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NCHN eNews
August 2, 2011
Dear NCHN Members and Friends,

Welcome to the latest issue of the NCHN Weekly Digest. We want to remind you to submit your Lessons Learned for 2011. The first member to submit a form will receive a $25 discount on their registration for the Leadership Summit. Get these in - they will be posted on the Rural Assistance Center web site, as well!

Let us know what's going on with your network
If you have information you would like to share, or have any feedback, please email us.







Laura HintonNCHN Says Farewell to Summer Intern

NCHN is saying good-bye this week to our Summer Intern, Laura Hinton.  We were fortunate to have secured a Summer Intern through the Lincoln Trail Workforce Investment Area, Summer Youth Internship Program.  Laura, a recent graduate from Breckinridge County High School started working at the NCHN headquarters’ office in early June and will complete the program on August 4th.  Laura was active in the HOSA (Health Occupation Student Association) at the Area Technical School.  She served as Treasurer during her senior year and participated in the HOSA National Conference in Anaheim, CA earlier this summer. She plans to go to Western Kentucky University this fall to major in Occupational Therapy.  Laura has been busy assisting with preparations for the upcoming NCHN Leadership Summit in September, along with organizing files and preparing for the NCHN’s move to Montrose, CO later this summer.  We wish her the best of luck this fall in her new adventure at college and thank her so much for her assistance this summer!  

Submit Your 2011 Lessons Learned

Be the first to submit Lessons Learned and you will receive $25 off of one registration for the 2011 NCHN Leadership Summit!

Deadline: August 12, 2011

It is that time again! NCHN is looking for lessons learned to share with other members and networks. Tell us about your program/service, how it was implemented, barriers, and how your network overcame them. Share your network's stories!

NCHN Lessons Learned submissions are submitted to RAC and included on the Rural Assistance Center (RAC) web site under Success Stories.


From the Forum

There are no new posts this week.



At a local bar, three friends, Mr. Green, Mr. Red and Mr. Blue, were having a drink. One man was wearing a red suit; one a green suit; and the other a blue suit. "Have you noticed," said the man in the blue suit, "that although our suits have colors corresponding to our names, not one of us is wearing a suit that matches our own names?" Mr. Red looked at the other two and said, "You're absolutely correct." What color suit is each man wearing?



Quarterly Membership Calls - Need your feedback

The Program Development Committee, which is charged with managing the NCHN Quarterly Membership Call Program, is seeking input from you, as they look at educational programming for future membership calls. 

Please take a few minutes to complete this short survey.  


Member Listserv Q&A

Two questions were sent to the Membership Listserv in the last week. Please respond to these if you have helpful information.

Q1: Pre-Commitment Policy for Development of New Programs
How do you handle “pre-commitment” policies with your membership in terms of negotiating with potential vendors for services. Specifically, do you have opt-in and/or opt-out provisions for your members if they should decide at the last minute not to participate in a new program?  If members should opt-out at the last minute, do you have penalties for the late withdrawal from the proposed program?  If so, what type of penalties, e.g., financial or a set out period of time before they would be eligible to participate in the program?

Q2: What is the salary range and job title for your network's Controller position?


Upcoming NCHN Calls & Events

Program Development Committee Call
Tuesday, August 16 @ 1:00 PM ET

Coffee/Tea Chats with Dr. Mary Kay Chess
Wednesday, August 17 at 11:00 AM ET

Board of Directors Call
Monday, August 29 @ 2:00 PM ET

Quarterly Membership Call
Monday, September 12 @ 2:00 PM ET (Topic TBA)

Executive Coaching Training Calls
Wednesday, September 14 @ 11:00 AM ET

1st NCHN Leadership Summit
Tuesday, September 27
Hyatt Regency Crown Center: Kansas City, MO

» VIEW THE NCHN CALENDAR for more upcoming calls



Dean Rawlins AwardVCOM Dean Selected for National Honor

July, 2011 -- Each year, the American Osteopathic Foundation (AOF) recognizes an Educator of the Year to honor an individual who exemplifies the osteopathic medical profession’s highest standards of excellence in teaching and long-standing contributions to academic advancement.  This year’s recipient was Dixie Tooke-Rawlins, D.O., Dean and Executive Vice- President of the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM).  Dr. Tooke-Rawlins is the founding Dean of VCOM which began enrolling medical students in 2003 in Blacksburg, VA.  Significantly, she will again serve as the founding Dean in opening a branch campus of VCOM in Spartanburg, South Carolina in August.

Dr. Rawlins was presented the Educator of the Year award by James Lally, D.O., President of the American Osteopathic Foundation, at the House of Delegates national meeting in Chicago, IL in July.   In introducing Dr. Rawlins, Dr. Lally stated, “What makes Dean Tooke-Rawlins special is her professionalism, integrity, duty, compassion, altruism, knowledge, and critical thinking.  Throughout her professional and educational career, she has lived and modeled these words.”

In 1990, Dr. Tooke-Rawlins began an educational career that has advanced the osteopathic medical profession for more than two decades.  As a faculty member in family medicine and emergency medicine at the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine -- her alma mater -- she has made a life-long commitment to educating students and to the advancement of the profession.  Dr. Tooke-Rawlins has also served as a residency program director, as a national evaluator for medical school and residency accreditation, and serves on national and state committees, including two Governor’s workforce taskforces in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Dr. Tooke-Rawlins was instrumental in establishing the VCOM International Medical Missions program with a model of sustained medical care for those who are less fortunate.  Programs in three countries provide extraordinary training opportunities for VCOM students.  She has worked diligently to assure that healthcare in the Appalachian region is addressed and has developed many opportunities for students to serve the local underserved population in Southwest Virginia and similar communities.
Dr. Tooke-Rawlins has received many awards honoring her work locally, nationally, and internationally.  Significantly, she was the recipient of the “Northrup Award” which is selected by medical students nationally in recognition of excellence in teaching.

Tooke-Rawlins has been an invited speaker around the world about VCOM’s work with underserved populations.  She is well respected in the medical profession and in her community, having held numerous appointments and having served on many committees as a member of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), and the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP)for more than 20 years.


VCOM is a Partner of NCHN and was the recognized in April as the 2011 Friend of NCHN.



Monthly Rural Health Care Conference Call
Offered by Universal Service Administrative Company

August 11, 2011

Conference calls begin at 2:00 PM ET. Please read the Conference Call Guidelines before dialing in. Participants may begin calling in 10 minutes prior to the call.

Dial-in: 1 (800) 240-9939
Passcode: 6772 932#


Physicians, Nurses & Allied Health Professionals Open Door Forum
Offered by CMS

August 9, 2011 @ 2:00 PM ET

To participate by phone: Dial: 1-800-837-1935
Reference Conference ID#: 68641515

Persons participating by phone do not need to RSVP.

Encore Feature: 1-800-642-1687; Conference ID#: 68641515 Encore is a recording of this call that can be accessed by dialing 1-800-642-1687 and entering the Conference ID, beginning 4 hours after the call ends and will be available for 3 business days.


Webinar: Accountable Care Organizations and Rural Health Providers
Offered by Illinois Hospital Association

Target Audience: Hospital executives (e.g., CEO, CFO, CIO) and physician leaders (including hospital CMOs.)

Program Description: The current evolution of health care finance from volume-based to value-based will be described. The implication for rural hospitals (including Critical Access Hospitals) will be presented from the perspective of three payment sources: Commercial Insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid.

• Participants will be knowledgeable about the current status of the Accountable Care Organization program and pilots in the Medicare program.
• Participants will be knowledgeable about the use of ACOs by commercial insurers and large health systems.
• Participants will have an awareness of the likelihood of their organization needing to consider managing the transition to value-based payment in the near, immediate, and long range future.
• Participants will have information and suggestions to assess their own readiness to participate in value-based payment.

Registration Fee: $100 for IHA Members; $175 Non-IHA Members


CMS Rural Health Open Door Forum

August 23, 2011 @ 2:00 PM ET

Dial: 1.800.837.1935
Conference ID: 68647472
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Conference Call Only




The Debt Ceiling Crisis Is Averted -- Now What?
by Sean Williams

August 1, 2011 (Daily Finance) - If it seems like we've been here before, we have. In fact, we've been in this debt-ceiling-raising situation 78 -- yes, seventy-eight -- times since 1960. Once again, disaster appears to have been averted, and both political parties grimaced enough to essentially agree on a spending-cut bill, which will cut at least $2.2 trillion out of the U.S. budget over the next decade.

The skinny
The bill, which is set to go to vote sometime today, is staggered into two stages. The first stage would go into effect immediately, calling for more than $900 billion in spending cuts on federal programs with a $900 billion increase in the U.S. Treasury's borrowing ability.


More on this:
President Announces Completion of Deal to Raise Debt Ceiling (NRHA, August 1, 2011)
Fact Sheet: Bipartisan Debt Deal: A Win for the Economy and Budget Discipline (White House, August 1, 2011)

CMS Announces More Accurate FY 2012 Payments for Medicare Skilled Nursing Facilities

August 1, 2011 ( | News & Events) - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced a final rule reducing Medicare skilled nursing facility (SNF) Prospective Payment System (PPS) payments in FY 2012 by $3.87 billion, or 11.1 percent lower than payments for FY 2011. The FY 2012 rates correct for an unintended spike in payment levels and better align Medicare payments with costs.

CMS is committed to providing high quality care to those in skilled nursing facilities and to pay those facilities properly for that care,” said CMS Administrator Donald M. Berwick, M.D.  “The adjustments to the payment rates for next year reflect that policy.”


Defining Rural: Too Many Definitions Cause Problems

August 1, 2011 (KFGO) - Too many federal definitions of "rural" make it hard for local officials to figure out what programs they qualify for, so Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said he will ask the White House Rural Council and Congress to try to reduce the number.

After a participant in the Council on Foundations conference on rural philanthropy said that variations in qualifications for various rural development programs make it difficult for communities to participate, Vilsack said he would be glad to take the issue to the White House Rural Council, an Obama administration innovation composed of Cabinet officers and leaders of other federal agencies.

Vilsack jokingly asked the audience if they were bothered that USDA has 11 different definitions of rural America. The varying definitions, which depend on population and other characteristics, "provide a convenient excuse not to do something," he said.

Some programs say a rural community cannot be more than 50,000 people, Vilsack said, while other programs are for populations of only 20,000. If the population has three people above that number, the community cannot qualify.


Affordable Care Act Ensures Women Receive Preventive Services at No Additional Cost

August 1, 2011 (HHS News Release) - Historic new guidelines that will ensure women receive preventive health services at no additional cost were announced today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Developed by the independent Institute of Medicine, the new guidelines require new health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services such as well-woman visits, breastfeeding support, domestic violence screening, and contraception without charging a co-payment, co-insurance or a deductible.

“The Affordable Care Act helps stop health problems before they start,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  “These historic guidelines are based on science and existing literature and will help ensure women get the preventive health benefits they need.”


Opportunities to pursue bachelor's degrees may be limited for nurses in rural hospitals

August 2011 (AHRQ | Research Findings | Health Care Workforce) - When quality professionals look at hospitals across the Nation, they tend to lump all rural hospitals into one category. A new study finds that nursing characteristics vary among large and small rural hospitals. Most nurses in both types of rural hospitals graduate from associate degree programs.

Robin P. Newhouse, Ph.D., R.N., NEA-BC, of the University of Maryland School of Nursing surveyed 280 nurse executives from small (25 beds or fewer or a critical access hospital) and large (more than 25 beds) rural hospitals. For both large and small hospitals, 77 percent of the registered nurses hold associate degrees. Of the nurses who have bachelor's degrees, more work in larger rural hospitals (20.8 percent) than small rural hospitals (17.1 percent). The authors suggest this is likely a result of the proximity of the rural hospital to colleges and universities.


More on Nursing Workforce:
HHS awards $71.3 million to strengthen nursing workforce (HHS News Release, July 29, 2011)

Oversight Excludes Rural Health Clinics From Medicare EHR Bonus Program
by Sheri Porter

July 27, 2011 ( - It's an "oversight," a "technical glitch," an "unintentional error," or perhaps just a "misunderstanding" about how rural health clinics bill the government for health care services provided to Medicare beneficiaries. That's how some rural family physicians describe the fact that most of America's nearly 3,800 rural health clinics likely will miss out when physicians receive their checks for meeting all of the requirements of Medicare's electronic health record, or EHR, incentive program.

According to AAFP Director Robert Wergin, M.D., of Milford, Neb., his rural family medicine practice possibly will miss out on collecting $440,000 -- the amount available if each of the clinic's 10 physicians earned the maximum Medicare EHR incentive of $44,000.


Healthland Introduces the First Electronic Health Record (EHR) Solution Designed for Rural Clinicians by Rural Clinicians

August 1, 2011 (Enhanced Online News) - Healthland, America's market leader of healthcare information technology solutions for rural hospitals, today announced the launch of its new electronic health record (EHR) solution, Healthland Centriq™. Healthland Centriq is the first EHR solution in the healthcare market designed for rural clinicians with input from rural clinicians. With its focus on a superior user experience that supports rural hospital workflow, Healthland Centriq helps rural hospitals deliver safe, quality healthcare while improving the patient experience. Horn Memorial Hospital and Grape Community Hospital in Iowa and Mitchell County Hospital in Texas are among the first who have invested in Centriq.

“The concept of getting clients involved in solution development and having the opportunity to provide input is fantastic, and has made the product as user-friendly as it can be,” said Robbie Dewberry, Mitchell County Hospital CEO. “Ensuring patient safety and having the proper tools that allow physicians to be confident is important – and having patient information that is readily available is critical. When our physicians at Mitchell were presented with Centriq they wanted it immediately. That was the point when we really decided to move forward.”




Nonprofit Capacity Building Program

Deadline: August 9, 2011
CFDA# 94.022

This Notice of Federal Funds Availability (Notice) announces the availability of funding for the Nonprofit Capacity Building Program (NCBP), authorized by the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act of 2009.

The NCBP is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service (the Corporation), whose mission is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering.

As the nation’s largest grantmaker for service and volunteering, the Corporation builds the capacity of America’s nonprofit sector by expanding the reach and impact of volunteers to address pressing social problems.

While the Serve America Act expands opportunities for Americans to serve through AmeriCorps and Senior Corps, it also broadens the Corporation’s role around catalyzing social innovation and support for the nonprofit sector beyond these traditional grant programs.

By creating the NCBP, Congress has recognized that many small- and medium-sized nonprofit organizations are significantly challenged in their ability to sustain and expand services and that organizational development assistance may be necessary to ensure the continuation of much-needed services in local communities.

Through grants awarded in this competition we aim to build the capacity of small and midsize nonprofits to develop and implement performance management systems. Research suggests that an established framework of performance management is the pre-requisite and predictor of success on other aspects of nonprofit health such as financial planning and sustainability.

Grantees will provide recipients with organizational development assistance to establish procedures for measuring progress and improving performance towards intended outcomes leading to community impact.




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