WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of President Biden’s continued efforts to ensure the pandemic response reaches all people and all communities, the Biden Administration has announced an investment of $1.8 billion to combat COVID-19 in Indian Country. This is in addition to an investment of more than $4 billion that was announced in April 2021.
“This investment from the American Rescue Plan will strengthen the public health workforce in Indian Country, support mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment, continue efforts to detect and treat COVID-19, and meet facility and equipment needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Elizabeth Fowler, Indian Health Service (IHS) Acting Director. “Investing in our workforce and providing our team with the facilities, equipment, supplies, and funds they need is absolutely critical to ensuring our ability to fulfill the IHS mission of raising the physical, mental, social and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level.
The funding allocations include:
$240 million for Public Health Workforce Activities
Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, IHS will invest $240 million for public health workforce activities, to recruit and retain additional public health professionals at IHS, tribal health programs, and urban Indian organization health programs. IHS will also use these funds to create a new IHS career opportunities website and improve the loan repayment application process.
$420 million for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment
IHS will invest $420 million to expand mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment services, at IHS, tribal health programs, and urban Indian organization health programs and to support nationwide mental health and substance abuse prevention support activities.
$500 million to Detect, Diagnose, Trace, Monitor, and Mitigate COVID-19 Infections
The IHS will invest an additional $500 million to directly support detection, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring, and mitigation of COVID-19.
- $220 million will be distributed to IHS facilities, tribal health programs, and urban Indian organization health programs.
- $280 million will be allocated to the IHS National Supply Service Center to purchase testing supplies, personal protective equipment, and related COVID-19 supply needs to be provided to IHS, tribal, and urban Indian health programs at no cost. In addition, these funds will expand the National Supply Service Center warehouse footprint and stockpiling capacity for these critically needed materials.
$600 million for COVID-19-Related Facilities Activities
The IHS will invest $600 million for COVID-19 related facilities activities:
- $381 million to IHS, tribal, and urban Indian health programs for the lease, purchase, construction, alteration, renovation, and maintenance and improvement of facilities.
- $167 million to IHS and tribal health programs for COVID-19 related sanitation facilities construction projects.
- $23 million to IHS and tribal health programs for COVID-19 equipment needs.
- $29 million to support the appropriate management and oversight of facilities-related expenditures and to expand COVID-19 related environmental health activities.
The IHS, an agency in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides a comprehensive health service delivery system for approximately 2.6 million American Indians and Alaska Natives who belong to 574 federally recognized tribes in 37 states. The IHS continues to work closely with tribal and urban Indian organization partners, as well as state and local public health officials, to coordinate a comprehensive public health response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.