NCUIH Vice President to Testify at House Legislative Hearing on FTCA Bill for UIOs

FTCA for UIOs was endorsed by the Indian Health Service at a recent Senate hearing

WASHINGTON, DC (July 20, 2020) – On July 22, Robyn Sunday-Allen, NCUIH Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the Oklahoma City Indian Clinic, will testify before the House Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States. Ms. Sunday-Allen will be testifying on Tuesday, July 22 at 2 PM in support of H.R. 6535, the Coverage for Urban Indian Health Providers Act. H.R. 6535 would extend Federal Tort Claims Act coverage to urban Indian organizations (UIOs), which has become only more dire due to the COVID-19 pandemic and would free up necessary resources for UIOs.

“Oklahoma City Indian Clinic has been operating on the front lines of this crisis with limited resources. We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on liability insurance for our providers. With parity in FTCA, we would put every cent back into services which will allow us to fulfill our mission of providing excellent health care to American Indians. Increasing access to quality health care and preventive wellness services and producing positive health outcomes for urban American Indians living in central Oklahoma is the business we are in,” said Robyn Sunday- Allen, CEO of Oklahoma City Indian Clinic, and NCUIH Vice President.

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Passage of H.R. 6535 would ensure that UIOs achieve parity with the rest of the IHS/Tribal health providers/urban Indian organizations system (I/T/U system). Currently, UIOs are the only part of the I/T/U system who do not receive FTCA coverage. This act, if passed, would save individual UIOs up to $250,000 a year on medical malpractice insurance, money that could be used to hire additional providers, provide additional programs, and to respond to COVID-19 and future public health emergencies.

The Senate held a hearing on the companion bill (S. 3650) on July 1, 2020.  At the hearing, Indian Health Service (IHS) Director RADM Michael Weahkee endorsed the bill on behalf of IHS.

FTCA coverage for UIOs currently has bipartisan support in the House and Senate, Executive Branch, and from the Tribal Budget Formulation Workgroup.

The link to watch the livestream of the hearing can be found here.

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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. NCUIH 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). NCUIH strives to improve the health of the over 70% of the AI/AN population that lives in urban areas, supported by quality, accessible health care centers.\

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