The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hosts Tribal Consultation at the National Museum of the American Indian

On September 28, 2016 the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) held an in-person Tribal consultation session at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC to discuss amending the current VA Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) status to consolidate multiple community care programs, previously known as non-VA care, into one standard program with standard rates. The meeting was announced on September 12, 2016 through a Dear Tribal Leader Letter. NCUIH Board member Kerry Lessard and NCUIH Policy Analyst and Congressional Relations Liaison Francys Crevier emphasized the need to work with the VA to allow Urban Indian Health Programs the ability to have MOUs to better serve Native veterans. These MOUs would reimburse UIHPs for services provided to Native veterans who often prefer going to a UIHP for service rather than the VA because of shorter wait times and culturally competent care.

During the consultation, Tribal Leaders emphasized that the VA to fully implement the VA-IHS Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was implemented in 2012.  Many Tribal leaders expressed their disappointment of the MOU process taking over four years for approval, and others were concerned that VA’s consolidation plan would end  the current IHS/Tribal – VA MOU structure and would result a lengthier process and would most importantly infringe on the government-to-government relationship with the federal government.

At the National Indian Health Board’s conference in Scottsdale last month, the VA hosted a workshop on the MOU process. When the Ms. Crevier requested that the VA work with UIHPs as an integral part of the Indian Health system, the VA responded there was no need to work with UIHPs because there are VA offices in urban areas. NCUIH vehemently disagrees and strongly suggested that because of shorter wait times and cultural competency as well as the vital support UIHPs can bring to the VA, MOUs are necessary. A recent report from the Office of Inspector General showed that 215 VA patients died waiting for specialty care at the Phoenix VA, while Native Health, the Phoenix UIHP, resides in the same neighborhood and is willing to help alleviate that burden. Working together is the only way to make sure veterans do not fall through the cracks.

Tribal Consultation on the VA’s plan for consolidation is open until November 5, 2016. Click here to view the Federal Register Notice and submit comments.

Sacramento Urban Health Center Achieves Accreditation

Congratulations to Ms. Britta Guerrero, CEO Sacramento Native American Health Center (SNAHC) for achieving accreditation by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care  (AAAHC), in addition to certification as a Patient Centered Health Home.  Achieving accreditation demonstrates SNAHC’s capacity to provide the highest quality of health care services to the urban American Indians and Alaska Natives that they serve.

Please read IHS’ Sacramento Urban Health Center Achieves Accreditation blog here.

The OUIHP enteres into a contractual arrangement with KAT Communications

The OUIHP has entered into a contractual arrangement with KAT Communications to provide with meaningful health information that is culturally reflective and community connected through the GoodHealth TV health and wellness education network created specifically to address health issues that appeal to Native Americans audiences.  This arrangement includes the necessary equipment, a 30-second health program production service, and a 2-year subscription to GoodHealth TV.  KAT Communications will provide an overview during our November 2nd CEO/ED webinar.

For questions, please be free to also contact Kateri,, (301) 443-4680.

SAMHSA awards NCUIH funding to assist Urban Indian Organizations with implementing the National Tribal Behavioral Health Agenda (TBHA)

On Friday, September 30, 2016, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced the approval of a one year funding contract to the National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH) for outreach to Urban Indian Organizations (UIOs) to address and implement the priorities of the National Tribal Behavioral Health Agenda (TBHA). The overall goal of this project is to develop input on strategies to address behavioral health systems and supports, support healing from trauma, and other priorities in the TBHA to improve the health and wellbeing of our urban communities. The TBHA offers the opportunity to find common ground for developing interrelated and integrated actions for addressing the behavioral health needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives, including those residing in urban areas.

Ream more