July 2, 2020 |  Issue 20-21  Missed Last Week's Washington Report? Click Here to Visit our Archives!
 UPCOMING EVENTS 

Centers for Medicare & Medcaid Services Tribal Technical Advisory Group
July 21, 2020
Virtual

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 .

Join the National Partnership for Dental Therapy!
Click HERE for more information!

Stay Current: Health Alerts from the CDC!
Don't wait for the emergency to arrive before signing up for emergency alerts from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention!

 
Follow NIHB on Twitter and Instagram
@NIHB1
 
Top Story
SCIANIHB Requests Support from Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on Coronavirus Tribal Health Priorities 
On July 1,  National Indian Health Board  (NIHB) Secretary Lisa Elgin from the Manchester-Pt. Arena Band of Pomo Indians in California testified virtually before the  Senate Committee on Indian Affairs  (SCIA) during a hearing to "Evaluate the Response and Mitigation to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Native Communities." Secretary Elgin outlined top Tribal health and public health priorities in response to COVID-19 - some of which fall squarely under the Committee's jurisdiction, and others that rely on individual members to work with their colleagues serving on other committees. 

Since the onset of Coronavirus in the United States, NIHB has virtually testified three times and submitted 17 written testimonies to various Senate and House committees. All testimonies highlighted existing capacity and resource shortages across the Indian health system. Those shortages resulted in many Tribes being ill-equipped to prepare for, prevent and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a data visualization of COVID-19 cases created by the  American Indian Studies Center at the University of California Los Angeles , it was found that if Tribes were states, the top five infection rates nationwide would all be Tribal Nations.

In addition to urging the SCIA members to support all Tribally-specific funding and legislative provisions outlined in the House-passed HEROES Act, NIHB also asked the Committee to support nine Tribal health and public health priorities that would provide relief and flexibilities for Tribes to adequately respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  1. Ensure timely passage and meaningful increases to the overall Indian Health Service (IHS) budget for Fiscal Year 2021 in line with the Tribal Budget Formulation Workgroup recommendations.
  2. Pass the bipartisan S. 3937 - Special Diabetes Program for Indians Reauthorization Act of 2019 - with slight changes to the new "Delivery of Funds" language to ensure Tribes and Tribal organizations are able to receive awards through self-determination and self-governance contracts and compacts.
  3. Provide a minimum of $1 billion for water and sanitation development across IHS and Tribal facilities.
  4. Provide meaningful increases to the IHS budget for telehealth, electronic health records and health information technology infrastructure development.
  5. Eliminate the sunset provisions under Section 30106 of the HEROES Act to remove the "four walls" Medicaid billing restriction and permanently extend 100% FMAP to urban Indian organizations.
  6. Authorize Indian Health Care Providers to receive Medicaid reimbursement for all medical services delivered to Medicaid-eligible American Indians and Alaska Natives authorized under the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.
  7. Enact certain sections of the bipartisan CONNECT to Health Act that would expand telehealth capacity and access in Indian Country by permanently extending waivers under Medicare for use of telehealth.
  8. Include pharmacists, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Licensed Professional Counselors as eligible providers under Medicare for reimbursement to Indian Health Care Providers.
  9. Permanently extend waivers under Medicare for expanded use of telehealth.

Find the full NIHB testimony at www.nihb.org/covid-19/advocacy-tools. For more information or questions about SCIA's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact Shervin Aazami at saazami@nihb.org. 
CAPITOL HILL UPDATES
SCIANIHB Requests Support from Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on Coronavirus Tribal Health Priorities 
On July 1,  National Indian Health Board  (NIHB) Secretary Lisa Elgin from the Manchester-Pt. Arena Band of Pomo Indians in California testified virtually before the  Senate Committee on Indian Affairs  (SCIA) during a hearing to "Evaluate the Response and Mitigation to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Native Communities." Secretary Elgin outlined top Tribal health and public health priorities in response to COVID-19 - some of which fall squarely under the Committee's jurisdiction, and others that rely on individual members to work with their colleagues serving on other committees. 

Since the onset of Coronavirus in the United States, NIHB has virtually testified three times and submitted 17 written testimonies to various Senate and House committees. All testimonies highlighted existing capacity and resource shortages across the Indian health system. Those shortages resulted in many Tribes being ill-equipped to prepare for, prevent and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a data visualization of COVID-19 cases created by the  American Indian Studies Center at the University of California Los Angeles , it was found that if Tribes were states, the top five infection rates nationwide would all be Tribal Nations.

In addition to urging the SCIA members to support all Tribally-specific funding and legislative provisions outlined in the House-passed HEROES Act, NIHB also asked the Committee to support nine Tribal health and public health priorities that would provide relief and flexibilities for Tribes to adequately respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  1. Ensure timely passage and meaningful increases to the overall Indian Health Service (IHS) budget for Fiscal Year 2021 in line with the Tribal Budget Formulation Workgroup recommendations.
  2. Pass the bipartisan S. 3937 - Special Diabetes Program for Indians Reauthorization Act of 2019 - with slight changes to the new "Delivery of Funds" language to ensure Tribes and Tribal organizations are able to receive awards through self-determination and self-governance contracts and compacts.
  3. Provide a minimum of $1 billion for water and sanitation development across IHS and Tribal facilities.
  4. Provide meaningful increases to the IHS budget for telehealth, electronic health records and health information technology infrastructure development.
  5. Eliminate the sunset provisions under Section 30106 of the HEROES Act to remove the "four walls" Medicaid billing restriction and permanently extend 100% FMAP to urban Indian organizations.
  6. Authorize Indian Health Care Providers to receive Medicaid reimbursement for all medical services delivered to Medicaid-eligible American Indians and Alaska Natives authorized under the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.
  7. Enact certain sections of the bipartisan CONNECT to Health Act that would expand telehealth capacity and access in Indian Country by permanently extending waivers under Medicare for use of telehealth.
  8. Include pharmacists, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Licensed Professional Counselors as eligible providers under Medicare for reimbursement to Indian Health Care Providers.
  9. Permanently extend waivers under Medicare for expanded use of telehealth.

Find the full NIHB testimony at www.nihb.org/covid-19/advocacy-tools. For more information or questions about SCIA's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact Shervin Aazami at saazami@nihb.org. 
FEDERAL ADMINISTRATION AND STATE GOVERNMENT UPDATES
HealthyAdultNIHB and CMS TTAG Submit comments on Oklahoma's Healthy Adult Opportunity Waiver
The National Indian Health Board and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Tribal Technical Advisory Group (CMS TTAG) recently submitted comments on Oklahoma's Healthy Adult Opportunity Section 1115 waiver. The waiver, submitted as a part of a broader initiative announced by CMS earlier this year, seeks to change Oklahoma's Medicaid program into a capped structure. NIHB and TTAG both oppose the approval of the waiver, citing their belief that a capped structure is not in line with the goals of the Medicaid program. You may read our comments for additional information.
 

ACAUpdate on the Affordable Care Act
On June 29, 2020 Politico published an article on a bill that passed in the House of Representatives that expands parts of the Affordable Care Act. Among the legislative changes that the bill provides, $100 billion in bailouts will be given to insurance companies due to COVID-19. The bill also fixes the "family glitch" of blocking insurance subsidies to low-income families who can't get workplace coverage. Simultaneously, the bill also expands eligibility for insurance subsidies to individuals who have a higher income, which could be a tactic to encourage states to expand Medicaid. Specifically, for the 14 states that have not expanded Medicaid, the bill will reduce federal funding for the traditional Medicaid. Other legislation from the bill includes the ability for individuals to now only pay no more than 8.5 percent of their income on the most popular tier of marketplace insurance. Finally, the bill also allows for health officials to negotiate the price of drugs under Medicare and serves to let undocumented immigrants who were brought into the U.S. as children qualify for ACA coverage. 
InfoCollectCMS issues four information collection requests for Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP Programs
On June 22, 2020 CMS released four information collection requests for Medicare, Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Programs (CHIP). The first was on Part C Medicare Advantage Reporting Requirements and Supporting Regulations, that would allow Medicaid Advantage plans the ability to provide "additional telehealth benefits" and treat them as basic benefits for those enrolled in the program for FY 2020. The second request was for their Generic Clearance for Medicaid and CHIP State Plan, Waiver, and Program Submissions where the agency is looking for comments on their submission forms to enhance collaboration and partnership between states and CMS. The third request was for their Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Facility Certification and Survey Forms, where the agency is looking for comments on the logistics of these forms to better help health providers looking to participate in the Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Facility. The final request from CMS is for their Generic Clearance for the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality IT Product and Support Teams. This request is interested in hearing from beneficiaries and healthcare officials on the certified electronic health record technology that CMS is continuously updating. 

Comments on these four requests are due August 21, 2020.
RuralCommitteeThe National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services to meet on July 30
On June 25, 2020 HRSA released a notice on a meeting for the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services. This meeting will cover topics like the development of a vision statement for rural community transformation and resiliency. This statement will ultimately create policy framework that will inform HHS leadership on the needs in rural communities, as well as, empower  those communities to ensure access to core health and human services. The public may submit written statements for the meeting at least 3 days before hand. The meeting will be held on July 30, 2020 and can be accessed through webinar. For instructions on how to access the webinar please click this link
UPCOMING EVENTS, CALLS, AND WEBINARS
Please see below for call information to the  IHS' All Tribes Call on Thursday, July 9th 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, July 9th
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
GRANTS & RESOURCES
 
The target audience for CMS ITU Trainings includes:
  • Business Office staff
  • Benefits Coordinators
  • Patient Registration staff
  • Medical Records staff
  • Purchased/Referred Care staff
Upcoming  virtual training - Navajo Area
 July 7 - 16, 2020
For information and to register, click here
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.  
910 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Main Phone: 202-507-4070
Fax: 202-507-4071
Thank you for visiting the Washington Report!