The Bemidji Area Indian Health Service office held the I/T/U FY2019 Budget Formulation meeting December 6–8, 2016, in Minneapolis, MN. There were over 15 Tribes and Nations in attendance. The Great Lakes Area Tribal Health Board was invited to assist with the meeting facilitation, a key component of the budget formulation process. This is an important step that both the Bemidji Area Indian Health Service office and the GLATHB recognize—the importance of a tribally-owned process in the formulating their budget priorities. GLATHB partnered with IHS in November to hold an all-Tribes call and request input from Tribes and Health Directors on the content and process of the budget formulation meeting. While at the December meeting, GLATHB also hosted a Tribes-only Caucus (of Tribal leaders and Health Directors) to discuss feedback, input on the meeting and discussed topics such as priority health concerns, Clinic priorities, the “business of healthcare” and quality improvement.
The Tribes identified 20 items and through continued caucus, voted on a final list of 13 items. They are as follows: Hospitals & Clinics, Alcohol/Substance Abuse, Mental Health, Dental, PRC, Facilities Support, IT, Public Health Nursing, CHR, CSC, Urbans, Recruitment, and Health Education. The group agreed that although they put forward 13 budget priorities, they recommended that the Bemidji Area Representatives tell the story of and fully justify all 20 budget priorities at the National meeting with the other IHS Areas.
As the collective voice of our tribal communities grows through the Great Lakes Area Tribal Health Board, opportunities like this to help lead the budget formulation process will be critical for our Area. We appreciate and support IHS’ interest in partnering with GLATHB and the Tribes and look forward to strengthening our agenda, and continuing to advocate around the health priorities affecting our people.
Next steps include the technical assistance meeting on January 31 in Minneapolis, which Area Representatives and the IHS Area office team will attend, and preparation for the National Budget meeting in Arlington, VA on February 16–17.
More information and updates can be found at GLATHB.org or on Facebook/Great Lakes Area Tribal Health Board.