February 4, 2014  |  Issue 14- 42


In This Issue





Register now for the NIHB 5th Annual National Tribal Public Health Summit


The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) invites you to attend the NIHB 5th Annual National Tribal Public Health Summit. The theme for this year's summit is: Building Healthy Native Communities: Knowledge, Tools and Know- How. The Summit will be held at the Holiday Inn Grand Montana, in Billings, Montana March 31 to April 2, 2014. NIHB's Tribal Public Health Summit brings together Tribal leaders, Tribal health directors, medical practitioners, mental health professionals, public health staff, advocates, epidemiologist and researchers alike to present the latest information and updates on the crucial and important work currently taking place in Indian Country. As part of this dialogue, the conference provides a forum to identify both the challenges and promising solutions to achieving healthy Native Communities. The Summit also provides an unprecedented opportunity to build new partnerships and discover ways to leverage resources.

The Summit will explore a wide range of topics including: public health infrastructure, public health law & policy, data & surveillance, public health communications, public health emergency preparedness, access to care, workforce development, and new research.


Click here to learn more!



On Friday, January 31, NIHB submitted comments to the Indian Health Service (IHS) in response to a Dear Tribal Leader Letter issued on December 6, 2013.  In the letter, Acting Director Roubideaux requested that Tribes provide input on the recommendations in a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report from April 2013.  The report noted that IHS could save millions by capping Contract Health Service payments to non-hospital providers at Medicare Like Rates.

NIHB is also engaged in a legislative effort to ensure that non-hospital providers must use Medicare-Like Rates.  We anticipate that legislation will be introduced soon.  You can read the GAO report here.


Click here to read NIHB's comments. 

On January 30, the National Congress of American Indians President Brian Cladoosby delivered the State of Indian Nations in Washington, DC.  The audience consisted of Members of Congress, Tribal leaders, government officials and other citizens.  In the speech President Cladoosby stressed the importance of the federal trust responsibility and mentioned many of the important contributions Tribes continue to make to the United States.   He also called on the federal government to uphold the promises made to American Indians and Alaska Natives, and decried the draconian sequestration cuts that devastated Tribal communities across Indian Country in FY 2013. 

The likely incoming Chairman for the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, John Tester (D-MT), offered the Congressional response.  Senator Tester stressed the important principles of Tribal self-determination, and the need of the federal government to uphold its federal trust responsibility toward Tribes.  Importantly, he also specifically mentioned the need for advance appropriations at the Indian Health Service.  His highlighting of this issue illustrates his commitment to moving forward with this bill.   If you would like to send a letter to your member of Congress supporting advance appropriations you can download a sample here


You can view the video of the State of Indian Nations here

G Farm Bill to pass Senate on Tuesday

Last week, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan "Farm bill" conference agreement by a vote of 216-208.  The Senate is expected to pass it on Tuesday.

As we reported last week, the measure will cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by $8.6 billion over 10 years.  While these cuts are dramatic, this is far less than the $40 billion in cuts proposed in the House of Representatives last year.  To achieve the savings on SNAP, the legislation would increase the state heating assistance requirement.  

Indian Country also received several important items in the agreement.  This includes a feasibility study for Tribal management of food assistance programs (including SNAP); a provision that permits traditional foods to be served in residential child care facilities, child nutrition programs, hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and senior meal programs; a demonstration project that permits the use of traditional and locally grown foods from Native farmers in the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.  The agreement would also designate Tribes as eligible entities for Soil and Water Conservation Act Programs.

926 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Main Phone: 202-507-4070
Fax: 202-507-4071
Thank you for visiting the Washington Report!