NIHB Board Member Victoria Kitcheyan, Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, testified before two Congressional committees this week to offer priorities for Indian healthcare in the 115th Congress.
- Create base funding for Tribal communities through the CDC’s Preventive Health and Health Services grant program by allocating at least 5 percent to Indian Tribes directly.
- Direct funds from the Mental Health Services Block Grant and the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Budget to Tribes so that they can develop comprehensive and achievable response plans for public health crises.
- Fund $50 million for the Tribal Behavioral Health Grants program and for specific issues: suicide interventions, expansion of mental health counseling capacity and infrastructure, and surveillance of and mediation for increasing levels of domestic violence.
- Increase the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Circles of Care funding to eliminate mental health disparities by providing AI/AN communities with tools and resources to design and sustain their own culturally competent system of care approach for children.
- Allocate specific funding for Substance Abuse Block Grant directly to Tribal communities so that there can be continuous, sustained funding to help address long-term substance abuse issues in Tribal communities.
- Preserve AI/AN protections in the healthcare system, including freedom from premiums and cost sharing, prohibition of classifying trust lands and cultural and religious items as resources for eligibility purposes, and other protections.
- Ensure that States do not create any barriers to access to Medicaid for American Indians and Alaska Natives, such as work requirements, time limits, co-pays or usage caps.
- Provide oversight on CMS to ensure that any Medicaid waiver applications submitted are developed with significant Tribal consultation.
- Expand self-governance authority to programs in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Self-governance represents efficiency, accountability and best practices in managing and operating Tribal programs and administering Federal funds at the local level.
- Herman G. Honanie, Chairman of the Hopi Tribe
- Andrew Joseph Jr., Chairman of the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board
- Aaron Payment, Secretary of the National Congress of American Indians
- Andy Teuber, Board Chair and President of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium
- Nikolao Pula, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Office of Insular Affairs in the Department of the Interior
Last modified: November 11, 2019