Yesterday, the Indian Health Service (IHS) released a March 26, 2021 Dear Urban Indian Organization (UIO) Leader Letter (DULL) announcing an updated allocation of $95 million in telehealth funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Since IHS’ announcement of these funds in an April 23, 2020 DULL, NCUIH has regularly been asking IHS officials about updates regarding funding allocation.
Of the $95 million in telehealth funding, only $4 million will be allocated to UIOs through existing IHCIA contracts by providing a one-time, base amount for each UIO, and an additional amount based on each UIO’s Urban Indian users. $67 million will be allocated to the IHS and Tribal Health Programs (THPs) and the remaining $24 million will be used by IHS to support nationwide outreach, education, training, technical assistance, contract management, coordination and program/policy development activities, as well as the acquisition of a clinical video telehealth solution.
UIOs deliver quality and culturally competent healthcare to the >70% of American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) living in urban areas. Despite this large number of the AI/AN population served, UIOs receive a disproportionately low amount allocated funds to serve their patients, especially during a global pandemic.