Controling Infectious Diseases in Tribal Jails

Greetings Relatives/Frens,
The Navajo Council’s Health, Eduction & Human Services Committee took a lunch break and now they are listening to the reading of Legislation 0310-13 Urging the Bureau of Indian Affaris and the Indian Health Services to Provide Funding for routine Infesctious Disease Screening & Conrol Program, which is sponsored by HEHSC member Walter Phelps.

this problem not just Navajo rez but across the country. This is about manaing infectious disease and wherever operate prison, risks increased where pple confined and communical diseases can spread easily and sprad rapidly, inclding hepatitis, HIV, especially in Indian Country.

Pple coming in and out of jails are staff and community pple, who take it home and expose others – frens and family.

Standard protocol outside rez is conduct health screening by trained staff/jailers when entering jail. Tribal jail staff confirmed that no trained individuals to do health screening at tribal jails/detention ceners. And health screenings are actually law outside rez. But tribal jails have no trained staff so use self recording questionaire.

Off rez jails, met with Coconino Country jails, and as soon as someone arrested, they lose their health benefits eligiblity and county hospital has to pay. for us, fees cud be assessed and how other jurisdictions pay that way. And BIA and IHS: not health care account by tribe for use to pay health screening.

Navajo individuals held in tribal jails make Navajo government responsible. BIA has congressinal delegated responsilibyt and authoirty for tribal jails thru federal contracts. IHS has no responsiblity to provide health services in tribal jails. Confirmed by tribal jail staff.

IHS has responsilbiyt for public health of community. But inamtes carry home infectious diseases home.

i RECEIVED request for statistical information from CDC report, Native American higher rate than calidima, tuberculous 3 times than national average. NA jail population, HIV five times. These are significant figures. when tribal jails opened, in this same month, TB exposure of 44 staff and inmates and to community. 105 screenings for TB due to exposure an done conversion which means 1 inamte had active TB and exposed staff who cud expose community and one tested positive to TB because of that incident.

Challenged in place is doing 105 screening and then going out to community to find out where exposed individuals are and then test family members, especially children, who were exposed.

in holding area no separate ventilation and isolation cell.

Sure spreader TB whichis worst case scenario, the individual cud infect 195 pple. Tuba City has only one screening cell and so if infection then Tuba City wud spend all of its Indian Health allocation.

I certaily support intent of legislation but considering budget cuts/sequestration, it’s going to be difficult to wrangle any more money and they tell us u 638 programs so you raise funds. Perhaps alternative plan. Is tribal Division of Health to comment? Did they assist with plan? There is justification for funding cuz in jails. lot of infectious diseases such TB, HIV, are handled by DOH Philene Herrera.

The real obligation goes back to BIA. IHS on the side. IHS is funding and a little bit frustrated. There needs to be agreement between BIA & IHS. There is no clear mechanism to handle process. BIA has been housing inmates for years but there are no guidelines. Federal funds used to build tribal jails and there was “hic cup” regarding inmates carrying infectious disease.

Ms Skinner saying there is lack of area with ventilation for screening.

There are two things: we ned to talk to IHS about what to do to fund screenings. The other is facility itself and design. Law & Order Committee talked about redircting funds to establish screening room.

Other area not addressed by legislation: officer arrests person and brings to jail and jail says no, you take person to hosptial and person taken to hospital, where officer drops off and person cud expose pple. So thot maybe with this legislation cud address wat we are dealing with.

there is time to pull in other departments. We need all the help we can get. We ned set up process and send strong message to IHS and BIA. We are contracting federal funds from IHS and BIA.

VOTE ON SUPPORTING LEGISLATION 0310-13: 4 in favor, 0 opposed.

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