LTSS Newsletter—August 2020

Long-Term Services and Supports

Technical assistance for culturally competent care

August 2020

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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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Promoting health and dignity for people with disabilities

Protecting against COVID-19

While not everyone who has a disability is at higher risk for COVID-19, those who face challenges communicating or difficulty washing hands or taking other preventive actions may be at risk. Those with limited mobility may find it difficult to avoid being near others, which can also increase risk.

Caregivers can help protect people with disabilities against COVID-19 by wearing masks, washing their hands, and cleaning frequently touched items, including equipment like wheelchairs, canes, and oxygen tanks.

See a checklist from the National Indian Health Board on planning ahead in case a person with disabilities gets sick.

Webinar: Protecting against domestic violence

September 16, 2020

According to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC), women with disabilities are twice as likely to experience domestic violence, compared with others. NIWRC is hosting this webinar to discuss domestic violence and disabilities. Learn more or register.

LTSS for AI/AN people with disabilities

The CMS LTSS Technical Assistance Center offers information on protecting the health and dignity of all people who receive long-term care in Indian Country, including several reports on LTSS for people with disabilities:

August is national immunization awareness month

Staying up to date on immunizations is an important way to help elders stay healthy. With age, the risk for shingles and pneumococcal infections increases, so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that elders receive vaccinations for both diseases.

An example graphic from CDC that shows a bandage with the text "National Immunization Awareness Month, #ivax2protect"

Flu season typically begins in the fall, so remember your flu shot and remind elders to get theirs.

For more information on which vaccinations elders may need, see CDC’s recommended immunization schedule for 2020. CDC also offers toolkits for conducting outreach to health care providers and patients about the importance of vaccination. The toolkits include sample social media posts, educational resources, graphics, and more.

New 18-month CMS tribal calendar available

Front cover of new 2020-2021 18-month calendar

The CMS Division of Tribal Affairs’ newest resource, an 18-month 2020–2021 calendar (PDF, 6.8 MB, 44 pp), is now available for download or order from the Tribal Products Ordering Page. There is no cost to order copies.

The calendar provides health insights for each month with engaging images and links to more information on topics such as traditional foods, vaccinations, and taking care of elders.

Pen pal programs for elders

Social wellbeing is an important aspect of overall health. Isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic can require creative approaches to social connection.

Two elders looking at papers and writing

To help elders avoid loneliness, Bois Forte Band of Chippewa began a pen pal program. The program matches elders with youth, other tribal members, or volunteers from other parts of the country. Pen pals are a great approach to companionship at any age, so consider creating a pen pal arrangement for your program or talking to the local senior center to see if they can match you with someone who needs a pen pal.

Upcoming webinar

No August webinar

There will not be an LTSS webinar in August, but please check the TA Center soon for information on a September webinar. LTSS webinars share information and tools for tribal LTSS programs, with topics ranging from financing to elder abuse prevention to culturally appropriate dementia care.

Caregiver’s corner

Resources for family caregivers

The number of unpaid caregivers is expected to double this year due to COVID-19. Many organizations and informational outlets aim to reduce the stress of caring for a loved one by making different aspects of caregiving easier.

  • Boosting health in multigenerational homes: Homes that contain large, multigenerational families are at higher risk for spreading illness to family members, especially COVID-19. CDC offers tips for keeping people healthy in multigenerational tribal households through monitoring health, preventing spread, and treating illnesses.
  • Supporting mental health: The National Indian Health Board put out a bulletin about caregiving for the physical and mental health of household members. It includes tips for the elderly.
  • Finding community supports: Wellthy helps match families or caregivers with a care coordinator in their area. Give InKind connects people with community supports based on their area of need.
Upcoming Events

August 30 is opioid misuse prevention day

A screenshot of a video from the WA tribal opioid solutions website showing an elder talking to a young woman

Opioid misuse is a behavioral health disorder that can affect anyone, from youth to elders, and from those who are considered well off to those who are considered low income. Learn more about opioids.

Because addiction can be difficult to stop once it starts, prevention is crucial. Share this campaign from WA Tribal Opioid Solutions to show people what they can do to help prevent opioid misuse.

CMS National Training Program virtual workshops

Now–September 3
Register for a virtual workshop

Join CMS for the 2020 CMS National Training Program virtual workshops. Topics include Medicare fraud prevention, COVID-19 response, actions to address opioid misuse, ways to find online resources, Social Security, and more.

National Native Harm Reduction Virtual Summit

September 22–24
Register for the Native Harm Reduction Virtual Summit

9th Annual National Native Harm Reduction Summit. September 22-24, 2020. Sharing our knowledge and healing together. Addressing substance use, harm reduction, HIV, viral hepatitis, TB, STIs, and overdose.

The 9th Annual National Native Harm Reduction Summit has been rescheduled and will now be virtual. Summit tracks cover harm reduction, infectious disease, opioids, culture, and recovery and resiliency.

People who registered for the original May date do not need to re-register. However, if you would like to cancel your registration, please email

OMH virtual symposium: COVID-19 response in racial minority communities

Register today! Advancing the response to COVID-19: Sharing promising programs and practices for racial and ethnic minority populations. A virtual symposium hosted by the HHS Office of Minority Health. September 17, 2020, 12 to 6 pm ET.

September 17
12–6 pm Eastern

Register for the virtual symposium

The Office of Minority Health (OMH) is holding a virtual symposium to advance COVID-19 responses.

Learn about promising practices, programs, and strategies to combat COVID-19 in racial and ethnic minority communities from national, state, tribal, and local experts.

ACL Title VI Grantees Annual Conference

September 29–October 7
Learn more

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) will offer its annual Title VI Grantees Conference virtually from September 29 to October 7. Further details and registration information will be available soon.

CMS and ACL ITU virtual training session

CMS offers training for Indian Health Service, tribal, and urban Indian (ITU) health care providers on available programs and benefits. As part of these efforts, CMS is partnering with the Administration for Community Living to present an upcoming training. More information will be available soon on the CMS American Indian and Alaska Native trainings webpage.

LinkedIn Tribal Affairs Group
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. If you are a member of the group already, you can access it by clicking the group name under Groups on the left side of your LinkedIn landing page.
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