Bush To Eliminate Entire Indian Health Program
PLEASE OPPOSE THE PRESIDENT’S FY 2007 BUDGET REQUEST
TO ELIMINATE THE URBAN INDIAN HEALTH PROGRAM
President Bush has proposed the elimination of the Urban Indian Health Program within the Indian Health Service. Urban Indian health programs report that such a cut would result in bankruptcies, lease defaults, elimination of services to tens of thousands of Indians who may not seek care elsewhere, an increase in the health care disparity for American Indians and Alaska Natives and the near annihilation of a body of medical and cultural knowledge addressing the unique cultural and medical needs of the urban Indian population held almost exclusively by these programs.
According to the 2000 Census, nearly 70% of Americans identifying themselves as of American Indian or Alaska Native heritage live in urban areas. Notably, the Urban Indian Health Program receives only 1% of IHS funding, stretching those dollars to achieve extraordinary results.
Urban Indian Health Clinics provide unique and non-duplicable assistance to Urban Indians who face extraordinary barriers to accessing mainstream health care. What Urban Indian health programs offer cannot be effectively replaced by the HRSA’s Health Centers program.
· Urban Indian Health Programs Overcome Cultural Barriers. Many Native Americans are reluctant to go to health care providers who are unfamiliar with and insensitive to Native cultures. Urban Indian programs not only enjoy the confidence of their clients, but also play a vital role in educating other health care providers in the community to the unique needs and cultural conditions of the urban Indian population.
· Urban Indian Health Programs Save Costs and Improve Medical Care by Getting Urban Indians to Seek Medical Attention Earlier. A delay in seeking treatment can easily result in a disease or condition reaching an advanced stage where treatment is more costly and the probability of survival or correction is lower.
· Urban Indian Health Programs Are Better Positioned to Identify Health Issues Particular to the Native Community. The Urban Indian programs are often able to diagnose more quickly and more accurately the needs of the Indian patient, as well as more readily point a patient to the appropriate medical resource to address his or her condition.
· Urban Indian Programs Are Better Able To Address The Fact That Movement Back And Forth From Reservations Has An Impact On Health Care. Urban Indian programs understand this issue and account for it in their work with patients.
· Urban Indian Programs Are a Key Provider of Care to the Large Population of Uninsured Urban Indians Who Might Not Go Elsewhere. Coming to an Urban Indian health clinic provides an open door for urban Indians in this situation who otherwise would be very reluctant to seek care in a non-Indian health facility.
· Urban Indian Programs Reduce Costs to Other Parts of the Indian Health Service System by Reducing Their Patient Load. Many urban Indians, if they cannot seek medical advice at an Urban Indian program, return to their reservation to access far costlier services.
Congress enshrined its commitment to urban Indians in the Indian Health Care Improvement Act where it provided: “That it is the policy of this Nation, in fulfillment of its special responsibility and legal obligation to the American Indian people, to meet the national goal of providing the highest possible health status to Indians and urban Indians and to provide all resources necessary to effect that policy.”25 U.S.C. Section 1602(a)(emphasis added).
Rather than the President’s proposal, please urge Congress to support a $12 million increase for Urban Indian programs in the FY 2007 budget.
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Written Testimony of Georgiana Ignace, President, National Council of Urban Indian Health. Before theSenate Committee on Indian Affairs. On the FY 2007 Budget for Urban Indian Health Programs
February 14, 2006
Honorable Chairman and Committee Members, my name is Georgiana Ignace, President of the National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH). I am a member of the Menominee Tribe and serve on the board of the Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center, Inc., which provides health care services to the Milwaukee urban Indian community. On behalf of NCUIH, and its 34 member programs, I would like to express our appreciation for this opportunity to submit testimony to your Committee on the President’s FY 2007 budget for the Indian Health Service.
In the strongest possible terms, NCUIH opposes the President’s proposal to zero-out funding for the Urban Indian Health Program. If adopted, this proposal would lead to the complete collapse of many urban Indian health centers and greatly limit the work of those that could survive such a cut. Contrary to the assertions made in the President’s FY 2007 Budget, Urban Indian health centers do not duplicate the functions of other programs but rather serve a unique and non-duplicable purpose within the large urban Indian community.
The fact that there are other health services available in urban areas is already reflected in how IHS funding is distributed, with urban Indian programs receiving only about 1% of the IHS budget although according to the 2000 Census nearly 70% of Americans identifying themselves as of American Indian or Alaska Native heritage live in urban areas. NCUIH
urges the Committee to support a $12 million increase, rather than a complete elimination of this vital program.
NAJA Scholarship Deadline April 1st
The deadline for students interested in applying for a Native American Journalists Association scholarship for the 2006-07 academic year is April 1.
Students must be current NAJA members, complete the application form and submit supporting documentation in order to be considered. Scholarship awards range from $500 to $5,000.
For more information and to download an application, go to http://www.naja.com/programs/students/scholarships, or email us at email@example.com or call (605) 677-5282.
April 1 Deadline For Newspaper Career Conference Applications
Organizers of the Native American Journalism Career Conference are accepting applications from Native American high school groups, college groups or individual college students for the 7th annual workshop at the Crazy Horse Memorial April 18-20 in South Dakota.
Teachers and advisers interested in organizing student groups to attend the conference must register by April 1. Students will be introduced to the basics of journalism by more than 20 experienced NAJA members and other Native and non-Native journalists from around the country. Lodging, meals and conference participation are free to students and their teachers and advisers.
For more information, contact Janine Harris at the Freedom Forum at (605) 677-5424 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. A description also can be seen at http://www.crazyhorse.org/.
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