House Subcommittee Reviews the Health Care Access for Urban Native Veterans Act

A legislative hearing was held on H.R. 4153.

September 19, 2019 (Washington, DC) – On Thursday, September 19, 2019, the House Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States held a Legislative Hearing on H.R. 4153 (Rep. Ro Khanna), “Health Care Access for Urban Native Veterans Act” in 1324 Longworth. Expert witness testimony was provided by Sonya Tetnowski (Makah), Chief Executive Officer of the Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley in California, Vice President of the National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH), President of the California Consortium for Urban Indian Health (CCUIH).

“Serving our urban Native Veterans is not a partisan issue – it is an obligation of the United States government to our veterans and American Indians and Alaska Natives. We are glad to see Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle come together to take action to help Native veterans in urban areas receive greater access to health care. Thank you to Chairman Ruben Gallego and Ranking Member Paul Cook for conducting a hearing and bringing NCUIH as an expert witness. We look forward to seeing the full Committee take up this legislation soon,” said NCUIH Executive Director Francys Crevier.

Representative Ro Khanna and Senator Tom Udall, Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, introduced the Health Care Access for Urban Native Veterans Act, a bill to improve health care access for Native American Veterans by providing Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) coverage for care that Native American Veterans receive at urban Indian health centers.  This legislation would include “urban Indian organizations” in the statute requiring the VA to reimburse Indian Health Service (IHS) and Tribal health facilities for services they provide to native veterans. According to the VA, 61% of Native American veterans do not reside in rural areas.

VA-IHS MOU Background

Bill Background

By Meredith Raimondi, posted on Monday September 23, 2019
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