May 20, 2015 |  Issue 15-14




Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee Meeting

June 2-3, 2015

Washington, DC


Medicare, Medicaid Policy Committee Retreat (MMPC)

June 16-17, 2016

San Diego, CA


Great Plains Tribal Chairman's Health Board 5th Annual Health Summit

July 8-9, 2015

Spearfish, SD


Direct Service Tribes National Meeting

August 26-27, 2015

Flagstaff, AZ


NIHB Annual Consumer Conference

September 21-24, 2015

Washington, DC

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In This Issue 


NIHB Updates
National Indian Health Board (NIHB) Annual Consumer Conference will be held from September 21-24, 2015 in Washington DC at the Capitol Hilton. The conference is NIHB's premier policy-focused conference that will address key topics relating to American Indian and Alaska Native health issues.  

A draft agenda and other conference information will be available in the coming weeks. 
Legislative Updates

NIHB Elevates Indian Health Priorities on Capitol Hill and at the US Department of Health and Human Services

On Wednesday, May 13, 2015, the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) Board Members Councilman Patrick Marcellais and Councilman Andy Joseph as well as NIHB Executive Director Stacy Bohlen met with key Members of Congress and the Administration to discuss Indian health priorities.  Topics included increased appropriations for the Indian Health Service (IHS), support for Advance Appropriations for the IHS, achieving Medicare-Like Rates for payment of IHS Purchased/Referred Care and elevation of Tribal youth issues.  

NIHB meets with Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) to discuss Tribal health and youth issues.
Meetings on Capitol Hill included a roundtable with the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee, staff of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and the office of Senator John Hoeven (R-ND). 

Tribal Budget Formulation Workgroup Co-Chairs Andy Joseph (NIHB At-Large Board Member) and Gary Hayes, presented the Workgroup's FY 2017 Tribal Budget Request for the IHS to top Budget Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services.  During this meeting, the leaders shared the recommendation to fully fund IHS at $29.96 billion. IHS is currently funded at $4.6 billion.  Key priorities for the budget include Hospitals and Clinics, Purchased/Referred Care, Dental Services, Mental Health, and Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services.   You can read the full FY 2017 Tribal Budget Recommendation here.

For more information about NIHB's outreach efforts click here
Administration Updates

NIHB Attends first ever CCIIO Workgroup Meeting

On May 7, 2015, Tribal representatives from the Tribal Technical Advisory Group (TTAG) to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) met with Deputy Administrator and Director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), Kevin Counihan.  CCIIO is the agency within CMS responsible for managing the federally facilitated marketplace (FFM) and its implementation through the Affordable Care Act.  The meeting was the first official meeting of the CCIIO Workgroup within TTAG and came at the request of Tribal leaders and representatives concerned with barriers in enrolling their Tribal members in the FFM. 


Tribal leaders and advocates discussed the special trust relationship that exists between Indian Tribes and the federal government and reminded they agency that CCIIO's interactions with Tribes should be different from its interactions with other interest groups.  Tribal leaders also discussed the Marketplace Call Centers.  Director Counihan acknowledged that the Call Centers are not as effective as they could be and spoke about the agency's efforts to change that, including installing a new tracking system to monitor calls, issues discussed on individual calls, and the responses from their technicians.  In addition, they are looking into putting personnel with the specialized knowledge of the American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) specific protections and provisions of the Affordable Care Act in each of the call centers so that when an AI/AN consumer calls, they will be routed to the "Indian Specialists."


Tribal leaders and representatives felt that the meeting was a good first step in building a stronger relationship between CCIIO, CMS, and Tribes as they work together to ensure that the Affordable Care Act provides essential benefits in health care delivery for AI/AN.  Additional meetings of the workgroup will be scheduled in the coming weeks.  


Private Insurance Plans Cover Preventative Care Services

The Department of Health and Human Services, acting through the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) released  Data Point report on May 14, 2015 stating that 137 million individuals, including about 1 million American Indians and Alaska Natives, have a private insurance plan that covers preventive services at no cost sharing.  Under the Affordable Care Act, AI/ANs have special protections such as zero or limited cost sharing plans, which allow recommended preventive services - like diabetes and cholesterol screenings, mammograms, and colonoscopies - to be covered with no copay.


"Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions more Americans have access to preventive services, including vaccinations, well-baby visits, and diabetes and blood pressure screenings," said Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. "These services can substantially improve the health of families, and in some cases even save lives. We urge all individuals with health care coverage to take advantage of these services. This can make a tremendous difference in the health of Americans."


Click here for the ASPE Data Point report.


HHS Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee: Nominations for Vacancies Requested by HHS -DEADLINE EXTENDED TO MAY 20

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee (STAC) currently has vacancies, and is soliciting recommendations for nominations to serve as delegates for the areas with an open seat. THE DEADLINE FOR NOMINATIONS HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO WEDNESDAY, MAY 20, 2015


HHS established the STAC in 2010 in an effort to create a coordinated, Department-wide strategy to incorporate Tribal guidance on HHS priorities, policies, and budget. In working closely with Tribal leadership on this committee, the goal of the Department is to elevate the level of attention given to the government-to-government relationship with Indian Tribes and develop mechanisms for continuous communication with Tribes. Those selected will serve a two-year term. The vacancies open for nomination are:

  1. Aberdeen
  2. Alaska
  3. Billings
  4. Navajo
  5. Phoenix
  6. Tucson
  7. National At-Large Primary Delegate (2)
  8. National At-Large Alternate Delegate
Click here to read the Dear Tribal Leader Letter which contains additional information about the nomination process.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will be presenting a national webinar for Tribal Healing in Primary Care and Behavioral Health Settings on May 26, 2015 from 10:00 AM - 12:00 AM PST.  


The purpose of the webinar is to highlight those programs and services that address the delivery of behavioral health care in primary care settings.  The webinar will also present and discuss historical trauma and its impacts on community; national trends and federal initiatives towards wellness; and methods for delivering culturally competent treatment and recovery services.  You can register for the event at by clicking here

The 2015 White House Conference on Aging is asking the public to comment on two new policy briefs: "Long Term Services and Supports" and "Healthy Aging."

You can read the policy briefs on the White House Conference on Aging website.

This is an opportunity to focus attention on the needs and concerns of American Indian and Alaska Native elders and caregivers. Previous White House Conferences on Aging have been catalysts for major programs including Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the Older Americans Act.

Each policy brief concludes with discussion questions designed to stimulate dialogue. 

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