On April 23, the Indian Health Service (IHS) announced its decision to distribute $20 million to Urban Indian Organizations (UIOs) in COVID-19 relief aid from the remaining CARES Act resources. These funds will be distributed through existing Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA) contracts by providing a one-time base amount for each UIO and an additional amount based on each UIO’s Urban Indian users. The announcement came in a Dear Tribal Leader and Urban Indian Organization Leader Letter (DULL) which announced the final allocation decisions for the agency’s remaining $367 million in CARES Act funding.
The DULL also announced a transfer of $125 million to the IHS Facilities Account for IHS and tribal health programs facilities. An additional $50 million will be allocated to IHS health programs and Tribal Health Programs for Community Health Representatives and Public Health Nursing, while $26 million will be set aside for Tribal Epidemiology Centers. The remaining funds will be used for IHS telehealth expansion, COVID-19 prevention, COVID-19 testing, cleaning of IHS facilities, and COVID-19 response and recovery messaging.
These funding allocations finalize the total use of CARES Act funding for IHS. The agency received $1.032 billion from this third wave of COVID-19 legislation. NCUIH continues to advocate for the resources UIOs need to combat COVID-19 by working with lawmakers and federal agencies.