Our first ever Tribal Legislative Day was a great success.
Representatives from 12 Tribes, both UIHP and AIHC staff and consultants visited 50 legislators to ask them support for our Legislative Priorities for 2019.
This event was an opportunity for tribes and urban Indian organizations to increase awareness and knowledge of critical health priorities that impact American Indian and Alaska Native communities across Washington State.
The day began with Political Advocacy 101 training and breakfast. The Commission provided a one-page list of Legislative Priorities developed by the AIHC Executive Committee and AIHC member representatives.
Together we can educate, influence, and help the legislature partner with us to strengthen and redesign our I/T/U system of care into one that reflects our indigenous values.
Support Washington Indian Health Improvement Act:
BACKGROUND: The Indian Health Care system is funded at 32% of need. This budget neutral legislation would reinvest any new Medicaid savings from 100% Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) encounters through Indian Health Care Providers back into the IHS Direct, Tribal 638, and Urban Indian Health Program (I/T/U) system of care and establish or continue the Governor’s Indian Health Council, the Tribal Health Reinvestment Account and the Indian Health Improvement Account Advisory Committee. SB 5415 is sponsored by Senators McCoy, Rivers, Cleveland and Saldana. HB 1365 is sponsored by Representatives Tharinger, Harris, Chapman and Appleton. The report to the legislature: Improving Indian Health Care in Washington State, from the Governor’s Indian Health Council can be found here: https://www.hca.wa.gov/assets/report-essb-6032-governors-indian-health-council-12-21-18.pdf
ASK: Support these bills as they come through their respective Health Committees.
Tribal Behavioral Health Crisis Act:
BACKGROUND: American Indians and Alaska Natives experience access to care issues for culturally relevant crisis services throughout Washington State. This legislative fix does not require new funds; it redirects management of crisis services and 5% of crisis funds to Tribal Centric Plan to maintain appropriate availability of behavioral health beds for American Indians and Alaska Natives patients.
ASK: Please consider sponsoring this bill, we are currently working with several legislators on sponsorship.
Fund Tribal Evaluation and Treatment Facilities Workgroup:
BACKGROUND: In 2015, the Behavioral Health Administration reported inpatient psychiatric hospital admissions for American Indians and Alaska Natives are 66 percent greater than non-natives, yet no Evaluation and Treatment Center in Washington State provides culturally relevant services for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Development of Tribal Evaluation and Treatment Facility will leverage federal funds into our state, reduce involuntary inpatient admissions and help keep American Indians and Alaska Natives out of state hospitals.
ASK: Support the Governor’s Budget ask of $100,000 for the continuation of the Tribal Evaluation and Treatment Facilities Workgroup.
Fund Foundational Public Health Services (FPHS) Budget Request:
BACKGROUND: A strong governmental public health system is essential to keep Washington healthy and safe. AIHC supports the recommendations developed by the FPHS Steering Committee to transform Washington State public health systems by filling in gaps in public health funding to save long-term costs, prevent public health disasters, and increase Statewide capacity to deal with public health issues quickly and effectively.
ASK: Fund $100 million of the original $296 million FPHS Budget Request, including the $1.2 million funding for tribal epidemiology centers and the American Indian Health Commission to assess and develop guidance on public health integration.
ASK: Fund an additional $10.8 million over the biennium for advancements in capacity and infrastructure across the I/T/U system of care that create linkages and working collaborations with Washington State’s existing public health systems.