EveryCRSReport: COVID-19 and the Indian Health Service

“… COVID-19 Response Funding Available to I/T/U System

Funding to augment the I/T/U system has been included in the three laws enacted in response to COVID-19.

Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020, required that not less than $40 million of the amount provided to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for public health activities (e.g., surveillance) be allocated to ITs/TOs/UIOs—this funding was not available to IHS-operated facilities. Though tribes reported a number of delays with accessing these funds, CDC reported awarding—$80 million, or $40 million more than what was required to be provided—to supplement grants that CDC awards for tribal public health activities (Tribal Public Health Capacity Building and Quality Improvement Grants). In addition, though IHS was not eligible for these initial funds, HHS transferred an additional $70 million from the amount that was appropriated to the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSEF) to IHS to support direct services at IHS facilities and acquire PPE.

The second coronavirus related package—the Families First Coronavirus Response Act—included funds to IHS to also be distributed to ITs/TOs/and UIOs for COVID-19 testing and related health services and specified that eligible Indians would be able to receive these services without cost-sharing regardless of whether the service was authorized under PRC. It provided $64 million for this purpose to be allocated at the discretion of the IHS director. IHS noted that IT/TOs and UIOs may use funds to pay for COVID-19 testing and treatment.

The third coronavirus related package—the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) included funding for IHS and set asides in a number of health programs for IT/TOs and UIOs. The act also provides support to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and tribal governments; that support is not discussed in this Insight. For the I/T/U system, the law included the following:

* $1.032 billion for IHS to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. It requires that not less than $450 million be transferred to ITs/TOs under ISDEAA and reserved some of this funding for electronic health records and the catastrophic health emergency fund (which pays for…” Read the full article here.

Source: COVID-19 and the Indian Health Service – April 14, 2020. EveryCRSReport.

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