Public information: Indian Health Service employees continue work during government shutdown

To the editor:

During a lapse in appropriations, federal employees performing certain work, including that involving the safety of human life, are excepted from furlough. IHS has determined that this exception applies to all employees at IHS facilities where direct health care is provided. IHS continues to provide direct clinical health care services as well as referrals for contracted services that cannot be provided through IHS clinics. However, many administrative activities are impacted due to the lapse in funding for the IHS.

Similar to Indian Health Service direct service facilities, tribal health programs and urban Indian organizations are authorized to continue operation; however, contracts with these organizations to provide health services cannot be paid by IHS during a lapse in appropriations. Tribal and urban programs continue to have authority to bill and collect reimbursements from third party payers, and these reimbursements are not affected by a lapse in appropriations. https://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/announcements/2018-announcements/tribal-notification-on-status-of-federal-funding/.

More information is available in the HHS contingency plan: https://www.hhs.gov/about/budget/fy-2019-hhs-contingency-staffing-plan/index.html

Additional details are available at https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/fy-2019-hhs-lapse-contingency-plan-narrative-december-ag-interior.pdf. This document states that currently 95 percent of IHS employees are retained. Many of these employees are exempt or excepted employees.

If you have any questions, please contact our Indian Health Service Public Affairs Office at newsroom@ihs.gov.

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