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NCHN eNews
November 29, 2011
Dear NCHN Members and Friends,

Welcome back to the work week. We hope you had a wonderful, long holiday weekend!

In national news, as you probably already know, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction failed to meet the deadline last week to come to an agreement on budget cuts, which ultimately means that CAHs and other important designations remain. NRHA sent an email thanking all who contacted their representatives with their concerns regarding the potential cuts. You can read NRHA's email here. There is more about this under National News. In NCHN matters, the Program Development Committee is still collecting sample Business Plans for the December 12th Quarterly Membership call. You can send them by email...

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Quarterly Membership Call: Business Plans for Networks

The Program Development Committee is organizing the next Quarterly Membership Call, which will be on Monday, December 12, 2011 at 2:00 PM ET. 

Committee members thank those of you that took the time to complete the 2011 NCHN Quarterly Membership Call Survey and have been using your input to plan the calls.  The next most requested item from the survey that they will be addressing is “Business Plans for Health Networks” of which 76% of the respondents to the survey indicated “high” in terms of a topic that was of most interest to you.  The other item from the survey that the Committee is also attempting to address was the request to have more members involved in the calls and the sharing of information between NCHN members.

In preparation for this call, the Program Development Committee is requesting examples/samples of Business Plans that you have developed for your network.  We are looking for Business Plans in two areas, a standard Business Plan for the operation of your network; and a targeted Business Plan for the implementation of a new product or service for your network.  We would like to collect as many different examples as possible and will be utilizing the examples in a new “Tool Chest for Network Planning.”  The Business Plan will be the first planning tool the Committee will focus on the December Quarterly Membership Call. The Committee plans are to expand the Tool Chest over the upcoming months to include examples of Strategic Plans, Marketing Plans, Communication Plans, and other types of planning documents that networks have found useful in the management and operation of their networks. 

So, we need your help – please share your Business Plan – if you want to delete sensitive or private information from the plan that is fine.  We are looking for examples of formats, tracking systems, etc. of how networks use Business Plan tools. 

If you have any questions, please let Rebecca know.  And please submit your examples ASAP.


Featured Partner
Paradigm Learning
Paradigm Learning is a Silver Level Partner

From the Forum

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about the U.S.

• The world’s highest roller coaster is located in Ohio.

• The world’s first atomic bomb was set off in New Mexico during 1945.

• The first US capital was New York City.
• Boulder, Colorado is the only city in the U.S. to own a glacier.
• Montana has 3 times more cattle than people.
• Alaska has a longer coastline than all the other 49 states put together.
• The biggest popcorn plant is located in Iowa.


Upcoming NCHN Calls & Events

2012 Annual Conference Planning Committee
Monday, December 5 @ 2:00 PM ET
Monday, December 19 @ 2:00 PM ET

Program Development Committee Call
Tuesday, December 13 @ 1:00 PM ET

Coffee/Tea Chats with Dr. Mary Kay Chess
Wednesday, December 7 at 11:00 AM ET

NCHN Transformer Leadership Learning Community Session
Friday, December 9 @ 11:00 AM ET

NCHN Quarterly Membership Call
Business Plans for Networks
Monday, December 12 @ 2:00 PM ET

Executive Coaching Team Training Session
Wednesday, December 14 @ 11:00 AM ET




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Zodiak®: The Game of Business Finance and Strategy

After this one-day experience called Zodiak®: The Game of Business Finance and Strategy, healthcare professionals will…

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  • Understand how individual actions and decisions affect a hospital’s key metrics

All of Paradigm Learning’s training products are engaging, interactive, customizable and results oriented. In addition to business acumen for healthcare, our simulations address…

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Phone: 734-663-8599



There is no new member news this week.




Achieving Compliance with the Joint Commission’s Staffing Effectiveness Requirements
Offered by Concerro

November 29, 2011 @ 1:00 PM ET

Does your hospital have adequate staffing? Join Concerro for a complimentary staffing management webcast as the Joint Commission discusses how to ensure your facility is staffed effectively to provide quality patient care.

Attendees will learn valuable information on updated regulations around staffing effectiveness and how to identify whether or not your hospital has adequate staffing.
During this webcast you will learn how to:

  • Describe the Joint Commission’s staffing effectiveness approach
  • Identify one strategy to use in your organization’s effectiveness compliance activities
  • Apply updates to regulations to comply with what surveyors are looking for


SNHPA Webinar: 340B Compliance in an Era of Increased Oversight

November 29, 2011 @ 1:00 PM EST

The 340B program is facing unprecedented scrutiny from federal regulators and policymakers. In its first-ever study on the 340B program, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) needs to improve its oversight of the program, including in the areas of preventing diversion and tightening up eligibility criteria for private non-profit hospitals. Three influential members of Congress have, in response to the GAO study, asked HRSA for a detailed accounting of its oversight of the program. A growing number of 340B hospitals have reported receiving letters from drug manufacturers raising questions about whether their 340B drugs are being properly used and requesting additional information from the hospitals. HRSA has also announced that it will begin recertifying the eligibility of all covered entities, including hospitals, to ensure that entries in the 340B database are both accurate and up to date. Taken together, these developments signal that the 340B program is entering a new era of increased oversight. Both industry and covered entity stakeholders believe that audits by HRSA are inevitable and could begin as early as next year. Drug companies are also discussing conducting audits.

Safety Net Hospitals for Pharmaceutical Access (SNHPA) will host a webinar on Tuesday, November 29 from 1:00-2:30 PM (Eastern) focused on the changing 340B compliance landscape. Besides updating attendees on recent compliance-related developments, the webinar will provide practical guidance on how hospitals enrolled in the 340B program can effectively respond to new oversight actions, including audits.

Who Should Attend: In-house counsel, pharmacy directors, 340B pharmacy managers, CFOs, and government relations staff.


NRHA Webinar: Trends in Rural Health Care

Trends in Rural Health Care: "Developing Centers of Excellence"
Webinar: Thursday, December 1 @ 1:00 PM CST
Register now: Space is limited!

Join us for an Educational Webinar on December 1st sponsored by Gold Corporate Partner American Board of Physician Specialties.

We will be discussing the following objectives in rural health care.

• Review the major universal challenges facing our healthcare system today
• Understand basic intent and plan for proposed healthcare reform to meet those challenges
• Review specific challenges for Rural Emergency Medicine and current solutions
• Review the major trends in Rural Primary Care and specific examples of solution implementation
• Understand the top priorities necessary to become Centers of Excellence in Rural Health


The Affordable Care Act: An update from the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services

Friday, December 2 @ 2:00 PM CT

The National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services has devoted its work this year to the effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on rural areas. The Committee's 2011 Report to the Secretary (pdf), released in March, included a section on Rural Implications of Accountable Care Organizations and Payment Bundling.

The committee has published 5 white papers on the ACA covering topics that include Rural Implications of Key Primary Care Provisions; the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visitation Program; and Rural Policy Implications for Health Insurance Exchanges. Committee Chair Ronnie Musgrove will be joined on this call by several members to discuss committee recommendations to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Committee Chair Ronnie Musgrove, along with several other NACRHHS members


Health Outcomes Among Children and Families Living in Rural Communities

Conference: December 1 - 2, 2011
Bethesda, MD

This trans-agency conference brings together a panel of community members and experts from NIH Institutes and Centers, federal agencies, and organizations to identify gaps in research that address emerging differences between health outcomes for children and families living in rural communities compared to those in urban areas.

Access to care and services remains a critical issue for improving the health of individuals who live in rural and underserved areas. A growing body of evidence supports the concept that a rural place of residence is associated with poor health outcomes and risky health behaviors. Further, multiple reports (e.g., Rural Healthy People 2010) have documented several unmet health needs of children living in rural communities. These children are reportedly less physically active and have higher rates of tobacco use, overweight/obesity, and dental caries than their urban counterparts. Further, differences in health behavior and outcomes can be exacerbated by poverty and low educational attainment within families living in rural areas.


NRHA Rural Health Policy Institute

January 30 - February 1, 2012
Washington, D.C.

Join NRHA for the largest rural advocacy event in the country. Learn firsthand about the development and implementation of health care policy at the federal level and meet with your members.




Health Programs Facing Cutbacks After Super Committee’s Failure

November 21, 2011 (Kaiser Health News) - The failure of the congressional super committee could mean automatic budget cuts totaling billions of dollars for everything from Medicare to biomedical research, starting in 2013. But some health care interests stand to fare better than others.

Two major health entitlement programs, Medicare and Medicaid, have protections under the law that set up the super committee. Automatic cuts would not affect Medicaid, the joint federal-state health program for the poor, and Medicare spending would be cut by 2 percent – all from payments to hospitals and other care providers.

But unless Congress steps in to rework the legislation mandating the automatic cuts, a series of across-the-board reductions would kick in 2013. The House and Senate appropriations committees will have to decide how to spread the cuts among various programs. And some of the larger, better-financed lobbies may have the upper hand.


NRHA gives thanks for members' successful advocacy efforts (November 23, 2011)
• Kaiser Health News has compiled health care responses to the cuts (Nov. 25, 2011) Read them here.

ONC-Sponsored Model-Driven Health Tools Project

November 23, 2011 (ONC HealthIT email) - A government/private sector open source collaboration was recently formed between the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Veterans Health Administration (VHA), IBM Research (NYSE: IBM), and Open Health Tools. This project focuses on simplifying standards-based health information exchange. 

The Model-Driven Health Tools (MDHT) project leverages models of existing standards to produce integrated and accessible guides along with actual working and tested software supporting the standard.  This approach replaces current industry practice requiring each participating company or organization to interpret the standard and independently develop the standards.  The result lowers both cost and hurdles preventing organizations from participating in electronic health information exchanges.

Additionally, MDHT supports a full lifecycle standards development process providing a solution that allows standards designers and implementers to actively collaborate.  The agile process enables designers to quickly validate all aspects of the standards rules as practical and feasible before they become normative standards.

ONC's participation, which began in January 2011, was spearheaded by Dr. Doug Fridsma, Director of the Office of Standards and Interoperability within ONC. The MDHT Project 1.0 release was a response to a 2008 request for initiation by the VA and VHA. This release is the first of many sets of standards the group intends to create.

MDHT currently supports the Meaningful Use Standard, Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP) Patient Summary Document (C32) and the Consolidated CDA Project.

MDHT also provides support to other ONC S&I Framework Initiatives, including the Transitions Of Care and the Consolidated CDA initiatives.


Medicare Dec. 7th Open Enrollment Deadline Nears

November 28, 2011 ( | News & Events) - Ongoing Resources are Available for Seniors and People with Disabilities to Compare Coverage Options

As the December 7th deadline grows closer for people with Medicare to change or choose their drug and health plan coverage for next year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and its network of partners and advocates are available to assist with counseling and enrolling beneficiaries on their choices for 2012.  With just weeks remaining in the Annual Enrollment Period, Medicare’s popular consumer resources – and 1.800.MEDICARE – are assisting beneficiaries, their families, partners and trusted representatives.


Improving Patient Care by Improving Nurses' Work Environment

November 23, 2011 (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) - New study indicates physical environment, workgroup cohesion play significant roles in nurses' ratings of quality of patient care.

While nurse-to-patient ratios are widely recognized as an important factor in determining the quality of patient care, those ratios are not always easy to change without significant cost and investment of resources. What’s more, the projected nursing shortage will make it even more difficult for hospitals to increase nurse staffing. A study published in the current issue of Health Care Management Review indicates that there are other aspects of registered nurses’ (RNs) work environments that RNs perceive can also have a significant impact on the quality of care they deliver. In order of influence, those factors are: physical work environment, workgroup cohesion, nurse-physician relations, procedural justice and job satisfaction. Nurses’ ratings of patient care quality were also higher in hospitals with Magnet® recognition programs, and lower in work settings with greater organizational constraints such as lack of equipment and supplies.


U.S. Surgeon General declares Thanksgiving as “Family Health History Day”

November 22, 2011 (HHS News Release) - United States Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin today declared Thanksgiving 2011 as the nation’s eighth annual “Family Health History Day,” when families can share information by using the My Family Health Portrait website to gather their family’s health history in one place.

“An important first step in preventing illness and disability is learning about health conditions in our families that may put us at increased risk for diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, Alzheimer’s Disease, mental illness and many others,” said Dr. Benjamin.  “Discussing health information with other members of your family can often uncover conditions and explanations for health problems which you never knew about, simply because no one ever asked.”




Health Care Innovation Challenge
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation

LOI Due: December 19, 2011
Application Due: January 27, 2012
Anticipated Award Date: March 30, 2012

The Health Care Innovation Challenge will award up $1 billion in grants to applicants who will implement the most compelling new ideas to deliver better health, improved care and lower costs to people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP, particularly those with the highest health care needs.

The objectives of this initiative are to:

  • Engage a broad set of innovation partners to identify and test new care delivery and payment models that originate in the field and that produce better care, better health, and reduced cost through improvement for identified target populations.
  • Identify new models of workforce development and deployment and related training and education that support new models either directly or through new infrastructure activities.
  • Support innovators who can rapidly deploy care improvement models (within six months of award) through new ventures or expansion of existing efforts to new populations of patients, in conjunction (where possible) with other public and private sector partners.

Awards will range from approximately $1 million to $30 million for a three-year period.  Applications are open to providers, payers, local government, public-private partnerships and multi-payer collaboratives.  Each grantee project will be monitored for measurable improvements in quality of care and savings generated.

The Health Care Innovation Challenge will encourage applicants to include new models of workforce development and deployment that efficiently support their service delivery model proposal.  Enhanced infrastructure to support more cost effective system-wide function is also a critical component of health care system transformation, and applicants are encouraged to include this as an element of their proposals.



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