Contact: April Hale at or 505-728-0760
NIHB Conference Attendees Learn About Medicaid Opportunities, Threats to Access and
Delivery of Services 
TEMECULA, Calif.—September 19, 2019—On Wednesday during the second plenary session of the National Indian Health Board ’s (NIHB) annual National Tribal Health Conference , attendees heard from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) about three main areas of the agency’s work with tribes – enrolling more American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) in Medicaid , educating tribal citizens about coverage benefits and increasing third-party revenue for the Indian health system through CMS reimbursements.
“Many of our tribal citizens are eligible to receive health care through the Medicaid system, and the tribes’ partnership with CMS is critical as the agency contributes significantly to the delivery of health care to American Indians and Alaska Natives,” said NIHB Board Chair and Great Plains Area Representative Victoria Kitcheyan. 
Nearly one million AI/AN are enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and many more are eligible through Medicaid Expansion – a key piece of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The CMS Division of Tribal Affairs works closely with tribes and tribal organizations to ensure special protections and exemptions for the AI/AN population are protected, supported and implemented.
CMS Division of Tribal Affairs Director Kitty Marx reaffirmed that the agency is committed to working with Tribes to make sure the trust responsibility is upheld and that more Tribal citizens have health care coverage.

“The ability for our tribal clinics to bill and receive reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid is a true exercise of sovereignty, self-governance and an example of a federal agency living up to its trust responsibility,” said NIHB Chair Kitcheyan. 

Ms. Marx also informed attendees that CMS is continuing its outreach and education efforts to get more tribal citizens enrolled in Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP or in a Marketplace plan. CMS has about $168 million for Marketplace enrollment campaigns and $6 million is earmarked to assist IHS, Tribes and urban Indian entities in their targeted outreach campaigns. CMS is actively reaching out to tribal communities through newsletters, radio ads in Native languages and a website filled with downloadable and customizable resources. Ms. Marx added that CMS works closely with its Tribal Technical Advisory Group (TTAG) to reach eligible tribal citizens.
Tribal health experts and advocates, who are also part of TTAG, shared about their struggles with state Medicaid programs in a panel discussion called “Medicaid: Threats and Opportunities.” Panelists said their Tribes’ challenges included state  Medicaid  waiver proposals that would impose work requirements for Medicaid eligibility and reimbursements.
“As tribal health experts and advocates, we see there are some policy and programmatic developments that pose risk to our system. But there are also opportunities for greater exercise of self-determination, new ways of envisioning the work and ways to spark Tribal innovation. Even in the challenges we face in our engagement with our state counterparts, we have seen models of best practices emerge,” said NIHB Chair Kitcheyan. 
Conference attendees also learned about other Tribes’ successes and challenges with two health programs critical to the access and delivery of health care to tribal communities – these are the Community Health Representative (CHR) and Community Health Aide Program (CHAP).
NIHB’s annual National Tribal Health Conference concludes today with a closing plenary session that celebrates the 15 year anniversary of the Dental Health Aide Therapy program. Learn more about the conference at: .  
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About the National Indian Health Board
Founded in 1972, NIHB is a 501(c) 3 not for profit, charitable organization providing health care advocacy services, facilitating Tribal budget consultation and providing timely information, and other services to all Tribal governments. NIHB also conducts research, provides policy analysis, program assessment and development, national and regional meeting planning, training, technical assistance, program and project management. NIHB presents the Tribal perspective while monitoring, reporting on and responding to federal legislation and regulations. It also serves as conduit to open opportunities for the advancement of American Indian and Alaska Native health care with other national and international organizations, foundations corporations and others in its quest to build support for, and advance, Indian health care issues.
Venue - Pechanga Casino & Resort
The Pechanga Casino & Resort is located at 45000 Pechanga Parkway, Temecula, California, 92592.

Visit their website to learn more!
Host Member Organization -
California Rural Indian Health Board
NIHB would like to thank the California Rural Indian Health Board for their collaboration and participation as the host member organization of the 36th Annual National Tribal Health Conference!
For questions regarding the conference, please email or
call 202-507-4070.
Created by the Tribes in 1972, the National Indian Health Board exists to advocate on behalf of all 573 federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes to ensure the fulfillment of the trust responsibility to deliver health and public health services as assured through treaties, and reaffirmed in legislation, executive orders and Supreme Court cases.