The California Consortium for Urban Indian Health congratulates the California Rural Indian Health Board (CRIHB) and California tribes for their win on AB 941 this week. See CRIHB’s press release below:

Sacramento, CA — On Monday, October 5, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 941 (Wood), a bill that will streamline facility licensing for tribal health programs and increase access to care for rural tribal communities. Earlier this month, the California Legislature passed AB 941 with unanimous bipartisan support. “Without the phenomenal support of tribes and tribal health programs and the hard work of the bill’s author, Assemblymember Wood, as well as his staffer, Ms. Voleck Taing,” said Mark LeBeau, CRIHB’s Chief Executive Officer, “this victory for Indian health care self determination would not have been possible.”

AB 941 streamlines state facility licensing exemptions contained in Section 1206 of the California Health and Safety Code for tribes. Prior to passage of AB 941, a tribal health program with the same governing board, administrators, and health care providers could be subject to different licensing requirements for different sites based on land status alone. This created many administrative burdens for tribal health program boards and administrative directors and resolving this inconsistency will enable tribal health programs to use their resources more strategically. According to Toiyabe Indian Health Project Chief Executive Officer David Lent, “Passage of AB 941 will eliminate duplicative state clinic licensing standards for tribal clinics and will greatly assist them in their critically important role of providing care to their patients.”

AB 941 is also consistent with fundamental principles of Indian self determination because it authorizes an exemption for tribal health programs, which are sanctioned by federally recognized Indian tribes, based on governmental status. “Prior to passage of AB 941, all other government clinics had exemptions from state facility licensing, including the IHS,” said CRIHB Board Chair Lisa Elgin, referring to subsection (b) of California Health and Safety Code 1206. “Seeing as how tribes have governed since time immemorial, it’s only fair that federal tribal organizations should have the same flexibility and authority as local and state government agencies.” Also consistent with fundamental principles of tribal sovereignty, AB 941 creates an exemption that is optional, preserving the ability of tribal clinics to obtain a state facility license if they wish to do so.

For more information please contact:
Amanda Wilbur, Health Policy Analyst
(916) 929-9761