Former Chief Kevin Brown of the Pamunkey Tribe, center, is blessed with an honor song during the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development's New Day Now rally at the U.S. Capitol on June 16, 2015. Brown led his tribe during its quest to gain federal recognition. Photo by Indianz.Com (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Pamunkey Tribe secures designation of Indian Health Service delivery area

The newest member of the federally-recognized family of tribes continues to make gains.

The Pamunkey Tribe was the first in Virginia to gain recognition through the Bureau of Indian Affairs. And now it is the first in the state with a designated Indian Health Service delivery area.

"It is important for the Pamunkey Indian Tribe to be able to deliver health care services to tribal members residing in these six counties and one independent city," the IHS said in a notice that will be published in the Federal Register on Friday.

The tribe's service area covers the counties of King William, Caroline, Hanover, Henrico, King and Queen and New Kent. The tribe's state-recognized reservation is located in King William County and many of its citizens live on or near the reservation.

More significantly, the service area also includes the city of Richmond, the capital of Virginia. Richmond is about an hour drive from the reservation and some tribal citizens have moved there to pursue educational, economic and other opportunities.

There are currently no IHS facilities in the service area. But the designation enables Pamunkey citizens to seek care at non-IHS facilities through the Purchased/Referred Care program, though funds aren't always guaranteed to be available due to underfunding of the agency.

In his fiscal year 2018 budget, President Donald Trump sought $914.1 million for the program, a slight increase from current levels. Key members of Congress countered the request by including $928.8 million in H.R.3354, an appropriations bill that is under consideration in the House.

The Pamunkey Tribe's service area will become effective 30 days after the publication of the IHS notice in the Federal Register on Friday.

Forthcoming Federal Register Notice:
Notice of Delivery Area Designation for the Pamunkey Indian Tribe (To Be Published July 28, 2017)

Prior Federal Register Notices:
Final Determination for Federal Acknowledgment of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe (July 8, 2015)
Proposed Finding for Federal Acknowledgment of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe (January 23, 2014)

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