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110th Congressional Priorities (2nd Session) Urban Indian Health Programs zeroed out

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  • 110th Congressional Priorities (2nd Session) Urban Indian Health Programs zeroed out

    NCUIH's FY 2009 Budget Request is $40 million

    NCUIH's FY 2010 Budget Request is $44 million

    110th Congressional Priorities (2nd Session) Urban Indian Health Programs zeroed out again in 2009!!!

    Please click here or on the "Support Letter" link in the sidebar at National Council of Urban Indian Health Home Page to go to the NCUIH Support Letter page.

    You can also print out the letter below and send it to: National Council of Urban Indian Health
    50 F Street NW, Suite 3300
    Washington, DC 20001

    Be sure to include your name, street address, city, state and zip code if you mail a support letter. The form I got in the mail includes a space for additional comments.

    It is requested that you DO NOT send both a letter by mail AND fill out the online form. One or the other, but not both (so there aren't duplications).

    2009 Support Letter

    Dear Congressional Representative:

    The Urban Indian Health Program within the Indian Health Service (Title V of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act) is again facing elimination in Fiscal Year 2009. The Administration, for the third straight year, has recommended zero funding, despite Congressional support to the contrary providing full funding in the ’07 and ’08 FY budgets.

    A cut or zeroing out of funding would result in the near certain elimination of over half of the clinics providing services to 150,000 Native Americans annually. These are people who are unlikely to seek medical care elsewhere. Moreover, without funding the lack of current services would only increase the gross healthcare disparities present for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Bankruptcies and lease defaults would ensue and the unique body of medical and cultural knowledge of Native health held by these programs would be lost.

    This proposed elimination is based on the Administration’s claim that the medical services offered by the Urban Indian Health Programs are duplicative of services already provided by other community resources such as Community Health Centers. However, the National Association of Community Health Centers has acknowledged that Community Health Centers have neither the means nor the capacity to take on the influx of urban Indian patients if urban Indian programs are zero-funded. The Administration further argues that the Urban Indian Health Programs’ success in leveraging every dollar provided through the Indian Health Service with two dollars from private, local, state, and other federal resources should be punished and not rewarded. With only 1% of the Indian Health Service’s budget, the Urban Indian Health Programs have used their funds resourcefully and been able to expand services, becoming an indispensable tool for community healing. The Administration, however, appears incapable of seeing how the Title V funding of these clinics is a sound Federal investment.

    Today as many as 67% of all Americans identifying themselves as an American Indian or Alaska Native live in urban areas. The Urban Indian Health Programs are the only culturally-sensitive medical and behavioral health provider to American Indians and Alaska Natives who reside in urban areas. What the programs offer cannot be conveyed simply in a fiscal sense; they help to do many things essential to improvement and quality of Native American health care.
    1. Urban Indian Health Programs overcome cultural barriers
    2. Urban Indian Health Programs save costs and improve medical care by getting urban Indians to seek medical attention earlier
    3. Urban Indian Health Programs are better positioned to identify health issues particular to the Native community
    4. Urban Indian Health Programs are better able to address the fact that movement back and forth from reservations has an impact on health care
    5. Urban Indian Health Programs are a key provider of care to the large population of uninsured urban Indians who might not go elsewhere
    6. Urban Indian Health Programs reduce costs to other parts of the Indian Health Service system by reducing their patient load

    Congress has consistently recognized the value and imperative nature of the Urban Indian Health Programs. Bearing this in mind, I whole-heartedly urge you to reinstate funding for the Urban Indian Health Programs in the FY 2009 Budget, and to support a 16% increase of $5.5 million ($40 million total) to better reflect the real medical needs of this underserved population.

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