IHS Initiates Listening Sessions for Tribal and Urban Indian Organization Leaders on Advance Appropriations Implementation

On August 8, 2023, the Indian Health Service (IHS) sent a Dear Tribal Leader and Urban Indian Organization (UIO) Leader letter inviting Tribal and UIO leaders to participate in Agency-sponsored Listening Sessions to share information and solicit input on advance appropriations implementation. IHS will host two (2) identical Listening Sessions for Tribes and UIOs on August 17, 2023, and September 6, 2023. During the Listening Sessions, IHS will share additional information on implementation plans and strategies for advance appropriations, and seek Tribal and UIO input. The information discussed in these sessions will be used to prepare public-facing Frequently Asked Questions and other helpful materials.

Since advance appropriations was included in the final FY 2023 spending bill, the National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH) has consistently requested that IHS host a Tribal Consultation and Urban Confer to ensure Tribes and UIOs are briefed on the implementation process and prepared for fund distribution. NCUIH recently met with IHS Director Roselyn Tso and emphasized the importance of hosting an Urban Confer before October 1, 2023. We look forward to continuing to engage with IHS to ensure successful implementation of advance appropriations for the whole IHS, Tribal, and UIO system.

The Advance Appropriations Implementation Listening Sessions will be on Thursday, August 17, 2023, 12:00-1:30 p.m., ET and Wednesday, September 6, 2023, 3:00-4:30 p.m., ET.

    • Click here to join the Thursday, August 17 Listening Session
    • Click here to join the Wednesday, September 6 Listening Session

Background on IHS Advance Appropriations

The FY 2023 Consolidated Appropriations Act (Public Law 117-328) included a total of $5.1 billion in FY 2024 advance appropriations for the Indian Health Service, including the urban Indian health line item. The full year funding level will be available for programs on Oct. 1, 2023, regardless of whether Congress enacts a continuing resolution or full year bill. Advance appropriations provide long overdue funding stability and predictability for the IHS. Congress will determine a final appropriations level for the IHS in the FY 2024 appropriations process and has the ability to significantly increase the IHS budget, in-line with the recommendations of the National Tribal Budget Formulation Workgroup, through additional discretionary appropriations.

NCUIH Advocacy

After tireless advocacy from the National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH) and our partners across Indian Country, Congress included advance appropriations for IHS in the FY 2023 final spending bill to provide stable funding for FY 2024. The current advanced appropriation expires in FY 2025, and NCUIH is continuing its advocacy to secure advanced appropriations for IHS for future years. NCUIH endorsed the bipartisan, bicameral Indian Program Advance Appropriations Act (H.R.4832/S.2424) which was reintroduced by Sen. Lujan (D-NM), Sen. Mullin (R-OK), Rep. McCollum (D-MN-04), and Rep. Cole (R-OK-04) on July 24, 2023. This bill would authorize advance appropriations for several accounts under the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education within the Department of Interior and IHS within the Department of Health and Human Services.

NCUIH has been advocating that advance appropriations be maintained for IHS until mandatory funding is achieved. On March 9, 2023, NCUIH CEO Francys Crevier (Algonquin), testified before and submitted public witness written testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies regarding FY 2024 funding and requested that advance appropriations for IHS be maintained. NCUIH also worked closely with Representatives Gallego and Grijalva on leading a Congressional letter to the House Committee on Appropriations for FY 2024, urging to maintain advance appropriations for IHS until such time that authorizers move IHS to mandatory spending. On April 4, 2023, a group of 12 Senators sent a letter to the Senate Interior Appropriations Committee with the same requests. Due to this advocacy, advance appropriations for IHS was maintained for FY 2025 in both the House and Senate Interior Appropriations proposed FY 2024 spending bills.

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