The Policy assessment informs urban Indian organization policy priorities in 2023, identifies traditional healing barriers, and addresses mental and behavioral health needs.
The National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH) is pleased to announce the release of its 2022 Annual Policy Assessment. NCUIH hosted five focus groups to identify Urban Indian Organization (UIO) policy priorities for 2023, as they relate to the Indian Health Service (IHS) designated facility types (full ambulatory, limited ambulatory, outreach and referral, and outpatient and residential). The focus groups were held on October 18, 21, and 24, 2022. Additional information was also collected from the UIOs via a questionnaire sent out on November 15, 2022.
Together these tools allow NCUIH to work with UIOs to identify policy priorities in 2023 and identify barriers that impact delivery of care to Native patients and their communities. Of 41 UIOs, 26 attended the focus groups and/or participated in the questionnaire. This is the third year that NCUIH has conducted the assessment via focus groups and follow up questionnaire. This is also the highest response from UIOs NCUIH has seen since following this process.
Overview of Policy Assessment
After the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, newfound priorities were identified for 2023, including workforce development and retention, increased funding for traditional healing, and expanded access to care and telehealth services. Existing priorities also remain a key focus across UIOs, especially increasing funding amounts for the urban Indian health line item and IHS, maintaining advance appropriations for IHS, establishing permanent 100% Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for UIOs, reauthorizing the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI), and increasing behavioral health funding.
Key findings from the discussions are as follows:
- Funding Flexibility is Key to Expanding Services
- Need for Funding Security Remains a Priority
- Advance Appropriations Mitigates Funding Insecurities Generated by Government Shutdowns and Continuing Resolutions
- Facility Funding Directly Impacting UIOs
- Permanent 100% FMAP Increases Available Financial Resources to UIOs
- Workforce Concerns Amidst Inflation and Market Changes
- Traditional Healing Crucial to Advance Comprehensive Native Healthcare
- Addressing Access and Quality of Native Veteran Care
- Health Information Technology and Electronic Health Record Modernization
- New Barriers Limit UIO Distribution of Vaccines
- HIV, Behavioral Health, and Substance Abuse Report
- Reauthorizing the Special Diabetes Program for Indians
- UIOs Find Current NCUIH Services Beneficial
NCUIH will release a comprehensive document of the 2023 Policy Priorities in the coming weeks.