Don Young Alaska Native Health Care Land Transfers Act of 2022

Floor Speech

Date: April 26, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BENTZ. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 441, as amended, that will direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Indian Health Service, to convey by warranty deed and for health- related activities certain parcels of Federal land to the Tanana Tribal Council, the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.

This amended text is a compilation of three separate Indian healthcare land transfer bills for the State of Alaska introduced by the late Congressman Don Young. All three of these bills were favorably reported out of the Committee on Natural Resources by unanimous consent during this Congress.

The first land transfer directed under this act includes 10.25 acres of land in Tanana, Alaska. In 1995, the Tanana Tribal Council assumed responsibility for healthcare services from the Indian Health Service. The parcel of land the Tribe is seeking title to encompasses a portion of a former Indian Health Service hospital site. The council intends to use the land to construct a new community wellness clinic, expand eldercare, and develop nursing services.

The second transfer includes 10.87 acres of land that is part of the Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital campus in Sitka, Alaska. The Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium is a Native-run nonprofit health organization that assumed responsibility for providing healthcare services from the Indian Health Service in 1976 and currently operates its Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka. The consortium intends to use the parcel to support future hospital expansion and replacement.

The third land transfer under this act includes 3.5 acres of land that is part of the Alaska Native Medical Center campus in Anchorage. In 1999, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium assumed responsibility for healthcare services from the Indian Health Service, and the consortium provides comprehensive medical services at the Alaska Native Medical Center.

The ANTHC is the largest Native-run nonprofit health organization in the United States, serving more than 178,000 Native Alaskans. Gaining title to the parcels will enable the ANTHC to streamline its operations, update and refurbish, and expand the hospital's capacity to offer health services to patients outside of Anchorage.

Before I conclude, I will take a moment to again recognize all the hard work Congressman Young put into serving his constituents and, notably, his work for Native people in Alaska during his tenure in Congress. I think it is more than appropriate that we are renaming this legislation after the late dean of the House, further memorializing his efforts for Native Alaskans. Mr. Young will be deeply missed by all of us.

Madam Speaker, I urge adoption of this bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.