LTSS Newsletter—November 2019

Upcoming webinar: Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers of Veterans, Wednesday, November 20

Long-Term Services and Supports

Technical assistance for culturally competent care

November 2019

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LTSS Technical Assistance Center

Visit the online LTSS TA Center for videos, best practices, toolkits, a resource library, and a step-by-step planning roadmap.

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Benefits for Native Veterans

In 2018, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) held events across Indian Country to discuss benefits for Native Veterans who experience disabilities or illnesses related to their military service.

Tribal color guard

Native Veterans frequently face challenges accessing VA benefits, programs, and services due to remote locations, limited internet connectivity, or mistrust of the federal government.

For this campaign, VA held 34 claims events in partnership with 25 tribes across 12 states to help Veterans access needed services. This best practices report (PDF, 3 MB, 38 pp) describes how VA engaged with tribes and Native Veterans.

Resources for Native Veterans’ Care

The LTSS TA Center provides links to resources for Native Veterans’ care. These resources include a VA Health Benefits Explorer, contact information for the VA Office of Tribal Government Relations (OTGR), information on how to apply for benefits, and a long-term care directory.

The LTSS TA Center also lists the Veterans Crisis Line to help a Veteran in crisis.

Additionally, this month’s LTSS webinar will feature presenters from the VA OTGR. Read more about the webinar in the Upcoming Webinar announcement below.

Call for Nominations: 2020 CMS Health Equity Award

Deadline: November 15, 2019

The 2020 CMS Health Equity Award recognizes organizations that have reduced disparities for racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, sexual or gender minorities, and rural populations. To nominate an organization for the award, complete the nomination form (PDF, 70 KB, 2 pp) and email it to

National American Indian Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month

For Native American Heritage Month, the Office of Minority Health (OMH) is sharing the message:

“By working together to address health disparities, we can help communities become healthier.”

OMH celebrates American Indians and Alaska Natives working together to increase daily physical activity and healthy eating habits within their communities. These healthy habits can help prevent, reduce, or delay the onset of diabetes.

Additionally, a report from the American Diabetes Association shows that nutrition therapy can improve health outcomes and lower the risk of diabetes-related complications. People with diabetes or kidney disease can receive fully covered, personalized nutrition therapy through Medicare with a referral from their provider.

For more information on diabetes in Indian Country and related tribal LTSS programs, view the report, LTSS Research: Diabetes in Indian Country, Annotated Literature Review (PDF, 818 KB, 34 pp), in the LTSS TA Center.

Upcoming webinar

Comprehensive assistance for family caregivers of Veterans

Wednesday, November 20

The November LTSS webinar will review comprehensive assistance for family caregivers of Veterans.

Representatives from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Tribal Government Relations will present.

Have questions for our presenters? Let us know before the webinar by emailing

A Native youth listens to an older Native woman's heartbeat through a stethoscope. An older Native man sits with them.

Please note your location’s call-in time:

9 a.m. Hawaii
10 a.m. Alaska
11 a.m. Pacific
12 p.m. Mountain
1 p.m. Central
2 p.m. Eastern

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Join the conversation on LinkedIn

Want to learn more about or discuss LTSS in Indian Country? Looking to connect with others working in the same field? Join the Tribal Affairs Group on LinkedIn and join the conversation.

Comments wanted: 2020 Special Diabetes Program for Indians

A collage of SDPI Diabetes Education Materials

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued letters to tribal leaders (PDF, 450 KB, 2 pp) and urban Indian programs (PDF, 356 KB, 2 pp) inviting consultation and discussion on the FY2021 Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI). Written comments are due December 2, 2019.

For more information, visit the SDPI website, which has highlights from the 2019 Diabetes in Indian Country Conference, an informational webinar, and educational materials.

Non-opioid pain relief for chronic pain

A person gives themself acupressure on their wrist

In line with the October LTSS webinar, Aging, the Opioid Epidemic, and Treatment Considerations for American Indian and Alaska Native Communities, acupressure can serve as an alternative option to opioids to help elders manage chronic pain.

Through acupressure, elders can apply pressure to specific parts of their body to help relieve pain. When done properly and without too much pressure, acupressure has been shown to help reduce pain and fatigue.

Helping elders prepare for natural disasters

This time last year, Anchorage, AK, communities were hit hard by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake. In October, communities in Dallas, TX, were devastated by a tornado. As this time of year can be ripe with natural disasters, the National Institute on Aging has created an infographic of 6 tips to help your elders prepare.

Share the National Institute on Aging’s infographic.

Caregiver’s corner

Warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, an ideal time to learn more about dementia.

Healthy Brain Initiative Road Map for Indian Country logo

Typically, people with Alzheimer’s experience changes in memory or behavior that disrupt daily life. To help elders and their caregivers recognize such changes, the Healthy Brain Initiative (HBI) has prepared the handout, 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s (PDF, 618 KB, 1 p).

Anyone with 1 or more of these warning signs should see a health care professional as soon as possible to get a diagnosis, discuss treatment options, and consider future living arrangements.

Funding opportunities

State Offices of Rural Health Coordination and Development Program

Application deadline: December 20, 2019

HRSA logo

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has a funding opportunity under the State Offices of Rural Health Coordination and Development Program.

This opportunity aims to strengthen leadership, increase collaboration opportunities, and offer education on policy and emerging health issues for rural health care.

About the TA Center

The LTSS Technical Assistance Center provides a roadmap for American Indian and Alaska Native communities who are planning and implementing LTSS programs to care for their elders and people with disabilities.

About the Newsletter

Long-Term Services and Supports Solutions is published monthly by the CMS Division of Tribal Affairs to share information, funding opportunities, and resources with LTSS planners, tribal leaders, and supporters.

Send Us Your News

Do you have news to share about LTSS in Indian Country? Send it to, and we’ll include it in a newsletter. Contact us with other comments or feedback, too.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Indian Health Service Administration for Community Living