AIHC Legislative Updates

Hearing for HB1365 Washington Indian Health Improvement Act

AIHC Tribal Health Legislative Day

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.

AIHC Legislative Priorities

AIHC Legislative Priorities for 2019

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 the Governor’s Indian Health Council, the Tribal Health Reinvestment Account and the Indian Health Improvement Account Advisory Committee. (

ASK: Support this bill as it goes through committee:

  • HB 1365 is sponsored by Reps. Tharinger, Harris, Chapman, Appleton, Dolan, Fitzgibbon, Jinkins, Riccelli, Stanford, Robinson, Kloba, Doglio, Pollet, Levitt, Santos, Ormsby, Ortiz-Self
  • SB 5415 is sponsored by Senators McCoy, Rivers, Cleveland, Saldana, Van De Wege, Billig, Conway, Frockt, Kuderer, Ngueyn, Rolfes

WIHCIA Background Document

WIHCIA 12-21-2019

AIHC Background info Proviso~Governor’s Indian Health Council


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 Native patients. 

ASK: Please consider sponsoring this bill, we are currently working with several legislators on sponsorship.

Background on Tribal Behavioral Health Crisis Act and Tribal E&T

Tribal Behavioral Health Crisis Care Act 1-2-19

AIHC Tribal Behavioral Health Crisis Care Act for 2019 Session


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 $150,000 for the continuation of the Tribal Evaluation and Treatment Facilities Workgroup.

AIHC Tribal Evaluation And Treatment Facilites White Paper


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: Support these bills as they go through committee:

  • HB 1497 is sponsored by Reps. Robinson, Cody, Harris, Jinkins, Debolt, Macri, Stonier, Corry, Ricceli, Thai, Kilduf, Stanford, Kloba
  • SB 5732 is sponsored by Sens. Van De Wege, Rivers Cleveland, Wilson, Frockt, Warnick, Braun, Conway, Keiser, Wellman

*FPHS Budget Request includes $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 $9.1 million over the five years 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. Need sponsors.

Public Health is Essential website

TFPHS – Unmet Needs by Program for Biennium

Add Tribal Representation on the Emergency Management Council:

BACKGROUND: Washington State has a government-to-government relationship with Tribal Governments and has designated Tribal Governments as one of the four parts of the Public Health System. To honor these relationships, tribal representation should be added to the Washington State Emergency Management Council. This amendment is budget neutral. 

ASK: Amend RCW 38.52.040 to include tribal representation on the Washington State Emergency Management Council.

HB 1040 American Indian Health Comm Amendments[50219]

Tribal Rep EM Council Bill 12-21-18

Questions can be directed to:

Vicki Lowe, Executive Director, AIHC or 360-460-3580

Maria Gardipee, Legislative Liaison, AIHC or 360-742-2532