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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
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Top Story
TrumpLetterNational Indian Health Board Sends Letter to President Trump Endorsing Critical Tribal COVID-19 Health Priorities
On Thursday August 6, NIHB submitted a letter to President Trump urging his Administration to endorse critical Tribal COVID-19 health priorities as negotiations continue on the next congressional pandemic relief package. The priorities outlined in NIHB's letter reflect many urgent priorities communicated by Tribal leaders in furtherance of federal treaty obligations and to address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Tribal Nations and American Indian and Alaska Native people. The provisions outlined in NIHB's letter to the President include:
  • Minimum $2 billion in emergency funds for the Indian Health Service
  • Minimum $1 billion for water and sanitation infrastructure across Indian Country
  • Minimum $1 billion to replenish shortfalls in 3rd party reimbursements across the Indian health system
  • Passage of the bipartisan S. 3937 - Special Diabetes Program for Indians Reauthorization Act of 2020
  • Minimum 5% set-aside for the Indian health system for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, monitoring, and tracking
  • Ensure direct funding to Tribes, and minimize or exempt Tribes from burdensome grant reporting and administrative requirement
In This Issue:

TOP STORY

UPCOMING EVENTS, CALLS, AND WEBINARS
GRANTS AND RESOURCES
CAPITOL HILL UPDATES
TrumpLetterNational Indian Health Board Sends Letter to President Trump Endorsing Critical Tribal COVID-19 Health Priorities
On Thursday August 6, NIHB submitted a letter to President Trump urging his Administration to endorse critical Tribal COVID-19 health priorities as negotiations continue on the next congressional pandemic relief package. The priorities outlined in NIHB's letter reflect many urgent priorities communicated by Tribal leaders in furtherance of federal treaty obligations and to address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Tribal Nations and American Indian and Alaska Native people. The provisions outlined in NIHB's letter to the President include:
  • Minimum $2 billion in emergency funds for the Indian Health Service
  • Minimum $1 billion for water and sanitation infrastructure across Indian Country
  • Minimum $1 billion to replenish shortfalls in 3rd party reimbursements across the Indian health system
  • Passage of the bipartisan S. 3937 - Special Diabetes Program for Indians Reauthorization Act of 2020
  • Minimum 5% set-aside for the Indian health system for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, monitoring, and tracking
  • Ensure direct funding to Tribes, and minimize or exempt Tribes from burdensome grant reporting and administrative requirement
FEDERAL ADMINISTRATION AND STATE GOVERNMENT UPDATES
DSTACDirect Service Tribes Advisory Committee Holds Fourth Quarter Virtual Meeting 
On Wednesday, August 5, the Direct Service Tribes Advisory Committee Held its Fourth Quarter Meeting virtually to provide area report updated and received updates on the Indian Health Service's (IHS) efforts combatting the COVID-19 pandemic from IHS officials including RADM Michael Weahkee and RADM Michael Toedt. 

Main topics of interest for the DSTAC discussed included what COVID-19 vaccine distribution can look like for the Indian health system, including its participation in Operation Warp Speed, access and challenges to current emergency funding and resources, and additionally robust discussion on the anticipated fourth COVID-19 relief package from Congress. The DSTAC expressed the need for additional relief in third party revenue collections, increased funding for water and sanitation infrastructure, and greater access to the Strategic National Stockpile for testing, personal protective equipment, and various cold chain supplies. 

Meeting materials, including area reports, will be published here
PHAPMedicare and Medicaid accept new applications for Psychiatric Hospital Accreditation Program
On July 29, 2020 CMS released a final notice on the approval of the "DNV GL Healthcare USA Inc." to be recognized as a national accrediting organization as a psychiatric hospital. After a detailed evaluation, the hospital is now eligible to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. This final notice is effective July 30, 2020 through July 30, 2021.
SelfGovTribal Self-Governance Negotiation Cooperative Agreement and Planning Cooperative Agreement
On July 30, 2020 IHS released two different Tribal Self-Governance Cooperative Agreements. The first agreement detailed a Planning Cooperative Agreement specifically intends to provide tribes with resources necessary in entering the program. The second agreement details the Negotiation Cooperative Agreement that specifically provides Tribes with resources to help with the costs of preparing for Tribal self-governance program negotiations. Both agreements detail how the program gives tribes the ability to plan and receive the most flexability with their healthcare needs by being able to choose how to receive services. The application deadline for the cooperative agreement is October 28, 2020
QHPCollection request from CMS on the Establishment of Exchanges and Qualified Health Plans
On July 31, 2020 a notice from CMS was published on a comment request for the Establishment of Exchanges and Qualified Health Plans; Exchange Standards for Employers. This notice detailed regulations that mandate reporting and data collections involved with the requirements health insurance issuers must meet. This standards also detail how CMS can best communicate eligibility and enrollment updates to insurance issuers in order to more efficiently assist consumers in enrolling in qualified health plans. Comments on these standards are due on August 31, 2020.
HomeBaseCollection request from CMS on the Home and Community Based Service Waiver Application
On July 31, 2020 CMS published another notice on a collection request for the Home and Community Based Services Waiver Application. The web based application will be used by states to submit or revise waiver requests. This application will also be used to make a formal decision on singular waiver actions. Comments on the web based application are due August 31, 2020.
TelehealthRuralThe Administration's Telehealth Order Aimed at Boosting Rural Health Care
On August 3, 2020 Politico posted an article that detailed the expectation of the Trump administration to sign an order "aimed at boosting rural health care" through telehealth. The order will focus on a new way of financing rural health care and includes a proposal for permanent extension for some telehealth policies. Through this order the new plan details how Medicare agencies will leverage its authority to try new projects aimed providing financial incentives for rural providers. The total plan is said to be announced within the next 30 days.
UPCOMING EVENTS, CALLS, AND WEBINARS
Please see below for call information to the IHS' All Tribes Call on Thursday, August 13th 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, August 13th
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
HardshipMedicare Eligible Hospitals: Hardship Exception Application
Application Deadline: Sept. 1, 2020

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) opened the hardship exception application submission period for Medicare's Eligible Hospital (EH) Hardship Exception to avoid the 2021 payment adjustment. EHs that utilized 2014 Certified Resource and Patient Management System (RPMS) Electronic Health Record (EHR) and were unable to demonstrate Promoting Interoperability (formerly known as Meaningful Use) in CY 2019 may need to apply for a hardship. Read the full memo here.

The deadline to apply for an EH Hardship Exceptions is Tuesday, September 1, 2020. Please note: This deadline has been extended from the original date of July 1, 2020 due to COVID-19. Direct all inquiries to Drew Morgan andrew.morgan@cms.hhs.gov related to hardship exceptions. For IHS Specific questions related to the hardship exception, please direct all inquiries to IHS's Promoting Interoperability Team at promotinginteroperabilityteam@ihs.gov.
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