IHS Planning Grant

IHS awards $767,000 to seven Tribes and Tribal Organizations for

self-governance planning and negotiation activities. 

 

White Earth Nation Exploring Self-Governance  of Health Care Services

White Earth Nation has been awarded a Planning Cooperative Agreement grant by Indian Health Services to help with the year-long process of looking into the possibility of self-governance. The goal of self-governance is to allow tribal communities to address their own health care needs, as they are the most knowledgeable of their own health care goals and challenges. Managing its own health care services is an act of tribal sovereignty the tribal council has asked a task force to explore. 

The healthcare self-governance task force will spend a year exploring what is required to assume management of health services.  This includes services offered, staffing needs, operation costs, revenue, equipment and all other aspects of running a health care system.  At the end of the year, Summer 2017, the task force will report their findings to  the tribal council.  The tribal council will utilize this information to inform the future decision as to whether the White Earth Nation assumes responsibility of managing its health care services or keeps these services under Indian Health Services management. 

The task force, composed of White Earth Nation Health staff, White Earth Health Center Staff, White Earth Nation Tribal employees, elders, community members, Indian Health Services Area office and Headquarters staff and consultants from North Dakota State University’s American Indian Public Health Resource Center, will meet monthly.  Meetings will occur throughout the White Earth Nation and at the Indian Health Services Bemidji Area Office.  The task force will also explore best practices from tribal nations throughout the United States who have assumed self-governance of their health services.

 Tribal self-governance does not terminate the Federal trust responsibility. By assuming self-governance, White Earth would directly receive Indian Health Services funds and utilize them to most effectively meet the health needs of the White Earth Nation. Tribal Nations have the option to assume governance of some health services, such as behavioral health services which the tribe currently manages, or all of the services.  If a tribal nation decides to manage its health care services and finds they are unable management can be turned back to Indian Health Services. The goal of self-governance is to allow tribal communities to address their own health care needs, since they are the most knowledgeable of their own health care goals and challenges.