CMS Issues 100 Percent Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) Policy Update

Date Posted: March 10, 2016       Categories: home-banner News

On February 26, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a letter to states and Tribes providing guidance about an update to CMS policy regarding the circumstances in which 100 percent federal funding would be available for services furnished to Medicaid-eligible American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) through facilities operated by the Indian Health Service (IHS) or Tribes under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, P.L. 93-638. Through this letter, CMS is re-interpreting its payment policy with respect to services “received through” an IHS/Tribal facility, and is expanding the scope and nature of services that qualify for this matching rate. CMS will be holding an All Tribes’ Call to walk through the policy and provide time for questions and answers. NIHB will provide the call-in information as soon as it is available.

Dear State Health Official Letter (PDF)

Access to Rural Home Health Services: Views from the Field Report Released

Date Posted: March 9, 2016       Categories: News

The WWAMI Rural Health Research Center recently released a new report titled Access to Rural Home Health Services: Views from the Field.

In this report, key informants identified solutions for consideration to address barriers to access to home health services including, payment reforms (e.g. approving new provider types for reimbursement) and increasing telehealth options. Participants also raised concern about the growing burden of administrative requirements associated with reimbursement.

For the full report, click here.

New IHS Principle Deputy Director, Mary Smith

Date Posted: March 9, 2016       Categories: home-banner News

On March 1, 2016 Secretary Burwell announced Mary Smith’s assumption of the IHS Principle Deputy Director position, reporting that Robert McSwain requested to serve in another capacity so as to spend more time with his family. The Alaska Native Health Board congratulates Mary Smith on her new role and expressed our appreciation for Mr. McSwain for his service.

Secretary Sylvia M Burwell’s announcement:


I am pleased to announce that IHS Deputy Director Mary Smith, an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, has agreed to serve as the Principal Deputy of the Indian Health Service and will be delegated the responsibilities of the Director, effective today. As such, she will report directly to the Secretary and be responsible for the day to day operations of the IHS as well as our priority IHS initiatives. She will also work directly with Acting Deputy Secretary Mary Wakefield on the Executive Council on Quality focused on our critical work related to the Great Plains Area and making sustainable improvements for direct service tribes throughout Indian country.

Since joining IHS in October 2015, Mary has led a number of key agency priorities including providing leadership on the progress we have made in behavioral health, native youth initiatives, such as Generation Indigenous, and serving as the primary IHS liaison to other federal agencies. She has also made significant contributions to the progress we’ve made on contract support costs as well as in our work on Medicaid in states where expansion will be of particular benefit to Native Americans. Mary has significant management experience from her time working in federal and state government and in the private sector. Mary’s expertise on Native American issues and track record of delivering impact for the tribal community will undoubtedly be great assets to IHS as she assumes this new role. I am very pleased to have Mary serve as Principal Deputy, and look forward to working with her in her new role.

I also want to express my appreciation to Bob McSwain, who has diligently carried out the responsibilities of the Director since February 2015. Bob has requested to serve in another capacity within IHS to allow more time to be with his family. Bob, a member of the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California, is a long time civil servant who began his federal career with the Indian Health Service in 1976. Bob has been a steward for IHS and committed to its mission of ensuring high quality comprehensive health services are available and accessible to American Indian and Alaska Native people across the United States. I appreciate Bob’s willingness to lead IHS during this important time.

Please join me in thanking Bob for his leadership and congratulating Mary on her new position.

Sylvia M. Burwell

ANHB Mega Meeting

Date Posted: August 6, 2015       Categories: News

The Alaska Native Health Board (ANHB) Mega Meeting is scheduled for August 11-13, 2015 in Anchorage, AK. The Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald, Indian Health Service Principal Director Robert McSwain, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Alaska Governor Bill Walker, Commissioner Valerie Davidson, and other delegates will attend the ANHB Mega Meeting in person.

Meeting Location:

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium
Conference Rooms 1 & 2
4000 Ambassador Drive
Anchorage, AK 99508

Meeting Schedule:
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
9 AM to 12 PM – Association of Tribal Health Directors
1 PM to 2 PM – Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald
2 PM to 5 PM – Indian Health Service Director’s Listening Session

Wednesday, August 12, 2015
9 AM to 5 PM – ANHB Mega Meeting

Thursday, August 13, 2015
9 AM to 10:30 AM – ANHB Board of Directors
10:30 AM to 2 PM – Board Governance Training

Maniilaq CEO reaches out for federal IHS funds up front

Date Posted: December 15, 2014       Categories: News

Maniilaq CEO reaches out for federal IHS funds up front

By Jillian Rogers – The Arctic Sounder

After a few months on the job, Maniilaq Association CEO Tim Schuerch said the organization is more financially stable now than it was when he started. However, delays in federal funding are causing headaches when it comes to running the facilities and hiring healthcare workers. Schuerch took Maniilaq’s plight to the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs, chaired by Congressman Don Young, to urge them to pass a bill that would provide Indian Health Service funding in advance…

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The trouble with trying to sign people up for health insurance when care is already free

Date Posted: December 15, 2014       Categories: News

An article by Whitney Shefte in The Washington Post.

It’s hard work trying to get people to sign up for health insurance when their care is mostly free to them. Andrea Thomas is working to get Alaska Natives in Sitka, Alaska, to do just that. She’s the outreach and enrollment manager at SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), and it’s her job to sign people up for health insurance coverage through exchanges created as a result of the Affordable Care Act…

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ANHB hosts IHS Listening Session and bi-annual Mega Meeting

Date Posted: December 15, 2014       Categories: News

On August 11-13, 2014 ANHB held its bi-annual mega meeting and hosted the Indian Health Service Director’s Listening Session for Alaska. ANHB met with the IHS Acting Director, Senator Mark Begich, Congressman Don Young, Senator Murkowski staff, and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner William Streur, along with the Department leadership. Several members of ANHB voiced collective priorities and continued challenges the Alaska Tribal Health System continues to face in providing health care services.