Press Release

Indian Health Service Seeking Tribal Consultation on the Catastrophic Health Emergency Fund (CHEF) Proposed Rule
Yesterday, the Indian Health Service (IHS) released a Dear Tribal Leader Letter to provide an update on the proposed rule for the Catastrophic Health Emergency Fund (CHEF). Several Tribes and Tribal Organizations, including the National Indian Health Board (NIHB), submitted comments and expressed concerns about the provisions and requested Tribal consultation before finalizing the rule. In response, IHS is listening to Tribes and will not move forward with the proposed rule until Tribal consultation has taken place, which will include two telephone consultation sessions and an in-person consultation session at the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Convention scheduled for October 9-14, in Phoenix, Arizona. 

The NIHB submitted comments on the CHEF Proposed Rule, which can be accessed here.  The comment expressed strong opposition to the inclusion of "Tribal" as part of the list of primary payers in the "alternate resource" definition located in the proposed rule.  The inclusion of Tribes as one of the sources of payment as alternate resources to CHEF is an overreach of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) Secretary's rulemaking authority.  In addition, NIHB questioned the process for reviewing reimbursement claims or the determination of whether alternate resources exist.  Lastly, NIHB requested that IHS provide a needed distinction between "referral for services" and "authorization for payment" and make the Final Rule consistent with other regulations.  A referral should define both the terms "referral for services" and "authorization for payment," clarifying that a referral for services occurs without regard to whether IHS makes a commitment for payment. 

NIHB will forward information regarding further Tribal consultation on the CHEF rule as it becomes available.  Please contact  NIHB's Director of Federal Relations, Devin Delrow at 202-507-4072 or for more information.  

National Indian Health Board |
910 Pennsylvania Avenue SE | Washington, DC 20003 | Phone: 202-507-4070
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