ANTHC Wins $153 Million Settlement

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.

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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.

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Lori Townsend is the News Director for the Alaska Public Radio Network. She got her start in broadcasting at the age of 11 as the park announcer of the fast pitch baseball games in Deer Park, Wisconsin. She has worked in print and broadcast journalism for more than 18 years. She was the co-founder and former Editor of Northern Aspects, a magazine featuring northern Wisconsin writers and artists. She worked for 7 years at tribal station WOJB on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibway Reservation in Wisconsin, first as an on-air programmer and special projects producer and eventually News Director. In 1997 she co-hosted a continuing Saturday afternoon public affairs talk program on station KSTP in St. Paul, Minnesota. Radio brought her to Alaska where she worked as a broadcast trainer for Native fellowship students at Koahnic Broadcasting. Following her work there, she helped co-found the non-profit broadcast company Native Voice Communications with veteran Alaskan broadcasters Nellie Moore, D’Anne Hamilton, Len Anderson, Sharon McConnell and Veronica Iya. NVC created the award-winning Independent Native News as well as producing many other documentaries and productions. Townsend was NVC’s technical trainer and assistant producer of INN. Through her freelance work, she has produced news and feature stories nationally and internationally for Independent Native News, National Native News, NPR , Pacifica, Monitor Radio, Radio Netherlands and AIROS. Her print work and interviews have been published in News from Indian Country, Yakama Nation Review and other publications. Ms. Townsend has also worked as a broadcast trainer for the Native American Journalist’s Association and with NPR’s Doug Mitchell and as a freelance editor. Townsend is the recipient of numerous awards for her work from the Alaska Press Club, the Native American Journalists Association and a gold and a silver reel award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Townsend was the recipient of a Fellowship at the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting in Rhode Island as well as a fellowship at the Knight Digital Media Center in Berkeley. She is an avid reader, a rabid gardener and counts water skiing, training horses, diving and a welding certification among her past and current interests. ltownsend (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8452 | About Lori