November 3, 2015 |  Issue 15-30

House Natural Resources Committee Native Sacred Places Forum 
November 4, 2015
Washington, DC

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Taxation Listening Session
November 4, 2015
Washington, DC

2015 White House Tribal Nations Conference
November 5, 2015
Washington, DC

Direct Service Tribes Quarterly Meeting
November 9-10, 2015
Oklahoma City, OK
Medicare, Medicaid Policy Committee Meeting
November 17, 2015
Washington, DC
Tribal Technical Advisory Group Meeting
November 18-19, 2015
Washington, DC
Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee Meeting
December 1-2, 2015
Washington, DC 

Follow NIHB on Twitter
Like National Indian Health Board on Facebook!


In This Issue

In this week's Washington Report: Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Taxation Listening Session; Bipartisan Budget Act Passes Congress; and Mental Health Reform Legislation Moves Forward in the House. CMS Updates 100% FMAP Policy; Get Covered on November 3rd for ACA Enrollment; and President Obama Announces Proclamation for National Native American Heritage Month. ACA Open Enrollment Conference Call with President Obama on November 4th and Family Violence Prevention and Services Webinar on November 16th. 

NIHB Updates
Diabetes Awareness Month: A Time to Celebrate Successes!

November is American Diabetes Month! In an effort to raise awareness of this disease and its negative impacts on Indian Country the National Indian Health Board will be sharing Local Impact Stories and Diabetes Prevention Resources  throughout the month to highlight the successes of one of the most comprehensive and effective diabetes treatment and prevention program in the U.S. - the Special Diabetes Program for Indians. Today, we release three (3) new stories on the "Diabetes in Indian Country" website and a digital story created by Native youth on her experience with Type 1 diabetes:

The Mohegan Tribe: Monica Farina

The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians: SDPI Participant

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians: Cynthia Lambert

The Omaha Tribe of Nebraska: Malia Delossantos

Please read, watch and share widely using #DiabetesAwarenessMonthSDPI! Have you or a loved one been affected by diabetes or the SDPI? Share your story with policymakers and key stakeholders here.

Capitol Hill Updates
House Natural Resources Native Sacred Places Forum
This Wednesday, November 4th from 2:30-4:00 p.m. (Eastern), Democratic Members of the House Natural Resources Committee will be hosting a forum on the protection of the San Carlos Apache Oak Flat area and other Native sacred places. Ranking Member Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), alongside other Representatives, will host the forum at the House Natural Resources - 2226 Rayburn House Office Building

For more information contact the Director of Public Engagement, Bertha Alisia Guerrero of the House Natural Resources Committee at
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Taxation Listening Session
The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is holding a listening session on Tribal tax issues and solutions this Wednesday, November 4 from 4:00-5:30 p.m. (Eastern)
at 628 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
This Listening Session will focus on solutions to the tax issues facing Indian Country including dual taxation, new market tax credits, low income housing tax credits, employer mandate, and general tax proposals. There is an ongoing need for development of Tribal taxing authority to provide government revenue independent of federal appropriations or short-term governmental grants in order to ensure long-term growth and stability of tribal communities. Tribal governments are increasingly using their taxing authority to support tribal government programs and infrastructure essential to the health and welfare of their people.
We encourage tribal leaders to use this opportunity to engage with Congress on an exemption to the Employer Mandate in the Affordable Care Act for Tribes. Click here for talking points on this important issue.
For more information please contact Devin Delrow, NIHB's Director of Federal Relations at (202) 507-4072 or
Bipartisan Budget Act Passes Congress, Work Moves to Appropriations Committee

On Monday, November 2, President Obama signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 into law.  As NIHB reported last week, the deal would add an extra $80 billion to the federal discretionary budget in FYs 2016-2017.  In FY 2016, non-defense discretionary spending (the funding that Congress appropriates every year) will see a $25 million increase beyond what is originally established.

Work now moves to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to craft a final appropriation for FY 2016.   Congress must pass FY 2016 by December 11 when the current continuing resolution funding the government expires.   IHS currently has $4.8 billion in both House and Senate draft Appropriations bills.  Also contained in the draft appropriations bills is important language for Tribal behavioral health, Tribal Epidemiology Centers and Definition of Indian in the Affordable Care Act.

If you have any questions on the Bipartisan Budget Act or FY 2016 appropriations, please contact NIHB's Director of Congressional Relations, Caitrin Shuy, at or (202) 507-4085.
Mental Health Reform Legislation Moving Forward in the House 
This week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health will consider H.R. 2646 - the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act - which seeks to reform mental health systems in the United States. According to the bill's primary sponsors, Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX),  the legislation "breaks down federal barriers to care, clarifies privacy standards for families and caregivers, reforms outdated programs, expands parity accountability, and invests in services for the most difficult to treat cases while driving evidence-based care." 
The legislation would replace the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Treatment and transfers all authority to the Assistant Secretary.  The legislation would also promote evidence-based practices and share certain patient information with primary caregivers.  It would also reauthorize the Garrett Lee Smith Suicide Prevention Programs and allow Medicaid to bill mental health services and primary care services at the same location, on the same day, to a patient.  To view a full summary of the legislation, click here
NIHB has carefully reviewed the legislation and is working to ensure that Tribes are treated fairly under this legislation especially when it comes to access to federal funds, traditional and cultural healing practices, and with Tribal consultation. 
Administration and Organizational Updates
CMS Updates its Policy on 100% FMAP
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), is in the process of updating its policy concerning the circumstances under which 100% Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) can be applied to services provided to Medicaid-eligible American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) individuals. This policy change would apply to all states.

There are two main changes in the new policy. First, CMS is proposing to expand the definition of services "received through" an IHS/Tribal facility to any service encompassed within a Medicaid state plan benefit category. This would include transportation services and related travel expenses, such as meals and lodging. Second, CMS is proposing to expand the meaning of "contractual agent" to include qualified individuals or entities enrolled as Medicaid providers outside of IHS/Tribal facilities. The IHS/Tribal facilities, however, would still be responsible for updating the medical records and for providing coordination of care for its patients.

To see CMS's proposed update to its 100% FMAP Policy, please click here. CMS is currently requesting comments from Tribal stakeholders on this policy. The comment period will close on November 17, 2015. NIHB has created a special 100% FMAP Workgroup to work on this issue. Please contact Sarah Freeman at if you like to join. 
Get Covered on November 3, 2015 National Tribal Day of Action for ACA Enrollment
The Health Insurance Marketplaces opened on November 1, 2015. This is a prime opportunity for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) to enroll and check out your affordable insurance options in the Health Insurance Marketplace at
The open enrollment deadline is January 31, 2016.  Even though members of federally recognized Tribes can enroll any month of the year, it is important for AI/AN individuals and families to learn about their insurance options. 
Not only do you benefit from having health insurance, your Indian Health Service facility, Tribal 638 or urban clinic will benefit as well.  Through third-party billing, more resources are put right back into your local clinic.
Many Tribal clinics across Indian Country are hosting enrollment events throughout the Annual Open Enrollment Period of 2016. You may qualify for a low-cost plan, zero co-pays and zero deductibles. Nearly 320 Certified Application Counselors are also available in IHS-operated facilities to assist you through the application process.  The Marketplace call center and website chat feature are also helpful. 
For more information on open enrollment, please contact NIHB's Director of Tribal Health Care Reform, Dawn Coley, at (202) 507-4078 or
President Obama Announces Proclamation for National Native American Heritage Month
The President proclaimed November 2015 as National Native American Heritage Month with celebration on November 27, 2015 as Native American Heritage Day. 

According to the President's proclamation, our nation has been enriched by the traditions and values of American Indians and Alaska Natives and have inspired the ideals of self-governance and determination.  The President stated that we must reaffirm the responsibility to maintain a strong relationship with Tribal nations and work towards a brighter future of progress for Indian Country and the entire American landscape. 

The President demonstrated his commitment towards American Indians and Alaska natives by noting that the Obama Administration hosted the inaugural White House Tribal Youth Gathering on July 9, 2015 following the launch of the Generation Indigenous Initiative.  In addition, this Thursday, November 5th, the Obama Administration will be hosting the Seventh Annual White House Tribal Nations Conference, bringing together Tribal leaders to explore opportunities for progress, with a focus on Native Youth. 
To view the full Presidential Proclamation, click here.
Webinars and Events
Conference Call: 
A Call with President Barack Obama on ACA Open Enrollment - November 4
You are invited to join a conference call on Wednesday, November 4th at 2:25 PM ET with President Barack Obama and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell to discuss the upcoming open enrollment period for the Health Insurance Marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act. 

To receive the dial-in information, click here and enter access code 373038.

When: Wednesday, November 4, 2015 at 2:25 ET

Presented By: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Webinar: Family Violence Prevention and Services (FVPSA) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) - November 16 
On October 14, 2015 the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACF), Family and Youth Services Bureau, Family Violence Prevention and Services Program (FVPSA Program) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed rule changes intended "to help strengthen and improve programs and services nationwide that protect and serve domestic violence victims, including expanded priority areas and new programs that address family violence, domestic violence, and dating violence."
This proposed rule affects Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA)-funded Tribal Nations and organizations, domestic violence shelters, domestic violence resource centers, state domestic violence coalitions, the National Domestic Violence Hotline and other FVPSA-funded programs. 
ACF is hosting a series of webinars to introduce the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) and explain provisions that are of over-arching importance.  The webinars will allow participants to ask questions to support their submission of written public comments should they choose to do so.  The public comment period expires on December 14, 2015.  
To view the NPRM published in the Federal Register please click here.
The Webinar requires registration:
Registration password: fvpsa (all lower caps)
2. Click "Register"
3. On the registration form, enter your information and then click "Submit"
Once the host approves your registration, you will receive a confirmation email message with instructions on how to join the event.
You can contact FVPSA at:
910 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Main Phone: 202-507-4070
Fax: 202-507-4071
Thank you for visiting the Washington Report!