The Indian Health Service (IHS) is soliciting comments, via the attached July 26, 2012, FEDERAL REGISTER notice, on its draft policy for conferring with Urban Indian Organizations. Comments are due September 10, 2012.
Section 514 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA), as amended by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148), requires the IHS to confer with Urban Indian Organizations (UIOs) in carrying out the IHCIA. The draft policy would require that conferring activities take place at the Headquarters, Area and Service Unit levels. The Director of the Office of Urban Indian Health programs would be responsible for monitoring compliance with the policy. It defines a number of terms including “critical events or issues” which would trigger a conferral process. Under the policy an annual report would be provided to the Secretary regarding critical events and issues arising in the implementation of the IHCIA. The policy envisions conferring with UIOs on issues in which the IHS may also be in consultation with tribal governments.
The draft policy states that the Federal Advisory Committee Act may apply to conferring activities with UIOs, noting that UIOs “do not meet the requirements of the ‘tribal leader exemption’.”
Among the changes in the 2010 amendments to the ICHIA affecting the UIOs are expanded program authorities including utilization of Community Health Representatives and access to federal facilities and the Federal Supply Schedule.
Please let us know if we may provide additional information or assistance regarding the draft policy.