NATIONAL BRIEFS

News about Native Americans

Baucus urges passage of Indian

Health bill

Bill includes key provisions on Medicare, Medicaid, children's health

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) is urging passage of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, as full Senate consideration of the legislation began Jan. 22. Last September, Baucus led the Finance Committee in passing a package of provisions to bolster Indian health policies in programs under the panel's jurisdiction. Baucus's "Medicare, Medicaid, and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Indian Health Care Improvement Act of 2007" will make those programs more affordable and accessible for people living in Native communities. The provisions were included as part of the larger Indian health package being considered by the Senate.

"I've visited with doctors, nurses, and social workers on reservations in my home state of Montana, and I've seen just how dire the health care situation really is there," Baucus said. "The provisions we've put together in this bill will deliver the essential resources and services that are so desperately needed to save lives in Native communities all across the country. Today, I ask my colleagues to join me in addressing this crisis, and in supporting the Indian Health Care Improvement Act."

The "Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP Indian Health Care Improvement Act of 2007" provides $52 million in additional funding to improve reimbursement procedures, bolster outreach programs, and eliminate co-payments for patients of the Indian Health Service who rely on programs under the Finance Committee's jurisdiction. The package also streamlines and updates rules and regulations that will enable federal health programs to work more effectively with the Indian Health Service.

A detailed section-by-section overview of the Finance Committee package is available online at http://finance.senate.gov/sitepages/legislation.htm.

Cherokee Nation member named director of the Office of Indian Education

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings has named Cathie Carothers Director of the Office of Indian Education within the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education.

A member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Carothers earned her bachelor of science and master's degree in education from Northeastern Oklahoma State University. She has been with the U.S. Department of Education since 1990 and has over 30 years of experience as an educator and manager of national programs for Indian students and adults. Carothers began her federal career with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) as a teacher of learning-disabled students in an off-reservation K-8 boarding school in Oklahoma. Carothers has been serving as Acting Director of the Office of Indian Education since October 2007.

The Office of Indian Education supports the efforts of local educational agencies, Indian tribes and organizations, post-secondary institutions and other entities to meet the educational and culturally related academic needs of American Indians.

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