NCUIH Celebrates Relief from Government - Wide Hiring Freeze for Indian Health Service


February 14, 2016

Contact: Francys Crevier
NCUIH Director of Governmental Affairs

The National Council for Urban Indian Health (NCUIH), which represents the critical interests of 36 Urban Indian Health Programs that collectively serve over 80,000 American Indian / Alaska Natives (AI/AN) in 21 states across the country, extends its thanks the Trump Administration for the broad exemptions it approved for the Indian Health Service (IHS) from the government-wide hiring freeze which was imposed on January 23.

Earlier this month, NCUIH alerted the Trump Administration to the unanticipated consequences of the hiring freeze on IHS, which is the main source of health care for American Indians / Alaskan Natives (AI/AN), more than two-thirds of whom live off reservations.

As NCUIH President Ashley Tuomi advised the President, “the hiring freeze will undermine IHS’ ability to perform its critical mission, especially given that the agency is already underfunded and understaffed.”

Tuomi went on to suggest that IHS at least be granted the same broad discretion to the hiring freeze that had already been extended to the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), another federal agency responsible for the provision of health care: “NCUIH commends your Administration for establishing broad exemptions for DVA from the hiring freeze, including 73 different health care- related job titles, employees at 24 facilities under construction, as well as employees responsible for the burial of veterans and their eligible family members.”

On February 6, 2017 the Department of Health and Human Services announced a series of exemptions from the hiring freeze for positions related to public health in IHS and other agencies.

NCUIH would also like to thank House and Senate lawmakers who alerted the Trump Administration to the adverse impact of the hiring freeze on IHS, including Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) who organized a letter from seven Indian Affairs Committee Democrats on January 31 and Representative Betty McCollum (D-MN) who organized a bipartisan letter from 24 Representatives on February 8.