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NCHN eNews
February 2011
Dear NCHN Members and Friends,

This is the latest issue of the NCHN e-News, the monthly newsletter we use to share information and news that we think will be useful to health networks.

This issue includes important reminders and deadlines, upcoming events, and a feature story about Forsyth-Stephens Consulting, one of our Silver Level partners. Beyond that, the bulk of the national news, as is common the last 12 months or so, is ACA and HIT related.

We hope you enjoy it and, as always, if you have information you would like to share, or have any feedback, please email us.

NCHN Staff







Quarterly Membership Call
Monday, March 14 at 12:30 PM ET

Affordable Care Act: A Wisconsin Perspective

Jeremy Levin, Director of Advocacy at the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative (RWHC) will discuss the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and its potential implications for rural and critical access hospitals.  Please join us to learn how the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative is working on behalf of its members to negotiate the upcoming mandates of the Affordable Care Act. Jeremy has been with RWHC since 2008, advocating at both the state and federal levels government in the area of health policy.  Prior to his time at RWHC, Jeremy spent five years advocating for physicians in Wisconsin.  He also worked in the Wisconsin State Legislature and serves on the Dane County Board. Jeremy received his bachelor’s degree from Denison University in Granville, OH and earned a Capstone Graduate Certificate from the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Registration is required. Please email Debbie at if you plan to be on the call. You will receive instructions via email.


1 Month, 16 Days until the NCHN Annual Conference

The NCHN Annual Conference is almost here. The Conference Planning Committee has been working hard. Many of you have registered and we are delighted that most will be joining us for a Pre-Conference Session. Here are some reminders to keep you on track:

Deadline to Reserve your room: March 21, 2011

Early-Bird Registration Rate Deadline: April 1, 2011


NCHN Continues Executive Coaching Team Training

NCHN Is pleased to announce that the NCHN Executive Coaching Team Training Program will continue in 2011 and will expand to a 15-person team.  A special training session for NCHN members interested in serving the Association as an Executive Coach will be offering on Sunday, April 17, 2011 as a pre-conference session to our 17th Annual Conference in Scottsdale, AZ.  The session will be from 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM local time. 

“Facilitating Excellence” training is limited to fifteen (15) participants and will be offered from April 2011 through February 2012.  Members selected to participate in the program will have a face-to-face kick-off session on April 17, followed with four (4) specialized conference calls throughout the year. The kick-off session in Scottsdale is designed to provide a foundational understanding of executive coaching and tools or resources for sustaining coaching practices when you return home. The specialized executive coaching topics will be one-hour phone calls that will provide materials and tools to build and expand leadership through coaching  I have attached an overview of the NCHN Executive Coaching Program and an application form for the 2011 Executive Coaching Team.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the 2011 Executive Coaching Team, please complete the application form and return to me by March 15. Members that are selected to participate in the program will be expected to volunteer at least one hour a month to serve as a coach to assigned NCHN member(s). In addition, you must be willing to serve as a mentor to a small group of Network Planning Grantees. The mentoring activities will include peer-to-peer monthly sessions with the grantees and individual phone calls and emails with the assigned grantee. The Grantees will be attending the conference in Scottsdale, so that you will have the opportunity to meet them. 

If you have questions, please let Rebecca know. To participate, complete the application and email it to Rebecca at  The application is due by March 15, 2011. 


Deadlines & Reminders

Deadline for Nominations for Board of Directors: The deadline to nominate a member for the Board of Directors has been extended to Friday, March 4th.

2011 Dues: Don't delay! The deadline to get your membership dues in to remain a member is April 1st (but why wait until April Fool's Day... we'll wonder what ya really think)

2011 Awards: The deadline to nominate a deserving candidate for an NCHN Award is March 15th. Awards will be presented during the Awards Luncheon at the Annual Conference in Scottsdale.

Deadline to make Hotel Reservations the Annual Conference: March 21st @ 5:00 PM MT

The Board thanks Larry Matheny for his service to NCHN and wishes him well in his retirement.

March Call Dates

Thursday, March 10: Annual Conference Planning Committee @ 12:30 PM ET

Thursday, March 10: 2011 Leadership Summit Committee Call @ 2:00 PM ET

Monday, March 14: Quarterly Membership Call @ 12:30 PM ET

Thursday, March 24: 2011 Annual Conference Planning Committee @ 12:30 PM ET

Monday, March 28: Board of Directors Call @ 1:00 PM ET


Featured Partner

Healthcare Management

Forsyth-Stephens Consulting a Product of Tragic Shooting at Virginia Tech...

From the Forum

There are no new Topics posted this week. Have a question for the members?

From - Rebus Puzzles

A REBUS is a picture representation of a name, work, or phrase. A "rebus" puzzle box portrays a common word or phrase. Can you guess what this one is?





Amy Forsyth-StephensForsyth-Stephens Consulting a Product of Tragic Shooting at Virginia Tech

Amy Forsyth-Stephens (left), the owner of Forsyth-Stephens Consulting, LLC, was keenly aware of the tremendous mental health needs of uninsured part-time or contract workers at Virginia Tech in the hours, weeks, months and years following the tragic shooting there that killed 32.  In April 2007 she had just submitted a grant proposal to HRSA for a rural health outreach grant for Giles County, Virginia—the insulated Appalachian region adjacent to Virginia Tech.  A good number of the custodial, food service and maintenance employees of VT live in Giles County, where life is tremendously more affordable than in university-centric Blacksburg.  When the tragedy occurred, many of these people were without health or mental health insurance.  Without professional help, recovery was sure to be more difficult.

Fortunately, Giles County did receive the HRSA grant, and Amy and colleagues set about an intensive process to enhance the mental health component of their service delivery model.  Pro Bono mental health counselors took up shop at the Giles Free Clinic, and began serving anyone who inquired with a need related to the tragedy.  Amy spearheaded the organization of a recovery-focused coalition of helping organizations, called CHAT (Community Healing after Tragedy).  CHAT sponsored numerous walk-in grief sessions and facilitated the delivery of support services to the people of communities surrounding the University.

Amy states, “Those days and weeks were a blur.  Our area of Southwest Virginia had experienced a mental health disaster of enormous impact, and we knew the ripple effects would be with us for years, if not decades.  The process of community-wide recovery seemed overwhelming, when so many folks were barely holding it together.” 

Three years later, in March 2010, Amy formed Forsyth-Stephens Consulting, LLC.  She is grateful for the more peaceful lifestyle that the consulting business has facilitated, and the opportunity to assist rural communities across the country as they struggle with healthcare access issues.  From her Zen-themed office, she provides development consultation to rural health organizations, health care safety net clinics, mental health associations, and women’s service groups.  Her clients value the creative, yet practical nature of her assistance.  Her track record of results speaks for itself.

Forsyth-Stephens Consulting, LLC is a Business Partner of the National Cooperative of Health Networks.  Amy will be leading a pre-conference workshop on April 17th, focusing on diversified resource development strategies for health networks. You can view the session description here and register online at

NOTE: Registration is limited to the first 25 to select this pre-conference workshop. 13 seats remain, so make sure to register soon if you plan to attend the workshop!



Larry MathenyCoastal Carolinas Health Alliance: Larry Matheny retires...
Larry (pictured on the left, receiving the 2010 Network Leader of the Year Award) sent us a message to share with you; it is below. Through his time with NCHN, Larry has served on various committees and the Board of Directors. We will miss Larry's consistent participation and support, but we hope you will join us in welcoming Yvonne Hughes as Director of CCHA. Congratulations to Larry on his productive career and his well-deserved retirement!

NCHN Friends:

I’ve enjoyed my professional relationship with all of you and the networking has been great!  I’ve learned so much from all of you and value our friendship.  NCHN is a very worthwhile organization and our Alliance has benefitted from our member.

Betsy and I will take some time to decide what we want to do next.  Walking on the beach (someplace) will be close to the top of the list.  If your travels bring you close to Wilmington, NC, please look us up.  Best wishes for continued success.




HRSA HIT and Quality Webinar

"Overview of Open Source Tools Health IT and Solutions for the Safety Net Community”
Friday, March 4th, 2011, 2pm to 3:30pm EST

This is the second and final webinar in a series that focuses on open source health information technology (IT) tools and solutions for the safety net community.  Open Source health IT tools are lower cost alternatives to proprietary systems.   The presenters will provide an overview of different types of open source tools, the benefits and challenges of using open source health IT tools, and how these systems can be used, and provide high quality care to meet population health needs. In addition, our lead speaker is Dr. Rob Kolodner, a former National Coordinator of Health IT and currently the Chief Health Informatics Officer for the non-profit organization Open Health Tools, Inc. Dr. Kolodner will present on various open source health IT tools and how they can benefit the safety net community’s health IT needs. The second presenter, Ms. Eliza Gibson will speak about her experience using an open source cloud computing systems in a newly established urban free clinic. Lastly, our third presenter Dr. Amit Acharya will present on the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin’s use of an open dental EHR system which is interoperable with its in house developed EHR system.


HRSA Sponsored Health IT and Meaningful Use Workshop In March

Registration is now open for two HRSA-funded workshops in March.  The learning sessions will provide insights and tools for successfully negotiating the stages of EHR implementation from planning to post- implementation optimization of use  to qualify for the CMS Incentive Payments.

March 9-10 – “EHR, HIT, and Meaningful Use ‘Boot Camp’”
Community Health Centers Alliance will host this event in Tampa, Florida.




Dr. Blumenthal Explains How 2011 Marks Age of Meaningful Use

February 24, 2011 (ONC Health IT) - Dr. Blumenthal's latest letter marks 2011 as the year when medical care entered a new era – the age of meaningful use of health information. The letter highlights the programs ONC has implemented in order to build an infrastructure to support meaningful use. It also examines the role of meaningful use as a vision of how information can be used in innovative ways to revolutionize the work of health professionals and health care institutions.


New Report Details Affordable Care Act Resources and Flexibility for States

February 25, 2011 (HHS News Release) - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a new report showing that the Affordable Care Act provides states with significant flexibility and resources to improve health care benefits and protect consumers. Already, the law has provided or offered $2.8 billion in funding to states.  This is a fraction of the total funding available under the law to help states implement new consumer protections, expand health coverage, and improve health care quality.

“The Affordable Care Act is built on the foundation of providing states with the resources and flexibility they need to build a better, more affordable health care system,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “This report shows that states have what they need to continue putting comprehensive health insurance reforms in place.”


Affordable Care Act Supports States in Strengthening Community Living

February 22, 2011 (HHS News Release) - States will see significant new federal support in their efforts to help move Medicaid beneficiaries out of institutions and into their own homes or other community settings now and in the near future, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today.

The Affordable Care Act provides additional funding for two programs supporting that goal, the Money Follows the Person (MFP) demonstration program and the Community First Choice Option program. Today, Secretary Sebelius announced thirteen States would together receive more than $45 million in MFP grants to start that program in their States, with a total of $621 million committed through 2016. In addition, HHS has proposed rules to allow all States to access a potential of $3.7 billion in increased federal funding to provide long-term services and supports through the Community First Choice Option program.


States Can Apply for Nearly $200 Million to Help Fight Health Premium Increases

February 24, 2011 (HHS News Release) - Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that nearly $200 million in new grant funds are now available to help States develop programs that will make health insurance premiums more transparent. The new funds would also give States the power to stop unreasonable premium increases from taking effect. 

This funding opportunity builds on the $46 million awarded in August of 2010 to help 45 States and the District of Columbia crack down on unreasonable premium hikes.  It also complements new rules proposed in December of 2010 to require insurance companies to publicly justify unreasonable premium rate increases. 


New HIT Resource Available

Dear Colleagues:

We would like to make you aware of a new resource available on health information technology (HIT). This document summarizes the Medicare and Medicaid incentives available to eligible professionals and hospitals for the implementation of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology. Also included are definitions, information on meaningful use, certified technology, and helpful health information technology resources. The document can be accessed here.

Please feel free to share this document with whomever you feel may benefit. If you have any questions, please contact the Technical Assistance and Services Center (TASC) at or (218) 727-9390.

Tracy Morton, M.P.H.
National Rural Health Resource Center

Other News



ONC to provide additional funding to accelerate critical access and rural hospitals’ switch to electronic health records

Feb. 8, 2011 (HHS News Release) - Dr. David Blumenthal, MD, MPP, national coordinator for health information technology in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today announced an additional $12 million in new technical support assistance to help critical access hospitals (CAHs) and rural hospitals adopt and become meaningful users of certified health information technology. Today’s funding announcement will come through ONC’s Regional Extension Center (REC) program to provide a wide range of support services  to the 1,777 critical access and rural hospitals in 41 states and the nationwide Indian Country, headquartered in the District of Columbia, to help them qualify for substantial EHR incentive payments from Medicare and Medicaid.  This funding is in addition to the $20 million provided to RECs in September 2010 to provide technical assistance to the CAHs and Rural Hospitals.

“Critical access and rural hospitals are a vital part of our healthcare system.  Health information technology can offer rural health care providers and their patients resources and expertise that may not be currently available in their communities.  We recognize that the transition to electronic health records (EHRs) is a challenge and that rural facilities face even greater challenges to make the transition from paper to electronic records,” Dr. Blumenthal said.  “This additional funding recognizes the need to address these challenges and represents another important milestone in our commitment to critical access and rural hospitals throughout the country as they transition to EHRs.”




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