November 24, 2014  |  Issue 14-35




National Affordable Care Act Tribal Day of Action 

November 24, 2014


IHS Director's All Tribes Call

November 25, 2014


White House Tribal Nations Conference

December 3, 2014

Washington, DC


HHS Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee Meeting

December 4-5, 2014

Washington, DC 


NIHB Tribal Public Health Summit 

April 7-9, 2015

California Area


NIHB Annual Consumer Conference

September 21-24, 2015

Washington, DC

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In This Issue


Upcoming Events

Affordable Care Act Tribal Day of Action - November 24, 2014

Today, the national ACA Tribal Day of Action, Indian Health Service facilities and Tribes across Indian Country are hosting Affordable Care Act (ACA) enrollment events.  This is a great opportunity for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) to learn about the ACA and discover their options in the Marketplace or eligibility for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).


For our American Indian and Alaska Native population, the Affordable Care Act can be confusing and the Health Insurance Marketplace can be intimidating, but the benefits of having health insurance coverage is tremendous.  Not only does having coverage provide security and peace of mind, it also allows American Indians and Alaska Natives access to quality health care services outside of the Indian Health Service system. 


The National Indian Health Board partnered with the National Council of Urban Indian Health and Native American LifeLines, Inc. to host an ACA training and enrollment event in Baltimore, Maryland today.  Click here for more information.


Check with your local IHS facility or NIHB's Tribal Health Reform Resource Center website - for enrollment events in your area. 


White House 2014 Tribal Nations Conference - December 3

The White House Tribal Nations Conference will be held on Wednesday, December 3, 2014, at the Capital Hilton located at 1001 16th St NW, Washington, D.C., from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Supplementary programming will take place the afternoon of December 2nd (please click here for a draft agenda and FAQ).  


The goal of this year's Conference is to bolster the meaningful discussion between Tribal leadership and the Administration, and further strengthen the Nation-to-Nation relationship between the United States and American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes.  

One representative from each Federally recognized Tribe is invited to attend this event.  The RSVP deadline for the 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference has been extended to Wednesday, November 26th.  Please use this link to RSVP as the representative for your federally-recognized tribe.

Capitol Hill Updates

Congress Enacts Child Care Development Block Grant -  Funding for Indian Country to Increase

Last week week Congress passed and President Obama signed into law a reauthorization of the Child Care Development Block Grant which will see the program through 2020.  The bipartisan bill had not been reauthorized since 1996. The legislation reform a $5 billion program that provides funding to assist low-income families as they pay for child care while a parent works or is in an education or job-training program. 

Importantly, the new law includes language increasing the Tribal set-aside for this program.  Before the set aside was a maximum of 2 percent for Tribes, now it is "not less than 2 percent" meaning that is the minimum that could be set-side.   This will likely increase the amount set aside for Indian Country in this program. 

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs holds hearing on Children's Mental Health

President/CEO of the Alaska Native Health Board, Verné Boerner testified before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on November 19, 2014 on childhood trauma in Indian Country.  She shared her own experience dealing with childhood trauma but also provided key recommendations.  Her testimony recommended that Congress repeal section 910 of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) which excluded Alaska tribes from the expanded jurisdiction provision in the law, and that Congress increase appropriations for behavioral health at the Indian Health Service.


You can read more about the hearing here


You can see the written testimony and watch the video of the hearing here


FY 2015 Appropriations Continue to Stall and House Appropriations Subcommittee Chairs Announced 

Lawmakers still have no path forward on FY 2015 appropriations. Congressional Republicans opposed to President Obama's recent action on immigration and may use the final FY 2015 spending bill to curtail his authority on the immigration front.  However, many leaders in Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, want to see a final FY 2015 spending bill enacted in December.  Much is in flux as Congress heads to the Thanksgiving break. 


In other appropriations news, Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) was selected to become the next chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor H).   Chairman Cole is the Co-Chair for the Congressional Native American Caucus and an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation.   He has been a strong supporter of Tribes throughout his twelve years in Congress.  While this subcommittee does not provide funding for the Indian Health Service (IHS), many other programs that affect Tribal health are overseen by this committee.  This includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  The Interior Appropriations Subcommittee (which does provide the funding for the IHS) will continue to be chaired by Congressman Ken Calvert (R-CA). 


In the Senate, it is expected that Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) will be the Chair of the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee.  Senator Murkowski has also historically been ready to stand up for the needs of Indian Country. 

Administration Updates
IHS Director's All Tribes Call - November 25

Please join Dr. Yvette Roubideaux the Acting Director for the Indian Health Service (IHS) for an IHS update by teleconference on Tuesday, November 25 at 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Eastern.










Note:  This call is off the record and not for press purposes.  Please dial in 5-10 minutes early to avoid any delays in joining the call.



New Flexibility for Tribal Employer Participation in the FEHB Program

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) recently announced that Tribal Employers can now choose Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) coverage for one or more business units.  This is good news because, previously Tribal employers could only participate in the FEHB Program if the employer purchased FEHB coverage for all of the Tribal employer's employees under all of the employer's business units, such as casinos, resorts, schools, and other departments. This was problematic because many Tribes operate governmental enterprises both on and off reservations, have "commercial" entities, run hospitals and health clinics, and directly employ individuals in "traditional" government functions like Tribal agencies.  These various entities provide different health coverage to their employees, with plans administered by different benefits managers and HR departments and tailored to meet the needs of each agency or enterprise.  As a result, many Tribes opted not to join the FEHB program out of concern that the FEHB plans would not best serve the entirety of the Tribe's employees.


In August, NIHB submitted formal comments to OPM over this federal reshaping of Tribal self-governance. NIHB advocated that Tribes should not be put in the position of having to fundamentally alter their governmental programs as a pre-condition to participate in the FEHB program.


With the new policy in place, Tribes now have greater flexibility to participate in the FEHB program while still maintaining their sovereign right to self-governance.  NIHB applauds the new policy that OPM has put in place.  Additional information can be found here.


Department of Justice Tribal Committee Releases Recommendations on AI/AN Children Exposed to Violence 

The Advisory Committee of the Attorney General's Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence released policy recommendations to the Justice Department on Tuesday, November 18. 


The report recommends a significant rebuilding of the current services provided to Indian Country, through increased partnering and coordination with Tribes, and increased funding for programs to support American Indian and Alaska Native children.  Each of the five chapters discusses the Advisory Committee's findings and recommendations.  The report provides the Advisory Committee's vision for the development of effective, trauma informed, and culturally appropriate programs and services to protect American Indian and Alaska Native children exposed to violence.


You can read the full report here

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