PRESS RELEASE: IHS Announces Determination of $30 Million for Urban Indian Health of the $1.032 Billion from CARES Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Meredith Raimondi, 202-417-7781, mraimondi@ncuih.org

NCUIH Advocated for $94 Million for Urban Indian Health

Washington, DC (April 3, 2020) – Today, the Indian Health Service (IHS) announced in a Dear Tribal and Urban Indian Organization Leader Letter (DTLL/DUIOLL) its decision on funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The letter provides that out of the $1.032 billion Indian Health Service (IHS) received from the CARES Act, it will include $30 million for urban Indian health. Throughout the legislative process, NCUIH, UIOs and other partners advocated for the federal government to uphold its trust responsibility to Indian Country by including $1.1 billion for IHS with $94 million for urban Indian health.

“Across the country, Indian Health Care Providers have been on the front lines responding to this pandemic without adequate funding or resources like testing supplies and PPE.  Over 70% of American Indians and Alaska Natives live in urban areas, which have been ravaged by this pandemic. Our facilities are fighting to keep their doors open so they can continue to provide for the families who need them most. Unfortunately, we’ve been disappointed in the federal government’s slow response to ensuring Indian Country has the resources it needs. In the time it has taken for action from the federal government, two of our programs have shut down including one for lack of PPE. Although NCUIH is pleased that desperately needed funding will get to Urban Indian Organizations soon, it is considerably less than what was advocated for and much less than the level of need to address the pandemic in urban Indian communities. We are hopeful the next phase of legislation continues to prioritize Indian Country. We are especially grateful to our champions in Congress who ensured that tribal members residing in urban areas were not forgotten yet again,” said Francys Crevier, Executive Director.

On March 27, 2020, the CARES Act was enacted as the third phase of legislation in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The bill provided $1.032 billion to the Indian Health Service (IHS) in critically needed resources to support the tribal health system during the pandemic, including expanded support for medical services, equipment, supplies and public health education for IHS direct service, tribally operated and urban Indian health care facilities; expanded funding for purchased/referred care; and new investments for telehealth services, electronic health records improvement, and expanded disease surveillance by tribal epidemiology centers.

Earlier this month H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was enacted on March 18, and H.R. 6074, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act was enacted on March 6.

Next Steps

Congressional leadership has indicated that the fourth phase of coronavirus response legislation is developing quickly. NCUIH will continue to advocate for a minimum of $94 million for UIOs.


Additional Information

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The National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH) is the national non-profit organization devoted to the support and development of quality, accessible, and culturally-competent health and public health services for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) living in urban areas. NCUIH is the only national representative of the 41 Title V Urban Indian Organizations (UIOs) under the Indian Health Service (IHS) in the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA). NCUIH strives to improve the health of the over 70% of the AI/AN population that lives in urban areas, supported by quality, accessible health care centers.

By Meredith Raimondi, posted on Friday April 3, 2020
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