March 15, 2016 |  Issue 16-9

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

Self-Governance and the ACA Training
April 5-6, 2016

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

MMPC Annual Spring Retreat
June 14-15, 2016
Location: TBD

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

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In This Issue

In this week's Washington Report: NIHB is hiring a Finance Director, an Events Planner/HR Manager, and a Director of Public Health Programs and Policy. Registration is open for the 2016 Tribal Public Health Summit, which will be held in Atlanta, GA.  IHS Goes Before Senate Committees on FY 2017 Budget. NIHB NIHOE Partners Host Half-Day Training and Face-to-Face Meeting in Atlanta; and IHS CHEF Comment Period Extended to May 10, 2016. Training on Self-Governance and the ACA co-hosted by The Alaska Native Health Board, Self-Governance Communication, & Education Tribal Consortium.

NIHB Updates
NIHB is Hiring!
The National Indian Health Board is hiring for several positions in its Washington DC office including:
  • Finance Director
  • Events Planner/ HR Manager
  • Director of Public Health Programs and Policy
NIHB is based on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC and is at the forefront of all health policy effecting Indian Country.  Our growing staff represents a dynamic group of energetic professionals, and we are seeking candidates who are eager to help fulfill the mission of serving as "One Voice affirming and empowering American Indian and Alaska Native peoples to protect and improve health and reduce health disparities." 

For job descriptions and information on how to apply please click here.
REGISTRATION OPEN: 2016 Tribal Public Health Summit
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 register now!

To view information about registration, including rates: click here

Host Hotel:  Hilton Atlanta: 255 Courtland St NE, Atlanta, GA 30303 Phone: (404) 659-2000

For more information on the Tribal Public Health Summit visit or email
Capitol Hill Updates
IHS Goes Before Senate Committees on FY 2017 Budget
On Tuesday, March 9, Indian Health Service (IHS) Principal Deputy Director Mary Smith went before two Senate Committees to discuss the agency's FY 2017 President's Budget Request.   During the hearings, Ms. Smith provided information about the President's Budget Request for FY 2017 and answered a wide-ranging assortment of questions from the Senators. 
In the morning, during the hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, Subcommittee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) questioned Ms. Smith on the Definition of Indian in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Contract Support Costs, among other topics.    Chairwoman Murkowski urged the Administration to put forth a regulatory fix for the Definition of Indian in the ACA, though officials at the Department of Health and Human Services have cited that they require a legislative fix.  Several other Senators addressed IHS' quality of care issues and pressed the agency for their plan on how they would reform healthcare operations at three hospitals in the Great Plains region.  Ms. Smith noted that at Rosebud Indian Hospital IHS will enter into a Systems Improvement Agreement (SIA) with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to enable the agency to continue to bill CMS as they work to improve health care delivery at the facility.  You can watch this hearing here.

In the afternoon, Ms. Smith went before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs along with federal officials from several other agencies.  Senators on the committee addressed a variety of health related issues including the Employer Mandate in the ACA, opioid abuse in Indian Country, recruitment and retention at IHS facilities and quality of care issues at the IHS.  You can watch this hearing here.
Administration and Organizational Updates
NIHB NIHOE partners host half-day training and face-to-face meeting in Atlanta!
The National Indian Health Board is hosting the 7th Annual Tribal Public Health Summit in Atlanta, Georgia from April 10-13. As part of this event, NIHB will host a half-day training for the National Indian Healthcare Outreach and Education (NIHOE) partners the following day, April 14 from 8am-12pm. The training will cover the employer mandate, Tribal premium sponsorships and individual tax exemptions regarding American Indians and Alaska Natives.

There will then be a face-to-face meeting for the NIHOE partners following the training from 1pm-2pm. We are also looking for partners to highlight! If you have any good stories or happenings in your region, let us know! Any questions or concerns, contact Francys Crevier at 305-934-1918. 
IHS Catastrophic Health Emergency Fund (CHEF) Comment Period Extended to May 10, 2016
The Indian Health Service (IHS) administers the Catastrophic Health Emergency Fund (CHEF), which serves to meet the extraordinary medical costs associated with the treatment of victims of disasters or catastrophic illnesses who fall within the responsibility of the agency. CHEF is administered to reimburse certain IHS and Tribal purchased/referred care (PRC) costs.  To view the proposed rule, click here.

Major provisions of the proposed CHEF rule include the following: (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 of 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 proposed rule would set the initial CHEF threshold at $19,000 for FY 2016, with increases in subsequent years based on the annual Consumer Price Index. The proposed rule would require the exhaustion of alternate resources before reimbursement from CHEF occurs, whether or not the alternate resources actually make payment. For a service unit to obtain reimbursement, the patient would have to qualify for PRC services, be approved by the PRC program at IHS, and be dependent on the availability of funds. In the event that a PRC program has received reimbursement from CHEF for an episode of care eligible for payment from other resources (federal, state, local, or private), the CHEF funds must be returned.
The comment period for the CHEF notice of proposed rulemaking has been extended by 60 days to May 10, 2016.  If you would like to provide input on NIHB's comment on this notice of proposed rule, please contact Sarah Freeman at
Upcoming Calls and Webinars
Training: The Alaska Native Health Board and Self-Governance Communication & Education Tribal Consortium Co-Host: Self-Governance and Affordable Care Act Training
April 5, 2016 - 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
April 6, 2016 - 8:00 AM - Noon

The purpose of this training is to provide background and history of the Self-Governance Program and its adoption in Alaska, to explain the annual negotiation process and financial aspects of the Alaska Tribal Health Compact, to discuss Self-Governance evolution with new and changing policies, and to review insurance and employer responsibilities under the Affordable Care Act.

910 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Main Phone: 202-507-4070
Fax: 202-507-4071
Thank you for visiting the Washington Report!

National Indian Health Board | 910 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE | Washington | DC | 20003