February 2, 2015 |  Issue 15-05





Affordable Care Act National Tribal Day of Action 

February 2, 2015


Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee

February 4-5, 2015

Rockville, MD


IHS FY 2017 National Budget Formulation Work Session

February 10-11, 2015

Washington, DC


CDC TAC meeting and Tribal Consultation

February 10-11, 2015

Atlanta, GA


Medicare, Medicaid Policy Committee Meeting

February 17, 2015

Washington, DC 


CMS Tribal Technical Advisory Group 

February 18-19, 2015

Washington, DC 


Direct Service Tribes Advisory Committee Meeting 

February 18-19, 2015

Nashville, TN


HHS Tribal Budget and Policy Consultation

February 25-26, 2015

Washington, DC


Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee Meeting

March 17-18, 2015

Washington DC


NIHB Tribal Public Health Summit 

April 7-9, 2015

Palm Springs, CA


NIHB Annual Consumer Conference

September 21-24, 2015

Washington, DC

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In This Issue 

NIHB Updates

The National Indian Health Board's Tribal Public Health Summit will take place at the Agua Caliente Casino, Resort and Spa in Rancho Mirage, California  from April 7-9, 2015.  The Summit has continued to grow each year, and now in its 6th year, this promises to be the largest Summit to date.  


REGISTRATION IS LIVE. You can click here for more information or call our offices at (202) 507-4070. 

Tribal Public Health Summit - Call for Proposals

Public health professionals, researchers, and community-based service providers are invited to submit abstracts for the NIHB 2015 Tribal Public Health Summit, taking place April 7 to 9, 2015, at the Agua Caliente Casino, Resort and Spa in Rancho Mirage, California. 


NIHB encourages presentations highlighting evidenced based, best or promising practices developed in and for Tribal communities. NIHB is particularly interested in presentations that provide tools along with information and research, so that participants may leave with the tools they need to make the knowledge they gain actionable. This year's summit emphasizes strengthening the public health workforce in Indian Country, so please consider topics and content that will focus on key skills in one of the four summit tracks. 


To  visit our online Call for Proposals information page for additional details and instructions on submitting your proposal, CLICK HERE.

Capitol Hill Updates
NIHB shares Indian Health Priorities with the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
On Wednesday, January 28, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, held its first hearing during the 114th Congress to gain an overview of American Indian and Alaska Native priority issues.  National Indian Health Board (NIHB) Executive Director Stacy A. Bohlen (Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa) testified before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in an oversight hearing to explore "Indian Country Priorities for the 114th Congress." 

"Our Peoples continue to live sicker and die younger than other Americans," said Bohlen.  "Our lifespan is 4.2 years less than other Americans and on some reservations, like Wind River - home of the Northern Arapaho Tribe in Wyoming - where life expectancy is only 49 years. ...It's more than time that we stand together to change these realities."  Affirming the federal government's trust responsibility for American Indian and Alaska Native Health, the NIHB set forth an agenda for change.  NIHB will diligently work with the Committee to advance these Tribal objectives.

To read NIHB's full written statement, please click here

You can view the hearing video on the Committee's website.

Senator Barrasso Outlines Priorities for 114th Congress 
On January 28, Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), who is the new Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs published an op-ed in Indian Country Today called "Empowering Indian Country in the new Republican Majority." 

The article says: "The federal government has not done well in meeting that first duty or its specific responsibilities to Indian country. Tribal members face far too many challenges in so many areas including health care, education, and economic development. Solutions, not the status quo, are needed to address these challenges.

"During this Congress, the Committee will hold hearings and meet with tribal leaders on how Congress can help empower tribes. We must reverse government policies that work to the detriment of tribes. Based on this discourse, I intend to develop and introduce legislation aimed at cutting red tape to provide a greater opportunity for economic development in Indian country."

You can view the full article by clicking here.

Administration Updates
President's FY 2016 Budget Released: Includes IHS Increase and An Historic Policy Change-Mandatory Funding for Contract Support Costs!
Today, the President Released his FY 2016 Budget Request.  Included in this request is an increase of $486 million beyond FY 2015 for the Indian Health Service (IHS) for a total of $5.1 billion.  The Budget includes "increases for targeted areas where funding will have long-term impacts on the health and well-being of those served by IHS."  This includes purchased/referred care and other direct health care services.

The budget also proposes big changes for Contract Support Costs.  According to the budget, "Starting in FY 2017, Contract Support Costs are proposed as a mandatory appropriation. This change would provide a long-term solution for funding of contract support costs, and would protect health care services provided to American Indians, Alaska Natives and Indian self-determination programs that improve the lives of America's first people."   This policy represents an historic and welcome policy change on this critical issue.  NIHB will continue work with key policymakers to educate them about the importance of this issue. 


To review the President's Budget for IHS Click here. (IHS starts on page 31).


NIHB will share more details on the President's FY 2016 Budget very soon.  In the mean time, please contact Caitrin Shuy, NIHB's Director of Congressional Relations at cshuy@nihb.org or (202) 507-4085. 


Call: White House on President's FY 2016 Budget - Tuesday Feb. 3
Tribes are invited to join a conference call on Tuesday, February 3rd at 4:00 P.M. ET to discuss the President's Fiscal Year 2016 budget with Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and senior Office of Management and Budget, White House and Agency officials. 

 Call Details

·         Date: Tuesday, February 3rd  

·         Time: 4:00 PM ET, please join 5-7 minutes early to avoid connection delays

·         Dial in Number: 1-855-845-4321 Event ID: 600515

(Please note that lines are limited. Callers will be accepted on a first come, first served basis until the call has reached capacity).


This call is off the record and not for press purposes.



NIHB provides Affordable Care Act Training at Urban Indian Centers in Chicago

The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) and the National Council on Urban Indian Health  (NCUIH) had another great success in Chicago with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Urban Tribal Days of Action.  Raina Theile, the Associate Director, for Intergovernmental Affairs at the White House also traveled to Chicago with NIHB and NCUIH to help with ACA training during for the Tribal Urban Days of Action.  Nearly 160 people attended both education and enrollment events.  The first gathering, held on January 27, 2015 at the Kateri Center of Chicago, attracted about 40 Tribal members and state officials.  The second event on January 28, held at the Chicago American Indian Center, brought approximately 120 community members.  


At both events, NIHB and NCUIH provided information about the Affordable Care Act, exemption from the tax penalty and how the ACA relates to the urban Indian population.  Representatives from the regional Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Get Covered Illinois were also in attendance to help with enrollment and answer questions about the Marketplace and Medicaid eligibility.  The next ACA Urban Tribal Day of Action is on February 5, 2015 in Houston, Texas.  


For more information contact NIHB's Tribal Health Care Reform Outreach and Education team Dawn Coley (dcoley@nihb.org) or April Hale (ahale@nihb.org) or call (202) 507-4070.



New CMS Tribal Fact Sheets: Special Protections for AI/ANs and AI/AN Trust Income and MAGI

The CMS Division of Tribal Affairs released two new fact sheets this week.  The fact sheet entitled, "Special Protections for AI/ANs," outlines the American Indian/ Alaska Native (AI/AN)-specific protections and provisions in the Health Insurance Marketplace as well as the exemption application process.  

It also explains the Medicaid and CHIP protections available to AI/ANs.  The second fact sheet entitled, "AI/AN Trust Income and MAGI," provides answers to frequently asked questions on the Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) and how it is used to determine an individual's eligibility for premium tax credits and cost sharing reductions for Qualified Health Plans purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplace. 


The new fact sheets can be found on the CMS AI/AN website here.


Reminder: IHS Proposed Rule for Medicare Like Rates for Purchase Referred Care Due February 4th, 2015

Last December, the Indian Health Service (IHS) released a proposed rule on Medicare Like Rates for non-hospital services.  This proposed rule would amend Indian Health Service (IHS) Purchased and Referred Care (PRC), (formerly known as the Contract Health Services) regulations to apply Medicare payment methodologies to all physician and other health care professional services and non-hospital-based services.  (IHS referrals currently use a Medicare Like Rate for hospital-based services.) 


Specifically, it proposes that the health programs operated by IHS, Tribes, Tribal organizations, or urban Indian organizations (collectively, I/T/U programs) will pay the lowest of the amount provided for under the applicable Medicare fee schedule, prospective payment system, or Medicare waiver; the amount negotiated by a repricing agent, if available; or the usual and customary billing rate.


NIHB, after much discussion with Tribal leaders and technical advisors, has constructed a template comment for Tribes to use as a model in drafting their own comments.  If you would like a copy of this comment, please contact Devin Delrow at ddelrow@nihb.org.  Please be advised that comments are due to IHS this Wednesday, February 4th!



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