Office of Tribal Government Relations
VA and IHS broaden scope to serve American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans
VA and IHS renewed a partnership, Oct. 1, to help the country’s nearly 145,000 American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans overcome health care access barriers.
Consultation facilitates tribal engagement and input in VA policies, programs and services that may affect Veterans living in Indian Country and tribal governments. The focus: establishing and sustaining enduring, trusting relationships necessary to serve our Nation’s heroes.
We help ensure Indian Country’s Veterans know what VA offers Veterans and how to access the full range of services and benefits our Veterans have courageously earned through their service.
Learn more about reimbursement agreements and how your tribe can establish an agreement with VA.
VA has implemented an aggressive public health response to protect and care for Veterans in the face of this emerging health risk. We are working directly with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal partners to monitor the outbreak of the virus. See the resource links below:
- VA Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- CDC Coronavirus Page
- CDC Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions
- Indian Health Service Coronavirus Page
- White House Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force
- Tribal Consultation on Interim Policy, Federal Emergency Management Agency Safe Opening and Operation Work Eligible for Public Assistance
The OTGR team works to strengthen and build closer relations between the VA, tribal governments and other key federal, state, private and non-profit partners in an effort to effectively and respectfully serve Veterans across Indian Country. Read more »
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) consults with tribal governments in order to facilitate tribal engagement and input in VA policies, programs and services that may affect Veterans living in Indian Country and tribal governments. Tribal Consultation is either formal, or informal in nature, with a focus on emphasizing the importance of establishing and sustaining enduring, trusting relationships necessary to serve our Nation’s heroes.
- FY 2022 Tribal Consultation and Urban Confer on the Annual Operational Plan for the VHA-IHS Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
- Tribal Consultation on VA Reimbursement Agreements
- Federal Register Notice — VA’s Indian Health Service/Tribal Health Program Reimbursement Agreements Program-Pharmacy Reimbursement Rate for the Lower 48 States - June 3, 2021
- Presidential Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships - January 26, 2021
VA Advisory Committee on Tribal and Indian Affairs appointees — The Department of Veterans Affairs appointed its first-ever Advisory Committee on Tribal and Indian Affairs Oct. 4.
Establishment & Solicitation of Nominations for Appointment to the Advisory Committee on Tribal and Indian Affairs
The Advisory Committee on Tribal and Indian Affairs was established in accordance with section 7002 of Public Law 116-315 (H.R.7105 - Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020). In accordance with Public Law 116-315, the Committee provides advice and guidance to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on all matters relating to Indian tribes, tribal organizations, Native Hawaiian organizations and Native American Veterans. The Committee serves in an advisory capacity and advises the Secretary on ways the Department can improve the programs and services of the Department to better serve Native American Veterans. Committee members make recommendations to the Secretary regarding such activities.
**The Department of Veterans Affairs is seeking nominations of qualified candidates to be considered for appointment as a member of the Advisory Committee on Tribal and Indian Affairs. Nominations for membership on the Committee must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. ET on June 1, 2021.
- Federal Register Notice — Advisory Committee on Tribal and Indian Affairs; Establishment [05/03/2021]
- Federal Register Notice — Solicitation of Nominations for Appointment to the Advisory Committee on Tribal and Indian Affairs [05/05/2021]
- Advisory Committee on Tribal and Indian Affairs Charter [04/23/2021]
Dr. Christine Chee, a VA Psychologist and a member of the Navajo Nation, talks about her experience with COVID-19 and the vaccine. She brings a unique perspective as someone who has worked with VA patients, dealt with her own needle fears and experienced losses within her own family from COVID-19. Yet her perspective is one that many Native Americans will recognize.
2021 Veterans Health Administration (VHA) & Indian Health Service (IHS) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
Agreement Between Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Health Administration and Department of Health and Human Services Indian Health Service for Reimbursement for Direct Health Care Services is Amended through 2024.
The Director, Indian Health Service, writes to Tribal Leaders to inform them that the Indian Health Service (IHS) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Health Administration recently amended the national IHS-VA VHA Reimbursement Agreement, which effects direct health care services to eligible American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans at 74 IHS facilities.
Amended IHS and VA Agreement Expands Reimbursement for Direct Health Care Services
The Acting Director informs Tribal Leaders that the Indian Health Service (IHS) and Department of Veterans Affairs recently amended its agreement for reimbursement for direct health care services to eligible American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans at 77 IHS facilities.
The John D. Dingell, Jr., Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act of 2019 provides the opportunity for eligible Vietnam-era Veterans or their heirs to select 2.5 to 160 acres of Federal land in Alaska. Veterans or their heirs will have five years to select and apply for land. The program is open to all eligible Alaska Natives who served between August 5, 1964 and December 31, 1971, and it removes the requirement for personal use or occupancy mandated under previous laws. Learn more »
Dear Tribal Leader Letter re: Mission Act of 2018 Legislation
Read the Dear Tribal Leader Letter
- MISSION Act Current Future State Comparison
- MISSION Act Educational Initiatives
- MISSION Act Information Sheet Community Care
- MISSION Act VA Health Care Options Brochure
- MISSION Act Veteran Community Care Fact Sheet
- MISSION Act Veteran Community Care Eligibility Fact Sheet
VA Presumptive Campaign in Indian Country
This initiative is a nationwide outreach campaign focused on identifying and assisting Veterans across Indian Country who may have presumptive disabilities and Veterans who may have non-compensable disabilities (VA pension claims).
- Dear Tribal Leader Letter
- Presumptive Disability Benefits Fact Sheet
- Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Fact Sheet
- Special Monthly Compensation Fact Sheet
- VA Pension Fact Sheet
Office of Tribal Government Relations Newsletter — Winter 2019
In 2018, VA conducted a special outreach campaign to reach Veterans across Indian Country during which VA held events on tribal lands. For many tribal Veterans, VA’s visits to their communities for this campaign offered their first-ever opportunity to interact with VA. This report describes how VA engaged with tribes and AI/AN Veterans in 2018 to bring benefits to Veterans who experience presumptive conditions.