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NCHN eNews
April 3, 2012
This issue's highlights:
  • NCHN News: Notice of Annual Membership Meeting
  • NCHN News: Board of Director Nominees
  • Member News: HCC featured in Missouri Hospital Associaton's Newly Released Report
  • National News: HHS Secretary announces veterans’ priority in health professions training grants
  • National News: New Policy Briefs Available from the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services

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Notice of Annual Membership Meeting

April 3, 2012

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Annual Meeting of Voting Members of the National Cooperative of Health Networks Association (NCHN) will take place at 8:30 a.m. local time on April 16, 2012, at The Curtis in the Peek A Boo (Room) in conjunction with the Association’s 18th Annual Conference – Health Networks of the Future -  All Together Now, in Denver, Colorado.. 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.

The purpose of the meeting shall be: 

  1. To elect directors, pursuant to action of the Board of Directors on March 19, 2012 to continue the number of directors for 2012-2013 at eleven (11) with the election of five  (5) directors in Class B to serve until the 2015 Annual Meeting of Voting Members; and
  2. To transact such other business as may properly come before the meeting and any adjournments thereof. 

Only Voting Members of record at the close of business on April 3, 2012, are entitled to notice of and to vote at the Annual Meeting and any adjournment thereof.

Eligible voting members will receive an email on or about April 3th with details about the Annual Membership meeting, the agenda for the Annual Membership Meeting, and a proxy to vote your membership interest if you are unable to send an authorized representative to attend this meeting.  While we do hope that you will have a representative present, if not, to assure your representation we urge you to complete the proxy form and return it to the Secretary of the Association, for receipt before the meeting.  Your vote will be cast as indicated on the proxy regarding approval of the recommended slate of directors.  Unless you indicate otherwise, your proxy will be voted at the discretion of the proxy upon any other issues that may properly come before the meeting and any adjournment.  Members attending the meeting may revoke their proxies and vote in person. If you have questions about the upcoming Annual Membership Meeting, please contact Rebecca Davis by email at

Tara Cramer
Association Secretary
National Cooperative of Health Networks Association (NCHN)



The grand master takes a set of 8 stamps, 4 red and 4 green, known to the logicians, and loosely affixes two to the forehead of each logician so that each logician can see all the other stamps except those 2 in the moderator’s pocket and the two on her own head. He asks them in turn if they know the colors of their own stamps:
A: “No.”
B: “No.”
C: “No.”
A: “No.”
B: “Yes.”
What are the colors of her stamps, and what is the situation?


NCHN Board of Director Nominees

Brendan AshbyBrendan L. Ashby, MBA, MPH, MCHES, FACHE
Executive Director
Northeast Minnesota AHEC’s mnHEALTHnet (MN)

Brendan L. Ashby is the executive director of the Northeast Minnesota Area Health Education Center (AHEC) and director of the mnHEALTHnet headquartered in Hibbing, MN.  Mr. Ashby received his Master of Business Administration degree from Regis University, his Master of Public Health degree from the University of Denver, Nationally Master Certified Health Education Specialist through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc., and is board certified in Healthcare Management as a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.  Moreover, he is a leadership Fellow with the Johnson & Johnson/University of California Los Angeles Health Care Executive Program, the Office of Rural Health Policy and National Rural Health Association’s Rural Health Leadership Development Program Fellow, and a Minnesota Area Geriatric Education Center Fellow, University of Minnesota.  Mr. Ashby serves as an ambassador for the National Health Service Corps and is a liaison with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.

Dave JohnsonDave Johnson
Director of Member Relations & Business Development
Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative (WI)

Dave currently serves as the Director of Member Relations & Business Development for RWHC (Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative).  In this roll Dave is responsible for; working with the 34 Member Hospitals to build upon their existing relationships with RWHC and one another, and aligning resources and opportunities for shared service development among the Members.  Dave has been working for RWHC since August of 2009. 

Prior to joining RWHC, Dave worked in community based long term care services in a number of differing capacities.  During a 17 year stint in long term care, Dave worked his way up from a part time habilitation specialist to become the Senior Director of one of the largest private for profit long term care organizations operating in Wisconsin.  His particular areas of interest and expertise are in organizational leadership and business development.   Dave holds a Bachelor of Science in Management and Marketing from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC and a Master of Business Administration from the Edgewood College School of Business in Madison, WI. 

Dave has had the opportunity to serve on several not for profit boards around the SW Wisconsin area.  He was appointed to the Governors Advisory Council on Traumatic Brain Injury in 2005, and was the former President of the Board of Education for Belmont Community Schools.  Dave is the father of three children, and enjoys spending his time swimming, running, and being in the outdoors. 

Darcy A. Czarnik Laurin
Executive Director
Thumb Rural Health Network (MI)

Darcy A. Czarnik Laurin has served as the Executive Director for the Thumb Rural Health Network (TRHN) in Michigan since February 2011. Darcy has also served on NCHN’s Leadership Summit Committee and the Program Development Committee and is a regular participant in the monthly Coffee/Tea Chats.

Darcy has spent the last 14 years working for non-profit organizations. Prior to her current role with TRHN, she held positions ranging from watershed restoration to health care. Throughout her career, Darcy has been active in the communities she serves as a regular participant in programs that include Camp Centaur (a pediatric cancer camp working with horses as therapy animals), Facing Forward: Journey Into Womanhood (a mentoring program for at-risk girls in the juvenile system), Toys for Tots, and many others. Raised in a rural area of northern Michigan, Darcy is committed to bringing much needed services to rural communities.

Toniann RichardToniann Richard
Executive Director
Healthcare Collaborative of Rural Missouri (MO)

Toniann Richard, Executive Director of the Health Care Collaborative of Rural Missouri, a Rural Health Network funded by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City and Health Resource Services Administration (HRSA). Toniann’s career goals for the organization are to successfully develop a rural Health Information Technology Network for the providers and is working with the Network to develop highly effective service delivery models for vulnerable populations. Toniann firmly believes that organizations are more successful when they partner with others and she aspires to teach others how to learn from their successes and challenges.

Toniann has over 12 years of experience in non-profit, and as many years experience working with community networking. In the last four years, her expertise as been instrumental in successfully implementing and launching the following funded programs, many of which were introduced to the County for the very first time: Community Health, Health Information Technology and Telemedicine and Access to Insurance.

Jon SmithJon Smith
Executive Director
The Hospital Cooperative, Inc. (ID)

Jon Smith has been the Executive Director of The Hospital Cooperative, Inc. since 2003.  During his career, Jon has served in CEO, Executive Director, CFO and Regional CFO roles in rural hospitals and health networks.  He serves on boards for the BrightPath, a state insurance cooperative, ISU and EITC Associate Nursing Programs and the National Cooperative of Health Networks, where he has served as Treasurer since 2010.  He has held similar positions with the Idaho Rural Health Association, Nevada Rural Hospital Partners, the Nevada Hospital Association and Nevada Area Health Education Centers.  Jon is a 1995 graduate of Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho, with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance. 

Upcoming NCHN Calls & Events

2012 Conference Planning Committee Call
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




HCC LogoHCC Featured in Missouri Hospital Associaton's Newly Released Report: Hospital and FQHC Collaboration-Findings and Opportunities

April 2, 2012 (HCC e-News) - Community or regional health councils engage key health care stakeholders with leaders in local government, academia, philanthropy and/or business. These councils help to generate and sustain collaborative initiatives to address health issues.

Each community health council is different in its genesis, makeup and specific goals. However, they all seem to have the same core missions - to improve communication and seek solutions that improve access to care and health outcomes for their populations.

The health councils identified during this project are described below, along with their recent major initiatives. Each grew from the recognition of community needs, leadership provided by key players and grant support from government and/or philanthropic sources.

» Read entire report (pdf) (HCC is featured on page 4-5)



[VCOM Alum] Making ACA Policy Plain: A Personal Approach
by Dr. John Casey

March 21, 2012 ( | The Administration | Champions of Change) - If you asked my high school teachers would I be involved in health policy and education, you would have heard a resounding ‘NO’. My interest in these areas began as an undergraduate at Virginia Tech, and was cultivated as I entered the workforce as a paramedic. I realized that I had a talent for policy and a love of teaching, and was fortunate to have been supported in developing these skills by an amazing group of peers and mentors. I obtained a graduate degree from Radford University, and ultimately entered medical school at the Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine.




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.


Building Medical Home Neighborhoods through Community-Based Teams: Lessons and Updates from Three States with Emerging Programs
National Academy for State Health Policy

Webinar: April 18, 2012 @ 2:30 PM ET

Community-based teams can help medical home providers offer primary care that is coordinated, whole-person oriented, and integrated with local community resources.  Nine states are now making payments to community-based practice support teams, and others are exploring possibilities for launching teams in the near future.  Webcast attendees will hear from program leaders in Alabama, Michigan, and Minnesota about why they are enhancing their medical home programs with community-based teams.  The speakers will also discuss program financing and how teams can help link medical homes to medical neighborhoods, especially to care for complex Medicaid enrollees. 




New Policy Briefs Available from the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services

April 2, 2012 ( - The National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services has posted three new Policy Briefs on its website. For the past year the Committee has been focusing on the rural implications of key provisions from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The recent papers are the result of the meeting held in Hattiesburg, MS from September 26-28, 2011.

The Committee advises the Secretary of Health and Human Services on policy and regulatory issues. The new Briefs include recommendations to Sec. Sebelius to ensure that quality measures for Physicians should be appropriate for rural providers of care, to improve efforts to reduce health disparities in rural areas and to provide better services to the rural elderly.


Critical Access Hospitals and the National Health Service Corps

March 28, 2012 ( - Recruiting providers to your Critical Access Hospital (CAH) – or keeping them there – may be easier if the provider knows they could receive up to $60,000 to pay off their school loans, in addition to receiving a salary.  National Health Service Corps (NHSC) approved sites can make that offer.  And any CAH in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) is eligible – and encouraged - to apply to become an NHSC-approved site as part of a new pilot program announced by the White House Rural Council in 2011. 

Since CAHs became eligible for the NHSC program in October, 66 have become approved sites.  And 6 CAH providers are currently receiving loan repayment through the Corps.  More than 80 percent of NHSC providers continue to serve in HPSAs after their commitment to the NHSC is complete, providing staff stability now and for the future.


Train Rural: Real Stories from Rural Students and Residents - Some lessons, medical schools can't teach
by Bonnie Wong

March 29, 2012 ( - In my third year of medical school, I was privileged to have a career-changing rural rotation in a small town of about 2,500 inhabitants. There, I experienced medicine the way I had always imagined it should be practiced. Patients, who were neighbors, friends and family of the staff, were treated with the utmost respect and kindness. I consistently observed that patients’ medical conditions and proposed treatments were explained in detail, and unnecessary testing and procedures were not routinely performed. I felt end-of-life issues were confronted head-on, rather than avoided.

One of the most powerful experiences of my medical career occurred in that town. In the clinic, I had seen a 7-year-old boy who was dying of a brain tumor. I knew his history but was not prepared to see a child in a coma when I entered the room. “What was I supposed to do for the child?” I desperately thought, “This is not something we are taught in medical school.”


Stemming the Mental Health Crisis in Rural America

March 28, 2012 ( - It’s estimated that more than half of all U.S. mental health care takes place at the primary care level and that percentage jumps considerably in rural areas where there often are no mental health practitioners for hundreds of miles.

New online training modules have been designed by the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) to help primary care providers better treat patients with mental health issues.


County Health Rankings 2012: NewPublicHealth Q&A with David Altman

March 29, 2012 ( - The 2012 County Health Rankings will be released on April 3, 2012. For the third year in a row, counties will receive a snapshot of how healthy their residents are by comparing their overall health and the factors that influence their health with other counties in their state. The Rankings, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, allow communities to see, county by county, where they are doing well and where they need to improve. The County Health Rankings Roadmaps to Health project shows what we can do to create healthier places to live, learn, work and play.

In advance of the new Rankings release, NewPublicHealth spoke with David Altman, PhD, chair of the County Health Roadmaps National Advisory Board, and Vice President of Research, Innovation, and Product Development at the Center for Creative Leadership.


We Can’t Wait: HHS Secretary announces veterans’ priority in health professions training grants

March 26, 2012 ( - Two grant programs totaling more than $24 million will help veterans enter the health professions workforce and increase the nation’s supply of advanced practice nurses and physician assistants, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today. These steps are part of the Administration’s effort to help veterans find jobs here at home after they have fought for our country overseas. Last fall, the Administration announced that it would expand opportunities for veterans to enter health professions by giving funding priority to programs that help train veterans for careers as physician assistants and nursing schools that help veterans pursue nursing careers.  


Health system reform: Abstract debate inside Supreme Court as protest signs dominate outside
by Alicia Gallegos and David Glendinning

April 2, 2012 ( - Away from the emotional atmosphere outside the U.S. Supreme Court, justices in their three days of oral arguments on the national health system reform law focused on the constitutional and legal issues. Philosophical discussions among the justices about markets, mandates and tax code were more common than talk of patients, preexisting conditions and access to medical care.

The heart of the justices’ review was the law’s individual mandate, the provision requiring nearly all Americans to obtain insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty. That was the primary line of attack by states and employers that want to see the statute overturned, and justices in their questioning appeared evenly split along ideological lines on whether the federal government can compel the purchase of a commercial product.


Regardless of Court Ruling, Reforum Under Way (March 30, 2012, HealthLeaders Media)
ACA's Fate Rests with Court (March 29, 2012, HealthLeaders Media)
Conversations: Don Berwick looks ahead on health care (March 25, 2012, The Washington Post)



Rural Health Research Center Cooperative Agreement
Office of Rural Health Policy

Purpose: The purpose of the RHRC Cooperative Agreement Program is to increase the amount of high quality, impartial, policy-relevant research to assist decision-makers at the federal, state and local levels to better understand problems faced by rural communities, and provide information that will improve access to health care and population health.

Applications are due by April 13, 2012.


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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