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NCHN enews
  NCHN e-News | Issue 11 | May 7, 2010 enews monthly
From the NCHN Board NCHN Member NewsUpcoming events
2010 Officers and Additional Directors Elected
Changes to the By-Laws Approved
2010 Annual Conerence Highlights
2010 Award Winners
Members Email Watch
New Partner: OHITX
  NCHN Welcomes 2 New Members
Winners of the Conference Door Prizes
New State Law Requires Health Insurers to Cover Telemedicine Benefitting Patients and Their Physicians
Star of Louisville Capsizes
  NCHN Regional Meetings
2011 NCHN Annual Conference
Agricultural Medicine Training

in the spotlight
MRS Logo

Monthly News Recap
  Resource: Strengthening the Rural Economy
NHSC Announces New Loan Repayment Pilot Program for Part-time Clinicians
HHS Announces $267 Million in Recovery Act Funds for New Health IT Regional Extension Centers
HHS Awards $144 million for HIT Workforce and SHARP Programs
Effective Collaboration Between Critical Access Hospitals and Federally Qualified Health Centers
Funding: Opportunity to Win a $25,000 Grant

NCHN thanks its Business Partners for their invaluable support of the Association. Please take a moment to visit the Business Partners and see what they can do for your network.

From the NCHN Board

2010 Officers and Additional Directors Elected during the 16th Annual Conference in San Antonio, TX

During a NCHN Board Meeting on Tuesday afternoon, April 20, 2010, officers were elected by the Board of Directors to serve for 2010.  Terry Hill, Immediate Past President, introduced the following new officers, which will serve as the Executive Committee for the Association, to the membership on Wednesday morning:

President, Greg Dent, Community Health Works, GA
Vice-President - Carolyn Witherspoon, Coalition of Health Services, Inc, TX
Secretary - Heather Fuller, Sunflower Health Network, KS
Treasurer - Lonnie Stevens, Thumb Rural Health Network, MI
Immediate Past President - Terry Hill, Northern Lakes Health Consortium, MN

In addition, Terry introduced the following Directors that were elected during the 2010 Annual Membership Meeting:

  • Larry Matheny, Coastal Carolinas Health Alliance, NC, 2011
  • Esther Hammerschlag, Prince of Wales Health Network, AK, 2012
  • Heather Fuller, Sunflower Health Network, KS, 2013
  • Steve Stoddard, Southwest Idaho Community Health Network, ID, 2013

These Directors, join the following Directors already serving on the Board:

  • Beverlyann Austin, Upper Midlands Rural Health Network, 2012
  • Tara Cramer, East Georgia Health Cooperative, GA, 2011
  • Greg Dent, Community Health Works, GA, 2013 (re-elected)
  • Jason Friesen, Pioneer Health Network, KS, 2011
  • Terry Hill, Northern Lakes Health Consortium, MN, 2012 (re-elected)
  • Jack King, Northcentral Montana Healthcare Alliance, MT, 2012
  • Jon Smith, The Hospital Cooperative, ID, 2012
  • Lonnie Stevens, Thumb Rural Health Network, MI, 2012
  • Carolyn Witherspoon, Coalition of Health Services, Inc, TX, 2013 (re-elected)


Changes to the By-Laws Approved

During the 2010 Annual Membership Meeting in San Antonio, TX, the membership approved the following By-Laws changes for the Association:

Section 4.1:  Qualifications of Directors
Each director shall be a natural person and shall be an employee of, or shall formally be affiliated with a Voting Member as an independent contractor otherwise, but no more than one (1) director may be an employee of or affiliated with any one (1) Voting Member at any time.

Section 4.10:  Removal, Vacancies and Newly Created Directorships
Any director of the association may be removed with or without cause by a majority vote of the Voting Members at any annual meeting or special meeting called for such purpose.  Any director who satisfies the qualifications for a director set forth in Section 4.1 as of his/her election, but subsequently ceases to satisfy such qualifications prior to the end of his/her term shall be deemed to have resigned as of the date he/she first fails to satisfy such qualifications, and the remainder of his/her term will be considered a vacancy to be filled by the board of directors as hereinafter set forth.. Any vacancy occurring on the board of directors through removal, resignation, or failure to satisfy the qualification set out in Section 4.1 above, or an increase in the number of directorships shall be filled by a majority vote of the remaining directors then in office, even if less than a quorum, or by the sole remaining director, in such case. Any director chosen by the board of directors as aforesaid shall hold office until the next election of the class of directors for which such director has been chosen, and until their successor is elected and qualified.


Jeff Laniewski2010 Annual Conerence Highlights

The 2010 NCHN Annual Conference will go down in NCHN history as another record breaker in terms of attendance and outstanding sessions!  Approximately 150 members, staff, presenters, HRSA Network Planning Grantees and staff, exhibitors, and guests attended the 16th annual event in San Antonio, Texas, April 19-21. 

[Right: Jeff Laniewski, Vice President of Synernet, prepares for a night on the town. Synernet is a founding member of NCHN. Photo from the Sunday Reception.]

The conference began on Sunday afternoon with a special workshop offered by NCHN Silver Level Business Partner, Paradigm Learning. Participants were treated to an afternoon of learning about and playing an abbreviated version of Zodiak, their award-winning business acumen simulation. Zodiak is a fun, fast-paced simulation that shows healthcare workers how their actions and decisions impact the bottom line. Participation in the workshop helped members recognize that outstanding patient care and good business decisions are not mutually exclusive. The pre-conference workshop was followed by a Welcome Reception where NCHN members and guests renewed friendships and met new colleagues. 

The two and a half day conference was filled with educational and networking events. Participants had a variety of workshop topics to select from, exhibits to visit, and networking opportunities both during and after sessions. Monday night participants enjoyed the Texas Cavaliers River Parade from the 3rd floor balcony of the Hard Rock Café. Over forty (40) lighted floats participated in the annual River Parade and NCHN conference participants and guests had a great view of this spectacular event! 

On Monday, the 2nd Annual Awards luncheon was held and three NCHN members were recognized by their peers. In addition, NCHN presented a new category, the Friend of NCHN award.  Details about the Award Winners are below. Congratulations to the 2010 award winners and nominees!

The 2010 HRSA Network Planning Grantees also attended the conference and had special training on how to implement their newly funded projects. All thirty (30) new projects were represented at the conference. During two panel presentations, NCHN members shared their experience with grantees, discussing challenges of establishing and managing a network.  In addition to meeting with their Technical Assistance Provider from Georgia Health Policy Center, grantees received information on what they should do when they get home and begin implementing their project, including grant management, reporting requirements, and how to formalize their networks.

Get more info Conference sessions included discussions on a wide variety of topics.  Several sessions were offered by NCHN members that shared their expertise and successes. The Conference Program, along with the power point presentations from the sessions are available here (pdf).

Make plans now to attend the 2011 Annual Conference, which will be held April 17-20, 2011 in Scottsdale, AZ!


2010 Award Winners

On April 19, 2010, the National Cooperative of Health Networks Association (NCHN) announced their second national award winners during their annual conference in San Antonio, Texas.

Cindy Large and Rebecca Davis2010 Outstanding New & Emerging Network Leader of the Year
Cindy Large, Executive Director of the Indiana Statewide Rural Health Network (InSRHN), was selected as the recipient of the NCHN Outstanding New and Emerging Network Leader Award.

[Right: Cindy Large (right), recipient of the Outstanding New & Emerging Network Leader of the Year award, with Rebecca Davis (left), Executive Director of NCHN]

The NCHN Outstanding New & Emerging Network Leader of the Year Award recognizes extraordinary leadership activities demonstrated by a new health network leader with less than five years experience in the field. Award winners were nominated and chosen by their national peers.

Large was specifically recognized her for efficiency as a network leader and her ability to inspire and instill confidence in other leaders who are just embarking on the formation of networks. “Cindy’s nomination said it best,” adds Rebecca Davis, Executive Director of NCHN. According to one member who nominated Large, “Cindy has inspired and encouraged me to move forward with my leadership as Grant Coordinator for our Network Planning Grant.” As a presenter at the 2008 NCHN Annual Conference in San Diego, “She was both welcoming and authentic,” the nominator said. “Her first words, ‘I was sitting in your seat last year, and I didn’t have a clue what I was doing!’ She shared her experience in such a way, that not only did I visit with her at the conference, I’ve called and written her several times since. At the end of each conversation I left with the sense that I know I can do this...”

Large served as the leadership for the initial grant application which gave rise to the Indiana Statewide Rural Health Network in 2008. She assembled partners with the expertise and connections to rural heath, to create a cohesive group of hospitals in rural Indiana, that are working together to improve the quality of and access to healthcare in Indiana’s underserved communities. In just two years, Large has created a fully sustainable network based on a unique combination of membership fees, grant collaborations and partnerships, usage fees and administrative fees. The InSRHN provides an extremely low cost, high return, model to provide each member with substantial return on investment for their time and financial commitment. In 2009, under Cindy’s leadership, the Network achieved a 477% return on investment for its individual members.

Larry Matheny receives the Outstanding Network Leader of 20102010 Outstanding Network Leader of the Year Award
Larry Matheny, Coastal Carolinas Health Alliance, was selected as the recipient of the NCHN Outstanding Network Leader of 2010.

[Left: Carolyn Witherspoon (right), member of the 2010 Awards Committee, presents the 2010 Network Leader of the Year Award to Larry Matheny (left).]

The Outstanding Network Leader of the Year Award recognizes a network leader with at least five (5) years of experience for leadership in managing a successful health network organization. This award is meant to be inclusive of all types of health networks, alliances, collaboratives, and consortiums. Award winners were nominated and chosen by their national peers.

Larry Matheny has served as President of the Coastal Carolinas Health Alliance (CCHA) since 2005. Since its inception in 1993, CCHA has served not-for-profit hospitals in North Carolina, placing a major emphasis on regional group purchasing contracts. During Matheny’s tenure, savings have gone from $2.3 million to $5.7 million, an average of over an eight to one (8:1) return on investment. CCHA has concentrated on grant writing and has been awarded several grants to develop a mobile simulation laboratory, a Health Information Exchange (HIE) and a regional sexual assault nurse examiner program (SANE).  Efforts are underway to fund a community diabetes education program and a LEAN collaborative for southeastern North Carolina.

Prior to coming to Coastal Carolinas Health Alliance, Larry was the Executive Director of the Greensboro Healthcare Network, a physician-hospital, managed care, joint venture, with 330 physician providers and the Moses Cone Health System.  He managed several large freestanding and hospital based medical groups in North Carolina and Illinois and was the vice president of a physician practice development company that established medical practices around the country. Larry has more than twenty years of hospital and health system operations experience in the role of Vice President of Operations, Executive Vice President and Senior Vice President in three not-for-profit community hospitals in the Midwest and the Southeast.

“Larry Matheny and CCHA have been an asset to NCHN members,” said Rebecca Davis, Executive Director of NCHN. “He is always willing to share best practices, benchmark data and assist other members in times of need.” In April 2010, Matheny was also elected by the NCHN membership to serve on the NCHN Board of Directors.

Chris Hopkins receives award on behalf of MHN2010 Outstanding Health Network of the Year
The Montana Health Network was selected nationally as the NCHN Outstanding Health Network of 2010. Chris Hopkins, Vice President of Strategy for the Montana Health Network (MHN), accepted the award on behalf of MHN and their CEO, Jan Bastian.

[Right: Carolyn Witherspoon (left), member of the 2009 Awards Committee, presents the award to Chris Hopkins (right) on behalf of MHN.]

The Outstanding Health Network of the Year Award recognizes a network that has improved access to health services in its service area and has improved the coordination of resources for members using particularly innovative and comprehensive approaches. Award winners were nominated and chosen by their national peers.

Montana Health Network has numerous successful programs, including its education programs, temporary staffing pool and specialty staffing process, multiple employer 401(k) plan, insurance plans, and group purchasing. The network has also been instrumental in the development of telemedicine services in the region. In addition to its own programs, Montana Health Network has worked in partnership with other networks, including Northland Healthcare Alliance (ND), Western Healthcare Alliance (CO), Nevada Rural Hospital Partners, Health Future, Inc. (OR) to further programs in mobile imaging, medical collections, staff education, property insurance, and employee investigations. 

Both supportive and indicative of its effectiveness, Montana Health Network has been highly successful in securing grants to expand their services. Among them are a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant which funds upgraded pharmacy services in many locations and established telepharmacies in areas where the closes pharmacy was over seventy (70) miles away. “These serve as excellent models for other settings,” said Rebecca Davis, Executive Director of NCHN. “Montana Health Network truly embodies the ideal of a network, collaborating with organizations within the state and throughout a multi-state region, furthering educational programs, and working to address technological barriers in underserved areas,” added Davis. “This is what networks are designed to do... improve access to health care and make underserved regions more sustainable for providers and health care consumers alike.”

Established in 1987, Montana Health Network has thirteen employees and a temporary staffing pool of approximately one hundred and fifty (150). The network is governed by seventeen (17) core members in Montana and also works with forty-one (41) affiliates in Montana and Wyoming, which include mental health centers, nursing homes, community health centers, and physicians’ practices.

Heman Marshall2010 Friend of  NCHN
Heman A. Marshall, III, Principal with Woods & Rogers Attorneys at Law, was the recipient of the first annual Friend of NCHN Award.

[Left: Heman Marshall addresses the luncheon crowd after receiving the first award in its category, the 2010 Friend of NCHN award.]

The Friend of NCHN Award is given to recognize a program, institution, agency, or individual that has advocated for or provided extraordinary support to the Association. 

In the past four (4) years, Heman Marshall, III, has contributed many hours of volunteer service to NCHN, including extensive work with the NCHN Board of Directors and By-Laws Committee. Marshall has presented at numerous NCHN Conferences and Regional Meetings and has provided training for Human Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) network grantees, in conjunction with NCHN’s annual conferences.

As a Principal with Woods Rogers Attorneys at Law, Marshall has served as the Coordinator of the firm’s Health Law Practice Section since its inception in the early 1980’s and was the initial Chairman of the Virginia Bar Association Health Law Section and the Virginia State Bar Antitrust, Franchise and Trade Regulations Sections, and is currently a member of the Governing Counsel of the Virginia Bar Association Health Law Section. He has lectured extensively to attorneys and health care professionals and numerous topics. In addition, Marshall is a published author and is listed in the “Best Lawyers in American” under the categories of both Health Care Law and Antitrust.  He was recently made a member of “Outstanding Lawyers of America” and s a fellow of both the Virginia Bar Foundation and the American Bar Foundation.

“Heman has been a valuable asset to NCHN and our work over the past four years,” stated Rebecca J. Davis, Ph.D, the Executive Director of NCHN.  “Without his support and dedication to the Association over the past four years, our significant growth and expansion would not have been possible. He has contributed many hours of volunteer work to NCHN and our members that has enabled us to streamline our Business Partner Program application process, update and amend our by-laws, and provide direction on Health Information Technology and its implementation into health network s across the nation. We are greatly indebted to Mr. Marshall for his support, leadership, and his unselfish volunteerism to the Association.” 


Members Email Watch

2010 Committees are forming!  You should have already received an email with the description of 2010 Committees and a request to sign up to serve your Association.  If you have not, and you are interested in serving on one of NCHN’s committees, please let Rebecca know ASAP.

Salary and Benefit Survey! The Program Development Committee encourages all members to complete the 2010 Salary and Benefits Survey for Network Leaders. The Program Development Committee coordinates this function and encourages all members to participate in this important membership benefit!  This year the survey is available on-line through SurveyMonkey and includes some new questions.  The Committee is planning to prepare some additional report from the data to better meet the needs of our members.  You must be an NCHN member to participate in the survey.  All survey participants will receive a free copy of the final report. If you did not receive an email with the link to the survey, please let Christy know by emailing


New Partner: OHITX


The Open Health IT Exchange (OHITX) is a national healthcare association focused on collaboration and health IT adoption.  As a partner of NCHN, we invite you to take advantage of several free education, communications, and networking opportunities to assist you with IT adoption and e-Health, navigating regulatory topics including HIPAA, and the challenge of staying current on news i.e. ARRA, EHR and meaningful use.  Please consider participating in the following:

To learn more about OHITX, please go to

We look forward to serving you as a partner of NCHN.


Colleen E. Sauter


MRS Logoin the Spotlight

Medical Recovery Services

Lincoln County Medical Center, Troy, Missouri

Until the late 1990’s, Lincoln County, Missouri was rural America.  Today, it is the center of growth.  When Lincoln County Medical Center, a 25-bed Critical Access Hospital, realized that suburban St. Louis was marching directly toward them, they knew help was needed with their managed care contracts.

Medical Recovery Services (MRS) systematically overhauled Lincoln’s contracts.  “Many were ten to twelve years old.  Being a small independent, county-owned hospital, we didn’t feel we had a voice with the payors,” CFO Albert Wiss remarks.  “MRS was able to negotiate new contracts resulting in over $700,000 in additional revenue.” 

In conjunction with the contracting project, claim auditing and chargemaster projects were also undertaken, resulting in collections of over $900,000 and strategic pricing net increases exceeding $1,000,000 in two years.    

Partnering with MRS resulted in stronger payor relationships and an advocate for working through operational problems.  “We know we have a voice.  MRS is a true partner, a deep resource for all our managed care concerns,” says Wiss.  “Their wealth of information and solid ability has resulted in over $2 million to Lincoln County.”

Get more info To learn more about MRS’ unique package of Revenue Cycle services, including Chargemaster, Business Intelligence and Managed Care, call 816-229-4887.     


NCHN Member News

NCHN Welcomes 2 New Members

Health Care Coalition of Lafayette County (Lexington, MO)

Health Care Coalition of Lafayette County’s mission is to provide leadership in securing comprehensive services across the continuum of care. Their purpose is to monitor the availability and delivery of health care services, thus ensuring that all residents are informed about heath and wellness services in the region. The network offers a variety of programs and services to its members, including Health Information Technology, Access to Care, County Wide Insurance Plan, Health Lifestyles, and Transportation.  The network was formed in 2006 and is comprised of 25 organizations in Lafayette County.

Get more info Contact: Toniann Richard, Executive Director
Phone: 660-259-9019

Upper Peninsula Health Education Corporation (Marquette, MI)

Upper Peninsula Health Education Corporation is a new HRSA Network Planning Grantee and will be developing the network over the next year.  The purpose of the planning grant is to establish administrative infrastructure and linkages across multiple programs.  The network has three members, all located in Marquette.

Get more info Contact: David Luoma, MD, CEO
Phone: 906-228-7970


Whats MissingWinners of Conference Door Prizes

Congratulations to the winners of the door prizes at the closing of the NCHN 16th Annual Conference!

  • Daryl Bohlender (Western Healthcare Alliance, CO) won a 60 Minute Spa Treatment from Hotel Valley Ho, site of the 2011 NCHN Annual Conference
  • Stephen Stoddard (Southwest Idaho Community Health Network, ID) won an AZ T-shirt
  • Heather Fuller (Sunflower Health Network, KS) and Cindy Large (Indiana Statewide Rural Health Network, IN) each won a registration for one of the 2010 Regional Meetings in Colorado or Illinois
  • James Flickema (Northern Michigan Regional Health System, MI) won a 2011 Annual Conference Registration
We hope you enjoyed the conference and the door prizes!


New Virginia State Law Requires Health Insurers to Cover Telemedicine Benefitting Patients and Their Physicians

On Monday, April 5, 2010 at 2:00 PM, Governor of Virginia Bob McDonnell signed SB675, a bill which requires health providers to cover costs of telemedicine services (using interactive audio and video to diagnose, consult and treat patients.) To reinforce the law’s importance, this signing ceremony was broadcast from VCU Health System utilizing telemedicine video-conferencing technology to various telehealth locations in the state including five locations in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula.

The local organization responsible for managing and increasing the impact of the technology is NCHN Member Northern Neck Middle Peninsula Telehealth Consortium (NNMP Telehealth), based in Tappahannock.  Its mission is "To increase the overall health and well-being of the communities in northeastern Virginia." Telemedicine avoids unnecessary transfer of patients between hospitals, provides enhanced access to locally unavailable services, and lowers the cost of care and reduces the burden of expensive,  and time-consuming travel for patients. Telemedicine outpatient clinics are available at Rappahannock General Hospital on the Northern Neck, and on the Middle Peninsula at Riverside Tappahannock Hospital. Among other activities, NNMP Telehealth organizes education sessions for the public and local providers, including certified diabetes education, which are broadcast two-three  times per month to Three Rivers Health District offices. About the signing of the bill, Dr. Thomas K. Irungu, Director of the Three Rivers Health District said, “This bill will have significant positive effects in addressing barriers to healthcare services in our community. This is especially important in rural areas such as ours where specialty services are not available. The effect will be improvement not only on individual health but also the health of the community.”

Medical specialists at the University of Virginia or Virginia Commonwealth University see patients of local Northern Neck or Middle Peninsula physicians using telemedicine video and diagnostic equipment. Images and data from the local offices are broadcast to the specialist in real time, allowing dialogue with the consulting physician, just as if the patient had taken the time to travel to Charlottesville or Richmond.

Telehealth services provided in Virginia now include, but are not limited to, heart, skin, gastrointestinal, infectious disease, neurology (including stroke), pain management, pediatrics, psychiatry, lung, dermatology, gastroenterology, gerontology, infectious disease, neurology, and high risk OB/GYN.  Patients must be referred by their primary care physicians.

Dr. Robusto, who practices medicine in Urbanna, agreed with Dr. Irungu and added, “I think it’s great that the cost of telemedicine will be covered. Patients, families, and physicians will all benefit and it will improve access to healthcare for a lot of people.”

Members of NNMP Telehealth are: Riverside Tappahannock Hospital, Rappahannock General Hospital, Riverside Walter Reed Hospital, Westmoreland Medical Center, Middle Peninsula Northern Neck Community Services Board, Family Maternity Center of Northern Neck, Bay Aging, Central Virginia Health Services, Three Rivers Health District, UVA Offices of Telemedicine, VCU Telemedicine, and Virginia Health Quality Center. The organization has broadened its reach with its newest member, Riverside Shore Hospital on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

Get more info For more information, contact Edie McRee Bowles, Northern Neck Middle Peninsula Telehealth office - 804-443-6286.


Star’s barge capsizes into Ohio River in Jeffersonville
excerpted from The News and Tribune (Jeffersonville, IN)

Those who attended the NCHN meeting in Louisville in November 2007 and went out on the Star of Louisville will likely be interested to know...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - The city of Jeffersonville has spent weeks trying to move the Star of Jeffersonville’s ticketing barge from the city’s riverbank.

Mother Nature did the job for it Wednesday evening.

The barge capsized away from the bank at about 6:30, according to Jeffersonville Mayor Tom Galligan, and dozens of spectators lined up under the John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge to watch the free water show.

Get more info Continue reading...


Upcoming Events

NCHN Regional Meetings

Mark your calendar for the 2010 Regional Meetings

Denver, Colorado - Friday, September 17, 2010

Chicago, Illinois - Monday, September 27, 2010

Get more info Looking for more NCHN event dates? Find Quarterly Conference call dates and others in the Members Only section of the NCHN website.


2011 NCHN 17th Annual Conference

Mark you calendar and save the date!

April 17 - 20, 2011
Scottsdale, Arizona
Hotel Valley Ho


Agricultural Medicine Training (IA)

Agricultural Medicine: Occupational and Environmental Health for Rural Health Professionals CORE COURSE
June 7-11, 2010

The University of Iowa Building Capacity Project
Sheraton Iowa City Hotel
210 South Dubuque Street
Iowa City, Iowa

Get more info View the brochure


Monthly News Recap

Resource: Strengthening the Rural Economy

The President’s Council of Economic Advisers has released a 47-page report entitled “Strengthening The Rural Economy.” The report highlights the Administration’s accomplishments, as well as the President’s analysis of rural issues and his plans for rural America. To get a copy, control+click on

The New York Times ran a story about thousands of non profits projected to lose their 501(c)3 status on May 15 this year because of a new law that goes into effect on that date. An estimated one-fifth to one-quarter of some 1.6 million charities, trade associations and membership groups will lose their tax exemptions, thanks to a provision buried in a 2006 federal bill aimed at pension reform.

Get more info To read the article, go to


NHSC Announces New Loan Repayment Pilot Program for Part-time Clinicians

Deadline: May 25, 2010

Part-time clinicians can now receive up to $50,000 in loan repayment in exchange for a four-year service commitment to the National Health Service Corps (NHSC).  Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. EDT May 25, 2010.

Get more info Please visit the NHSC website for more information and to apply:


HHS Announces $267 Million in Recovery Act Funds for New Health IT Regional Extension Centers

Grants to Provide Hands-On, Community-Based Support to Providers to Accelerate the Adoption of Health Information Technology

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today that more than $267 million has been awarded to 28 additional non-profit organizations to establish Health Information Technology Regional Extension Centers (RECs). This investment, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, will help grow the emerging health information technology (health IT) industry which is expected to support tens of thousands of jobs ranging from nurses and pharmacy techs to IT technicians and trainers.

RECs enable health care practitioners to reach out to a local resource for technical assistance, guidance, and information on best practices. RECs are designed to address unique community requirements and to support and accelerate provider efforts to become meaningful users of electronic health records.

“Health care in our country is community-based. Today’s awards represent our ongoing commitment to make sure that health providers have the necessary support within their communities to maximize the use of health IT to improve the care they provide to their patients,” said Secretary Sebelius.

This round of awards, bringing the total number of REC’s to 60, will provide nationwide outreach and technical support services to at least 100,000 primary care providers and hospitals within two years. The primary care provider is usually the first medical practitioner contacted by a patient. Studies have also found that primary care providers are at the forefront of practicing preventative medicine, a key to improving population health and reducing overall health costs. More than $375 million had been awarded earlier to RECs under this program.

Additionally, all REC awardees, those announced today and the 32 announced on Feb. 12, 2010, now have an opportunity to apply for a two-year expansion supplemental award. The supplemental awards would ensure that health IT support services are available to over 2,000 of the nation’s critical access hospitals and rural hospitals, both defined as having 50 beds or less. Approximately $25 million is available through this supplemental expansion program.

“Regional extension centers will provide the needed hands-on, field support for all health care providers to advance the rapid adoption and use of health IT. RECs are a vital part of our overall efforts to improve the quality and efficiency of health care through the effective use of health IT,” said Dr. David Blumenthal, national coordinator for health information technology.

Today’s awards are part of the $2 billion effort by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to achieve widespread meaningful use of health IT and provide use of an electronic health record by every person by the year 2014.

Get more info Complete listing of REC grant recipients and additional information about the Health Information Technology Regional Extension Centers, see
Get more info For information about other HHS Recovery Act programs, see


HHS Awards $144 million for HIT Workforce and SHARP Programs

HHS Awards $144 Million in Recovery Act Funds to Institutions of Higher Education and Research to Address Critical Needs for the Widespread Adoption and Meaningful Use of Health Information Technology

Academia and the Research Community will support health providers by delivering more than 50,000 new health IT professionals to the workforce and addressing current and future barriers to achieving meaningful use of health IT

Awards totaling $84 million to 16 universities and junior colleges will support training and development of more than 50,000 new health IT professionals. Additionally Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects (SHARP) awards totaling $60 million were provided to four advanced research institutions ($15 million each) to focus on solving current and future challenges that represent barriers to adoption and meaningful use of health IT. Both sets of awards are funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Today’s awards are part of the $2 billion effort to achieve widespread meaningful use of health IT and provide for the use of an electronic health record (EHR) for each person in the United States by 2014.

“Training a cadre of new health IT professionals and breaking down barriers to the adoption of meaningful use of health IT are both critical to the national effort to use information technology to realize better patient care,” stated David Blumenthal, MD, MPP, national coordinator for health information technology. “The institutions receiving awards today will develop necessary roadmaps to help health care providers and hospitals implement and effectively use electronic health records.”

Get more info View the release, including a list of Workforce Award recipients by program area

Get more info For information about other HHS Recovery Act programs, see


Effective Collaboration Between Critical Access Hospitals and Federally Qualified Health Centers

HRSA Announcement

In the past few years, the number of health center sites has increased dramatically. Today, there are more than 1,500 community-based health center grantees in some 7,500 service delivery sites across the Nation with a third located in rural communities.  As the health centers have grown, so have the numbers of Critical Access Hospitals which are a lifeline to rural residents in need of health care.

With health centers and Critical Access Hospitals both facing increasing demand for services, the need for collaboration has never been greater.  Our goal, at HRSA, is to encourage strong partnerships between community health centers and Critical Access Hospitals.  We know that collaboration is not always easy, and it is our hope that this manual -- Effective Collaboration Between Critical Access Hospitals and Federally Qualified Health Centers -- can help to promote the many benefits of working together.

The manual looks at collaboration from a variety of angles.  It covers all the basics and highlights three success stories. In addition to this manual, HRSA is also taking other steps to promote collaboration among rural safety net providers. We are working to allow State grantees in the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility grant program to use that funding to promote collaboration between community health centers and Critical Access Hospitals, and we are also looking to revise the new access points guidance for community health centers to promote collaboration among all existing safety net providers.

Get more info Please visit where you can get a copy of this manual or give us a call at 301-443-0835.


Post Cereals and the National Wellness Institute Announce the Opportunity to Win a $25,000 Grant

Aimed at empowering individuals to take initiative in improving their communities, the Post Grant for Good Health will award $25,000 to the plan for the best health and wellness community project.

From planting public gardens, to building a playground to creating a fitness center, applicants can submit their 300-word essay until May 17, 2010. Post and the National Wellness Institute will help select the top finalists, who will be featured on, where the public can vote for the project they find most meaningful from June 1 to July 12, 2010. The winner will be announced at the 35th Annual National Wellness National Wellness Conference in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, July 22, 2010.

Get more info Have an idea for improving your community? Get started by visiting for entry details.


NCHN Business Partners