appropriations Committee, pass the House and Senate, and be signed into law, contains several key provisions for Tribal health. Overall, the spending level is $189.8 billion for FY 2020 ($11.7 billion above FY 2019 level and $47.8 billion above the FY 2020 President's Budget Request). Of particular interest to Tribes, the bill...

Read More

Posted: April 30, 2019

Senate Appropriations Subcommittees Release Testimony Instructions

Congress is currently crafting appropriations legislation for Fiscal Year (FY 2020), which begins on October 1, 2019. The Appropriations Committee has 12 subcommittees, each responsible for developing the legislation that will ultimately fund the agencies under its purview. Each committee accepts Outside Witness Testimony so that the public can comment on proposed appropriations levels.

Two of these twelve subcommittees are relevant to Indian health. The Interior Appropriations Subcommittee funds the Indian Health Service (IHS) and many other programs working in Indian Country. Interior Appropriations is accepting Outside Witness Testimony until Friday, May 17. Click here for instructions on how to submit testimony.

Read More

Posted: April 16, 2019

GAO Report Calls for VA and IHS to Strengthen Oversight and Coordination of Health Care for Native Veterans

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report with updated information on the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) and the Indian Health Service's (IHS) efforts to implement their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to improve the health status of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) veterans through coordination and resource sharing among VA, IHS, and Tribes.

The GAO report focuses on implementation of the MOU since June 2014, the last time that GAO released a report on the topic. The GAO found that while the MOU had identified goals, there were not any sufficient measures for assessing progress. In some cases, a performance measure was established but lacked a target to measure performance. Overall, the GAO made three recommendations to strengthen the oversight and coordination of healthcare for AI/AN Veterans:

  1. Establish measurable targets for performance measures at the VA;
  2. Establish measurable targets for performance measures at the IHS;
  3. Establish written guidance at the VA for referring AI/AN Veterans to VA facilities for specialty care.

Both agencies have concurred with the reporting and have said they are currently in process of revising the MOU and updating their performance measures.

Click here to read the full GAO Report.

Posted: April 16, 2019

Congress Misses Budget Deadline

The House and Senate have failed to pass a budget resolution by the April 15 deadline, meaning that future spending negotiations will lack an agreed upon outline.

Congress is currently in recess, so members are working in their home states. When Congress returns to Washington on April 29, Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader McConnell plan to begin negotiations on a budget agreement for Fiscal Year 2020. These talks will be crucial to developing a spending agreement as Congress works to avoid sequestration.

Congress has successfully averted sequestration, the across the board spending cuts that are automatically triggered if Congress does not appropriate money within its established spending caps, every year since 2013. In 2011, Congress passed the Budget Control Act in an effort to control spending by applying sequestration across every federal department and agency on every fiscal year until 2021 unless Congress agrees to impose spending caps on itself.

In a failure to uphold the trust responsibility, the 2013 sequestration impacted the Indian Health Service and Indian Country. For more information on NIHB's work to protect the Indian health system from sequestration, click here.

Posted: April 16, 2019

HHS Annual Tribal Budget Consultation April 23 - 24

The HHS Annual Tribal Budget Consultation will be hosted by HHS next week on April 23 - 24, 2019 in Washington, DC. Click here for the Dear Tribal Leader Letter (DTLL) announcing the session and here for the final agenda.

A planning call for any final questions will be held Wednesday, April 17 at 3:00 PM ET. Call details can be found in the attached DTLL.

If you plan to attend the consultation, please RSVP to [email protected] with your name, title, and Tribe. If you plan on sending a designee, they should also RSVP.

*Please note, per the HHS Tribal Consultation Policy, non-elected Tribal designees must present a letter of designation on Tribal letter head to IEA before participating in the consultation.

Posted: April 8, 2019

Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) sent a one-page letter to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, supporting a Federal District Court's ruling from December 2018 that invalidated the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)

The case holds tremendous potential for impact to Indian Country. The ACA incorporated the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA) through reference and was permanently reauthorized when Congress passed the ACA. In addition to the IHCIA, the ACA included other important Indian-specific provisions integral to the Indian health system. A court ruling that invalidates the ACA also jeopardizes the IHCIA and Indian specific provisions of the ACA.

The National Indian Health Board (NIHB), along with 483 Tribes and Tribal organizations, worked with the law firm of Hobbs Straus Dean & Walker, LLP to file an amicus brief that argues that the IHCIA and Indian-specific provisions are “severable” from the ACA and should be protected no matter what the 5th Circuit decides with respect to the rest of the ACA. That brief was filed on April 1.

On April 4, 2019, NIHB Director of Policy Devin Delrow took part in an interview with Montana Public Radio regarding protecting the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA). Listen to the interview here:

Posted: April 4, 2019

HRSA announces upcoming webinar on the Shortage Designation Modernization Project (SDMP).

The webinar will provide information about the national update of automatically designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) for summer 2019. The webinar will also provide dedicated time for Tribes and Urban Indian organization leaders to provide input on the project.

You can view the full announcement here.

Posted: April 1, 2019

NIHB CEO, Stacy A. Bohlen, Speaks About Opioid Crisis in Indian Country on Democracy Now!

The opioid epidemic is one of the most pressing public health crises facing Indian Country. As of 2017, American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) experience the second highest opioid overdose mortality rate nationwide at 15.7 deaths per 100,000. Drug overdose death rates increased 519% among AI/ANs from 1999-2015 – the sharpest such increase of any group nationwide. Tribal communities face significant challenges in turning this tide. Some of these obstacles include industry opioid dumping in Indian Country, overuse of opioids as a place-holder for unfunded medical treatments, critical shortages of medical and public health practitioners, poverty and chronic underfunding of the Indian health system. On March 27, 2019 NIHB’s Chief Executive Officer, Stacy A. Bohlen, joined DEMOCRACY NOW! to discuss the state of the opioid crisis in Indian Country and shared insight on the challenges and successes towards achieving healing and recovery for all American Indians and Alaska Natives. You can view this Democracy Now! Show here:

Posted: March 26, 2019

IHS Congressional Justification for FY 2020 Now Available

On Monday, March 25, 2019, the Indian Health Service (IHS) released its Congressional Justification (CJ) which provides additional details in support of President Trump's Budget proposal priorities to enhance the health and well-being, strengthen direct medical services and expand efforts to improve medical quality at IHS facilities.

You can view the full CJ here.

Read Full Article

Posted: March 11, 2019

President's FY 2020 Budget Request to Congress Released

Major Cuts to Domestic Spending

Today the President released his fiscal year (FY) 2020 Budget Request to Congress. This document contains funding recommendations to Congress as it begins to draft next year's appropriations bills.

Additional details on the FY 2020 request will be available in the coming weeks, but you can read the overall budget request here and the HHS Budget in Brief here (Indian Health Service (IHS) starts on page 36). You can also view the recommendations of the Tribal Budget Formulation Workgroup for FY 2020 here...

Read More

Posted: March 7, 2019

NIHB Testifies in front of Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

On March 6, 2019, NIHB Chairwoman Victoria Kitcheyan of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. This was part of a two day public witness hearing that is focused on Tribal programs. The Subcommittee holds public witness hearings annually and provides an opportunity for testimony regarding the Indian Health Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and other critical Tribal programs...

Read More

Posted: March 5, 2019

NIHB Elects New Executive Board, Takes to Capitol Hill

On February 26, 2019, during the National Indian Health Board's 2019 quarterly Board of Directors Meeting, members of the Board held elections for the positions of Chairperson, Vice-Chair, Member-at-Large, and Secretary...

Read More

Posted: March 5, 2019

Advance Appropriations Support Letter - Outreach Needed!

The Co-Chairs of the Congressional Native American Caucus are circulating a Congressional sign on letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee to support advance appropriations for the Indian Health Service (IHS) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).

As noted above, advance appropriations would mean that the IHS budget would be enacted one year in advance of the fiscal year. This would mean IHS and BIA would not be subject to government shutdowns and continuing resolutions if Congress cannot get the budget passed by the start of the fiscal year. The recent 35-day partial government shutdown demonstrated the urgency to enact Advance Appropriations for programs serving Indian Country.

We are requesting that you contact your Representatives and encourage them to sign onto the letter. The deadline to sign onto the letter is Friday, March 8...

Read More

Posted: March 5, 2019

SDPI Letter Circulating on Capitol Hill - Tribal Outreach Needed!

The Co-Chairs of the House Diabetes Caucus are circulating a Congressional sign on letter to House leadership supporting the Special Diabetes Program, which funds type-1 research, and the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI), which supports Tribal programs focused on diabetes prevention and treatment.

Congressional authorization for SDPI will expire on September 30, 2019 unless Congress renews the program. Currently, legislation in the Senate would renew SDPI for five years at the current funding level of $150 million per year. House legislation will be introduced in the near future. The letter from the Diabetes Caucus will be a useful tool for advocates of SDPI, so NIHB is working to ensure as many congressional offices as possible sign onto the letter...

Read More

Posted: February 26, 2019

Input Needed on HIV and Viral Hepatitis Prevention in Indian Country

The federal government is seeking direct input from stakeholders on two key strategic documents that guide federal programmatic and policy decisions - the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) and the National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan (NVHAP). NIHB is collecting comments, input, stories, and information on HIV and viral hepatitis prevention, care and treatment in response to this request for information. NIHB will bring together the comments from across Indian Country to submit to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy to inform the creation of the next iterations of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and the National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan...

Read More

Posted: February 26, 2019

Latest Draft of Amicus Brief in Affordable Care Act Lawsuit Now Available - Tribal Nations and Organizations Encouraged to Sign-On

The law firm Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker is leading efforts to file an amicus brief on behalf of Tribal Nations and Tribal organizations in response to the December 2018 decision by a district court in Texas that ruled the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) to be unconstitutional. The Court's ruling was based on the premise that, because the individual mandate is an essential component of the ACA, that Congress' elimination of the tax penalty associated with the mandate in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 rendered the entire legislation unconstitutional. The ruling has faced heavy criticism from both ends of the political aisle and is currently on appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit...

Read More

Posted: February 20, 2019

Trump Signs Budget Deal, IHS Funded Through September

Last Friday, February 15, 2019, President Trump signed legislation funding federal agencies through the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 and ending the risk of a second 2019 government shutdown. With this legislation now signed into law, all federal agencies are funded through the end of the fiscal year.

Overall, the Indian Health Service (IHS) will receive $5.8 billion in FY 2019, an increase over FY 2018's $5.5 billion. This continues a historic trend of bipartisan budget increases for the agency, although the Tribal Budget Formulation Workgroup recommended $6.4 billion for IHS in 2019.

Read More

Posted: February 20, 2019

National Indian Health Board Co-Chairs National Partnership for Dental Therapy

After 15 years of practice in the United States, dental therapists are expanding access to oral health care in a number of states where they practice as part of dental teams. Despite the documented success, the majority of people in Indian Country and in the U.S. as a whole cannot get care from these dental professionals.

Community Catalyst and the National Indian Health Board are launching the National Partnership for Dental Therapy to accelerate the authorization of dental therapists nationwide so that people can get care where and when they need it, in their own communities.

Read More

Posted: February 20, 2019

SDPI Renewal Efforts Already Underway, Your Help Needed!

The Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) is one of the most successful public health programs in Indian Country. During the lifetime of the program, the rate of End Stage Renal Disease among the American Indian/Alaska Native population has plummeted by 54%!

Without renewal from Congress, the program will expire on September 30, 2019. The House Diabetes Caucus, led by Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Tom Reed (R-NY) have issued a letter to House leadership asking for their support for SDPI and the Special Diabetes Program (SDP), which funds research into Type 1 Diabetes. A letter for Senators will be available in the near future. The last time a letter for SDP and SDPI was circulated, over 75% of Congress signed on!

Read More

Posted: February 14, 2019

Congress Reaches Deal to Avert Government Shutdown
Passage Expected Today

Congressional leaders have submitted legislation that would end the funding impasse over border security by providing $1.375 billion for physical barriers on the U.S.-Mexico Border. The 1,100-page legislation also contains funding for 9 other federal departments and dozens federal agencies - including the Indian Health Service (IHS) - through September 30, 2019...

Read More

Posted: February 12, 2019

Congress Continues Exploring IHS Budget Solutions

On Friday, February 8, Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Congressman Don Young (R-AK) introduced two bipartisan bills to authorize advanced appropriations for essential Tribal services that are funded by the federal government. Congresswoman McCollum's bill, H.R. 1128, the Indian Programs Advanced Appropriations Act (IPAAA), would provide advanced appropriations to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education, and the Indian Health Service. Congressman Young's, H.R. 1135, the Indian Health Service Advance Appropriations Act of 2019 provides advance appropriations authority for the Indian Health Service. Advance appropriations make funding available one year or more after the year of the appropriations act in which it is contained. Both bills are cosponsored by the Co-Chairs of the Native American Caucus, Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) and Congresswoman Deb Haaland (D-NM)...

Read More

Posted: February 12, 2019

Administration Announces Goal of Ending New HIV Infections by 2030

HHS Releases Request for Information on Updating the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan

During his 2019 State of the Union Address, President Trump announced that his Administration will be putting forth a national strategy for ending new HIV infections in the United States by the year 2030. In addition to the President's announcement, on Friday February 8, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) posted a request for information (RFI) on the Federal Register soliciting public comment on the next iteration of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) and the National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan (NVHAP) - both of which currently expire next year.

Read More

Posted: February 5, 2019

Office of National Drug Control Policy Releases 2019 National Drug Control Strategy Report

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has released its annual report outlining the Administration's priorities and blueprint for addressing drug addiction and trafficking nationwide. Located in the Executive Office of the President, the ONDCP is the principal office that coordinates drug control and response efforts across all federal agencies involved in prevention, treatment and interdiction including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Drug Enforcement Agency, and Food and Drug Administration...

Read More

Posted: February 5, 2019

Bernhardt Announced as New Interior Secretary

On Monday, President Trump announced that David Bernhardt would be the next Secretary of the Interior. Bernhardt has served as Acting Secretary since former Secretary Ryan Zinke announced his departure from the agency in January. Bernhardt's background is in energy and natural resources policy.

Because the Department of the Interior oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Education, as well as other agencies working in Indian Country, the Secretary often works closely with Tribes. The position is subject to confirmation by the Senate.

Posted: January 29, 2019

Udall Introduces Bill to Protect Tribal Health from Future Shutdowns

The Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), introduced legislation to protect the Indian Health Service (IHS), the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Bureau of Indian Education from future shutdowns. The legislation, the Indian Programs Advance Appropriations Act, would fulfill a longstanding Tribal health priority by providing advance appropriations to IHS, which means Congress would enact funding for the agency a year ahead of time. The shutdown, in which Tribes had to curtail health services or cut other services to keep health facilities open in the absence of funding from IHS, highlighted the need for a long term budget solution for Tribal programs...

Read More

Posted: January 29, 2019

Shutdown Ends, Government Funded Until February 15

Last Friday, President Trump signed a Continuing Resolution (CR) reopening the agencies that were subject to the federal government shutdown. Under the CR, these agencies, including the Indian Health Service, will receive funding through February 15, 2019.

Employees who had to work without pay during the shutdown or who were furloughed will receive back pay under the terms of the CR. These 800,000 employees had missed two pay checks during the shutdown. Additionally, the end of the shutdown means that the Indian Health Service can resume its payments to Tribes operating their own health systems, something the agency's leadership said it planned to do as soon as possible.

Posted: January 25, 2019

NIHB Submits Comments on Healthy People 2030 Framework

On January 17, 2019, NIHB submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on their proposed objectives for Healthy People 2030. Every ten years, the Healthy People initiative establishes core objectives and health topic areas to guide HHS in its efforts to improve the health of all Americans. The Healthy People framework acts as a blueprint that helps inform the major health goals and priorities of the department and its agencies including the Indian Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and other agencies. The Healthy People initiative is managed by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at HHS.

To access NIHB’s comments, click HERE. You can access all of NIHB’s Comments HERE.

To learn more about the Healthy People initiative, click HERE

Posted: January 25, 2019

White House Announces Deal to End Shutdown
Government to Reopen Until February 15

This afternoon, President Trump announced an agreement between himself and Congressional leaders to end the partial government shutdown, currently in its 35th day.

While this agreement will not supply funding for a border wall, the central issue of disagreement leading to the shutdown, the President said that Congress would study the issue.

Under the terms of the agreement, Congress will fund the closed agencies until February 15, 2019, at which point another deal will have to be reached. The 800,000 affected federal employees will return to work for that time period and also receive back pay for the past 35 days. This includes the employees of the Indian Health Service (IHS)...

Read More

Posted: January 19, 2019

CMS Grants Arizona Medicaid Waiver on Work Requirements - Exempts Members of Federally Recognized Tribes

Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved Arizona's request for an amendment to add work and community engagement requirement to its Medicaid Program. As part of the approval by CMS, members of Federally Recognized Tribes will be exempted from work and community engagement requirements...

Read More

Posted: January 18, 2019

National Tribal Organizations Send Letter to President and Congressional Leadership Urging Action to End Shutdown

On January 10, 2019, eight national Tribal organizations, including the National Indian Health Board (NIHB), submitted a letter to the president and bi-partisan congressional leadership urging immediate action to end the partial government shutdown that is disproportionately impacting American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Nations. The letter highlighted the shutdown’s impact on Tribal economies, access to healthcare, Tribal self-governance, and Indian housing, education, nutrition, and child welfare.

To read the letter, click HERE (PDF)

To read the accompanying statement, click HERE (DOC)

Posted: January 11, 2019

National Native Organizations Unite and Urge the President and Congress to Re-Open the Government

WASHINGTON, D.C. | On the 20th day of the government shutdown, eight national Native organizations are jointly urging the President and Congress to immediately end the partial government shutdown, which breaks the treaty and trust obligations the federal government owes to tribal nations. The organizations jointly sent a letter to Congress and the President outlining the wide-ranging impacts of the shutdown on Indian Country.

America’s longstanding, legally-mandated obligations to tribal nations should be honored no matter the political quarrels of the moment. “During this shutdown, Congress and the President are putting the well-being of our tribal nations and our citizens in jeopardy. As governmental leaders, we know that it is simply not an option to stop serving our citizens. On behalf of Indian Country, we urge the President and Congress to do their jobs and reopen the government immediately,” said National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) President Jefferson Keel...

Read More

Posted: January 10, 2019

Government Shutdown Puts the Public’s Health at Risk; Potential for Harm Increases as Impasse Continues

As the government shutdown reaches its 20th day, leaders across a spectrum of health, public health and civil rights organizations call on Congress and the President to immediately reopen the government.

The ongoing shutdown is having a negative impact on the public’s health, both directly and by impacting other factors that influence health such as nutrition support programs at the Department of Agriculture and rental assistance programs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. That impact will only grow and become more detrimental if the shutdown continues...

Read More

Posted: January 7, 2019

Shutdown Continues into Second Week, Tribes Feeling Impact

Today is the 13th day of the partial government shutdown, and the federal agencies impacted are beginning to see their services effected as carry over funds diminish.

This shutdown is unlike others due to its limited impact: it only affects those agencies which have not been funded by Congress for the entirety of Fiscal Year (FY) 2019. Unfortunately, this includes the Department of Interior as well as the Indian Health Service. Other public health programs operating in Indian Country within HHS are funded and will continue without disruption...

Read More

Posted: January 4, 2019

Tell Congress How the Shutdown is Harming Your Tribe's Health!

Today, January 3, 2019, marks the 13th day of the partial government shutdown. The Indian Health Service (IHS) is one of the agencies affected by the lapse in funding, and both Direct Service and Self Governance Tribes have been impacted.

Even as IHS facilities remain open to provide medical care, Tribes are still feeling the impact of the shutdown. Due to the IHS's inability to provide funding to Tribes and many federal employees during the shutdown, many health programs and critical health services are unable to continue providing care...

Read More

Posted: January 4, 2019

Potential Government Shutdown Approaching:
Legislation Introduced to Keep IHS Funded
What Tribes Can Expect During & After a Shutdown

The federal government may be undergoing a partial shutdown if Congress fails to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) by the end of the day today, December 21, 2018. At the time of this writing, it is unclear if the Congress and the President will reach an agreement to keep the government open by tonight. President Trump has indicated that he will not sign legislation that does not fund the border wall. Senate Democrats have said that they will not accept that option.

Read More

Posted: January 3, 2019

New Congress Sworn In, Pelosi Elevated to Speaker

Today the 116th Congress took the oath of office and began its two-year term. With Democrats in Control of the House and Republicans in the majority in the Senate, Congress is divided for the first time since 2014.

As NIHB detailed in a webinar analyzing the results of the 2018 midterm elections on Indian health, the new Congress includes four members of federally-recognized Tribes, the most ever in the history of Congress. Committee assignments for the two newly elected Tribal women, as well as the 88 other Congressmembers elected for the first time, will be known in the very near future.

As expected, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reclaimed her place as the top member of the House, a post which she held from 2007-2011. While there had been some doubt as to whether the House Democrats would continue to support Pelosi, who has led the caucus since 2004, she won a crucial caucus vote following the 2018 elections. Pelosi has demonstrated familiarity with the federal government's trust responsibility to provide health to Tribes and has been a supporter of many of Indian Country's health priorities.

Posted: December 21, 2018

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Releases Report on Federal AI/AN Funding Shortfalls

Today, December 20, 2018, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released "Broken Promises: Continuing Federal Funding Shortfall for Native Americans". The Commission evaluated whether the federal government is meeting its trust responsibilities to the Tribes by examining federal budgets and agency spending of on programs or initiatives designed to meet the needs of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) and Native Hawaiian communities, including programs under the Departments of Health & Human Services, Interior, Housing & Urban Development, Justice, and Education.

Read more

Posted: December 21, 2018

President Signs Farm Bill into Law; USDA to Release Proposed Rule on SNAP Work Requirements

On Thursday December 20, 2018, President Trump signed H.R. 2 - Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 - better known as the "Farm Bill" into law. The 5-year reauthorization of the Farm Bill includes important gains in traditional food production, nutrition access, and agriculture infrastructure development for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) Tribes and Tribal communities...

Read more

Posted: December 20, 2018

GAO releases report on IHS funding levels compared to other federal health programs

On December 10, 2018, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which acts as the "audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of Congress", published a report considering spending levels for the Indian Health Service (IHS), compared to three other federal health care providers. The report comes at the request of Congressional leaders on the Interior appropriations subcommittee of the House of Representatives.

In the report GAO compared the funding levels of IHS, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), Medicare, and Medicaid. It looks at funding levels from 2013 through 2017 and analyzed budget and program documents from the four programs to determine total annual spending levels and spending on a per capita basis. The report found that IHS's per capita spending was $4,078, compared to $8,109 for Medicaid, $10,692 for VHA, and $13,185 for Medicare. The report highlights that IHS has a different by design form the other federal healthcare providers, in that it has smaller facilities that are more rural, and often offer mostly primary and emergency care services. In addition, the IHS and VHA depend on funding levels that are subject to the annual appropriations process, meaning that per capita spending could drop, with more people being served.

Read More

Posted: December 20, 2018

HHS Tribal Consultation Policy Deadline Extended by 90 days

On October 22, 2018, The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), issued a Dear Tribal Leader Letter (DTLL), requesting feedback from Tribal representatives on HHS' Tribal Consultation Policy (TCP). The TCP is reviewed periodically. The original deadline for comments was December, 19, 2018 but thanks to Tribal advocacy, this deadline has been extended for 90 days and comments will now be due on Friday, March 15, 2019.

Specifically, HHS seeks input on:

The consultation mechanisms that work and those that do not; and

  • What HHS can do to improve their activities to ensure an effective and meaningful Tribal Consultation Policy?

Comments can be sent to:

Stacey Ecoffey, Principal Advisor for Tribal Affairs
Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Ave SW Room 620-E
Washington, DC 20201
Email: [email protected]

Posted: December 19, 2018

Federal District Judge Issues Ruling that the Affordable Care Act is Unconstitutional

On Friday December 14, 2018, United States District Judge for the Northern District of Texas, Reed O’Connor, ruled the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) to be unconstitutional after twenty states filed lawsuits in February 2018 arguing that the entire law was invalidated after congress repealed the individual mandate to purchase health insurance. The individual mandate – which was repealed as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 – was a central pillar of the health law that required individuals who could afford health coverage to obtain health insurance or face a financial penalty or tax.

Read More

Posted: November 12, 2018

Farm Bill Includes Important Provisions Promoting Tribal Health and Sovereignty

After months of negotiations, leaders from both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees came to an agreement on renewing the Farm Bill, which expired on September 30, 2018. On Tuesday December 12, the Senate passed the massive $867 billion legislation by a vote of 87-13, with the House set to vote on the bill this week. Tribes and Tribal organizations have long advocated for key provisions in the bill that improve food and nutrition access for American Indians and Alaska Natives. The Conference report on the 2018 Farm Bill was released Monday night and included many key Tribal provisions that support Tribal sovereignty and Tribal Health...

Read More

Posted: November 9, 2018

Congressional Co-Chairs of IHS Task Force Request Input from Tribal Leaders

Today, the Co-Chairs of the House of Representatives Indian Health Service (IHS) Task Force released a letter to Tribal leaders requesting information regarding the IHS' accessibility, resources, patient outreach, workforce, cost and other effectiveness metrics...

Read More

Posted: November 2, 2018

NIHB Analysis of H.R. 6 - SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act

On October 24, 2018, the President signed into law H.R. 6 - SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act - a comprehensive package of bills to address the opioid overdose epidemic.

Addressing the opioid crisis has been a top priority in Congress, and this legislation fulfills a long anticipated promise of delivering more federal dollars and resources to assist communities in their response efforts. Passed by margins of 98-1 in the Senate and 396-14 in the House, the bipartisan and bicameral support for passage of H.R. 6 speaks directly to the heightened national urgency to turn the tide on the epidemic...

Read More

Posted: September 27, 2018

Congress Passes Health Funding Bill

Trump to Sign Fiscal Year 2019 Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill and Continuing Resolution for Several Agencies

The House of Representatives last night passed H.R. 6157, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Labor-HHS Appropriations bill, which contains funding for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as well as the Departments of Labor, Education, and Defense. The bill funds these agencies until September 30, 2019.

H.R. 6157 also contains a Continuing Resolution (CR) funding several other agencies, including the Indian Health Service (IHS), until December 7, 2018...

Read Full Article

Posted: September 25, 2018

Senate Passes Comprehensive Opioids Bill

Multiple Tribal Additions Included in Alexander Amendment

Today, the Senate passed its version of comprehensive opioids legislation. The Opioid Crisis Response Act (OCRA) passed as an amendment to H.R. 6, the Support for Patients and Communities Act, an opioids bill that passed the House on June 22, 2018.

The final version of OCRA, a bipartisan bill written by the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, reflects many Tribal priorities and incorporates several suggestions from the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) and the Tribes. The original Senate bill, S. 2680, included Tribes in certain provisions...

Read Full Article

Posted: September 10, 2018

NIHB Announces 2018 Jake White Crow Award Winner

The National Indian Health Board is pleased to announce that Congressman Tom Cole of Oklahoma (Chickasaw Nation) will receive the 2018 prestigious Jake White Crow Award. This award recognizes an individual or organization with outstanding lifetime achievements in elevating health care advocacy, raising awareness or affecting positive change for American Indian and Alaska Native health care.

The Congressman, one of only two American Indians in Congress, has been a champion for Indian Country throughout his career. He is a visionary leader in the U.S. Congress when it comes to ensuring that the federal government meets its trust responsibility to American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs). As a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, Cole has been instrumental in securing funding for all of Indian Country by constantly advocating on behalf of the Tribes and educating his colleagues about the federal trust responsibility to Tribes. He chairs the subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies. In this role, he has worked to ensure that the Indian health system receives equitable funding across the Department of Health and Human Services. He also serves on the Appropriations subcommittee for Interior, Environment and Related Agencies appropriations where he has been a strong advocate for increased Indian Health Service funding. In the time that Congressman Cole has served on that Subcommittee, IHS funding has increased by $2 billion. Outside of the Appropriations Committee he serves as the Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus and in that role he works to ensure that the federal government honors its promises to American Indians and Alaska Natives in all legislation considered by Congress.

"I am thrilled that the Board has chosen to honor Congressman Tom Cole as the 2018 Jake White Crow Award winner. His leadership in Congress has advanced the needs of Indian health," said NIHB Chairman Vinton Hawley. "Mr. Cole works tirelessly to ensure that the federal government fulfills its trust responsibility for health and protects Tribal sovereignty at every turn" continued Chairman Hawley.

Upon being notified of the award Congressman Cole said, “I am very honored to receive the Jake White Crow Award from the National Indian Health Board. Supporting medical care, research and advocacy has been among my top priorities in Congress as the Chairman of the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee. And since my first day in Congress, supporting Native American and Tribal wellbeing across sectors has been a top priority as well. I will always continue to ensure that Native American citizens have proper and adequate access to healthcare in Tribal communities.”

The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) is a 501(c) 3 not for profit, charitable organization serving all 573 Federally recognized Tribal governments for the purpose of ensuring that the federal government upholds its trust responsibilities to provide health care to the Tribes. NIHB also works to elevate health care status, services and systems of the Tribes and our Peoples.

Other awards for National Impact, Area Impact, and Local Impact will be announced at the Annual Heroes in Health Awards Gala on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This year’s theme is “Expanding the Horizon of Indian Health.”

Please visit this link for more information and to purchase tickets.

Posted: July 18, 2018

2018 Direct Service Tribes National Meeting

On July 11-12, 2018, the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) participated in the Direct Service Tribes National Meeting (DSTNM) in St. Paul, MN. The DSTNM was preceded by the fourth quarterly meeting of the Indian Health Service (IHS) Direct Service Tribes Advisory Committee (DSTAC) on July 10, 2018. The DSTAC is comprised of elected and appointed leaders from nine IHS areas with Direct Service Tribes (DSTs) that offers recommendations and policy guidance to the IHS. The DSTNM is an annual two-day event hosted by the Indian Health Service (IHS), focused on supporting community wellness and strength. The theme for the 2018 national meeting, “Utilizing people, partnerships, quality and resources to strengthen our communities” featured speakers and breakout sessions that addressed Direct Service Tribes (DST) health priorities...

Click Here to view NIHB Presentation Slides

Click Here to View Photos

Read More

Posted: July 12, 2018

House Appropriations Committee Advances FY 2019 Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill

Programs of Significance for Tribes in the FY 2019 House and Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Bills

On Tuesday, July 11, 2018, the full House Appropriations Committee held a markup hearing and voted to advance the FY 2019 Appropriations Bill for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (commonly referred to as Labor-HHS) by a vote of 30-22. No Tribally-specific amendments were adopted during the markup; however, representatives from both parties adopted a number of amendments aimed at addressing the impact of family separation policies at the border. The bill must now be voted on the House floor before being sent on to the Senate. The full Senate Appropriations Committee advanced their Labor-HHS bill prior to the July 4th recess...

Read More

Posted: July 2, 2018

2019 House Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill
Markup Scheduled for After July 4th

Tribes Must Redouble Advocacy Efforts to Protect Gains and Continue Momentum!

Yesterday, June 25, the House Appropriations Committee announced that it was postponing one of its last remaining mark-ups, delaying a vote on a bill crucial to public health programs in Indian Country. The mark-up for the Labor-HHS Appropriations bill had been scheduled for today, June 26, but will now take place after the July 4th Recess.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-H) had its markup of the appropriations bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 on June 15. This bill funds several public health programs within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that operate in Indian Country. The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) provided oral testimony and a written statement to the subcommittee outlining the success of these programs and providing recommendations for funding in FY 19...

Read Full Article

Posted: April 18, 2018

The House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Representative Nanette Barragan (D-CA) hosted a Natural Resources Roundtable Conversation on Environment and Public Health.

The roundtable brought together a broad coalition of stakeholders working to improve the health of communities impacted by environmental impacts. The group highlighted the health challenges faced by communities across the United States related to air pollution, water contamination, and irresponsible mining and land management practices, among other concerns.

Stacy Bohlen, CEO of the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) participated in the roundtable to advocate for the environmental public health concerns of Tribes. Ms. Bohlen stated, "American Indian and Alaska Native people have lived for thousands of years in harmony with our surrounding environments, taking what we needed from the land for physical, cultural, and spiritual purposes. Tribal practices and lifeways were sustainable over time, and protected the health of current and future generations." She shared that, despite this tremendous respect for the environment, Tribes now find this harmony and balance slipping away as industry creates negative impacts that are far reaching and long lasting.

The need for Trial consultation in regards to public health was stressed by Ranking Member Grijalva, who emphasized that Tribal public health concerns should not be considered "after the fact" – rather, Tribes should have the opportunity to share their unique perspectives, needs, and experiences before any decisions or actions are taken.

Both Ranking Member Grijalva and Representative Barragan look to continue dialogue with organizational partners, to highlight environmental impacts on health, and galvanize action that can disrupt and prevent these health impacts from harming community health, especially those most vulnerable among us like children and elders. The National Indian Health Board will continue to work with the House Natural Resources Committee to ensure that the public health concerns of American Indians and Alaska Natives are addressed.

Posted: March 27, 2018

NIHB Testifies on the Opioid Crisis in Indian Country

Advocates for Specific Tribal Funding, Traditional Healing Practices and better data collection

The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) recently testified before two congressional committees on the need to improve the response to the opioid crisis in Tribal communities.

On March 14, 2018, NIHB Treasurer and Bemidji Area Representative Samuel Moose testified before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in a hearing titled: "Opioids in Indian Country: Beyond the Crisis to Healing the Community." On March 22, 2018, NIHB Chief Executive Officer Stacy A. Bohlen testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee at a hearing titled, "Combating the Opioid Crisis: Prevention and Public Health Solutions."

Read More

Posted: March 23, 2018

The FY 2018 Omnibus & its Impact on Indian Health
Includes Tribal Set Asides for Opioid Funding, $500 million increase for IHS

Last night, Congressional leaders unveiled a massive $1.3 trillion spending bill that will fund the federal government through the rest of FY 2018. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (H.R. 1625) contains funding for most of the federal government agencies including Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Indian Health Service (IHS). The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a bipartisan vote of 266-167 on Thursday, March 22. The Senate passed the bill 65-32 early Friday morning and sent it to President Trump for his signature...

Read More

Posted: March 23, 2018

UPDATE: President Trump Signs FY 2018 Omnibus
The Impact to Tribal Health: Tribal Set Asides for Opioid Funding, $500 Million Increase for IHS

President Trump announced today that, despite several objections to funding levels in the bill, he supported the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Omnibus. He signed the Omnibus into law shortly after 1:00 Eastern. This means that the government will be funded through September, the end of FY 2018.


Posted: February 27, 2018

HHS Releases Strategic Plan FY 2018-2022

Dear MMPC:
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has posted their Strategic Plan for FY 2018-2022 (Strategic Plan) to the website, linked above. Every four years, HHS updates its Strategic Plan, which describes its work to address health and human services issues. Tribes and Tribal health advocates may find this document useful in understanding administration priorities and their management perspective for federal agencies and programs that are implemented across Indian Country...

Read More

Posted: February 27, 2018

Congress Renews Health Programs Important to Tribes as Part of Budget Deal

On February 9, 2018, Congress passed a budget agreement that funded the government until March 23, 2018, and reauthorized several public health programs. Many of the programs either benefit Tribal members directly or provide funding to support Tribal public health programs. Reauthorization for these programs varied in length and amount. Below is a summary of renewed programs important to Tribes.

The Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) was renewed through September 30, 2019. The program will be funded at $150 million per year, the same amount it has received since 2004. SDPI currently funds 301 Tribal diabetes programs through a competitive grant process. The program has existed since 1997 and has helped lessen diabetes’s negative health impacts in Tribal communities. It has been cited as the most successful public health program in Indian Country...

Read More (PDF)

Posted: February 21, 2018

Robert Weaver Withdraws From Consideration as Indian Health Service Director

Today, February 21, 2018, the White House announced that Robert Weaver, Quapaw Tribe, has submitted his withdrawal from consideration as Director for the Indian Health Service (IHS).

Mr. Weaver was announced as the new IHS Director on October 6, 2017. His name had been submitted to the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, where his nomination had been pending. His nomination has been met with mixed reactions from Indian Country, and The Wall Street Journal detailed allegations of employment misrepresentation and financial mismanagement...

Read More

Posted: February 13, 2018

President Trump Releases FY 2019 Budget Request: Major Cuts to Domestic Spending and Social Safety Net, Investments in Opioid Treatment and Prevention

On Monday, February 12, 2018 President Trump released his fiscal year (FY) 2019 Budget Request to Congress. This is the proposal that the Administration provides the Congress as they will develop the FY 2019 appropriation including funds for the Indian Health Service and other health programs serving Indian Country. It will be up to Congress to make any final spending decisions about appropriations for FY 2019, which will begin on October 1, 2018...

Read More

Posted: February 9, 2018

Congress Passes Spending Bill to Fund Government, Renews SDPI

Early this morning, both chambers of Congress approved a spending bill written by the Majority and Minority leaders in the Senate. Following the vote, President Trump signed the bill into law, reopening the federal government after an hours-long shutdown. The bill funds the federal government until March 23, 2018...

Read More

Posted: February 8, 2018

Budget Deal Includes 2 Year SDPI Renewal, Other Public Health Programs

Senate leadership has announced a two-year budget agreement to avoid another shutdown and lessen Congress's reliance on short term Continuing Resolutions to fund the government. It would fund the federal government through March 23, 2018, and provide a pathway for Congress to determine the final spending amounts for the remainder of FY 2018. Congress must pass a spending bill by the end of the day TODAY, February 8, 2018, to avoid another shutdown...

Read More

Posted: February 6, 2018

New Continuing Resolution Includes SDPI:
Bill Would Reauthorize Program for 2 Years

Last night, the House Appropriations Committee released the text of the latest Continuing Resolution to fund the government until March 23, 2018. Included in the legislative text is a 2 year reauthorization of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians!

NIHB has made long term renewal of SDPI our top legislative priority, and success is in sight. But the journey to secure renewal is not over yet: Congress must still pass the Continuing Resolution with SDPI included!

Click here to view background materials for SDPI.
Click here to view updated talking points on how SDPI can be renewed NOW.

Read More

Posted: February 2, 2018

NIHB Issues Call to Action to Congress:
Finish the Job and Renew the Special Diabetes Program!

Today, Stacy A. Bohlen, Chief Executive Officer of the National Indian Health Board, in partnership with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, called upon Congress to reauthorize the Special Diabetes Program and the Special Diabetes Program for Indians in the Continuing Resolution that Congress will pass next week in order to keep the federal government funded past February 8.

The article will appear in print in The Hill, a nationwide publication. You can read the piece online here...

Read More

Posted: January 25, 2018

SDPI Outreach Needed: Next Continuing Resolution MAY Include Long-Term Renewal

As the National Indian Health Board has previously reported, one of our top legislative priorities is the long-term renewal of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians. Funding for this highly effective, life-saving program will expire on March 31, 2018, unless Congress reauthorizes it before then.

When SDPI renewal was not included in the last Continuing Resolution despite Congressional promises to Indian Country, NIHB promised to provide Tribes and advocates with Congressional outreach guidance, materials, and information in order to secure renewal for the program...

Read More

Posted: January 23, 2018

NIHB Participates in Native Foods Roundtable at the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

On January 18, 2018, NIHB Executive Director Stacy A. Bohlen participated in a roundtable with the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs titled "Advancing Native Food Traditions in Indian Country." The purpose of the roundtable was to discuss Tribal policy recommends for the upcoming reauthorization of the Farm Bill.

Ms. Bohlen stressed the need for federal policy to support traditional food practices, Tribal sovereignty, and self-determination. She made the link between access to traditional food and health outcomes. She said that all American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) have a "fundamental right to be a healthy person to have access to traditional...foods that are part of defining who we are culturally. We find that the intersection of public policy and health outcomes has a very profound, and often has negative consequence for AI/ANs." When indigenous people are removed from their ability to produce traditional food by federal policies like removal, federal food programs that support processed food, or damming of rivers that disturb agricultural and subsistence practices, health also greatly suffers. Ms. Bohlen also highlighted the major, positive impact that the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) has had to bolster traditional food programs and urged that Congress swiftly reauthorize SDPI...

Read More

Posted: January 22, 2018

Senate Reaches Deal to End Government Shutdown
New CR Expires February 8

At noon today, the Senate voted to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) to end the shutdown and fund the government through February 8, 2018. This vote is the result of a deal reached between Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Schumer (D-NY). The CR includes a 6-year renewal of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). As part of the deal, the Majority Leader promised a vote on codifying the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) before the CR expires. The House has not yet voted on the new CR but is expected to in the near future. The President has announced his support for the CR...

Read More

Posted: January 18, 2018

We Fight On: Special Diabetes Program for Indians Renewal Efforts Continue

The Work Continues... Thank you to everyone who participated in Congressional outreach for the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) renewal today. Unfortunately, we just learned that SDPI is not likely to be included in the current Continuing Resolution (CR). The House Rules Committee is considering the CR now - we expect that the Committee will issue a Closed Rule, meaning no amendments will be allowed, and SDPI renewal is not in the CR. The CR being considered the Rules Committee today, if approved, will expire February 16, 2018. The CR does contain a 6-year reauthorization for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). For many months, lawmakers and Congressional Leadership assured NIHB and Indian Country that the SDPI renewal would be taken up with CHIP: that did not happen today.

It is worthy of note, and we are grateful, that CHIP will be reauthorized for 6 years - because this program is so vital to American Indian and Alaska Native children...

Read More

Posted: January 17, 2018

New Continuing Resolution Does NOT Include Special Diabetes Program for Indians Reauthorization

Yesterday, January 16, 2018, House Republican leadership released language for the next Continuing Resolution (CR), which will fund federal government agencies until February 16. The CR includes a six-year reauthorization for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Many American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) children and their families receive coverage from this program, and NIHB supports its renewal. Unfortunately, the CR does NOT include any language renewing the Special Diabates Program for Indians (SDPI), which now expires on March 31, 2018!

Up to this point, NIHB had been told by Congressional staff that SDPI would be renewed with the long-term CHIP reauthorization...

Read More

» View News Archive