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NIHB 2nd Quarterly Board Meeting
June 17-19, 2020

National Clinical Care Commission
June 26, 2020

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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HEROESPrioritiesNational Indian Health Board CEO Testifies Before House Appropriations Subcomittee on the Interior
On Thursday June 11, National Indian Health Board (NIHB) CEO Stacy Bohlen testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior to discuss Tribal priorities and challenges in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Other witnesses that testified  before the committee included RADM Michael Weahkee, Director of the Indian Health Service and Francys Crevier, Executive Director of the National Council of Urban Indian Health

NIHB's written testimony urged the Subcommittee to ensure timely passage of the Indian Health Service (IHS) Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 budget, to include meaningful increases aligned with the recommendations of the iHS Tribal Budget Formulation Workgroup. NIHB also echoed the need for strong investment in health information technology and electronic health record modernization, and requested that the Subcommittee work with other congressional committees to ensure legislative language supports interagency agreemetns between U.S. Department of Health and Human Services operating divsions and IHS to allow for seamless transfer of Tribally-specific funding to the agency

To watch a full video of the hearing, click here

To ready the full written testimony presented to the Subcommittee from NIHB, click here.

WaysMeansNIHB Submits Written Testimony to House Ways and Means Committee on the Effect of COVID-19 and Communities of Color
In response to a May 27 House Ways and Means Committee hearing titled "The Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19 on Communities of Color", the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) submitted written testimony highlighting and examining how already existing inequities put particular Indian Countryes at greater risk of COVID-19. NIHB outlined specific priorities that fall within the Comittee's jurisidction including: 
  • Ensure Parity in Medicare Reimbursement for Indian Health Care Providers
  • Include Pharmacists, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs), Licensed
    Professional Counselors, and other providers as eligible provider types under
    Medicare for Reimbursement to IHS, Tribal, and Urban Indian Health Program
  • Expand Telehealth Capacity and Access in Indian Country by Permanently
    Extending Waivers under Medicare for Use of Telehealth and Enacting Certain
    Sections of the CONNECT to Health Act; and
  • Pass H.R. 6448 - Indian Health Service Health Professions Tax Fairness Act of 2020
    - which would make the IHS Scholarship and Loan Repayment Program Tax Exempt 
NIHB's full testimony may be read here. 
SpecialistsThe Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Funds Another $25 Billion to Medicaid Hospitals and Healthcare Specialists 
On June 9, HHS announced  its plans to pay a total of $25 billion as a safety net to hospitals and other health care specialists that mainly serve Medicaid patients. In wake of the coronavirus pandemic, these funds are intended to be broken up into several buckets. HHS intends to disperse $15 billion to fund Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) providers that have yet to receive any federal aid during the pandemic, and $10 billion to the nation's most vulnerable safety net hospitals. An additional $10 billion will be directed at specific hospitals in COVID-19 hotspots.

Hospitals that qualify as vulnerable safety net hospitals will receive at least $5 million, but no more than $50 million, under the formula. In order to efficiently fund Medicaid and CHIP providers, HHS set up a portal for eligible providers to submit information that will help determine the amount of funding providers are eligible for.
ManagedCareMedicaid Managed Care Guidance on Medical Loss Ratio Frequently Asked Questions
On June 5, CMS released guidance on frequently asked questions related to a final rule on Medicaid and CHIP Managed Care and the newly adopted standards for the calculation of reporting a Medical Loss Ratio (MLR). Due to the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act, states can now temporarily keep a larger percentage of remittances from managed care plans when they do not meet the MLR requirements.
This guidance applies to Managed Care Organizations, Prepaid Inpatient Health Plans (PIHPs), and Prepaid Ambulatory Health Plans (PAHPs). Some frequently asked questions include:
  • What are the requirements for states implementing a minimum or remittance MLR?;
  • Is there a template states can require their managed care plans to use?; and
  • How managed care plans should calculate the MLR if they cover both Medicare and Medicaid enrollees under an integrated product?
To contact CMS regarding this guidance, please email
Collection Request for the Medicare Program: Procedures for Making National Coverage Decisions
On June 6, 2020, CMS released a notice on an information collection request asking for assistance on making national coverage decisions (NCD) on whether or not medical procedures, supplies, or diagnostic services are covered nationally by the Medicare program. Third parties should submit a formal request for new or reconstructed national coverage decision. This collection will help the Medicare program ensure it continues to meet the needs of its beneficiaries. 

Comments on this collection request are due July 8, 2020.
OutreachPanelCMS Advisory Panel Meeting on Outreach and Education
On June 6, 2020, CMS released a notice detailing the next advisory panel on outreach and education meeting. This panel advises and makes recommendations to the Secretary of HHS and CMS on ways to update strategies concerning health insurance programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, the Health Insurance Marketplace and CHIP. Topics at the meeting will include: expanding outreach to vulnerable and underserved communities, assembling best practices, building existing community infrastructures for information and developing outreach and education materials. The meeting is open to the public, will be virtual and will be held June 25, 2020 from 12:30 pm to 4:45pm EST. Deadline for registration has been extended to June 24, 2020.
HRSAHRSA Requests for Information
On June 18, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) released a Dear Tribal Leader Letter (DTLL) with two Requests for Information (RFI) that are pertinent to Indian Country. The first seeks input on updating the Health Professional Shortage Designation (HPSA) scoring criteria. HRSA seeks feedback on new factors, components, or point weighting for the HPSA scores.

HRSA is also looking for input from the public on a new initiative. The agency wants to establish Maternity Care Health Professional Target Areas in order to improve maternity care in vulnerable parts of the country. Please send policy considerations related to the establishment of criteria for Maternity Care Health Professional Target Areas to RFIcomments@hrsa.gov by September 18, 2020.
Please see below for call information to the  IHS' All Tribes Call on Thursday, June 25th 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 25th 
Time:  4 :00 PM - 5:30 PM (Eastern)
Conference Call:   800-857-5577 | Participant Passcode:  6703929
Webinar Adobe Connect:   https://ihs.cosocloud.com/r4k6jib09mj/ | Participant Password:  ihs123
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. 
DTFundingFunding Opportunity: Dental Therapy in Indian Country
Applications due Monday, July 20, 2020 at 11:59 PM ET
The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) is pleased to announce it is accepting applications for three funding opportunities related to dental therapy in Indian Country. These announcements are part of NIHB's Tribal Oral Health Initiative.
  • Tribal Colleges/Universities to conduct activities to develop dental therapy education programs
  • Tribes and Tribal Organizations to conduct activities to implement dental therapy in health settings
  • Tribes and Tribal Organizations to conduct outreach and education activities in support of dental therapy
Completed applications should be submitted to Brett Weber at bweber@nihb.org and should reference the grant code in the subject line. Read more and download the applications here.  
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