October 30, 2020 |  Issue 20-36 Missed Last Week's Washington Report? Click Here to Visit our Archives!
UPCOMING EVENTS
  

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!

 
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Top Story
SDPINIHB Briefs Stakeholders on the Importance of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians
On Tuesday, October 27 the National Indian Health Board (NIHB), along with the Endocrine Society and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), hosted a virtual briefing to educate Congressional staff about the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) and the Special Diabetes Program (SDP) and its importance of extending both programs before the continuing  resolution expires on December 11, 2020. 
Together, all three organizations are advocating for a long-term reauthorization of 5 year and $150 million per program per year. 
Earlier in October, the Indian Health Service (IHS) announced the release of their 2020 Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) Report to Congress, Changing the Course of Diabetes: Charting Remarkable Progress. This new report highlights SDPI's ongoing and outstanding contributions to improvements in diabetes care and health outcomes for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) people. In the report, Ann Bullock, Director of the IHS Division of Diabetes states, "These improvements have huge implications for quality of life and health care costs. Sustained efforts in diabetes prevention and treatment are critical to ensuring continued advances in the health of AI/AN people. The SDPI has been, and continues to be, key to this remarkable progress." A recording of the virtual briefing may be viewed here.
 
CAPITOL HILL UPDATES
SDPINIHB Briefs Stakeholders on the Importance of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians
On Tuesday, October 27 the National Indian Health Board (NIHB), along with the Endocrine Society and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), hosted a virtual briefing to educate Congressional staff about the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) and the Special Diabetes Program (SDP) and its importance of extending both programs before the continuing  resolution expires on December 11, 2020. 
Together, all three organizations are advocating for a long-term reauthorization of 5 year and $150 million per program per year. 
Earlier in October, the Indian Health Service (IHS) announced the release of their 2020 Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) Report to Congress, Changing the Course of Diabetes: Charting Remarkable Progress. This new report highlights SDPI's ongoing and outstanding contributions to improvements in diabetes care and health outcomes for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) people. In the report, Ann Bullock, Director of the IHS Division of Diabetes states, "These improvements have huge implications for quality of life and health care costs. Sustained efforts in diabetes prevention and treatment are critical to ensuring continued advances in the health of AI/AN people. The SDPI has been, and continues to be, key to this remarkable progress." A recording of the virtual briefing may be viewed here.
 
FEDERAL ADMINISTRATION AND STATE GOVERNMENT UPDATES
AmbulatoryA Final Notice on the Ambulatory Surgical Center Accreditation Program from CMS
On October 21, CMS published a final notice on the approval of the Joint Commission for continued recognition as a National Accrediting Organization for Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASC). An Ambulatory Surgical Center is designed to operate for the purpose of furnishing outpatient surgical services to patients. In order to enter into an agreement, an ASC must first be certified and comply with the conditions set forth in the Medicare regulations. The ASC is then surveyed regularly by the State survey agency to confirm that they continue to meet the requirements. This approval is effective December 20, 2020 until December 20, 2024.
Comment Request from CMS on the Limitations on Provider Related Donations and Health Care Related TaxesComment
On October 23, CMS released a notice of a request for comment on the "Limitations on Provider Related Donations and Health Care Related Taxes, Medicaid and Supporting Regulations." Through this notice, States may use a waiver, submitted to CMS, for broad based and uniformity requirements for health care tax programs which do not already conform to the broad based and uniformity requirements. The State must submit this waiver to demonstrate that their tax programs do not violate the hold harmless provision needed to correctly determine if the Federal financial participation is payable to a State. Comments are due December 22, 2020.
InfoRequestsFour Information Collection Requests from CMS
On October 21, CMS released an information collection requests for the "Submissions of 1135 Waiver Request Automated Process," which allows CMS to automate States submissions of their 1135 waiver to relax certain requirements for CHIP, Medicare and Medicaid in order to provide sufficient health care services to individuals enrolled in Social Security Act programs in emergency areas and time periods. The other collection request is the "Solicitation for Applications for Medicare Prescription Drug Plan 2022 Contracts". This request is a revision to a currently approved collection that details the application organizations wishing to provide services under the prescription drug benefit program must complete. The third collection is for the "CMS Plan Benefit Package and Formulary CY 2022", which details the plan benefit package for all Medicare beneficiaries residing in their service area. Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan organizations are required to submit this package. The final information collection request is titled, "The Generic Clearance: Questionnaire Testing and Methodological Research for the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey," which determines data collection protocols and a mechanism for conducting methodological experiments. This request asks for input on the revision of the current clearance for this survey to expand the methods and allow specific field tests. 

Comments on these requests are due December 21, 2020.
VaxAccessThe Trump Administration's Announcement on Expanding Access to Vaccines and COVID-19 Tests and an Interim Final Rule from CMS
On October 21, HHS released an announcement of the current administration's act to further expand access to vaccines and COVID-19 tests. On October 28, CMS then released a detailed plan to remove regulatory barriers and ensure consistent coverage for the potential release of a vaccine. Along with this plan, CMS also released a set of toolkits intended to aid the dissemination of a vaccine once it is available. Specifically, this set of guidance documents and toolkits are intended to increase the number of providers eligible to administer a vaccine as well as aid in the reimbursement clarifications in Medicare that the vaccine will come at no charge to the beneficiary. The plan also outlines increased reimbursement for COVID-19 treatments. In addition to this plan, CMS also published a draft of an interim final rule with a comment period of 30 days after its publication to the Federal Register. This rule specifies that any vaccine cleared the FDA will be covered under Medicare as a preventative vaccine at no cost to beneficiaries. The rule will also allow coverage, through the CARES Act, of COVID-19 vaccines by most private health insurances without cost sharing during the course of the public health emergency.
UPCOMING EVENTS, CALLS, AND WEBINARS
VAWebinarVA Office of Tribal Government Relations: NATIONAL NATIVE AMERICAN VETERANS MEMORIAL Webinar

Description: US Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Tribal Government Relations Webex Wednesdays Series.

Presentations on American Indian/Alaska Native Veterans' Topics:
National Native American Veterans Memorial

Congress authorized the creation of the National Native American Veterans Memorial to give "all Americans the opportunity to learn of the proud and courageous tradition of service of Native Americans in the Armed Forces of the United States."

Agenda:
  • HISTORY of the NATIONAL NATIVE AMERICAN VETERAN MEMORIAL (NNAVM) Rebecca Trautmann
  • WHY WE SERVE PUBLICATION and EXHIBITION
    Alexandra Harris
  • BEHIND the SCENES LOOK at the CONSTRUCTION of the NNAVM
    Betsy Gordon

To participate please join in Webex by copying and pasting the following link:
If you have questions or require special accommodations, contact Peter Vicaire, Peter.Vicaire@va.gov, 612-558-7744 (cell) 
GRANTS & RESOURCES
COVIDResourcesCall for Tribal COVID-19 Resources
The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) is seeking to create a pool of resources which Tribes can access when planning or implementing their own COVID-19 response. To this end, NIHB is asking Tribes to share with us any tools, operational plans, guides, policies, communication products, etc. that has helped your Tribe combat this pandemic. The materials can be de-identified, if needed. These resources will be placed online within NIHB's COVID-19 Tribal Response Center alongside other community health materials. We hope this aids Tribes to build on successes and support each other in the collective effort to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on Indian Country.

To submit any materials or resources, please email Courtney Wheeler (cwheeler@nihb.org). If you have any questions, please contact Courtney Wheeler.

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