February 8, 2016 |  Issue 16-5

FY 2018 IHS National IHS Budget Formulation Work Session
February 11-12, 2016
Washington DC

MMPC February Face-to-Face Meeting
February 24, 2016
Washington, DC

TTAG February Face-to-Face Meeting
February 25-26, 2016
Washington, DC

Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee Meeting
March 1-2, 2016
Washington, DC 

HHS Annual Tribal Budget Consultation
March 2-3, 2016
Washington, DC

House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee AI/AN Public Witness Hearing
March 17-18, 2016
Washington, DC

7th Annual NIHB Tribal Public Health Summit
April 11-13, 2016
Atlanta, GA 

33rd NIHB Annual Consumer Conference
September 19-22, 2016
Phoenix, AZ

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In This Issue

In this week's Washington Report: Putting First Kids 1st this Winter and Registration is open for the 2016 Tribal Public Health Summit. House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Announces AI/AN Public Witness Hearing Days and Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Holds Hearing on Health Delivery in the Great Plains Region. President Obama to Release Budget Request to Congress Tomorrow; Tax Season is Here, File your 8965 Exemption Waiver, and IHS Seeks Comment on New Regulation for CHEF. February TALC Webinar on Identity and Branding for Public Health and a Tribal Presentation by the Notawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi; and A Tribal Sponsorship Analysis Webinar held by CMS on Thursday.

NIHB Updates
Putting First Kids 1
st this Winter
The National Indian Health Board, the National Congress of American Indians, the National Indian Education Association, and the National Indian Child Welfare Association are excited to share the positive work of Tribal nations and communities, Native families and organizations, Congress, and the Administration that empowers our Native youth to thrive. In partnership with the My Brother's Keeper, Generation Indigenous ("Gen-I"), and First Kids 1st Initiatives, please join our First Kids 1st community and read the stories and best practices that are creating a positive impact for Native youth in the December 2015/January 2016 edition of the First Kids 1st Newsletter.

This month, the newsletter highlights NIHB's Native Youth Health Summit participant, Mr. Tyler Wickson of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Tyler is an up and coming Indian health advocate who is passionate about educating his peers on the dangers of texting while driving. Read the newsletter to learn more and watch Tyler's powerful story here.

Other highlights include:
  • Legislative Updates
  • Professional Basketball Player Damen Bell-Holter Combats Native Youth Suicide
  • Highlights of Native Youth Attending the State of the Union Address
  • Northern Cheyenne and Crow Tribes Collaborate to Raise Funds for Adolescent Safe Home
REGISTRATION OPEN: 2016 Tribal Public Health Summit
Click here to register now!

The National Indian Health Board invites Tribal leaders, health directors, public health professionals, researchers, and community-based service providers to the 7th Annual National Tribal Public Health Summit taking place on April 11-13, 2016 in Atlanta, GA. 

Click here to nominate someone for the Public Health Innovation Award.  The deadline for nominations is March 4. 

To view information about registration, including rates: click here

Host Hotel:  Hilton Atlanta: 255 Courtland St NE, Atlanta, GA 30303 Phone: (404) 659-2000
A special room rate of $149.00/night has been negotiated with the host hotel. We encourage attendees to make a room reservation as soon as possible, as the room block will only be open for a limited amount of time.
For more information on the Tribal Public Health Summit visit www.nihb.org or email phs@nihb.org
Capitol Hill Updates
House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Announces AI/AN Public Witness Hearing Days
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies will hold American Indian and Alaska Native public witnesses hearings on Thursday, March 17, and Friday, March 18, 2018.

These public witness days are an excellent opportunity to tell Congress directly about funding needs at your local community.   NIHB will be submitting a request to testify on behalf of Tribal health priorities, but we also encourage everyone who is able to submit a request to testify about the unique needs and challenges of health services in your Tribal community. 

If you can't make it to Washington, the Appropriations Committee also takes written statements from Tribes. 
  • The deadline to submit requests to testify is Monday, February 15, 2016. 
  • The deadline to submit written testimony is Wednesday, March 23, 2016.
Click here for instructions on how to submit a request to testify and how to submit a written statement. 

For more information about the Public Witness Days, click here.
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Holds Hearing on Health Delivery in the Great Plains Region
As NIHB reported last week, The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) held an oversight hearing on Wednesday, February 3, 2016 called: "Re-examining the Substandard Quality of Indian Health Care in the Great Plains." Immediately following the oversight hearing, SCIA held a listening session on "Putting Patients First: Addressing Indian Country's Critical Concerns Regarding the Indian Health Service (IHS)."

Recurring themes from the hearing and listening session included IHS Recruitment and Retention of Medical professionals; Employee Accountability; and the underfunding of the IHS.

NIHB attended this hearing and participated in the listening session, calling IHS to account, but also calling on Congress to enact solutions that will ensure meaningful changes for Indian health.  You can read the whole statement of NIHB's Board of Directors Member, Charles Headdress here.

Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) declared the findings of recent investigations by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as horrifying and unacceptable, "the impacts of these deficiencies aren't theoretical. These persistent failures have led to unnecessary suffering by patients, by families, and by whole communities. In fact, they have led to multiple patient deaths," he said. 

Several Senators also stressed the need to better fund IHS, and to provide increased oversight for the agency.  Tribal leaders and other Tribal representatives present documented the struggles they have on a daily basis when working with IHs. The Honorable Victoria Kitcheyan, Tribal Councilwoman of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska stated, "It's been said in my community that the Winnebago Hospital is the only place you can legally kill an Indian. It is 2016 and our people are still suffering at the hands of the federal government..."
The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) passed a motion at the end of January that would call for our organization to form a special task force investigate the situation at IHS facilities across Indian Country, and embark on a path towards finding real, sustainable change at the IHS.  We will be able to share additional information about the task force in the coming weeks.
For more information, please contact Caitrin Shuy, NIHB's Director of Congressional Relations, at (202) 507-4085 or cshuy@nihb.org.
Administration and Organizational Updates
President Obama to Release Budget Request to Congress Tomorrow
The Obama Administration will submit their last Congressional Budget Request on Tuesday, February 9, 2016.  Many Republican members of Congress have already noted that the budget plan will be "dead on arrival" in Congress.  However, the budget still represents an important policy document to guide federal agency spending during FY 2017.   It also will provide important policy information and background on federal spending.

Indian Health Service will hold an update call on the Fiscal Year 2017 President's Budget on Tuesday, February 9 at 4:00 - 5:30 pm (EST).

DIAL-IN NUMBER:  800-369-1994
PASSCODE: 8296219

For more information on the federal budget process, please contact Caitrin Shuy, NIHB's Director of Congressional Relations, at (202) 507-4085 or cshuy@nihb.org.
Tax Season is Here, File Your 8965 Exemption Waiver!
Open enrollment is now over for millions of Americans including American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) and it is now tax season! Members of federally recognized Tribes have a special monthly enrollment period and they can enroll in health coverage throughout the year. They can also use their Indian Health Service facility as their primary care provider. IHS is not considered Health Insurance so to avoid paying the Shared Responsibility Payment for not holding minimum essential coverage AI/AN'S must file an exemption! Form 8965, found here must be included. Visit www.healthcare.gov for more information.

It is still important for AI/AN individuals and families to learn about their insurance options and get covered. Not only do the individuals benefit from insurance but it also helps Indian Health Service facilities, Tribal 638 and urban clinics as well. Through third party billing, these resources become more available to everyone because those Purchased and Referred Care dollars go right back into the facilities.

NIHB is collecting success stories! If you have any success stories from individuals that have enrolled in the Marketplace, let us know! We want to highlight some of these stories on our webpage. Please e-mail them to Francys Crevier at FCrevier@nihb.org or share your stories on our Facebook page.
IHS Seeks Comment on New Regulation for Catastrophic Health Emergency Fund (CHEF)
On January 25, 2016, the Indian Health Service (IHS) released a proposed regulation for the Catastrophic Health Emergency Fund (CHEF), which establishes a threshold for cost and payment. CHEF serves to meet the extraordinary medical costs associated with the treatment of victims of disasters or catastrophic illnesses who are eligible to receive services at the IHS. The IHS administers CHEF to reimburse certain IHS and tribal purchased/referred care (PRC) costs that exceed the cost threshold. To view the IHS press release, click here.

The proposed rule would establish: (1) definitions governing CHEF; (2) a requirement that an IHS Service Unit shall not qualify for reimbursement for the cost of treatment until the cost of the episode of care has reached a certain threshold; (3) a procedure for reimbursement for certain services exceeding a threshold cost; (4) a procedure for payment for certain cases; and (5) a procedure to ensure payment will occur from CHEF if other sources of payment (federal, state, local, or private) are available. The IHS intends to set the initial threshold at $19,000 for fiscal year 2016 with increases in subsequent years based on the annual Consumer Price Index.

Comments on the proposed CHEF regulation will be accepted by the IHS until 5 p.m. on March 11, 2016 at www.regulations.govFor more information, please contact Devin Delrow, NIHB's Director of Federal Relations at (202) 507-4072 or ddelrow@nihb.org.

Upcoming Calls and Webinars
Webinar:  February TALC - Identity and Branding for Public Health and a Tribal presentation by the Notawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi
Friday, February 12, 2016 
2:00-3:00pm ET
TALC (Tribal Accreditation Learning Community) is a free, monthly webinar series held the second Friday of every month. It is designed for sharing and learning about public health accreditation in Tribal communities.  In February, presenters from the National Association for City and County Health Officials (NACCHO) Public Health Communications Committee will share their expertise on establishing identity and branding for public health departments. 

Branding can help position the health department as a valued, effective, trusted leader in the community.  Documentation of a departmental brand strategy is a requirement for PHAB public health accreditation (Standard 3.2, Measure 3.2.2A).  All Tribal health departments are invited to share their experiences with branding and identity during this webinar,

During the second half of the webinar, the Notawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi, an awardee of the NIHB Tribal ASI (Accreditation Support Initiative) program, will be sharing their experiences in preparing for public health accreditation.

For more information and to view past webinars,click here.

Follow this link to join the webinar.
Webinar: "A Tribal Sponsorship Analysis - Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 1:00PM EST
This Webinar will review findings from an analysis of Tribal sponsorship conducted for one mid-sized Tribe as part of the Joint Initiative of Direct Service and Self-Governance Tribes. The process and analysis is being conducted with a select number of Tribes to assist in determining if Sponsorship of Tribal members in purchasing a QHP in the Marketplace is beneficial for the participating Tribe and Tribal members.  The analyses is being shared to help inform the decision-making process for other Tribes.

Click here to register.

Click here for more information.

United States (Toll-free): 1 877 309 2074 
United States: +1 (415) 930-5229 
Audio PIN: Shown after joining the webinar
Attendee (muted) Access Code: 821-969-838
910 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Main Phone: 202-507-4070
Fax: 202-507-4071
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