From the Executive Director (March 2015)

Rebecca Davis
Mar 16, 2015 05:08 PM
No Comments | Post a Comment

Rebecca Davis

I think most of us will be happy to see the arrival of Spring on Friday, March 20!  I know I will be.  After last month’s column where I was discussing Kentucky’s weather, we were hit with a second major snow storm on March 4-5. The Governor issued a state of emergency that lasted two days. Snow accumulation records were broken and if you happened to be watching the Weather Channel or national news, you probably heard about the hundreds of folks stranded on the interstates across the Commonwealth.   Here at NCHN headquarters we had approximately 17 inches of snow!  So, yes, so glad to see the longer days and warmer weather. Yesterday it reached 75 degrees. Nice!

I’ve heard the statement, from several parts of the country, “If you don’t like the weather (fill in the blank), just wait a day or two and it will change!” Managing a network is sometimes like dealing with changing weather. However, through your NCHN membership you have access to a number of tools and strategies to support you as you manage the challenges and changes facing your network. 

For those of you that participated on the Informational Calls yesterday, you heard about two new programs available to help you support the healthcare delivery efforts of your members.  The first call was offered by the National Rural Accountable Care Consortium and discussed “Pathway to Sustainability.” Doug Pollock, Regional Executive Director with NationalRuralACO shared information regarding HHS Secretary Burwell’s historical announcement of a CMS goal of having 30% of all Medicare provider payments be in alternative payment models that are tied to how well providers care for their patients, instead of how much care they provide, by 2016!  And the second part of this goal is to have that percentage increase to 50% by 2018!  A second goal is for virtually all Medicare fee-for-service payments to be tied to quality and value, at least 85% in 2016; and 90% in 2018.  How could this be possible? CMS has 114 million dollars in grant funds available to assist rural communities make the transition to this new payment model. Mr. Pollock, summed up the announcement as follows, “Getting paid for population health is the key to your sustainability; community health systems are perfectly poised for success in population health programs; and ACOs are a good transitional program to optimize your delivery system for population health payment models – and if you join now CMS will pay for it.”

The second call was with Nancy Maher, Program Analyst, Office of Rural Health, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Maher provided an update on the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 (VACAA) and spotlighted the Veterans Choice Program.  This is a new program designed to assist the 22 million veterans living in the United States, of which 5.3 million or approximately 24% live in rural areas, more easily access health care closer to home. The “Veterans Choice Fund” has 10 billion dollars available to pay for non-VA provided care. The program sunsets in three (3) years or when the Veterans Choice Fund is exhausted. Network leaders that participated on the call reported already have some veterans enrolled in the program in their network services area. It was helpful that those members already involved in the program shared their experience with others on the call. Networks are  assisting veterans obtain care closer to home.  Additional information about the Veterans Choice Program can be accessed here. And for more information on how to become a Choice provider, click here.

The next NCHN Informational Call is scheduled for June 15 @ 2:00 PM ET.  If you have any suggestions for topics or speakers, please let me know. 

The Call for Nominations for NCHN Directors was distributed last week!  We are looking for a few great network leaders to step up and serve your Association. Directors elected during this year’s election process will serve for three years, May 1, 2015 – April 30, 2018. If you have questions about eligibility requirements to serve as a Director or just questions in general, please feel free to email me or give me  a call to discuss.  Letters of interest are due by Friday, March 27 @ 12:00 PM ET.  The ballot for elections will be distributed in mid-April.

Enjoy the warmer weather and longer days. Take time for yourself - take a walk, take in a spring sporting event, or just sit and listen to the birds sing.  

Rebecca J. Davis, Ph.D.
Executive Director


Comments on 'From the Executive Director (March 2015)':

No Comments | Post a Comment
No comments. Be the first one.
Leave a Comment