IHS gets per­ma­nent res­i­dence

Re­form law re­moves agency’s un­cer­tain fu­ture

Modern Healthcare - - The Week In Healthcare - Jes­sica Zig­mond

As the new fed­eral health law con­tin­ues to gen­er­ate un­cer­tainty for many health­care providers, it will pro­vide long-sought sta­bil­ity to the In­dian Health Ser­vice, the HHS agency that was made per­ma­nent as a re­sult of the leg­is­la­tion.

The Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Af­ford­able Care Act reau­tho­rized the In­dian Health Care Im­prove­ment Act, which Congress first ap­proved in 1976. But the autho­riza­tion of ap­pro­pri­a­tions for the act ex­pired in 2000, and sup­port­ers of this leg­is­la­tion have pushed for its reau­tho­riza­tion ever since. The up­dated act has no ex­pi­ra­tion date.

“The bill per­ma­nently reau­tho­rized the IHS,” Yvette Roubideaux, di­rec­tor of the In­dian Health Ser­vice, wrote in her blog. “Health re­form just means that, in gen­eral, Amer­i­can In­di­ans and Alaskan Na­tives can con­tinue to be el­i­gi­ble for and use IHS, tribal, or ur­ban In­dian health pro­grams, but if they want to, they will be able to pur­chase health in­sur­ance through the ex­changes, which should have more af­ford­able op­tions.”

Ac­cord­ing to the IHS, the reau­tho­rized act signed into law on March 23 up­dates the 1976 act in a va­ri­ety of ways, such as: pro­vid­ing autho­riza­tion for hospice; as­sisted liv­ing, long-term and home-and com­mu­nity-based care; up­dat­ing the cur­rent law re­gard­ing the col­lec­tion of re­im­burse­ments from Medi­care, Med­i­caid, and the State Chil­dren’s Health In­sur­ance Pro­gram by In­dian health fa­cil­i­ties; au­tho­riz­ing IHS to en­ter into ar­range­ments with the Vet­er­ans Af­fairs and De­fense de­part­ments to share med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties and

The In­dian Health Ser­vice was made per­ma­nent as a re­sult of the Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Af­ford­able Care Act.

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