The policy assessment informs urban Indian organization policy priorities in 2022, identifies HIV care needs, reviews COVID-19 funding disbursements, and addresses data accuracy needs.
NCUIH is pleased to announce the release of its 2021 Policy Assessment. NCUIH hosted five focus groups to identify Urban Indian Organization (UIO) policy priorities for 2022, as they relate to Indian Health Service (IHS)-designated facility types (full ambulatory, limited ambulatory, outreach and referral, and outpatient and residential). The focus groups were held on the following dates in 2021: November 18, 19, and 22. Information was also collected from UIOs via a questionnaire sent out on December 1, 2021. Together these tools allowed NCUIH to work with UIOs to identify policy priorities in 2022; identify HIV prevention, treatment, and care needs at UIOs; review disbursements of COVID-19 funding; and determine the accuracy of the data reported by the IHS National Data Warehouse (NDW). Of 41 UIOs, 25 UIOs attended the focus groups or participated in the questionnaire. This is the second year that NCUIH has conducted focus groups and sent a questionnaire to UIOs.
The COVID-19 pandemic renewed the focus on priorities such as funding for UIO facilities, funding for behavioral health, and funding transparency. Existing priorities also remain a key focus across the UIOs, especially increasing funding amounts for the urban Indian health line item, funding flexibility, and parity issues such as permanent 100% Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP).
Key findings from the discussions are as follows:
- Overall Funding, Facilities and Infrastructure, and FMAP Parity Top Priority Lists for UIOs
- Area Office Inconsistencies Affect Staffing, Funding, and Resources
- UIOs Need Health IT Guidance from IHS to Reflect their Unique Systems and Cite Data Accuracy Concerns
- UIOs Need Community Health Representatives (CHRs)
- Contract Flexibility and Funding Security
- Facility Funding Necessary for UIOs Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic
- COVID-19 Pandemic and Vaccine Impacts on UIOs
- Need for Permanent 100% FMAP for UIOs
- UIOs Identified a Need for Additional HIV, Behavioral Health, and Substance Abuse Support
- Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) Reauthorization Remains a Priority
- NCUIH Services Benefit UIOs and Opportunities to Expand Identified