U.S. Department of Justice Asserts Intergovernmental Immunity Position, Indicates Willingness to Defend IHS Abortion Services Providers. Biden Administration officials recently announced that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) would defend Indian Health Service (IHS) medical professionals for performing abortion services in accordance with federal law if states attempt to prosecute providers for violations of state abortion laws. The statements came a week after DOJ told the press that it would represent U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical workers in Alabama if they were penalized for following VA’s new abortion guidance. Biden Administration officials have taken the position that they believe IHS officials, like VA officials, are shielded from state law abortion restrictions by the doctrine of intergovernmental immunity.
IHS Takes Steps Towards Becoming a Trauma-Informed Care Organization. In May 2020, IHS released the Chapter 37 Trauma-Informed Care policy in the Indian Health Manual. In Sep. 2022, the policy was updated to reflect training requirements and guidance that will support IHS efforts toward becoming a trauma-informed organization that is patient-focused and driven, recovery oriented, integrates cultural humility, and provides trauma-informed services. The Trauma-Informed Care policy requires all IHS employees, including contractors, and volunteers to complete training annually on the impact of trauma, including historical trauma, on American Indian and Alaska Native people. Over the past year, IHS has formed a multidisciplinary workgroup to understand agency readiness and identify resources that will support implementation.
IHS Awards New Cooperative Agreements for Ending the HIV and HCV Epidemics in Indian Country. On Sep. 27, IHS announced $1.2 million in three-year cooperative agreements to seven tribes, tribal organizations, and urban Indian organizations to support work toward eliminating HIV and hepatitis C in Indian Country. This announcement stems from several tribal consultations in 2021 to seek feedback on priorities necessary to implement and build the initiative for maximum success.
Biden-Harris Administration Announces Lower Premiums for Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans in 2023, CMS Releases Key Information. On Sep. 29, the Administration announced that people with Medicare will see lower premiums for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans in 2023. Additionally, because of the Inflation Reduction Act, people with Medicare prescription drug coverage will have improved and more affordable benefits, including a $35 cost-sharing limit on a month’s supply of each covered insulin product, as well as adult vaccines that are recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) at no additional cost. Medicare Open Enrollment runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, 2022. Ahead of the upcoming Medicare Open Enrollment period, CMS is releasing key information, including 2023 premiums and deductibles for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, to help Medicare enrollees determine the best coverage for their needs.
CMS Approves OR 1115 Waiver. CMS approved a new demonstration titled, “Oregon Health Plan (OHP)” (Project Number 11-W-00415/10) in accordance with section 1115(a) of the Social Security Act (the Act) in a 9/28/22 letter from CMS Administrator Brooks-LaSure. This approval is effective as of October 1, 2022, through September 30, 2027. Tribal Concepts in the 1115 waiver will be addressed separately from the main waiver application.
CMS Proposes Rule to Streamline Eligibility and Enrollment Processes. This CMS rulemaking proposes changes to simplify the processes for eligible individuals to enroll and retain eligibility in Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the Basic Health Program. We will schedule a brief NPAIHB Tribal Caucus in October to gather feedback on the proposed rule from Tribal leaders and health directors. Comments are due Nov. 7, 2022.
HHS Office on Women’s Health Seeks Women’s Health Champions.
The HHS Office on Women's Health (OWH) invites organizations to apply to become a Women's Health Champion during National Women's Blood Pressure Awareness Week (NWBPAW), National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (NEDAW), National Women and Girls' HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD), National Women's Health Week (NWHW), and/or other OWH observances. Any organization may apply to become a Women's Health Champion. The selected Women's Health Champions may be recognized for their commitment and their work toward achieving the goals of the observance(s). Letters of interest are currently being accepted and will be reviewed periodically.
NPAIHB Receives FY 2022 SAMHSA Tribal Opioid Response (TOR) Grant. The NPAIHB was recently awarded a fifth iteration of the SAMHSA TOR grant ($6.75M), referred to as ‘TOR5’. With these funds 27 tribes will continue to address the opioid crisis by expanding access to culturally appropriate prevention, treatment, and recovery activities. The purpose of the TOR program is to assist in addressing the overdose crisis in Tribal communities by increasing access to FDA-approved medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder (MOUD), and supporting the continuum of prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery support services for opioid use disorder (OUD) and co-occurring substance use disorders.
- Learn more about FY ’22 Individual TOR Grant Awardees, here.
SAMHSA Announces ‘988 Tribal Response’ Cooperative Agreements. HHS released new data that shows that over the first month of the transition to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (988 Lifeline) there has been a 45% increase in overall volume and a substantial improvement in answer rates and wait times compared to August 2021. To build on this progress, SAMHSA announced a new $35 million grant opportunity to better support 988 Lifeline services in tribal communities. This funding will result in more trained crisis counselors being able to connect with even more people in need. The deadline to apply is Oct. 25, 2022.
GAO Makes First Appointments to Newly Created Tribal Advisory Council. On Sep. 15, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) announced the first appointments to GAO’s newly established Tribal Advisory Council, which will provide the congressional watchdog with insights and recommendations on matters affecting Tribal Nations and their citizens.
Call for Nominations for Treasury Secretary Appointment to Treasury Tribal Advisory Committee. The Treasury Tribal Advisory Committee (TTAC) was established pursuant to the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act of 2014 to advise the Secretary of the Treasury on matters related to the taxation of Indians, training and education for Internal Revenue Service (IRS) field agents who administer and enforce internal revenue laws with respect to Indian tribes, and training and technical assistance for tribal financial officers. One vacancy exists on the TTAC. Applications for appointment by the Secretary to the TTAC or the names and qualifications of individuals you would recommend for appointment to the TTAC by the Secretary are due Nov. 17, 2022.