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NCHN eNews
March 29, 2011 - 18 days to the NCHN Annual Conference!
Dear NCHN Members and Friends,

This is the latest issue of the NCHN e-News, the monthly newsletter we use to share information with you. We will be sending future newsletters early Tuesday morning, rather than Monday afternoon.

This issue includes important reminders and deadlines, upcoming events, the notice of the next Annual Meeting of Voting Members, and a feature on Gold Level Business Partner ThermoScientific, who will also be exhibiting at the Conference.

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







Notice to Voting Members: Annual Meeting

Date: April 19, 2011 @ 8:00 AM

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Annual Meeting of Voting Members of the National Cooperative of Health Networks Association (NCHN) will take place at 8:00 a.m. local time on April 19, 2011, at the Hotel Valley Ho in the Valley Ho Ballroom in conjunction with the Association’s 17th Annual Conference – Beyond the 8 Second Ride: Strategies for Network Endurance, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Voting Members, as defined in Article III of the Company’s Bylaws, shall be entitled to cast one vote each, in person or by proxy, on all matters properly coming before the meeting. Additional information about the upcoming Annual Membership Meeting will be forthcoming by email notice on or about Friday, April 8, 2011.

In order to be eligible to vote on the business of the Association, 2011 membership dues must have been received by Thursday, April 7, 2011 at the NCHN headquarters in Hardinsburg, KY. 

Sponsors, Exhibitors, and Advertisers:

Don’t miss out on the chance to be a SPONSOR or EXHIBITOR at the 2011 National Cooperative of Rural Health Networks Conference, April 17-20, 2011, in Scottsdale, AZ.

Sponsors and exhibitors have a unique opportunity to reach all Conference participants through various opportunities throughout the event! We encourage NCHN members to consider sponsoring or exhibiting to share your stories and successes with the attendees. Also, ADVERTISING opportunities are still available for the Conference Program. Full page, ½ page and ¼ page opportunities are all still available!

Information on Sponsoring, Exhibiting and Advertising can all be found HERE. Please contact Sally Trnka at or 218-727-9390 ext. 233 with questions. Applications are due by Thursday, March 31, 2011.


Featured Partner

Healthcare Management
ThermoFisher Scientific is a Gold Level Business Partner specializing in asset management.

From the Forum

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


Inside each set of the following words, there are a pair of smaller words. By putting & between them, lo & behold, you'll make a familiar phrase. For example, "Thighbone/Swallowtail" conceals "High & Low."

1. Skyrocketing/Trolleyman

2. Thermometer/Apoplexy

3. Delaware/Bordering

4. Surprised/Trashiness

5. Throughout/Stumblebum


NCHN Announces First Coffee/Tea Chat with Dr. Mary Kay Chess, former NCHN member and Vice President on Professional Development – Curiosity and Options

Please plan to join us on Wednesday, March 30 at 11:00 AM for the first official NCHN Coffee/Tea Chat – a time for NCHN members to come together once a month and talk about what’s going on in their network life, ask questions, share challenges and solutions, and just spend an hour with folks that understand what you do on a daily basis as a Network Leader!  Dr. Mary Kay Chess, former NCHN member and Vice President will be with us to guide the discussion and provide valuable insight into what we do as Network Leaders. 

Network leadership in economically challenging times requires skill and curiosity. There are at least two opportunities in front of you to build your skills and deepen your curiosity: The first of the 12 Coffee/Tea Chats will begin on March 30th at 11:00 AM ET and we'll talk about “curiosity” and now, we are going to continue the work and examine the "skill" required to engage in this innovative work.  Curiosity: What contributions do networks make and why are these contributions valuable?  Everyone is welcome to bring their coffee or tea and engage our curiosity around contributions.

Pre-work for March 30th Coffee/Tea Chat:  Take 10 minutes before the call and list up to 5 contributions your network currently makes and up to 5 contributions your network anticipates making over the next two years.  This Chat provides you space to consider very specific investments you are making and outcomes you expect.  And more importantly, as you all continue to share these ideas, they deepen and become even more valuable to your board, your network and your communities.  

The second of the 12 Coffee/Tea Chats is on April 13th at 11:00 AM ET and we'll focus on skill building:  What skills do networks require to make valuable contributions to their communities?  Everyone is welcome to bring their coffee or tea and engage in our conversation around skills.  

Pre-work for April 13th Coffee/Tea Chat: Take 10 minutes before the 13th and list 5 skills your network currently demonstrates and rank each skill from 1 to 5 (1 -  is outstanding and 5 - definitely in need of help).   This Chat provides you space to consider the very specific skills your network demonstrates or is developing.  If you are attending NCHN's meeting in Scottsdale, have the program in front of you because we will be linking skills to sessions as you continue your professional development.

Still Time to Apply to be Serve on the 2011 NCHN Executive Coaching Team
We still have some openings for NCHN members to serve on the 2011 NCHN Executive Coaching Team.  A special training will be offered for NCHN members interested in serving the Association as an Executive Coach 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.  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 HRSA Network Planning Grantees. Details of the mentoring component will be discussed in Scottsdale.  If you have questions about the program, please let Rebecca know. To participate on the 2011 Executive Coaching Team, please read the overview and complete the application provided at the link below and return immediately to Rebecca at  


Deadlines & Reminders

2011 Conference Registration: Save $75 when you register before April 1st

Exhibitor/Sponsor/Advertiser Deadline: Thursday, March 31st

April Calls & Events

Program Development Committee Call
Tuesday, April 5th at 1:00 PM ET

Annual Conference Planning Committee Call
Thursday, April 7 at 12:30 PM ET

2011 Leadership Summit Committee Call – TBA

Annual Meeting of Voting Members
Tuesday, April 19th at 8:00 AM (Scottsdale, AZ at the 2011 NCHN Annual Conference)



Thermo Scientific

ThermoScientific logoAsset management is often an overlooked area for cost control opportunities and yet it usually represents one of a hospital’s top five expenses. Thermo Fisher Scientific offers the Thermo Scientific LIFECYCLE Asset & Service Management Solution, an innovative and comprehensive approach to managing equipment service. Offering significant productivity improvements while reducing cost of ownership and ensuring regulatory compliance, the Thermo Scientific LIFECYCLE Solution provides individual clients with a customized, asset management services solution created through a needs assessment that focuses on three dimensions: business goals and objectives, operating environment and the equipment mix across the enterprise.

This new approach capitalizes on the strengths of preferred service providers and the proper blend of available service methods to:

  • Provide a fixed cap on maintenance and repair budgets
  • Reduce equipment cost of ownership
  • Improve productivity and equipment uptime
  • Streamline processes and reduce administrative burden
  • Extend useful life of equipment

The Thermo Scientific LIFECYCLE Asset & Service Management Solution applies best practices and advanced tools to provide total management of all your capital equipment assets through:

  • Account Management - An experienced Thermo Scientific professional serves as your dedicated manager, focused on your day-to-day needs
  • Response Center - Interactive, web-based service management solution enables 24 x 7 access to key performance metrics on assets and service providers, as well as electronic service request submission and status updates – One e-mail or phone call does it all!
  • Supplier Network Management - Single-source management of all asset equipment and service supplier relationships, including purchase order, invoicing, field service report reconciliation and payment services
  • Preventive Maintenance Management - Assures timely execution of all preventive maintenance events through end-user reminders, service supplier notifications and scheduling

Thermo Scientific offers NCHN members a significant discount incentive for the LIFECYCLE Asset & Service Management Solution that has been specifically designed to benefit rural networks.

Don't miss your chance to visit with Thermo representative Keith Martinko at the 2011 NCHN Annual Conference in Scottsdale!

Keith Martinko, Service Product Manager
Phone: 608-273-6819



Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) Featured on the Discovery Channel

VCOM is featured on a segment during a special edition half hour show on the Profiles Series. The program aired on the Discovery Channel on Monday, March 28th, 2011 at 7:00a.m. Eastern and Pacific times. The Profiles special edition will featured an introduction by Lou Gossett, Jr. and interviews and scenes of VCOM faculty, administration and students at the Virginia campus, as well as scenes from a medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic in April of last year.



HRSA HIT & Quality Webinar

"Overcoming Health IT Workforce Challenges in the Safety Net Community" Webinar”
Friday, April 1, 2011 – 2:00-3:30 PM EST
Sponsored by HRSA’s Office of HIT & Quality

Webinar will feature three expert speakers discussing health IT workforce challenges and solutions in overcoming them.  Training, development, and retention of the workforce are critical challenges for successfully implementing and sustaining a health information technology (IT) system in health centers and critical access hospitals.  The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that 150,000 health IT professionals will be needed in the future for the nation to successfully become meaningful users of health IT systems.   Presenters are:

  • Angela Duncan Diop, ND, Director of Information Systems, Unity Health Care, Inc.

Chief Information Officer of the 30-site health center network, Unity Health Care, and HRSA grantee, Ms. Diop will talk about how Unity identified, assessed, and overcame long- and short-term health IT workforce challenges.

  • Kay Gooding, Director of the Health IT Program, Pitt Community College
  • P. David Falkenstein, MS, PA-C, DFAAPA, Director of HIM Programs, Northern Virginia Community College

Both speakers are grantees of the Community College Health IT Workforce Program, funded by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC).  As part of the HITECH Act, ONC has funded more than 70 community colleges in all 50 states to develop or improve non-degree health IT training programs that can be completed in six months or less.  These programs will help train more than 10,500 new health IT professionals by 2012.  Presenters will also provide an overview of training opportunities and the competency exam.  In addition, they will explain how their programs target and provide health IT training opportunities to rural, urban, and minority safety net providers.

» REGISTER and Health Data Solutions Announce a Joint Webinar on Proactive Risk Management in Hospitals

Thursday, March 31st @ 1:30 PM CDT/2:30 PM EDT

Incident reporting integration with employee intranets, a leading provider in hospital intranet solutions and Health Data Solutions, experts in benchmarking and risk management solutions for hospitals has announced a new joint live webinar, Proactive Risk Management in Hospitals: Incident Reporting Integrated with Employee Intranets. This 45 minute webinar will take place on Thursday March 31st at 1:30 PM CDT / 2:30 PM EDT.

This free webinar focuses on how to implement best practices in regards to risk management at your hospital today.  Join healthcare experts from Health Data Solutions and to learn how incident reporting via your hospital’s intranet can help your organization identify trends, spot trouble areas and prevent recurrence. Aim to exceed regulatory standards and improve your hospital’s culture of accountability by making incident and near miss reporting a top priority.  The solution that will be highlighted during this webinar streamlines incident management processes so less time is spent dealing with paperwork and more time implementing new practices based on solid data.

Register for this upcoming webinar to learn first-hand how your hospital can keep up with the latest technology in risk management by implementing these user-friendly tools to help you focus on vulnerable areas and take preventative action. For more information and to register for the webinar, visit

HospitalPortal.Net™, Rolling Meadows, IL, specializes in hospital and healthcare specific web portal solutions, custom software development and system integration services, which include built-in Joint Commission-compliant document management systems for healthcare facilities.  The company provides self-service tools, document management and publishing tools for ease of access to both clinical and non-clinical staff members.  For more information call (866) 580-7700 or visit

Health Data Solutions©, Garden City , KS, is a provider of online benchmarking programs for hospitals, clinics and long term care units called Health Data Check along with a risk management software system called Quality Data Check. For more information on Health Data Solutions, call (620) 276-7700 or visit


Sign Up for CMS' National Provider Calls about Registration

The Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs are holding conference calls for eligible professionals (EPs) and eligible hospitals about important registration information. The calls start next week. Mark your calendars for one of the calls below.

  • Friday, April 1, 1:30-3:00 p.m. ET – Register to join this call if you are an EP who wants to participate in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program, and you want to learn more about the following topics.
    • Eligibility for incentive payments
    • Switching between the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs
    • Reassigning payments
    • Pre-registration
    • Registration
    • Where to find helpful resources for EPs
  • Wednesday, April 6, 1:30-3:00 p.m. ET Register to join this call if you are an eligible hospital that wants to participate in the Medicare and/or Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, and you want to learn more about the following topics.
    • Eligibility for incentive payments
    • Special considerations for dually eligible hospitals
    • Pre-registration
    • Registration
    • Where to find helpful resources for eligible hospitals

Prior to each call, presentation materials will be available in the Upcoming Events section of the Spotlight Page on the CMS EHR website.
Instructions on How to Register for a Call
To receive the call-in information for either of these calls, participants must take the following steps:



ONC Announces open public comment period on the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan: 2011-2015

March 25, 2011 (HHS News Release) - The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today announced an open public comment period on the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan: 2011-2015 (“the Plan”). The Plan reflects ONC’s strategy, developed in collaboration with other federal partners, over the next five years for realizing Congress and the Administration’s health IT agenda.

Despite evidence of the benefits of the use of health IT, today only 25-percent of physician offices and 15-percent of hospitals take advantage of electronic health records (EHRs). Two major pieces of legislation, enacted over the past two years, are dramatically changing the health IT landscape and providing an opportunity to modernize the way care is delivered and improve the health of all Americans – the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act and the Affordable Care Act.  The Plan, originally published in 2008, is being updated to reflect the significant impact of these two pieces of legislation.   


More on the ACA: The Affordable Care Act Reduces Out-of-Pocket Drug Costs for Millions of People with Medicare

The Affordable Care Act has strengthened the Medicare Part D prescription drug program by beginning to close the coverage gap (also called the “donut hole”).  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has successfully implemented many of these provisions of the Affordable Care Act, allowing millions of people with Medicare to see reduced out-of-pocket costs for their prescription drugs.  Many more will receive benefits as the coverage gap is further reduced over the next several years.  This report summarizes the Affordable Care Act’s progress in reducing out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries and reports on how many individuals have received tangible benefits in the law’s first year.


A Different Kind of Network: Agri-Health Network

March 16, 2011 (Kelvin Happner, Portage Online) - Healthier food really is a solution to soaring healthcare costs according to research being done through the Manitoba Agri-Health Research Network.

The federal and provincial governments yesterday committed $406 thousand to funding the network. $281,300 is being provided on a 60/40 basis by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives. This money will be used to support MAHRN's core opeartions. An additional $125 thousand, which has been committed through Manitoba Innovation, Energy and Mines, will be used to support international research projects.

"We've looked at what could be the healthcare savings if we increased the consumption of some basic functional foods. We're not talking about stuff in a test tube, but foods with higher fibre levels or a different protein mix. We're looking at $19 billion annual healthcare savings just from some really simple adjustment of the foods we consume," says MAHRN Coordinator Lee Anne Murphy. "That's what gets us excited and is part of the reason why we're getting such broad-based support."


HHS Secretary Released the National Strategy for Quality Improvement in Health Care Report

March 21, 2011 (AHRQ Electronic Newsletter, Issue #309) - HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released the National Strategy for Quality Improvement in Health Care.  The Strategy was called for under the Affordable Care Act and is the first effort to create national aims and priorities to guide local, State, and national efforts to improve the quality of health care in the United States.  The National Quality Strategy will promote quality health care that is focused on the needs of patients, families, and communities.  At the same time, the Strategy is designed to move the system to work better for doctors and other health care providers – reducing their administrative burdens and helping them collaborate to improve care.  The Strategy presents three aims:

  • Better Care: Improve the overall quality, by making health care more patient-centered, reliable, accessible, and safe.
  • Healthy People & Communities: Improve the health of the U.S. population by supporting proven interventions to address behavioral, social, and environmental determinants of health in addition to delivering higher-quality care.
  • Affordable Care: Reduce the cost of quality health care for individuals, families, employers, and government

The National Quality Strategy is designed to be an evolving guide for the Nation as we continue to move forward with efforts to measure and improve health and health care quality, and I hope that you will use it to guide your efforts to improve the quality and safety of health care services.  Select to read the National Quality Strategy.  Supporting documents are available on the AHRQ Web site

Thursday Roundup: Diabetes Belt and HBO's 'Rural Drama'

March 17, 2011 (The Weekly Yonder)

This map shows what medical researchers are calling the "diabetes belt."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found wide disparities in diabetes rates within states. And the 18 million people in the country diagnosed with diabetes are concentrated in a band of counties reaching from Pennsylvania to Oklahoma and Texas.

State levels are misleading. For example, Colorado has a relatively low diabetes rate of 7.1% of the population. But rural Pitkin County's rate is 4.5% and rural Crowley County's rate is 14.1%.

The CDC lists 644 counties in the diabetes belt. These are counties where there are high rates of obesity (32.9% versus 26.1% nationally) and sedentary lifestyles (30.6% in these counties compared to 24.8% nationally). Education levels are lower (24.1% with college degrees versus 34.3% nationally) and the African American population is larger (23.8% versus 8.6%).


Other News



There are no new funding announcements this week. However, remember that you can always visit the RAC web site or use GrantStation (if you are a subscriber) to search funding opportunities. Both sites have excellent listings.

Please send us any announcements you would like to share witht he NCHN membership.



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