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NCHN e-News
March 27, 2012 FacebookTwitter LinkedIn

From the Executive Director

Welcome to the March 2012 issue of the NCHN eNews! 

So far 2012 has been an exciting year for NCHN, and the upcoming months will be equally exciting for the Association.  I’m sure it is the same excitement for each one of you as you lead your network and provide services to your members. 

Just a few of the upcoming activities include:

  • Five directorships will be seated on the NCHN Board at the Annual Membership Meeting in April in Denver;
  •  NCHN Committees reformulate and begin their work for 2012-2013;
  • A new NCHN Website will be unveiled;
  • The 2012 Network Leader Salary and Benefit Survey will be conducted;
  • A new program will be announced at the Annual Membership Meeting;  and
  • Details of the 2012 NCHN Leadership Summit will be distributed in the upcoming weeks.

A few weeks ago, we conducted a couple of different surveys with the membership and readers of NCHN’s Weekly Update and NCHN eNews! The majority of you indicated that you liked the publications just as they were, so good news -- we will continue to provide these resources to you as we have in the past.  We encourage you to share the electronic publications with your members and others with an interest in health networks.  If you know someone that would benefit from the up-to-date and timely information found in the newsletter, please encourage others to sign up for their own issue.  They can subscribe here.  The NCHN Weekly Update is distributed early on Tuesday mornings the first through third week of the month and the NCHN eNews is distributed on the last Tuesday of the month.  We encourage and “beg” members and Business Partners to submit news for the publications.  It can be a special feature, your newsletter publication, information about a program or event, and/or just a blurb about what’s going on with your network.  Archives of past issues of the two publications are located here in case you have missed an issue or want to research some previous posting or article.

I want to offer a special “Thank You” to the  2012 Conference Planning Committee.   Committee members have been extremely busy planning an excellent educational event for network leaders, including network boards.  If you haven’t registered for the 2012 NCHN Conference there is still time to receive the Early Bird Discount if you register by April 1. You also have a wonderful opportunity to explore the National Rural Health Association and the offerings at their annual conference if you can stay over a couple more days in Denver.  Details on both NCHN and NRHA’s registration are located elsewhere in the eNews!   I look forward to seeing you in Denver and catching up on the work of your organization since we met last year in Scottsdale --- sorry that we won’t get to see a repeat of NCHN President, Carolyn Witherspoon on the mechanical bull again, but looking forward to your baseball outfits for our night at the Colorado Rockies on Monday, April 16. Details about the event will be included in next Week’s Update. You are in store for not only a great major league baseball game, but also some wonderful networking time with your peers and colleagues across the country. 

And lastly, next week you will have the opportunity to meet the candidates for the NCHN Board of Directors.  We have five dedicated, experienced network leaders that have volunteered to run for Director seats on the NCHN Board.  We will introduce you to the five individuals in next week’s Update.  You will be receiving the official notice for the 2012 Annual Membership Meeting in your email boxes with a ballot and proxy form for voting by April 5, 2012.  This is your Association and you are responsible for electing the Directors to oversee the management and operation of NCHN.  In order to participate in the voting process, 2012 Membership dues must be paid, so if you haven’t completed the 2012 Dues Assessment Form, please do so today and get that check into the mail!   Exercise your membership right to have input into the management of your Association! 

Happy Spring!  And see you in Denver,

Rebecca J. Davis, Ph.D.
Ph: 970-712-0732






Featured Partner
Thermo Scientific is a Gold Business Partner

funny facts

The Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes

• #1 The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest: On 1 April 1957, the respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees...
#2 Sidd Finch: The April 1985 issue of Sports Illustrated contained a story about a new rookie pitcher who planned to play for the Mets. His name was Sidd Finch, and he could reportedly throw a baseball at 168 mph with pinpoint accuracy...
• #3 Instant Color TV: In 1962 there was only one tv channel in Sweden, and it broadcast in black and white. But on 1 April 1962, the station's technical expert, Kjell Stensson, appeared on the news to announce that, thanks to a new technology, viewers could convert their existing sets to display color reception. All they had to do was pull a nylon stocking over their tv screen...



Last Chance to Save $75 on Conference Registration

Early-bird registration for the 18th Annual NCHN Conference ends April 1st.

» Register Now to save $75 on the regular conference rate.

Tim Size, RWHC2012 NCHN Conference Featured Speaker: Tim Size

Tim Size, Executive Director of Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative and author of numerous articles on health networks and rural health, will present Health Networks of the Future (Doing More, Better, for Less) on Wednesday, April 18th. He will briefly describe RWHC and share a few ideas about the future of health networks. Questions for the Q&A are invited prior to the Conference. Please email your questions to Rebecca at

About Tim Size
Tim Size has been the Executive Director of the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative since helping to found it in 1979. The Cooperative is owned and operated by thirty-four rural hospitals with a vision that “Rural Wisconsin communities will be the healthiest in America.”

Tim has an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University and an MBA in Hospital Administration from the University of Chicago. He was awarded a W.K. Kellogg Foundation National Fellowship from 1987 to 1990 and studied Social Entrepreneurship at the Harvard Business School Executive Education Program in the summer of 2009. He is an adjunct member of the faculty of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

Tim has long been a national advocate on behalf of rural health and edits a widely read monthly newsletter for RWHC which includes the country’s only known rural health policy cartoon series. Among various state appointments in Wisconsin, Tim is on the state’s bond authority for hospitals, the Governor’s Rural Health Development Council and the Healthy Wisconsin Leadership Institute’s steering committee.

Among national appointments, he has served twice on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services. He is a past president of the National Rural Health Association and was a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee that wrote Quality Through Collaboration: The Future of Rural Health. He was appointed by the GAO in 2010 to serve on the DHHS CO-OP Plan Advisory Board as part of Federal Health Reform.

Regionally, he serves on the Rural Health Research Center Advisory Board at the University of Minnesota and on the Board of Directors of the Essentia Institute of Rural Health.


Upcoming NCHN Calls & Events

Rural Health Network Resources – Consulting Group Task Force Call
Wednesday, March 28 @ 12:00 PM ET

2011 Executive Coaching Team Call
Wednesday, March 28 @ 11:00 AM ET

2012 Conference Planning Committee Call
Monday, April 2 @ 2:00 PM ET
Monday, April 9 @ 2:00 PM ET

2012 NCHN Annual Conference
April 15 - 18, 2012 in Denver, CO

NCHN Annual Membership Meeting
Monday, April 16 @ 8:30 AM in Denver, CO

Board of Directors Meeting
Monday, April 16 @ 9:00 AM in Denver, CO

4th Annual Awards Luncheon
Monday, April 16 in Denver, CO

Upcoming Deadlines
April 1, 2012: Early Bird registration ends for the NCHN Conference (add $75 after 4/1/12)




Thermo ScientificThermo Scientific

Asset 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

Contract Benefits
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.

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



Member News




Primary Care Medical Home (PCMH) Series
Joint Commission Resources

Webinar: March 27, 2012
1:00 - 2:00 ET

Topic: Primary Care Medical Home (PCMH) Standards - A Deep Dive
During this 60-minute discussion, we will take a deep dive into the PCMH standards, focusing on what you need to know to achieve designation.

At the conclusion of this event, participants will be able to:
- Identify the primary care medical home specific requirements and EP’s associated with this option
- Assess your organization’s level of compliance with meeting the existing Joint Commission ambulatory care requirements


Webinar Series: Strategies to Recruit Alumni and Young Families to Your Community
Center for Rural Entrepreneurship

March 27, 2012 from 12:00 - 1:00 PM CT
April 10, 2012 from 12:00 - 1:00 PM CT
May 15, 2012 from 12:00 - 1:00 PM CT

Beginning in March, the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship and the Heartland Center for Leadership Development will co-host a three-part webinar series to help rural leaders address youth out-migration through attracting alumni and young familes.  This webinar series will incoporate the extensive experience of both organizations in working with young people and communty leaders to revitalize rural communities.  It also builds upon input gathered from over 30,000 young people across rural America about what motivates them to want to return to rural communties.  If you would like a taste of this series, we invite you to click on this link to view a free webinar recording conducted by both Centers in December, 2011.

In three one-hour sessions, co-hosts Milan Wall of the Heartland Center and Craig Schroeder of the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship will guide you through the process of identifying your target audience in relation to your community's strongest assets, crafting a compelling message and brand to attract new residents and building a game plan for recruiting alumni and young families to your community.  Upon completion of this series, you will have the knowledge and tools needed to move forward with implementing your action plan.


Save More Money For Your Nonprofit
501(c) Agencies Trust

Webinar: March 27, 2012 | 2:00 - 2:30 PM EDT

On This Webinar You Will Learn:

  • Why nonprofit employers are paying more for their unemployment taxes--and what it costs you.
  • Understanding the legal option for nonprofits to leave the unemployment tax system and just reimburse the state for claims.
  • How your nonprofit can potentially save thousands of dollars annually with this reimbursing option.
  • Learn about the advantages and disadvantages and whether it's right for your nonprofit. (Best for nonprofits with over $1 million in payroll.) 
  • How 501(c) Agencies Trust  helps nonprofits reimburse, safely and securely, with services to reduce your costs.


County Health Rankings & Roadmaps Website: New Tools and Features for the 2012 Release
County Health Rankings & Roadmaps

Webinar: March 27, 2012 | 3:00 - 4:00 PM EDT

Join us on Tuesday, March 27 at 2:00pm CDT (3:00pm EDT) for a webinar introducing the updated 2012 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps Website. The new tools, features, and resources on the website will be demonstrated. (The new website, however, will not be available to the public until the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps release on April 3, 2012.)


13th Annual Ned E. Baker Lecture in Public Health
National Association of Local Board of Health

Live Webcast: March 29, 2012
4:00 - 5:30 ET

"Telling the Public Health Story - How to Affect Policy, Engage Elected Officials, and Inspire Citizens"

Lecture Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the characteristics of narrative that make it the most powerful form of human communication.
  • Learn the structure and qualities that distinguish a compelling story from an ordinary sequence of events and learn how to apply these qualities to public health achievements.
  • Understand specific steps public health organizations can take to use stories more effectively in internal, external, formal, and informal communications.


HRSA Health IT & Quality Webinar

Overview of Meaningful Use Stage 2 NPRM for Safety Net Providers

March 30, 2012 @ 2:00 PM EST


CMS Hospital & Hospital Quality Open Door Forum

Conference Call: April 4, 2012 @ 2:00 PM ET

The Hospital Open Door Forum (ODF), addresses the concerns and questions of the Hospital service setting, The very broad scope of topics discussed within this forum, include payment, coverage, conditions of participation, billing, and many other current issues that are related to new policy implementation. The Inpatient PPS, Outpatient PPS, and the many MMA provisions that affect the setting are all covered, and a recurring update from the areas of the Hospital Quality Initiative including the Hospital CAHPS initiative. Timely announcements and clarifications regarding important rulemaking, agency program initiatives, and other related areas are also included in the forums.

» MORE INFORMATION (scroll down to Downloads for for the link to call-in instructions)

The Cycle of Nonprofit Sustainability
The Foundation Center

COST: $45

Webinar: April 5, 2012 | 1:00 - 2:30 PM EDT

As a key component in our new three-part training series, Building Your Nonprofit's Sustainability in the "New Normal", this webinar teaches the five essential characteristics of effective, sustainable nonprofits and helps you understand how to implement them.


2012 Monthly Rural Health Care Conference Call
Universal Service Administrative Company

Conference Call: April 12, 2012 @ 2:00 PM ET

Program applicants and service providers can raise issues of concern or seek clarification on program rules during monthly outreach conference calls. The discussion of agenda items is followed by a general question and answer period.


Building It from the Ground Up: A Conversation with State Health Insurance Exchange Leaders
State Reforum

Webinar: April 12, 2012 @ 2:30 PM ET

States electing to establish exchanges have entered a new phase: they are working to convene their governing bodies, tackle initial policy issues, and a few have hired full-time executive directors. These directors come from a variety of backgrounds, but have one thing in common: they have all stepped into the fast-paced world of ACA implementation to help build an exchange from the ground up, all by the 2013 deadline.


NRHA Annual Rural Health Conference
National Rural Health Association

April 17 - 20, 2012
Denver, CO

NRHA's Annual Rural Health Conference is the nation's largest rural health conference, created for all of those with an interest in rural health care, including rural health practitioners, hospital administrators, clinic directors and lay health workers, social workers, state and federal health employees, academics, community members and more.




CMS Announces New Initiative to Bolster Primary Care Workforce

March 21, 2012 (CMS News release) -The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced a call for applications for a new Affordable Care Act initiative designed to strengthen primary care in the United States. Under the Graduate Nurse Education Demonstration, CMS will provide hospitals working with nursing schools to train advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) with payments of up to $200 million over four years to cover the costs of APRNs’ clinical training.  


Final insurance exchange rule prompts concerns about out-of-network care
by Charles Fiegl, amednews staff

March 26, 2012 ( - Federal officials have finalized regulations to guide states during the development of the health insurance exchanges that millions of Americans will count on to purchase coverage starting in 2014, as authorized by the health system reform law.

Overall, initial reaction to the 644-page rule's release on March 12 was positive. Health care organizations generally praised the Dept. of Health and Human Services for maintaining state flexibility in the rule, but some groups were critical of provisions designed to govern the adequacy of networks of physicians and other health professionals.


National Recruitment and Retention Network Job Announcement

March 20, 2012 - The National Recruitment and Retention Network (3RNet) announced its search for an Executive Director. Applications must be received by April 6, 2012 and include a chronological resume and a letter of interest.


Rural doctors up against size, cost disadvantage
by Conner Howell

March 24, 2012 ( - At 2 a.m. on a Sunday night, Dr. Adrian Billings’ cellphone rang. Working as the only doctor at Pearce Clinic had been a time-suck for him ever since he moved to the Big Bend town of Alpine.

His labor and delivery nurse told him one of his patients was about to deliver a nine-week-premature baby, so he left his wife and three young boys sleeping and drove to Big Bend Regional Medical Center a mile outside town.

The closest neonatologist he would need to care for the baby was 150 miles away in Odessa. And the only way to get there in time was on a twin-engine medevac plane at Alpine’s local airstrip across from the hospital.


Doximity: the Social Network for Doctors
by Matthew Holt

March 22, 2012 (Health 2.0) - In this short video Doximity CEO Jeff Tangney talks about the features of his company’s online professional network for physicians. The platform was created first as a referral directory that doctors used to find specialists. But doctors are also using it to pose questions to other docs about tough cases they face. Tangney explains the other benefits physicians are finding they get from using Doximity.


CMS Clarifies Key ACO Eligibility Requirements
by Mintz Levin

March 20, 2012 ( - Responding to questions from Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) applicants and their counsel, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a memorandum on March 16. CMS’ memo focuses on three specific areas: (1) clarification regarding Accountable Care Organization (ACO) participants, ACO providers and suppliers, and their participation in an ACO; (2) the submission and content of ACO participation agreements; and (3) requirements relating to ACO governing bodies.

The MSSP Interim Final Rules published in the Federal Register on November 2, 2011, provided definitions of ACO participant and ACO provider. CMS’ memo reiterated these definitions, emphasizing that an ACO participant is the individual or entity that has a Medicare-enrolled Tax Identification Number (TIN). The new revelation in CMS’ memo is that an ACO participant will be ineligible to participate in an ACO unless all of the providers and suppliers that bill through its TIN agree to participate in the ACO and comply with the MSSP regulations.


Cuts to Community Health Centers Hit Rural Americans Hardest
by John Commins

March 21, 2012 (HealthLeaders Media) - The federal government's decision to withhold about $600 million in funding for primary care community health centers will have a disproportionately hard effect on rural Americans.

More than 90% of the 20 million people who are served by health centers have incomes that are below twice the federal poverty level. And about 48% the of the nation's 8,100 federally funded community health centers serve rural communities. People in rural areas tend to be older, poorer, and sicker than their urban counterparts. They also tend to have fewer healthcare options and more difficulty accessing healthcare than people in urban areas.


Implications Are Far-Reaching in States’ Challenge of Federal Health Care Law
by Robert Pear

March 24, 2012 (The New York Times) - A major issue in the Supreme Court battle over the new health care law is whether Congress can force states to make a huge expansion of Medicaid, to add millions of low-income people to the rolls.

States say the federal law is unconstitutionally coercive because all their Medicaid money would be at risk if they flout the new requirement.


Structural Cavities in Rural Dental Health
by Chuck Shuford

March 26, 2012 (The Daily Yonder) - On the whole, the nation's oral health has improved dramatically, but a shortage of dentists, lack of fluoridation, and poverty have put rural citizens at a dental disadvantage.

In 2000, the federal government issued the first-ever Surgeon General’s report on Oral Health, emphasizing disparities across the nation. It warned that dental disease in the U.S. constituted a “silent epidemic” with profound consequences for “affected populations.”

In rural America, the “silent” epidemic is in fact strident. In February of this year, The Pew Center for the States issued new evidence that poor dental health is especially severe among rural children and adults.


Nearly All States Have Taken Action on Affordable Care Act's Patients' Bill of Rights and Other Early Health Insurance Market Reforms

March 22, 2012 (The Commonwealth Fund) - As the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act approaches, a new Commonwealth Fund report finds that 49 states and the District of Columbia have already taken action supporting the law’s implementation, such as passing legislation, issuing regulations or other guidance, or actively reviewing insurer filings. Early insurance market reforms in the law include new rules for insurers such as bans on lifetime limits on benefits and dependent coverage for young adults up to age 26.

The report, Implementing the Affordable Care Act: State Action on Early Market Reforms, by Katie Keith, Kevin W. Lucia, and Sabrina Corlette of the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms, is the first to assess state action on 10 early reforms, including those known collectively as the Patients’ Bill of Rights, that went into effect in September 2010. The researchers found that between January 1, 2010, and January 1, 2012, 23 states and the District of Columbia had taken new legislative or regulatory action on at least one of these reforms, and an additional 26 states had taken other action to promote compliance with the reforms, such as issuing bulletins to insurers.




Telehealth Network Grant Program

Purpose: This announcement solicits applications for the Telehealth Network Grant Program (TNGP).  The primary objective of the TNGP is to demonstrate how telehealth programs and networks can improve access to quality health care services in rural and underserved communities.

Grants made under this authority will demonstrate how telehealth networks improve healthcare services for medically underserved populations in urban, rural, and frontier communities.  TNGP networks are used to: (a) expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of health care services; (b) improve and expand the training of health care providers; and/or (c) expand and improve the quality of health information available to health care providers, and patients and their families, for decisionmaking.  However, as noted below, because of legislative restrictions, grants will be limited to programs that serve rural communities, although grantees may be located in urban or rural areas.

Applications are due by April 13, 2012.


Telehealth Resource Center Grant Program (posted 2/24/12; due 4/20/12)


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