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  NCHN e-News | Issue 19 | January 31, 2010 enews monthly
NCHN News NCHN Member NewsUpcoming events
2011 Dues
NCHN and The National Center for Rural Health Works Partners to Offer “Train the Trainer” Pre-Conference Workshop at NCHN 2011 Annual Conference in Scottsdale, AZ
Call for One Member to Serve on the 2011 Nomination Committee
Call for Nominations for NCHN Board of Director Positions
2011 NCHN Awards
  The Short Version: Members Blurbs
North Country Health Consortium, Northern New Hampshire’s Rural Health Network Receives $600,000 Federal Rural Health Workforce Development Grant
Rural Road Trip with Rural Comprehensive Care Network (RCCN) of Nebraska

  NCHN Calls and Webinars
2011 Connected Health Symposium
AgriSafe Webinar - Feb. 2 - 12-1pm CST
Physician Quality Reporting System Town Hall Meeting
Register Early for NCHN's 17th Annual Conference
in the spotlight
Healthcare Management
  Health Reform
  Health care fraud prevention and enforcement efforts recover record $4 billion; new Affordable Care Act tools will help fight fraud
More grants coming from HHS for states’ creation of health information exchanges
ABC Blog: Major Health Reform Ruling Expected
(Regional News) Health Improvement Partnership: Building a better, stronger health care system
spacer News Recap
USDA to award $34.7 million in distance learning telemedicine grants
Dr. Blumenthal Letter Discusses Additional Funding for ONC Programs
Health IT Regional Extension Centers receive unexpected funding increase
NRHA Rural Health Policy Institute Materials Available
For Fun: Little Bits for Your Brain

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


Renew your NCHN membership2011 Dues

If you haven’t already returned your 2011 Dues Assessment Form, please do so today! You can download the Dues Assessment form here (doc).

2011 dues must be paid by April 1 to participate in the 2011 Annual Membership Meeting, which includes the election of Directors. 

Get more info    Download the 2011 Dues Assessment Form (doc)


NCHN and The National Center for Rural Health Works Partners to Offer “Train the Trainer” Pre-Conference Workshop at NCHN 2011 Annual Conference in Scottsdale, AZ

The National Center for Rural Health Works will present a "Train the Trainer" workshop on Sunday, April 17, 2011, from 1 pm -5 pm. The workshop will be designed to assist networks in preparing the economic impact of the network. This will include all members of the network and will show the local residents how important the network is to their health, as well as to the community’s economy. A sample study will be prepared for a network prior to the workshop. This study will be used for illustrating the importance of the network to the local economy.  Network leaders and other professionals involved with health networks are the target audience for this session.  Enrollment will be limited to 20 to 25 participants and will be “First Come, First Serve.”

Dr. Gerald A. Doeksen is Regents Professor/Health Economist for the Department of Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University. Dr. Doeksen was awarded the American Rural Health Association Research Award in 1984 for developing medical-practice feasibility guidebooks and was honored in 1985 by the Journal of Emergency Medical Services for his guide for planning rural EMS systems. Dr. Doeksen has worked with Oklahoma communities and health providers for over 25 years and co-founded Rural Health Works. He contributes to this campus-community partnership by sharing his special expertise in measuring the economic benefits of the health sector and in developing budget studies for health services.

Cheryl F. St. Clair has over 30 years of experience in rural community development and 5 years of experience in hospital administration. She has assisted with the development of RHW partnerships and its tools. Ms. St. Clair presents at the “Train the Trainer” workshops, develops web tools, and provides ongoing technical assistance to other states. Dr. Doeksen and Ms. St. Clair have expanded the National Center to over 40 states by training teams to use the tools and processes in partnership with their local communities.

Cost and Registration
Funding for the National Center is from a grant with the federal Office of Rural Health Policy, HRSA. The cost to each participant will be their time, travel, hotel, per diem and a $75 registration fee for NCHN members and a $125 fee for non-NCHN members to cover the cost of the IMPLAN data for an example economic impact of a network and an afternoon break. Registration is open to health networks staff and members; to register please complete the registration form or email for more information and/or questions.

Get more info    Register...


Call for One Member to Serve on the 2011 Nomination Committee

The Board of Directors is accepting applications from the membership to serve on the 2011 Nomination Committee.  This Committee is chaired by Terry Hill, Immediate Past President and includes one current Director and one member.   The Nomination Committee is responsible for accepting applications for Director positions, reviewing the applications, interviewing the applicants, preparing and submitting a potential slate of candidates for Directors to the Board of Directors for approval for placement on the ballot that goes to the full membership for election.  In addition, the Committee submits their recommendations for the 2011 Officers to the Board of Directors for their consideration.  The Committee will meet by conference call and all work must be completed by March 21, 2011. The member serving on the Nominating Committee must not be seeking a Director’s position during the 2011 election.

Get more info    If you are interested in serving on the committee please let Rebecca know immediately. 


Call for Nominations for NCHN Board of Director Positions

NCHN is a membership organization and thus is governed by a Board of Directors that is elected by the membership.  Serving as a Director of NCHN is an excellent opportunity to expand your leadership skills, interact on a regular basis with your peers, and give back to the Association! 

In preparation for the 2011 NCHN Annual Membership Meeting, which will be held during the 17th Annual Conference in Scottsdale, AZ, April 17-20, 2011, we are seeking nominations and recommendations of persons interested in serving as a Director.  At the Annual Membership Meeting, the membership will be voting on a slate of directors. The term will be for three years, April 2011 - April 2014. The current number of board members is thirteen (13) and four (4) directors will be elected.

The By-Laws state that “Each director shall be a natural person and shall be an employee of or otherwise affiliated with a Voting Member and that no compensation shall be paid to directors by the association.”  (The voting member’s (network) 2011 dues must be paid on or before March 1, 2011.)  The powers of the Directors are also outlined in the By-Laws, “Except as reserved to the members by law, by the Certificate of Incorporation or by these Bylaws, all business of the Association shall be managed by and be under the direction of the board of directors, who shall have and may exercise all of the powers of the Association.”

The Board meets approximately four times a year; two - three times by conference call and once or twice face-to-face.  The face-to-face meetings are held during and/or after the Annual Conference and maybe in conjunction with another national meeting during the year.  Arrangements are made for Directors that cannot attend the face-to-face meeting to participate by conference call. The conference calls are approximately 90 minutes.  The annual Board Retreat is held at the conclusion of the Annual Conference and is at least four hours in length. All newly elected Directors must attend the 2011 Board Retreat in Scottsdale on Wednesday, April 20, 2011.

The Board of Directors approved eligibility criteria to serve on the NCHN Board in March 2010.  If you meet the following criteria and are interested in being considered as a candidate for a Director’s seat on the Board, please send a brief description of your network experience and your service to NCHN, e.g., Committee Service, Annual Conference and/or Regional Meeting attendance and/or presenter; presenter and/or participant on membership and special interest calls; responses to questions posted on the list serve; participation in Executive Coaching Program; utilization of Business Partners, etc., along with a statement of why you are interesting in serving on the Board of Directors and describe any special skills, knowledge or ability that you would bring to the Board.

Eligibility criteria for candidates seeking election to the Board of Directors:

  • Network organization must have been member of NCHN for at least two (2) years
  • Candidate for a Director position must have served at least two (2) years on NCHN committee(s).
  • Acceptance of the Vice President position should be considered a commitment to moving up to the President’s position the following year
  • If the current President does not have time left on their term; they will serve as an ex-officio director of the board in the position of Immediate Past President

Get more info    Letters of interest with the above information must be received Monday, February 28, 2011 and should be sent to


2011 NCHN Awards

The National Cooperative of Health Networks Association is pleased to accept nominees for the third annual NCHN Awards Program.  The program is designed to honor outstanding individuals and organizations in the field of health networks. NCHN members are invited to submit nominations for the 2011 Awards. Nominations should be made by completing and submitting the nomination form along with your written narrative no later than March 15, 2011. 

Awards Categories:

The Outstanding Network Leader of the Year Award
The NCHN’s Outstanding Network Leader of the Year Award recognizes a network leader/director for leadership in managing a successful health network organization.

The Outstanding Health Network of the Year Award
The Outstanding Health Network of the Year Award recognizes any network or entire network organization that has improved access to health services in its service area and coordination of resources for network members through innovative, comprehensive approaches.

Outstanding New & Emerging Network Leader Award
The Outstanding New & Emerging Network Leader Award recognizes extraordinary leadership activities demonstrated by a new network leader/director in the field of health networks (network leader less than five years).

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. 

Awards Presentation
Honorees will be announced during the NCHN Awards Luncheon beginning at 11:45 AM on Monday, April 18, 2011, at the 17th NCHN Annual Conference in Scottsdale, AZ.

Get more info    If you have any questions, please email

Remember, the deadline to submit all nominations is March 15, 2011.


MedAssetsin the Spotlight

Hospital Purchasing Services
A message from NCI, an affiliate of MedAssets, an NCHN Silver Level Business Partner

NCI had the pleasure of recently introducing six NCI clients with MedAssets contracts to Hospital Purchasing Services (HPS).

We found this to be a very effective and productive process by maximizing time and resources of a MedAssets Affiliate.

We would like to have members of NCHN review the supplier solutions listed below to determine if you have an interest in having NCI schedule a 30 minute meeting to present their solutions value which may address a current pain points and add value to your members.

NCI Supplier Client Solutions:

Dynamex - Same Day Courier Service
With over 20 years of experience in multiple markets with the same-day transportation and logistics services , Dynamex thinks in terms of minutes, not hours.

Eloquest Healthcare - Mastisol & Detachol
Eloquest Healthcare products - Mastisol (liquid adhesive) & Detachol (adhesive remover) deliver value and benefit by way of:

  • Saves Money:   Saves health systems money
  • Low Cost:  Simple, low cost products that make a difference
  • Reduces Risk:   Reduces risk of infection
  • More Information:  Link to more information

IHC Healthcare - Medical Gloves
IHC is the medical glove market leader in the Alternate site and services Acute Care market spaces including  latex, vinyl and nitrile exam gloves.

  • Medical Glove Industry:   Has been in the medical glove industry for over 23 years
  • Full Line:   Carries 9 different powder-free nitrile exam gloves, five of which are tested for use with chemotherapy agents.  Also a full line of EMS products, specialty and non-latex surgical gloves, and sterile exams. Their Pulse nitrile glove is one of the finest in the marketplace
  • Regulatory:   Meet all the regulatory needs:  NFPA, FDA 510K, ISO 13485 etc...
  • More information:  Link to more information
  • Value Proposition:   IHC Value Proposition

WorkflowOne -Document Management
Identify hidden costs:   Identify hidden costs and implement processes that reduce your total spend by 15-30% while helping you improve patient care.

  • Streamline Document Management:   WorkflowOne's print management model streamlines every aspect of your print and document management supply chain.
  • Transition into EMR :   WorkflowOne facilitates your organization's transition into EMR.
  • More Information:   Link to Case Studies and Information
  • Value Proposition Download:  WorkflowOne Value Proposition

SampleMD – a new downloadable virtual  “drug sample cabinet” that allows doctors and staff to print or electronically send sample vouchers and co-pay coupons right to pharmacies directly from their desktops.

  • No more storing of samples:  Coupon given to patient or Pharmacy, then sample is picked up by patient at local pharmacy
  • Insurance Status:  Doctors can also review a branded drug’s “formulary status” for insurance
  • Patient Support:  co-pay savings to promote continued drug compliance
  • Value Proposition and Information:  Link to SampleMD Information

FDSI - Manages Your Parcel, Capital & Construction FF&E Inbound & Outbound Freight:

  • Economic Impact:  FDSI deep discounts provide six figure savings    
  • Technology:   Virtual Coordinator (Web Based Proprietary Technology) for shipment tracking, rate shopping
  • More Information:

Get more info    For more information, contact:
James L. Dausch, Principal
NCI Consulting Group, LLC
Office: (972) 443-9802
Cell: (972) 922-5305
Web Site: 

NCHN would be happy to arrange an informational call with NCI. If interested, contact Cindy Stinnett at

NCHN Member News

Whats MissingMember Blurbs

  • NCHN Directors Terry Hill (National Rural Health Resource Center-MN) and Carolyn Witherspoon (Coalition of Health Services-TX) and NCHN Executive Director Rebecca Davis and staff member Christy Sullenberger attended the NRHA Rural Health Policy Institute in Washington, DC last week. NCHN Members Pat Schou (Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network-IL), Don Kelso and Cindy Large (Indiana Statewide Rural Health Network-IN); Martha McLeod (North Country Health Consortium-NH); Cindy Siler (The Rural Partnership-TN); Toniann Richard (Health Care Coalition of Lafayette County-MO); Tim Size (Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative-WI) also attended.
  • Dr. Ronald Januchowski, Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine – Carolinas Campus  was recently promoted to the rank of Colonel in the Army Reserves. He is currently the commander of the 7225 Medical Support Unit in Greenville, South Carolina.

North Country Health Consortium, Northern New Hampshire’s Rural Health Network Receives $600,000 Federal Rural Health Workforce Development Grant

Martha McLeod, Executive Director of The North Country Health Consortium, is pleased to announce that the Consortium has been awarded a federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, Rural Health Workforce Development Program for $600,000 over the next three years.  North Country Health Consortium is one of twenty grantees in the country to receive funding for this pilot project.  Funding is to develop innovative community-based educational and clinical health training programs to encourage the recruitment and retention of emerging health professionals into our rural communities.   The funding is part of a national initiative to increase the number of primary care and allied health providers that practice in rural areas. 

The North Country Health Consortium is a rural health network with a mission to improve the health of North Country residents through innovative collaboration.  This funding provides support for unique approaches using a network model to create training opportunities for students where they will gain insight into both the people and communities of the North Country.  All Network members of the North Country Health Consortium signed a memorandum of agreement to participate in the development and implementation of the health workforce training program.  Members represent an array of health and human service providers, including hospitals, community health centers, mental health, home health, nursing homes, faith-based, emergency medical services, community action programs, elderly services, academic institutions, local public health department, and the state office of rural health.  McLeod said, “this opportunity will strengthen the collaborative relationships within the network and provide a unique opportunity for students to become involved and engaged in community activities.” 

Get more info    For more information about this grant and our new initiative, contact Martha McLeod, Executive Director or Nancy Frank, Workforce Development Director, at the North Country Health Consortium, 603-837-2519.


Rural Road Trip with Rural Comprehensive Care Network (RCCN) of Nebraska

The Rural Comprehensive Care Network (RCCN) of Nebraska, in Crete, was awarded a three-year, $200,000 per year grant under the Rural Health Workforce Development Program.  This program supports the development of rural health networks that seek to improve the recruitment and retention of emerging health professionals in rural communities including primary and allied health care students.  RCCN is using the grant money to conduct workshops in which family practice physicians work closely to train and mentor medical school and residency students in rural health care.

UNMC Student Practice StitchingButler County Health Care Center in David City hosted the first workshop- “Rural Road Trip-Medial Practicum.”  Twelve medical students from UNMC were transported from the medical center in Omaha to Butler County Health Care Center, where they spent the day learning and refining skills needed to practice rural medicine. 

(Right: UNMC Students practice stitching)

Dr. Gerald Luckey and Dr. Matthew Summers, family practice physicians from Butler County Clinic, PC, in David City instructed the class.  They taught the students stitching, IV starts, EKG reading and casting skills.  The students were able to physically practice these and other skills with the assistance of interactive manikins, pig ears, and facility volunteers.  “The program is designed to introduce medical students to rural medicine early in their medical school education process,” explains Dr. Luckey.  “We are teaching procedural skills that are essential for their future needs.”

The students also had the opportunity to interact with local residents, Jason Lavicky and Jarod Ockander of  David City.  They spoke to the students about the opportunities rural communities provide and the quality of life offered to residents of a rural area.  “The early exposure to rural environments and medical practice is a key component to the recruitment of physicians to practice in our rural communities,” said Renee Bauer, RCCN Workforce Development Director.  “It is our goal that this training will lead to the students having a greater interest in practicing rural medicine.”

Senator Ben Nelson from Nebraska said, “This funding for the Rural Comprehensive Care Network will help support the medical professional workforce who serve small rural communities. Supporting quality rural health care is so important to the hundreds of communities across the state that rely on rural hospitals and clinics to keep them well.”

Get more info    For more information, contact:
Joleen Huneke, Executive Director
995 East Highway 33, Suite 2
Crete, NE 68333


Upcoming Events

NCHN Calls and Webinars

Upcoming NCHN Calls

  • Executive Coaching Team Training Call:
    Wednesday, February 9 @ 11:00 AM ET – 12:30 PM ET
  • 2011 Annual Conference Planning Committee Call:
    Thursday, February 10 @ 12:30 PM ET
  • RHNR Consulting Task Force Call
    Monday, February 14 @ 1:00 PM ET
  • Program Development Committee Call:
    Tuesday, February 15 @ 1:00 PM ET – 2:30 PM ET
  • Executive Committee Call:
    Monday, February 21 @ 1:00 PM ET
  • 2011 Annual Conference Committee Call:
    Thursday, February 24 @12:30 PM ET
  • Board of Directors Conference Call
    Monday, March 28 @ 1:00 - 2:30 PM ET

NCHN Orientation Sessions

NCHN has scheduled 2 additional Orientation Sessions!

The Orientation Sessions will provide an overview of the programs and services of NCHN and review the benefits of your membership. This will also give you the opportunity to meet other new NCHN members and/or recently hired network directors. (We are using the term “recently” very liberal --as some of the directors may have been in their positions for several months, but not had the opportunity to attend a NCHN conference and/or an orientation call.)

The following items will be discussed: Mission of NCHN; Strategic Plan and Goals for 2010-2013; Membership Benefits; Business Partners Program; Committees.

  • Friday, February 11: 2:00 - 3:30 PM ET
  • Wednesday, February 23: 12:00 - 1:30 PM

Pre-registration is required: To register for one of these sessions, email

Peer-to-Peer Sharing Sessions with HRSA Network Planning Grantees

  • February 16 @ 1:30 PM ET
>> More information on Peer-to-Peer Sharing Sessions...


2011 Connected Health Symposium

Healthcare in 2011 marches to an urgent drummer: Drive costs down. And quality up. The sheer intensity of the pressure for cost-containment makes this a new era. To showcase and test the most promising responses around the world, Partners HealthCare proudly presents, on Oct. 19-21, the 8th annual Connected Health Symposium: Driving Quality Up and Cost Down: Inquiries into New Technologies Essential in an Era of Accountability.

Opportunities abound for technologists, as this year’s program will make clear. But for some providers the accountability clock is already ticking. Symposium 2011 will deal in current scenarios and real-world strategies. For all of us with approaches that aim for cost savings and quality enhancements, it’s time to deliver.
Mark your calendars. Make ready with products, plans, debates and ideas. Early-bird registrations and exhibition and sponsorship opportunities open soon.

Get more info    Get more information...


AgriSafe Webinar - Feb. 2 - 12-1pm CST

Health Care Reform: Can Mean Improving Health of Rural People

Presenter: Keith Mueller, PhD
Gerhard Hartman Professor and Head of the Department of Health Management and Policy, College of Public Health, University of Iowa

Date: February 2, 2011
Time: 12-1pm Central time


Participants attending this session will be able to:

  1. Learn of provisions in the Affordable Care Act that could be used  to improve services in rural communities
  2. Understand how to integrate independent programs to benefit rural communities
  3. Learn how rural residents might benefit from expanded access to affordable health plans
  4. Understand  how to use new programs in health workforce training to improve cost effectiveness of the system

Get more info    Session link:
Enter your name in the guest login box and click on 'Enter Room'
The session will be recorded and the archives can be accessed from

This webinar series is made possible by support from the National Rural Health Association.

Stacey Jenkins
Distance Education Coordinator
AgriSafe Network


Physician Quality Reporting System Town Hall Meeting

Wed, Feb 9, 10am-4pm EST

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will host a Town Hall Meeting to discuss the Physician Quality Reporting System (formerly known as the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative, or PQRI).  The purpose of the Town Hall Meeting is to solicit input from participating stakeholders on individual quality measures and measures groups being considered for possible inclusion in the proposed set of quality measures for use in the 2012 Physician Quality Reporting System and key components of the design of the Physician Quality Reporting System.  The opinions and alternatives provided during this meeting will assist CMS in developing the Physician Quality Reporting System for 2012.

Interested parties are invited to participate, either onsite at CMS headquarters (Central Building, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21244) or via teleconference.  The meeting is open to the public; however, attendance is limited to space and teleconference lines available.  CMS anticipates posting an audio download and/or transcript of the Town Hall meeting at and following the meeting.

Get more info    Additional Details:


Register Early for NCHN's 17th Annual Conference

Conference SiteDon’t miss your networking opportunity of 2011! 

Please join us in Scottsdale, AZ, April 17-20, 2011 for the annual gathering of NCHN members.  This year’s Conference Planning Committee has been working extra hard to plan a conference that promises to make an impact!  With two pre-conference workshop offerings, along with two and half days of educational sessions, all aimed at improving your skills as a network leader, there is something for everyone.  Members of the Conference Planning Committee have strived to provide all conference participants with take home tools that will assist you in boosting the success of your network. 

What you can expect

The NCHN Conference will begin on Sunday, April 17 with the offering of two special sessions.  Amy Forsyth-Stephens will offer “Diversified Resource Development Strategies for Health Networks.”  This 3-hour pre-conference workshop will cover topics of interest to network leaders who have responsibility for ensuring the sustainability of their networks during these uncertain economic times.  We are also pleased to partner with The Center for Rural Health Works to offer a four hour, “Train the Trainer” session. The workshop will be designed to assist networks in preparing the economic impact of the network.

Monday will bring the 3rd Annual Awards Luncheon, educational sessions, exhibits, and our historical Monday night ultimate networking event.   The Annual NCHN Membership Meeting will begin the Tuesday’s events.  Wednesday morning the 2011 NCHN President and Officers will be introduced at the Annual President’s Breakfast, where Greg Dent, NCHN President, GA will have the opportunity to recap his year as president and turn the Association over to the new leaders.  The rest of the morning will focus on the Affordable Care Act and networks’ role in its implementation, with updates from the federal level. And we are pleased to announce Alan Morgan, CEO, National Rural Health Association is confirmed as our closing speaker. 

Get more info       Register online...

Related: NCHN and The National Center for Rural Health Works Partners to Offer “Train the Trainer” Pre-Conference Workshop at NCHN 2011 Annual Conference in Scottsdale, AZ


Health Reform

Health care fraud prevention and enforcement efforts recover record $4 billion; new Affordable Care Act tools will help fight fraud

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Associate Attorney General Thomas J. Perrelli today announced a new report showing that the government’s health care fraud prevention and enforcement efforts recovered more than $4 billion in taxpayer dollars in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010.  This is the highest annual amount ever recovered from people who attempted to defraud seniors and taxpayers.  In addition, HHS today announced new rules authorized by the Affordable Care Act that will help the department work proactively to prevent and fight fraud, waste and abuse in Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). 

These findings, released today, in the annual Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program (HCFAC) report, are a result of President Obama making the elimination of fraud, waste, and abuse a top priority in his administration.  The success of this joint Department of Justice (DOJ) and HHS effort would not have been possible without the Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), created in 2009 to prevent waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicare and Medicaid programs and to crack down on the fraud perpetrators who are abusing the system and costing American taxpayers billions of dollars.  These efforts to reduce fraud will continue to improve with the new tools and resources provided by the Affordable Care Act, including the new rules announced on January 24, 2011.

Get more info    Continue reading...


More grants coming from HHS for states’ creation of health information exchanges

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plans to award funding to states that are developing health information exchanges (HIEs) in accordance with federal healthcare reform. The grants, for which an overall amount was not announced, will be issued during 2011, according to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. States can use the new grants to create information technology systems for their exchanges, or use them on other exchange-related activities, such as background, research, financial management; governance; oversight; and testing for program integrity. In 2010, HHS awarded $1 million each to 48 states and the District of Columbia for initial development of HIEs. States are required under the reform law to create insurance exchanges by 2014 that provide coverage options for individuals and small businesses. Sebelius said new grants will help “ensure states have the resources they need and ensure Americans are no longer on their own” in their efforts to implement exchanges.

Get more info    View the HHS News Release... (Jan. 20, 2011)


ABC Blog: Major Health Reform Ruling Expected

(Jan. 31, 2011) ABC News' Ariane de Vogue reports:

Today we expect a major health care ruling out of federal court in Florida that could bring challenges to the Obama administration’s health care law one step closer to the Supreme Court.

So far two federal judges have upheld the constitutionality of the law and one federal judge struck down a key portion of it. Today’s ruling could balance out that scorecard.

The Supreme Court is more likely to agree to hear a case down the road if the lower courts have disagreed on a constitutional question.

Today’s case is unique because it is being brought by a total of 26 states.

The Florida Court has sent word to the parties to be on “stand by”—which means the decision could come at any time.

Get more info    Continue reading...

Related: The Bucks County Courier Times (PA) has posted some quotes related to health care on "the State of the Union." You can see them here...


(Regional News) Health Improvement Partnership: Building a better, stronger health care system

From Santa Cruz Sentinel (Opinions - Jan. 30, 2011):

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- otherwise known as health care reform -- was passed last year after vigorous debate and many compromises. This year, as several key provisions begin to take effect, the debates continue.

To help address some of the myths and misinformation that still circulate, members of the Health Improvement Partnership HIP of Santa Cruz County have agreed to share their reflections about health care reform. HIP is a local, countywide collaborative of health, foundation, government and community leaders dedicated to increasing access to care and building a stronger health care delivery system.

Alan McKay, the president of HIP's Board, is executive director of the Central California Alliance for Health, a locally governed non-profit health plan that serves more than 200,000 members in Santa Cruz, Monterey and Merced counties.

Following are McKay's thoughts about the individual mandate provisions, which would require those who do not receive health insurance coverage through an employer to purchase coverage in some cases, with subsidies through competitive exchanges.

Get more info    Continue reading...


Monthly News Recap

USDA to award $34.7 million in distance learning telemedicine grants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to award telehealth grants totaling $34.7 million to 106 projects in 38 states and one territory as part of its Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program. According to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the funds will funds will help communities enhance their educational and training programs, and deliver improved healthcare services for their residents. The DLT Grant Program provides access to education, training and health care resources in rural areas, Vilsack said. Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant agreement.

Get more info    Get the full story from


Dr. Blumenthal Letter Discusses Additional Funding for ONC Programs

In Dr. Blumenthal's new letter, he discusses additional funding that has been made available to the Regional Extension Centers, State Health Information Exchange, and Community College Consortia programs. Dr. Blumenthal highlights the progress these programs have made and how the additional funding will help them continue their successful work, assisting providers adopt and meaningfully use health information technology.

Get more info    Visit the ONC website to read the letter, and learn more about these important initiatives.


Health IT Regional Extension Centers receive unexpected funding increase

The federal government is continuing for two more years the first part of a plan that provides most of the funding for regional extension centers (RECs) that help healthcare providers adopt health information technology. According to a notice in the Federal Register, RECs since 2009 have received federal grants under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that covered 90 percent of their costs. That amount was to decrease to 10 percent in 2011 and 2012. However, current economic conditions have “increased the importance of the cost-sharing requirements,” according to the Office of National Coordinator for Health IT. As a result, RECs will receive funding for 90 percent of their operational expenses for another two years.

Get more info    Get more information... (pdf)


NRHA logoNRHA Rural Health Policy Institute Materials Available

NRHA held its annual Rural Health Policy Institute from January 24th through thr 26th. Speakers on Mondayincluded Marcia Brand, Deputy Administrator with HRSA, Dr. Blumenthal with ONC, and Dr. Berwick with CMS, among others. On Tuesday, attendees joined others from their home states and set out to visit legislators on the Hill.On Wednesday, Senators Johanns (R-NE), Sanders (D-VT), and Nelson (D-NE) spoke.

If you missed it, NRHA has posted all of the handouts from the meeting on their web site.

Get more info    View materials and presentations...


For Fun: Little Bits for Your Brain

A little education is always good for you.

1. Q: Why are many coin banks shaped like pigs?
A: Long ago, dishes and cookware in Europe were made of a dense orange clay called 'pygg'. When people saved coins in jars made of this clay, the jars became known as 'pygg banks.' When an English potter misunderstood the word, he
made a bank that resembled a pig.And it caught on.

2. Q: Did you ever wonder why dimes, quarters and half dollars have notches, while pennies and nickels do not?
A: The US Mint began putting notches on the edges of coins containing gold and silver to discourage holders from shaving off small quantities of the precious metals. Dimes, quarters and half dollars are notched because they used to contain silver. Pennies and nickels aren't notched because the metals they contain are not valuable enough to shave.

3. Q: Why do men's clothes have buttons on the right while women's clothes have buttons on the left?
A: When buttons were invented, they were very expensive and worn primarily by the rich. Because wealthy women were dressed by maids,dressmakers put the buttons on the maid's right! Since most people are right-handed, it is easier to push buttons on the right through holes on the
left. And that's where women's buttons have remained since.

4. Q: Why do X's at the end of a letter signify kisses?
A: In the Middle Ages, when many people were unable to read or write,documents were often signed using an X. Kissing the X represented an oath to fulfill obligations specified in the document. The X and the kiss eventually became synonymous.

5. Q: Why is shifting responsibility to someone else called 'passing the buck'?
A: In card games, it was once customary to pass an item, called a buck, from player to player to indicate whose turn it was to deal. If a player did not wish to assume the responsibility, he would 'pass the buck' to the next player.

6. Q: Why do people clink their glasses before drinking a toast?
A: It used to be common for someone to try to kill an enemy by offering him a poisoned drink. To prove to a guest that a drink was safe, it became customary for a guest to pour a small amount of his drink into the glass of the host. Both men would drink it simultaneously. When a guest trusted his host, he would then just touch or clink the host's glass with his own.

7. Q: Why are people in the public eye said to be 'in the limelight'?
A: Invented in 1825, limelight was used in lighthouses and stage lighting by burning a cylinder of lime which produced a brilliant light. In the theater, performers on stage 'in the limelight' were seen by the audience to be the center of attention.

8. Q: Why do ships and aircraft in trouble use 'mayday' as their call for help?
A: This comes from the French word m'aidez - meaning 'help me' –and is pronounced 'mayday.'

9. Q: Why is someone who is feeling great 'on cloud nine'?
A: Types of clouds are numbered according to the altitudes they attain, with nine being the highest cloud. If someone is said to be on cloud nine, that person is floating well above worldly cares.

10. Q: Why are zero scores in tennis called 'love'?
A: In France, where tennis first became popular, a big, round zero on the scoreboard looked like an egg and was called 'l'oeuf,' which is French for 'egg.' When tennis was introduced in the US, Americans pronounced it

11. Q: In golf, where did the term 'Caddie' come from?
A: When Mary, later Queen of Scots, went to France as a young girl (for education & survival), Louis, King of France, learned that she loved the Scot game 'golf.' So he had the first golf course outside of Scotland built for her enjoyment. To make sure she was properly chaperoned (and guarded) while she played, Louis hired cadets from a military school to accompany her. Mary liked this a lot and when she returned to Scotland (not a very good idea in the long run), she took the practice with her. In French, the word cadet is pronounced 'ca-day' and the Scots changed it into 'caddie.'

Now YOU know just about everything!


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