Hearing for HB1365 Washington Indian Health Improvement Act
Update: The Washington Indian Health Care Improvement Act will be signed by Governor Inslee on Tuesday, May 7th around 10:30 am in the Governor’s Conference room. Please join us if you are able!
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.
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. Amended bill: (http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2019-20/Pdf/Amendments/House/5415%20AMH%20HCW%20H2616.1.pdf).
ASK: SB 5415 has passed the Senate and the House. There was an amendment to the bill in the House Health Care and Wellness Committee, which requires the bill to be heard in the Senate for concurrence on the amendment.
- 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
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: The amendment to WIHIA includes language for the Tribal Behavioral Health Crisis Care legislation to be addressed through the Governor’s Indian Health Advisory Council. AIHC is committed to provide education to legislators and staff prior to next session as we move forward to address serious access issues for American Indians and Alaska Natives seeking help in through Washington State’s Behavioral Crisis Care System.
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: $150k funding is in the Governor’s budget and the House budget, but not in the Senate budget. Please encourage your legislators to include this important funding.
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: HB 1497 was signed into law on April 3rd. The Governor’s and House budget funds only $22 million of the $80 million ask put forward from the FPHS Steering Committee. This $22 million is inclusive of the $1.2 million funding for Tribal work. The Senate budgeted just over $13 million for FPHS, the funding was very specific and excludes the $1.2 million funding for Tribal work.
- 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: Reach out to legislators, encourage them to support the $22 million budget for FPHS at a minimum. Encourage Senators to add the $1.2 million for Tribal work back into their budget.