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NIHB Updates

October 5, 2016

NIHB Announces Tribal Accreditation Support Initiative Awardees
The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) is pleased to announce the selection of eight Tribal health departments for the Tribal Accreditation Support Initiative (Tribal ASI).  For this third cohort of Tribal ASI awards, NIHB will provide a total support package of $84,000 to eight Tribes. The funding support will assist the Tribes as they work to prepare and apply for voluntary public health accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB).The following is a list of the Tribal ASI awardees:
  • Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma
  • Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Oregon
  • Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Oregon
  • Ho-Chunk Nation, Wisconsin
  • Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Michigan
  • Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Mississippi
  • Osage Nation, Oklahoma
  • Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Arizona
Capitol Hill Updates
Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Act
On September 29, 2016, the bipartisan bill by U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) that would establish a commission to improve the lives of American Indian and Alaska Native children passed both chambers unanimously and now heads to the President’s desk for a signature.
The commission will be named after the Alaska Native elder, Walter Soboleff, and former Chairwoman of the Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara Nation, Alyce Spotted Bear, and will work to address challenges faced by children in Tribal communities. The legislation (S. 246) is aimed at rectifying chronic underfunding of federal programs focused on Native children, of which there are more than 2 million under the age of 24 in the U.S.
Now that the bill has passed Congress, it will still need to get $2 million in appropriations for the commission to be implemented for 2017-2020.
Administration and Organizational Updates

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs In-Person Tribal Consultation Session
On September 28, 2016 the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) held an in-person Tribal consultation session to discuss its recent proposal to consolidate multiple community care programs, previously known as non-VA care, into one standard program with standard rates. The meeting was announced on September 12 through a Dear Tribal Leader Letter. During the meeting, Tribal Leaders stressed the need for the VA to honor and fully implement the VA-IHS Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was implemented in 2012.  In addition, repeated requests were made to approve certain individual IHS and Tribal Health Program/VA MOU’s that have been in the review stage for several years.  Tribal Leaders also educated VA officials on the federal trust responsibility and its extension to the entire Federal government, including the VA. Many Tribal leaders were concerned that VA’s consolidation plan would mean an end to the current IHS/Tribal – VA MOU structure and would result in unnecessary pre-approvals, obstruct continuity of care and infringe on Tribal sovereignty.
On September 20 at the NIHB National Tribal Nations Annual Health Conference, NIHB Board of Directors passed  Resolution 16-03 supporting the IHS and VA Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and objection to the consolidation of the IHS and Tribal reimbursement program into one standard program.
Tribal Consultation on the VA’s plan for consolidation is open until  November 5, 2016Click here to view the Federal Register Notice and submit comments. NIHB will be collaborating with Tribes on the development of comments through the Medicare, Medicaid, and Health Care Reform Policy Committee (MMPC). For more information, please contact NIHB’s Director of Federal Relations, Devin Delrow at ddelrow@nihb.org.

VA is Seeking Comments on Priorities for Veterans across Indian Country
On June 29, 2016, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released a Dear Tribal Leader Letter announcing that the VA is gathering input from Tribal leaders on the top 3 to 5 priorities that Tribes have for serving veterans in Indian Country. Priorities for Veterans across Indian Country will assist the VA with the collaborative development of an Indian Country Veterans Affairs policy agenda, which will inform Tribal governments, VA, members of Congress, and other Veteran-serving partners in coming years.
Examples of issues that the VA has worked to address in recent years include: access to medical care; VA and Tribal or IHS facilities working together; Treatment for PTSD and mental health; suicide prevention; and VA supporting culturally traditional providers and treatments. Click here for a list of priorities from the VA Office of Tribal Government Relations. Comments may be submitted totribalgovernmentconsultation@va.gov by Saturday, October 7, 2016.
FDA Passes Non-invasive Colorectal Cancer Screening
Colorectal (colon) cancer is the third most common non-skin cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the United States. While colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer and incidence and mortality rates have decreased in all other racial/ethnic populations, that does not hold true for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN). AI/ANs are often diagnosed with colorectal cancer after it is too late.
There are a great deal of barriers to getting screened for colon cancer. The typical method for screening is a colonoscopy, which is invasive, inconvenient, and time intensive. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a non-invasive test that can detect the presence of a DNA marker that is found in individuals with colon cancer. The test that is estimated to save 10,000 lives per year has major public health implications, especially for Tribal communities. The convenience of a simple blood test means that Tribes could have the opportunity to screen for colorectal cancer during annual check-ups or even community events, such as health fairs. This will lead to earlier detection and could ultimately reduce the number of Tribal members we lose to this horrific disease. NIHB will be following this issue and provide you updated information as it becomes available.
For more information contact Jamie Ishcomer, Public Health Project Coordinator at  jishcomer@nihb.org. 
IHS Great Plains Area Office Organization and Structure Comment Extension
On June 2, 2016, the Indian Health Service (IHS) initiated a Tribal Consultation and Urban Confer Session in the IHS Great Plains Area on the organization and structure of the IHS Great Plains Area.  The IHS has announced an extension of the comment period through a Dear Tribal Leader Letter for your written comments untilWednesday, November 30, 2016.
Since June, the IHS has held four joint Tribal Consultation and Urban Confer Sessions with Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and Urban Indian organizations in the Great Plains Area. Tribal Leaders requested the establishment of a Great Plains Area Tribal-Federal workgroup to address funding issues related to Great Plains Area Tribal shares and also asked for additional time to comment while attending the August 30consultation held in Rapid City, South Dakota.
The IHS requests comments and recommendations on the organization and structure of the IHS Great Plains Area Office. Specific topics may include, but are not limited to, the following: the geographic location of the IHS Great Plains Area Office; centralization or further decentralization of Area Office services; staffing; budget; local involvement; transparency and oversight; partnerships; accountability; monitoring; and how the Area Office can support the Service Units. Comments can be provided by email to consultation@ihs.gov. For additional information, please contact NIHB’s Director of Federal Relations, Devin Delrow at  ddelrow@nihb.org.
Upcoming Events, Calls and Webinars
Indian Health Service Meeting with IHS Tribal Advisory Committees
Date: October 9, 2016
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Meeting Room: Room 106A
Location: Phoenix Convention Center, 100 North 3rd Street, Phoenix, Arizona
Direct Service & Contracting Tribes (DSTAC) and the Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committees (TSGAC) will be meeting on October 9, 2016. A special invite has been extended to the HHS Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee (STAC) members to attend and participate in this meeting as well.
Purpose: The purpose of the meeting is two-fold:
  1. To generate concrete ideas that will be transformative to address the leadership challenges at IHS for both medical and non-medical staff in the short-term and in the longer term and to create a plan of action to begin to be implemented immediately.
  2. To provide a forum to host a discussion of the goals, objectives and strategic plans of the DSTAC and TSGAC with advisory committee members.
For questions, please contact: 
Roselyn Tso, Acting Director
Office of Direct Service & Contracting Tribes
NIH Tribal Consultation and NIH Tribal Consultation Advisory Committee Nominations
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is hosting upcoming opportunities for Tribes to provide input to the NIH through an annual tribal consultation and the NIH Tribal Consultation Advisory Committee. The NIH Annual Tribal Consultation will be held onSunday, October 9 in Phoenix, Arizona as a pre-meeting to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Annual Convention.
The NIH is also still seeking nominations for the NIH Tribal Consultation Advisory Committee. Vacancies open for nomination include the following areas:
  • Albuquerque Area
  • Billings Area
  • California Area
  • Oklahoma City Area
  • Phoenix Area
  • National At-Large.

Nominations are due by October 28, 2016Please visit the NIH website at https://dpcpsi.nih.gov/thro for more information about the October 9 consultation and the Tribal Consultation Advisory Committee nominations process.


CMS All Tribes Call on Indian Provisions in Medicaid

Managed Care

Date: Wednesday, October 5
Time: 3:00-4:30 PM Eastern Time
Call In Number: 1-844-224-0415
Pin: 76499301#


IHS Tribal Premium Sponsorship Consultation 
Telephone Tribal Consultation/Urban Confer session
October 4, 2016
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Tribal Public Health Accreditation Advisory Board (TPHAAB) Meeting
October 5, 2016
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sal Lake City, Utah
IHS Tribal Advisory Committees
October 9, 2016
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Phoenix, AZ
IHS CHEF Tribal Consultation Conference Call
October 24, 2016
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET
Career Opportunities
The NIHB is currently seeking qualified candidates to join our team for the following positions based in Washington DC:
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Last modified: October 5, 2016