DHS allocates $22M for tribal response to COVID-19


The Department of Health and Human Services is delivering $22,167,546 from the Provider Relief Fund to support the tribal response to the coronavirus in Minnesota.

Nationally, $500 million in payments from the Provider Relief Fund went to the Indian Health Service and tribal hospitals, clinics and urban health centers.

The pandemic disproportionately impacted Indian Health Service providers and programs. Many such providers have experienced significantly increased need for personal protective equipment as well as increased labor costs due to employees that have been exposed to COVID-19. At least 233 facilities across the Indian health system serve as the only health care provider for both its service and non-beneficiaries, making them critical to stopping the spread of COVID-19 and reopening America. This funding provides vital support to these health care facilities, which in some cases may be the only health care facility within a day's traveling distance for those served.

"President Trump has prioritized the health and well-being of American Indians and Alaska Natives throughout his presidency and the COVID-19 crisis," Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar stated in a news release. "The Trump Administration is making a targeted allocation from the funds Congress provided to send $500 million to Indian healthcare facilities. Combined with other funding, supplies, and flexibility around telehealth, we are working with tribal governments to do everything we can to support heroic Indian healthcare workers and protect Indian Country from COVID-19."

"The Indian Health Service, along with our tribal and urban Indian organization partners, are delivering crucial services under extraordinary circumstances," stated Indian Health Service Director Rear Adm. Michael Weahkee in the release. "The resources provided by the Provider Relief Fund will make a real difference in our ability to fulfill the IHS mission of raising the physical, mental, social and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives during this pandemic."


Distribution Methodology

  • Indian Health Service and tribal hospitals will receive a $2.81 million base payment plus three percent of their total operating expenses.

  • The health service and tribal clinics and programs will receive a $187,000 base payments plus five percent of the estimated service population multiplied by the average cost per user.

  • Indian Health Service urban programs will receive a $181,000 base payment plus six percent of the estimated service population multiplied by the average cost per user.

Health and Human Services allocated about 4% of available funding for Urban Indian Health Programs, consistent with the percent of patients served by Urban Indian Organizations in relation to the total Indian Health Service active user population, as well as prior allocations of its COVID-19 funding. The remaining funding will be divided equally between hospitals and clinics.
How the HHS determined operating costs for Indian Health Service clinics and Urban Indian Organizations

HHS identified the service population for most service units, and estimated an operating cost of $3,943 per person per year based on actual Indian Health Service spending per user from a 2019 IHS Expenditures Per Capita and Other Federal Health Care Expenditures Per Capita report.

According to the release, Trump is providing support to health care providers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic through the bipartisan CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act that provide $175 billion in relief funds to hospitals and other healthcare providers on the front lines of the coronavirus response. The allocation of these funds is part of the Trump Administration's whole-of-America approach to addressing the economic impact of COVID-19 on providers and doing so as quickly and transparently as possible.

Visit for additional information on the Provider Relief Fund.

Visit for the latest information on the COVID-19 response.

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