National Council of Urban Indian Health
Yesterday, Congress announced they have reached an $8.3 billion agreement for emergency supplemental appropriations to combat Coronavirus. The bill includes Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funds totaling $2.2 billion which includes funding for cooperative agreements for “tribes, tribal organizations, urban Indian health organizations, or health service providers to tribes, to carry out surveillance, epidemiology, laboratory capacity, infection control mitigation, communications, and other preparedness and response activities.” The bill also included $40 million for tribal organizations, urban Indian health organizations, or health service providers to tribes through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This is a major victory for Urban Indian Organizations (UIOs) as UIOs were missed in past emergency funding such as the Zika response efforts. This funding will assist in Urban Indian Organizations properly preparing to combat this outbreak for urban American Indians and Alaska Natives.
“National Council of Urban Indian Health is glad to see Congress come together so quickly to provide the critical funding necessary to protect the health of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) patients across Indian Country,” said Francys Crevier, Executive Director “particularly to protect those American Indians and Alaska Natives who live within cities and urban areas, where the COVID-19 is spreading at a rapid pace."
On Friday, February 28, the National Council of Urban Indian Health sent a letter to Appropriations Chair Betty McCollum urging Congress to include UIOs in Coronavirus response efforts. National Council of Urban Indian Health also issued a press release calling for Congress to support urban Indians in emergency supplemental funding. National Council of Urban Indian Health has been working closely with the House and Senate on bill language to ensure the whole Indian Health Service Tribal and Urban Indian system is included in resources for Coronavirus.
The House planned to vote yesterday on the bill, with the Senate expected to pass the package today.
National Council of Urban Indian Health will continue to monitor this legislation and the ongoing health risks to American Indian and Alaska Native patients and the urban Indian communities where they reside.