May 27, 2015 |  Issue 15-15




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


Tribal Self Governance Advisory Committee Quarterly Meeting

July 21-23, 2015

Washington, DC


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

On June 16 and June 17, the Medicare, Medicaid and Health Reform Policy Committee (MMPC) will conduct its annual retreat in San Diego, California The MMPC is a standing committee of the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) and provides technical support to the Tribal Technical Advisory Group to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (TTAG).  MMPC continues work on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA) health policy issues, regulation review and the development of draft positions with the greatest opportunities for the Indian Health System. Membership in MMPC is open to individuals authorized to represent:  a Tribe; Tribal Organization; Urban Indian Program; or Indian Health Service (IHS).


The Retreat is held annually and its purpose is to set the path of MMPC going forward and strategize priorities for the rest of the year.  This year, topics include: Estate Recovery under the Long Term Care and Services, Medicaid Waivers Review, Arizona's State Bill 1092 AHCCCS Waiver, the Office of Personnel Managements Plans, and more.


We encourage you to attend this meaningful and informative Retreat.  Contact Declan Suites San Diego at 855-968-3429 for group rates and reference the National Indian Health Board when calling.  The group rate cut off date is May 29, 2015.  For further information or a copy of the draft agenda, please contact Richard Litsey, Director of Policy and Advocacy at rlitsey@nihb.orgor Devin Delrow, Program Manager for Medicare and Medicaid Policy, at or  call 202-507-4070. 

Legislative Updates

House Committee Advances Bipartisan Bill to Overhaul Medical Research

On Thursday, May 21, the House Energy and Commerce committee voted unanimously (51-0) to advance legislation that would encourage new medical cures. The co-called "21st Century Cures Act" (H.R. 6) would  modernize and personalize health care, support research, and streamline the health system to deliver better, faster cures. 


Specifically, the legislation would increase funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), create a new "Innovation Fund" to support biomedical research, standardize data from NIH-funded research, and increase information sharing overall.  The legislation would also aim to expedite the approval process for certain "breakthrough" treatments and create a "Council for 21st Century Cures" which would establish a public-private partnership in the United States to accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of innovative cures, treatments, and preventive measures for patients.


The legislation is expected to be considered by the full House of Representatives in June.  You can read more about the specific provisions in the legislation here


Administration Updates

NIHB Attends First Joint TSGAC / DSTAC Meeting

On May 13, 2015, NIHB attended the first ever joint meeting of the Direct Service Tribal Advisory Committee (DSTAC) and Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee (TSGAC) to the Indian Health Service (IHS).  Both committees are comprised of Tribal leaders and representatives from a cross-section of Tribes across the Country.  While each Advisory Committee has its own priorities and agendas, they both advise the IHS Director on the development of health policy and participate in IHS decision-making that affects the delivery of health care throughout Indian Country.  This first meeting has been in the planning stages since 2012 when then Acting IHS Director, Dr. Yvette Roubideaux, called for its implementation.


The historic meeting started with a discussion with the Acting Director of IHS, Mr. Robert McSwain, who provided an update on IHS activities and listened to Tribal leaders from both committees present their concerns and priorities.  During the discussion, the group discussed IHS Advance Appropriations.  IHS noted that the agency currently does not have a position on achieving advance appropriations for IHS. In addition, the Acting Director and staff from IHS provided information on Contract Support Costs (CSC) and in particular the CSC calculator developed by the CSC workgroup.  The joint meeting also provided updates on the Affordable Care Act, the IHS Budget, and a discussion on Medicare-Like Rates (MLR) for purchased/referred care non-hospital services.  Earlier this year, the IHS issued a proposed rule which would provide for an MLR through the administrative process. You can read more about this important cost-saving proposal here.)


Tribal leaders expressed the hope to have increased communication and cooperation between the two committees in the future.  


NOTE: Members of federally recognized Tribes have special enrollment status, which means they can enroll in a Marketplace plan at any month. 


Life Changing Events: Individuals and families who experienced a life changing event may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to get health coverage in 2015. Life changing events include: getting married, having a baby, adopting a child, losing other health coverage, moving to a new residence, leaving incarceration, and change in income or household status. Click here to learn more about the Special Enrollment Period.


Income Changes: It is important for individuals to report changes to their income as soon as it happens, and to also adjust the amount of tax credit they may have taken in advance. If an individual took more advance payments of the tax credit than they were eligible for, the individual will likely have to pay money back when filing their federal income tax return. Click here to learn how health coverage affects the 2014 federal income tax return.


Please join the Indian Health Service (IHS), Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on an All Tribes' Call - Webinar on June 9 at 4pm EDT to learn more information about how Medicaid reimbursement might be available for mental health services provided to persons in residential treatment centers.


Under the Medicaid laws, Medicaid payment is not allowed for services provided in Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) that have more than 16 beds. However, there are exceptions to this rule.  The purpose of the call will be to learn about the IMD exclusion, the exceptions, and what this means for Indian Country.


Call in: 1-888-490-2759

Participant passcode: 617132 


For more information click here



SAVE THE DATE: Direct Service Tribes National Meeting August 26-27

The Indian Health Service's 12th Annual Direct Service Tribes (DST) National Meeting will be held on August 26-27, 2015 in Flagstaff, Arizona. 

The meeting will take place at the High Country Conference Center at Northern Arizona University. 

For additional conference information, including registration info please click here.

Click here to view 2015 DST Awards Information.


FamiliesUSA recently published an article describing the success of the Dental Health Aide Therapist (DHATs) program established by the Alaska Tribes. 


The article is written by Dr. Mary Williard,  a mother and a dentist working in Alaska Native communities.  She describes how our broken dental care system brought her adopted daughter into her life and how this innovative program (DHAT) could change the way we provide dental care to millions in the United States, like her daughter, who have suffered without it. 


Click here to read the full article. 

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