"At our clinic, we have close to 500 Native American patients with a known diagnosis of diabetes," Linda Son-Stone, the CEO of First Nations Community Health Source, said in a press release distributed by Udall. "We depend on SDPI funding to decrease the onset of diabetes and its costly complications among the urban Indians in Albuquerque." While diabetes among American Indians and Alaska Natives remains sky-high, the program has shown success in keeping the rates down in the last 20 years. But the money will run out on March 31 unless Congress takes action. Tribal advocates have been lobbying key lawmakers in hopes of seeing SDPI included in a new bill to keep the federal government up and running. The February 8 deadline is quickly approaching without a clear indication on the status of the program.
Great roundtable today on the importance of funding #communityhealthcenters and the Special Diabetes Program for Indians. I’m fighting hard in Congress to break the partisan divide over the budget and ensure these critical programs remain available to New Mexicans in need. pic.twitter.com/FFHd244wmy— Tom Udall (@SenatorTomUdall) February 3, 2018
"Without these funds, thousands of patients in Indian Country will have nowhere to turn for diabetes help, placing additional burdens on the drastically underfunded Indian Health System – and costing lives," Stacey A. Bohlen, the executive director of the National Indian Health Board wrote in The Hill along with Derek Rapp of the JRDF, a leading diabetes organizatio. "The instability in funding will mean staff losses for SDPI programs and unreliable care for patients who depend on this life-saving program," Bohlen and Rapp wrote. If the program isn't included in the funding agreement, tribal advocates will have to look for other legislative vehicles. That hasn't been a problem in the past, when five-year extensions were common. That's changed in recent years, as conservative lawmakers try to reign in the federal government's spending. Tribes have had to settle for one-year and two-year extensions but even that's become too much for some on Capitol Hill. The two most recent extensions, including the one that ends in March, have been for just three months.
Cronkite News: Another shutdown deadline looming in Washington (February 2, 2018)
Shutdown ends but the battle for Indian health care funding continues (January 23, 2018)
President Trump signs bill to end three days of government shutdown (January 23, 2018)
Mark Trahant: Indian Country will be hit hard by government shutdown (January 22, 2018)
Federal shutdown looms as President Trump confuses his own party (January 18, 2018)
Ponca Tribe prepares for brighter future with plans for $26 million health center (December 6, 2017)
Congress approves yet another short-term extension for Indian diabetes program (October 9, 2017)
Mark Trahant: Indian Country sees incremental progress on obesity among youth (August 7, 2017)
Indian Country suffers from highest diabetes rate as key program hangs in limbo (July 21, 2017)
Lawmakers push to renew Special Diabetes Program for Indians (May 18, 2017)
Chris Buchanan: Indian Health Service sees progress on diabetes (March 31, 2017)
Cronkite News: Tribes pushing for renewal of key diabetes funding (March 30, 2017)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs schedules hearing on diabetes (March 21, 2017)