Actualizing Health Care Reform for Urban Indians

Urban American Indians are a large and important part of the American Indian population. Most American Indians live in urban settings outside of the usual Indian Health Service and tribal health coverage areas. Passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) marked two significant changes for urban Indian health. The law alters the way the federal government helps provide direct medical care services for urban American Indians. The law also changes the financing for much of that care. An important part of the new law includes the permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act which makes urban Indians a permanent part of the Indian Health Service (IHS) for the first time.

In an effort to further understand the implications of health reform for urban Indians, the Seattle Indian Health Board hosted an Urban Indian Health Summit in Washington, D.C., bringing together leaders in the urban Indian health field. Actualizing Health Care Reform for Urban Indians: An Action Plan From the Urban Indian Health Summit is a report based on summit discussions that outlines strategies to ensure the success of reform for urban Indians. The report highlights areas where federal partnership will be essential, such as workforce development and understanding the value of the Federally Qualified Health Center designation.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation sponsored both the Urban Indian Health Summit and its report.