March 18, 2014  |  Issue 14-7


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March 31- April 2
 Billings, MT
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In This Issue


Diabetes Caucus Holds Hearing on SDPI


Listening Session on CSC


Latest News from the Hill on SDPI


Our Public Health Summit is Around the Corner


SDPI Website Coming to NIHB Soon

Diabetes Caucus Holds Hearing on SDPI

 On Tuesday afternoon, the office of Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY) and the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) sponsored a briefing on the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI). The panel of speakers consisted of Tekisha Dwan Everette with the American Diabetes Association, Mickey Peercy (Choctaw Nation) speaking for NIHB, Christina Jimerson from the Seneca Nation and Curt Oltmans with Novo Nordisk. The panelists addressed the room and delivered testimony regarding SDPI. The meeting was also attended by Congressman Reed who spoke of the impact diabetes has had in his own life and members of his family. NIHB board member Andrew Joseph Jr. (Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation) was also in attendance and offered remarks about the critical impact SDPI has had on his tribe.  


Each panelist spoke to the prevalence of diabetes in American Indian/Alaska Native communities, key results SDPI has delivered since the program's inception, and the level of urgency surrounding SDPI funding renewal. There were, however, very unique and important assessments brought forward by each speaker. Peercy, representing NIHB, equated the problem of uncertainty looming over SDPI programs regarding funding to the kind of stress Congressional staffers would feel when their bosses are facing a tough reelection. Peercy stated, "Failure to renew this program won't mean that there is a temporary discontinuation of the program, but will mean that it this program and the important gains it has made to reverse diabetes in Indian Country will be gone. Not closed for a little while - gone."


Listening Session on CSC

On Tuesday, March 11, the Indian Health Service (IHS) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) co-hosted a Contract Support Costs Listening Session on Tuesday, March 11 at the National Congress of American Indians Winter Session from 9am to 12pm. Both the IHS Acting Director Dr. Yvette Roubideaux and BIA Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn gave brief opening remarks where they expressed support for CSC funding and said that they are working to get the FY 2014 funding out as soon as possible. They both also reiterated a desire to partner with Tribes on moving forward with a plan to fully fund CSC in the future. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) an agency overseeing federal spending for the White House sent representatives to the meeting to hear the concerns of Tribes as well.


The Tribal leaders then spoke for the remainder of the session. The majority of comments focused on the trust responsibility in funding CSC and noted that failure to pay CSC only results in cutting services. Several individuals spoke to the legal arguments for CSC. It was also suggested that the Administration also consider savings to other federal agencies (such as the Office of Personnel Management) when Tribes contract with the federal government to provide services. Some Tribal representatives also suggested that the agencies should continue to hold joint consultations and that they should be divided by regions with a national meeting. Others also requested that testimony should also be taken in written in verbal forms.  


Latest News from the Hill on SDPI

With the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) set to expire on September 30th this year, there is a critical opportunity to have the program renewed by March 31st, when Congress must renew the Medicare Extender legislation that is typically the legislative vehicle that contains SDPI renewal.  The Medicare Extenders accompany the SGR (Sustainable Growth Rate) Fix, yearly legislation that governs how physicians are paid by Medicare.


On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), the new chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced The Medicare SGR Repeal and Beneficiary Access Improvement Act of 2014 (S. 2110). Included in the language was a five-year extension of SDPI (Section 215). On the other side of the Capitol, the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014 (H.R. 4015) passed the House of Representatives. This legislation did not include SDPI or any other extenders. However, because the bill was "paid for" by repealing the individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare") it is unlikely to move forward in the Senate.  


Our Public Health Summit is Around the Corner

New information came from NIHB's Public Health Team today. Click here for a draft agenda now available for the upcoming NIHB 5th Annual National Tribal Public Health Summit taking place March 31 to April 2, 2014 in Billings, MT.


- Pre-meetings on March 31

- Plenary sessions and breakout workshops on April 1 and 2

- Workshop tracks include:

  • Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
  • Public Health Infrastructure
  • Child and Youth Health
  • Tribal Public Health Law and Policy
  • Behavioral Health

For questions, contact NIHB at 202-507-4070 or


SDPI Website Coming to NIHB Soon

NIHB's Congressional Relations team could not be more excited about a new and improved SDPI website coming soon. Redesigned with the user in mind, the site features a brand new look and user-friendly structure. This new structure serves to drive the site's visitors to the information they need, whether it be information on diabetes in general, SDPI or how to advocate for the program alongside NIHB.


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Main Phone: 202-507-4070
Fax: 202-507-4071
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