$153 million is the huge new settlement for back contract support costs due the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium from the Indian Health Service. The settlement clears up a 15-year backlog of underpayments and was announced on Friday.
Attorney Lloyd Miller says it’s similar to the recent settlement with Southcentral foundation with one big difference.
“What distinguishes it, is that it is the largest settlement in history ever achieved between a tribe or tribal organization and the United States,” he said.
The settlement is for a 15 year period, 1999 to 2014. Miller says because the health service contracts to run ANTHC are large, there have also been large liabilities that have accumulated because of the shortage in contract funding.
“Because the federal agency, the Indian Health Service has not been paying the full contract amount that was due to operate the hospital and as a result, cuts have been made in some years, new service lines have not been opened as rapidly as they could have been,” Miller said. Revenues from Medicare and Medicaid have suffered because services have not been provided and these are all of the elements that went into the settlement with the Indian Health Service.”
Miller has been fighting for tribal contract payments based on U.S. Supreme court decisions in 2005 and 2012. Miller says President Obama has asked Congress for full contract support for tribal contracts going forward. There have been between 300 million and 400 million in IHS tribal settlements in Alaska and nearly 600 million nationally.
There are still numerous back claims left to settle both in Alaska and across the nation.
ANTHC President Andy Teuber could not be reached for comment.
- A swath of downtown Juneau went dark for about a half hour on Friday morning. AEL&P blamed the outage on unspecified equipment failure in a feeder circuit.
- It aims to preserve Alaska Native culture by giving tribes and tribal organizations the ability to oversee local child welfare problems, rather than social workers coming in from outside their communities. That often results in children being removed from their communities.
- Dressed in full Gwich’in regalia, Potts recounted growing up in a modest dirt-floor hunting cabin in Eagle, losing someone close to suicide, and taking the conventions theme of strength in unity to get back to enjoying life again.
- The Juneau School District wants to consolidate its two high school football programs and cheer squads. Superintendent Dr. Mark Miller said at a press conference Thursday afternoon that the decision to send a formal request to the Alaska School Activities Association has been two years in the making.