NIHB Media Release                   


Media Contact: Caitrin Shuy at or 202-374-9966


Congress Passes Legislation Renewing SDPI Funding for One Year 

SDPI funded at $150 million


WASHINGTON DC- March 31, 2014-Today Congress passed a one year renewal of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI). The National Indian Health Board (NIHB), which continues to lead national efforts to secure the SDPI program, is very pleased with this development.  Stacy Bohlen, NIHB's Executive Director states, "American Indians and Alaska Natives suffer from the worst Type 2 Diabetes rates in the United States. We have four-year-olds presenting with Type 2 Diabetes - this has got to stop and SDPI is making that possible.  Today's victory is one more step in making this life-saving program permanent."


NIHB Chairperson Cathy Abramson (Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa Indians) released the following statement regarding the renewal of SDPI funding: "This is a critical victory.  We are thrilled at the passage of a one-year renewal for SDPI and recognize it as an important step in the continuous fight to treat and prevent diabetes in Indian Country.   As happy as we are today - we will continue fighting for long-term renewal tomorrow.  SDPI saves lives and money!  We will continue fighting for the long-term renewal of this program so that improved prevention and treatment, hiring more health care professionals and health educators in Indian Country continues to grow," Abramson said.


Few programs are as successful as SDPI in helping reverse chronic illness, and we look forward to another year of success. SDPI has proven to work, especially in declining incident rates of diabetes-related kidney disease. Between 1999-2006, the incident rate of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) due to diabetes in American Indians and Alaska Natives fell by 28% - a greater decline than for any other racial or ethnic group. This reduction in new cases of ESRD translates into almost $90,000 per patient per year in cost savings for Medicare, the Indian Health Service and third-party payers.  


NIHB is especially grateful Members of Congress who worked diligently to make this legislation happen. NIHB also maintains the position that multi-year renewal of SDPI would accomplish much more. It would help provide a more stable stream of funding for the program and - most importantly - it gives Tribal SDPI programs the uninterrupted care their community members deserve.


The SDPI renewal was part of legislation that addressed the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), a Medicare payment correction that prevented a decrease in the rates that doctors are reimbursed.  Section 204 of this bill included language renewing funding for one-year of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians at $150 million. The passage of this bill comes after negotiations on a larger "SGR fix" bill faltered over how to it would be paid for. It passed Thursday on a voice vote in the House. It then moved to the Senate where it was passed this afternoon in a vote of 64-35. The bill now heads to the President's desk to be signed.


For more information about SDPI, visit 







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