153 million dollars is the huge new settlement for back contract support costs due the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium from the Indian Health Service. The settlement clears up a 15-year backlog of underpayments and was announced on Friday.
Attorney Lloyd Miller says it’s similar to the recent settlement with Southcentral foundation with one big difference.
“What distinguishes it, is that it is the largest settlement in history ever achieved between a tribe or tribal organization and the United States,” he said.
The settlement is for a 15 year period, 1999 to 2014. Miller says because the health service contracts to run ANTHC are large, there have also been large liabilities that have accumulated because of the shortage in contract funding.
“Because the federal agency, the Indian Health Service has not been paying the full contract amount that was due to operate the hospital and as a result, cuts have been made in some years, new service lines have not been opened as rapidly as they could have been,” Miller said. Revenues from Medicare and Medicaid have suffered because services have not been provided and these are all of the elements that went into the settlement with the Indian Health Service.”
Miller has been fighting for tribal contract payments based on U.S. Supreme court decisions in 2005 and 2012. Miller says President Obama has asked Congress for full contract support for tribal contracts going forward. There have been between 300 million and 400 million in IHS tribal settlements in Alaska and nearly 600 million nationally.
There are still numerous back claims left to settle both in Alaska and across the nation.
ANTHC President Andy Teuber could not be reached for comment.