News Release

National Council of Urban Indian Health

On Monday, March 22, the Indian Health Service (IHS) announced the successful implementation of the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) to Urban Indian Organizations (UIOs) and their employees to the same extent and in the same manner as to Tribes and Tribal Organizations. The National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH) has advocated for over 20 years for medical malpractice coverage for urban Indian health workers. With this essential change, a single organization can redirect up to $200,000 annually to patient care.

Congressional champions Reps. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), along with Senators Tina Smith (D-MN), Tom Udall (D-NM), James Lankford (R-OK), and Martha McSally (R-AZ), worked tirelessly to ensure this important fix to expand resources for Urban Indian Organizations. National Council of Urban Indian Health legislation to provide coverage for urban Indian health workers passed late last year as a standalone bill with broad bipartisan support.

“During the pandemic, every dollar makes a difference for these critical organizations providing care to urban Indians,” said National Council of Urban Indian Health CEO Francys Crevier (Algonquin). “We applaud our Congressional advocates in helping stretch our limited resources to serve urban Indians at such a critical time. As Natives continue to have the highest death rates in the world, the federal government must uphold its trust responsibility and continue to provide every possible opportunity to increase access to care.”

“Federal tort law currently omits coverage for Urban Indian Organizations, and especially during the coronavirus pandemic, Urban Indian Organizations, like other already covered Tribal health facilities, need to have the peace of mind that they can utilize their funds for care, not court cases,” said Senator Lankford.

“Oklahoma City Indian Clinic has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on liability insurance for our providers," said National Council of Urban Indian Health Vice-President and CEO of Oklahoma City Indian Clinic Robyn Sunday-Allen. "With this parity, we can now put every cent back into services. We applaud the leadership of Senator Lankford on helping redirect our limited resources back to patients and families who rely on our services now more than ever.” 

Read Indian Health Service letter HERE.

National Council of Urban Indian Health 

The National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH) is the national non-profit organization devoted to the support and development of quality, accessible, and culturally-competent health and public health services for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) living in urban areas. National Council of Urban Indian Health is the only national representative of the 41 Title V Urban Indian Organizations (UIOs) under the Indian Health Service (IHS) in the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA). National Council of Urban Indian Health strives to improve the health of the over 70% of the American Indian/Alaska Native population that lives in urban areas, supported by quality, accessible health care centers.

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