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Increased for FY 2014
IHS Director Yvette Roubideaux, MD, meanwhile, said that if this proposed FY 2014 budget is enacted, IHS appropriations will have increased by 32% since FY 2008.
“The appropriations increases received in the past five fiscal years are making a substantial difference in the quantity and quality of healthcare we are able to provide to AI/ANs,” she said.
Roubideaux said the request includes $35 million to fund the medical inflationary cost for the Contract Health Services programs. CHS funds are used to purchase healthcare that IHS is unable to provide through its own network.
Roubideaux said that, while four years ago there was only enough funding for “life or limb” referrals, increased CHS funding in recent years means that almost half of federal CHS programs are funding referrals beyond Medical Priority 1. The increased CHS funding also means the IHS Catastrophic Health Emergency Fund, which previously ran out of funding for high cost cases in June each year, is able to fund cases through August, she explained.
Other proposed increases in the budget include $77.3 million for staff and to operate newly constructed health facilities, $6 million for pay increases for federal and tribal staff, and $5.8 million for contract support costs for ongoing contracts and compacts.
Roubideaux also acknowledged, however, that sequestration’s impact on IHS programs will be “significant.”
“Overall, the $220 million reduction in the IHS budget for FY 2013 is estimated to result in a reduction of 3,000 inpatient admissions and 804,000 outpatient visits for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs),” she said in written testimony. “The implementation of efficient spending initiatives, e.g., reducing travel and conference spending, has also changed the way IHS conducts its business, and IHS is committed to continuing these efforts regardless of the current fiscal environment.”