The Veterans Administration (VA) has announced in the attached March 19, 2012, FEDERAL REGISTER notice an upcoming consultation meeting with tribes on several matters. The session will be April 5, 2012, in Washington, D.C. The VA asks for written comments by March 30, 2012, in preparation for the meeting and will accept written comments for an additional 30 days following the April meeting.
The topics of the consultation session are:
• Veterans Administration-Indian Health Service Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which was signed October 1, 2010. The MOU is designed to improve health care services for Indian/Alaska Native veterans through increased coordination, collaboration and resource-sharing between the two agencies. A major issue is the development of the VA’s reimbursement policy/procedures to IHS and tribal facilities for services provided to Indian and Alaska Native veterans. See our General Memorandum 10-144 of November 19, 2010, for additional information about the MOU.
• Tribal Cemetery Grants Program under which the VA may make grants to tribal organizations for the establishment, expansion and improvement of veterans cemeteries on trust lands. The VA would like to consult regarding ways to increase awareness of this program and about challenges faced by tribes in utilizing this program. See our General Memorandum 12-021 of February 10, 2012, regarding the final rule for the Tribal Cemetery Grants Program.
• VA’s Native American Direct Loan Program under which Indian/Alaska Native veterans may qualify for direct loans to purchase, construct or improve a home on trust land. The VA would like to consult with tribes regarding increasing the awareness of and utilization of the Direct Loan Program.
Please let us know if we may provide additional information or assistance regarding the Veterans Administration tribal consultation.