May 29, 2020 |  Issue 20-17  Missed Last Week's Washington Report? Click Here to Visit our Archives!

Community Health Aide Program (CHAP) TAG Vacancies
 In February 2018, with the announcement of CHAP expansion to Tribes beyond Alaska, IHS created a CHAP Tribal Advisory Group.

 Information on CHAP and CHAP TAG, including vacant  positions, is available on the CHAP
website .

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ProviderReliefIHS, Tribal and Urban Indian Health Facilities to Receive Additional $100 Million, Totaling $500 Million in Provider Relief Funds
On Friday May 22, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced an additional $100 million to the Provider Relief Fund, totaling $500 million for the Indian Health Service (IHS) and Tribal hospitals, clinics and urban health centers to support the Tribal response to COVID-19. Such payments addresses the increasing significant need for personal protective equipment (PPE), medical equipment and increased labor and workforce.

For this funding, HHS identified the service population for most service units, and estimated an operating cost of $3,943 per person per year based on actual IHS spending per user from a  2019 IHS Expenditures Per Capita and Other Federal Health Care Expenditures Per Capita report.

Distribution Methodology:
  • IHS/Tribal hospitals - $2.81 million base payment plus 3% of their total operating expenses.
  • IHS/Tribal clinics - $187,000 base payments plus 5% of the estimated service population multiplied by the average cost per user.
  • Urban Indian Organizations - $181,000 base payment plus 6% of the estimated service population multiplied by the average cost per user. Four percent of available funding will be allocated to Urban Indian Health Programs, consistent with rates of patients served by UIOs versus the total IHS user population.
To date, the IHS has distributed $2.4 billion among the Indian health system to provide for new resources to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Indian Health Board continues to work with the Administration on a funding path that is accessible for all Tribes.

For questions or more information, contact Carolyn Hornbuckle at
HearingHouse Ways and Means Committee Holds Hearing on the Effect of COVID-19 and Communities of Color
On Wednesday May 27, the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing titled " The Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19 on Communities of Color " highlighting and examining how already existing inequities put particular communities at greater risk of COVID-19. Committee Chairman Richard Neal highlighted in his opening statement, " ...  the infection rate among the Navajo Nation has now surpassed the state of New York, the center of the pandemic in the United States - reaching 2,680 cases per 100,000 people [...] as communities begin to loosen social distancing guidelines, these disparities will worsen if testing, infection control, and contact tracing approaches are not accessible to - and trusted by - communities of color." While the hearing was not Tribally-specific, it represents an important opportunity to highlight the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 in Indian Country.

NIHB wlll be submitting written testimony for this hearing and the committee will be accepting written testimony until June 10. A hearing advisory along with guidelines for submitting testimony can be found  here. 
On Friday May 29, National Indian Health Board (NIHB) Board Members Chief Bill Smith (Alaska), Phyllis Davis (Bemidji Alternate), Lisa Elgin (California) and Beverly Coho (Albuquerque Alternate) participated in a conference call with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Represenative Raul Ruiz (D-CA) and other Members of Congress on the HEROES Act funding. Tribal leaders were invited to discuss the impact of COVID-19 in Indian Country, and to discuss specific priority areas and challenges. Speaking on behalf of their respective Tribal Nations, NIHB's Board Members highlighted: 
  • The need for significant investment into water and sanitation infrastructure in Indian Country;
  • Making technical fixes to maximize third party reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid;
  • The need to permanently reauthorize the Special Diabetes Program for Indians; and,
  • The need for continued direct funding to Tribes for testing, PPE, and contact tracing
HHSEnforcementHHS Enforcement Discretion Regarding COVID-19 Community-Based Testing Sites (CBTS) During COVID-19
On May 18, 2020 HHS issued a notice on an enforcement discretion. This discretion specifies that the HHS office for Civil Rights will not impose penalties for noncompliance with the regulatory requirements under the HIPAA rules against covered heath care providers during their participation in COVID-19 testing. This notification of enforcement will remain in effect until the Secretary of HHS declares that the public health emergency is over.  
AcquisitionRegulationAcquisition Regulation Clause Patent Rights and Data from HHS
On May 18, 2020 a notice was published by HHS on a comment request. This comment request specifies the additional legal protections or the patent and data rights of third parties to maintain making subject inventions under contracts and subcontractors in a manner that promotes free competition and enterprise, promotes collaboration between commercial concerns and nonprofit organizations, and to ensure the Government obtains sufficient rights in federally supported inventions to meet its needs. Comments on this request are due June 17, 2020. 
Please see below for call information to the  IHS' All Tribes Call on Thursday, June 4th at 4:00 PM Eastern . This call is intended to update Tribes on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Tribal Leaders will have an opportunity to provide comments and ask questions to federal officials. IHS has also scheduled a COVID-19 call for the following week at the same time-call info is the same for both calls.

Date:   Thursday, June 4th 
Time:  4 :00 PM - 5:30 PM (Eastern)
Conference Call:   800-857-5577 | Participant Passcode:  6703929
Webinar Adobe Connect: | Participant Password:  ihs123
HIVMeetingMeeting of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS
On May 19, 2020 the Department of Health and Human Services announced a meeting by the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. The meeting will be virtual and open to the public. The meeting will be held on Monday June 1, 2020 and Tuesday June 2, 2020.

For more information on the meeting click here.
VaccineMeetingMeeting of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee
On May 19, 2020 HHS released a notice on a virtual meeting for the National Vaccine Advisory Committee. The meeting will be open to the public and is scheduled to be held on Tuesday, June 9, 2020.

For more information click here. 
CommissionMeetingMeeting of the National Clinical Care Commission
On May 21, 2020 the Office of Disease prevention and health Promotion with HHS released a notice on the National Clinical Care Commission that will conduct a virtual meeting on June 26, 2020. The meeting will cover the evaluation with recommendation on improvements to the coordination related to diabetes and its complications
LittleShellNotice of Purchased/Referred Care Delivery Area Designation for the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana
On May 21, 2020,The Indian Health Service announced the establishment of geographic boundaries of the Purchased/Referred Care Delivery Area for the newly federally recognized Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana.

The target audience for CMS ITU Trainings includes:
  • Business Office staff
  • Benefits Coordinators
  • Patient Registration staff
  • Medical Records staff
  • Purchased/Referred Care staff
Please click here to access the schedule of virtual CMS ITU trainings. 
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