April 3, 2012
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF URBAN INDIAN HEALTH
National AI/AN Organization Representatives Testify at House Appropriations Hearings
Last Tuesday, March 27th, representatives from the national organizations representing American Indians and Alaska Native people testified before the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee in support of increased funding for the Indian Health Service. The hearings, known as Native American Witness Day, are an opportunity for national organization representatives to address members of Congress “on the record” and to encourage them to sustain and expand their commitment to health care for AI/AN people.
Left to right: Jefferson Keel, NCAI President; Stacy Bohlen, NIHB Executive Director; D’Shane Barnett, NCUIH Executive Director; Brooklyn D. Baptiste, Chairman, Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee; Representative Mike Simpson, Chair of the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; Committee Staffers; Tino Batt, Council Member and Treasurer, Ft. Hall Business Council, ShoshoneBannock Tribes of the Ft. Hall Indian Reservation
NCUIH Executive Director D’Shane Barnett provided the members of Congress with information about the excellent health care services provided by our member programs, and highlighted the crucial need for more resources during this time of budget constraints and structural changes brought about by health care reform. Mr. Barnett reminded the Subcommittee that urban Indian health care is a critical component and inseparable part of the larger Indian health care system, and noted that funding for UIHPs has lagged in spite of the Subcommittee’s demonstrated commitment to increasing the overall IHS budget.
Executive Director D’Shane Barnett at Native American Witness Day Hearings
Mr. Barnett was asked a number of follow-up questions which allowed him the opportunity to further elaborate upon the critical need for increased resources to allow UIHPs to fulfill their mission of providing health care to AI/AN people regardless of where they reside. Representative McCollum of Minnesota expressed particular interest in the services provided by
UIHPs, and expressed support for the mission of residential treatment for substance abuse. Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma also expressed support for the quality services provided by our programs. Appropriations hearings such as these illustrate the great importance of relationship-building with Congressional representatives. NCUIH urges all member programs to reach out to your elected representatives and to schedule meetings with their staff while in DC for our Annual Leadership Conference. NCUIH continues to follow up with Congressional Appropriations staff as we redouble our efforts to secure substantial funding increases to the UIHP line item. If you have any questions, please contact NCUIH at 202-544-0344 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Left to right: Committee Staffer; Representative Mike Simpson, Chair of the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; Committee Staffers; Tino Batt, Council Member and Treasurer, Ft. Hall Business Council, ShoshoneBannock Tribes of the Ft. Hall Indian Reservation; Representative Jim Moran, Ramking Member, House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; Committee Staffer; Representative Betty McCollum; Affie Ellis, Commissioner, Tribal Law and Order Commission; Committee Staffer