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NCHN eNews
December 6, 2011
Dear NCHN Members and Friends,

It is that time again - the Conference Planning Committee has released the Call for Proposals for the 2012 NCHN Annual Educational Conference. We hope you can make it. If you are interested in presenting, submit a proposal by December 21st.

We want to know more about you and how we can serve you better. This week, we are offering a chance for you to win a $15 gift card when you complete the NCHN Social Media survey and tell us about your news preferences - how you prefer to receive news and what you are most interested in.

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.







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Upcoming NCHN Calls & Events

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

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

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

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

NCHN Offices Closed for Holidays
December 23, 2011 - January 2, 2012




How well do you know US laws?


Below is a link to a 30-question test to see how well you know US Laws. Not exactly grade-school level. Give it a shot, and see how well you do!



Call for Presentations: 2012 NCHN Annual Educational Conference

Health Networks of the Future - All Together Now!
Denver, CO: The Curtis
April 15 - 18, 2012

Deadline for Submissions: Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The National Cooperative of Health Networks Association (NCHN) invites NCHN members, Business Partners and guests with an interest in health networks to submit proposals for presentations at our 18th Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado. “Heath Networks of the Future – All Together Now!” will be an opportunity for network leaders to gather and share with their peers. 

We are interested in presentations that discuss and explore strategies of a successful network. In additions, the Conference Planning Committee is seeking mini-workshops that will provide hands-on, interactive audience participation.  The following topics are specific areas of presentation interest:

  • maintaining board member commitment and participation
  • collaboration/creating partnerships with other organizations, such as, local and state agencies, networks, other federally funded projects, etc.
  • strategies for dealing with the many changes occurring in healthcare due to the Affordable Care Act;
  • the continual implementation of Health Information Technology programs within health networks;
  • written communications, e.g., developing ROI reports, newsletters, websites, etc.
  • business planning
  • developing new programs and shared services
  • negotiation skills
  • value propositions for integrated vertical networks

The target population at the NCHN conference is Network Leaders, network staff, and network board members.   NCHN member success stories of innovations; new product/activity development; sustainability; strategic planning; board management; and other topics related to the developing and maintainence of a successful health network are also welcome.  

If you have questions, contact Rebecca at or 270-925-5611.


NCHN Social Networking Survey - Chance to Win a $15 Gift Card

We want to know how you prefer to receive news from NCHN. We also want to connect with you on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Please help us reach you by answering a few questions about your news preferences and your social media use.

Complete the survey for a chance to win a $15.00 gift card! The drawing will be held at 5:00 EST on Friday, December 9th, so make sure you complete the survey before the end of the day (or middle of the day, according to your time zone) on Friday!

Estimated time to complete: 5 minutes


GrantStation Special Rates

We have recently received a few questions about NCHN's partnership with GrantStation. GrantStation, a site used for funding searches and grant writing tips, offers NCHN members and their members a substantial savings off their regular subscription rate. If you are interested in participating or want to share this opportunity with your members, you can get more information in the link below or contact Christy at




Rural Physician Shortage: Act Now or Pay Later
by Tim Size, Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative

December 1, 2011 (The Rural Health Advocate) - Wisconsin’s rural communities have faced a shortage of physicians for decades. Without changing how we train and retain our next generation of physicians, it is about to get a lot worse. New predictions show future shortages statewide, rural and urban. Urban shortages will only make it even harder to recruit to rural communities.

You can blame people my age–the fabled baby boomers. According to a new report by the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA), “100 New Physicians a Year: An Imperative for Wisconsin,” we will be 2,200 doctors short by the time baby boomer retirees finally slow down around the year 2030. Their complete report is available at




PARTNER BLURBS's The State of Grantseeking Fall 2011 Released

December 5, 2011 ( - Grantseeking activities are stagnating as nonprofits try to find new sources of funding to replace reduced government and other funds, according to the findings of a recent survey on The State of Grantseeking recently conducted by GrantStation and PhilanTech.

The State of Grantseeking Fall 2011 is the third semi-annual informal survey of nonprofits conducted by GrantStation and PhilanTech to help reveal the current state of grantseeking in the U.S.  Between mid-August and early October 2011, GrantStation and PhilanTech invited nonprofit organizations throughout the country to participate in an online survey to help determine the present state of grantseeking.


NRHA's 2012 Rural Health Awards
An awards event celebrating excellence in rural health

Nomination Deadline: February 8, 2012

Each year the National Rural Health Association honors outstanding individuals and organizations in the field of rural health at its Annual Conference, and 2012 will be no exception. Act now to nominate your favorite rural health professional or student in hope that they might be known and honored nationally for dedicating their time and talents to improving the health and well-being of others. The entry deadline is Feb. 8.


NOSORH: The Branch December 2011

NOSORH's monthly newsletter, The Branch, is available online. In this issue...

• No “Super Committee” Recommendations; What’s Next?
• "Straight from the SORHs”: News from the State Offices and ORHP
• Educational Exchanges – Available for You!
• National Rural Health Day – We Did It!




CMS Call: Accountable Care Organizations Discussion
An Invitation to Join the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for an Accountable Care Organizations Discussion, including an Overview of the Medicare Shared Savings Program Final Rule

Please join us on December 7, 2011 for a teleconference discussion with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Deputy Administrator, Jonathan Blum, and Director of the Performance-Based Payment Policy Staff, John Pilotte, to learn about the key features of the Medicare Shared Savings Program final rule. CMS will discuss new initiatives that will assist providers in working together through Accountable Care Organizations when caring for people with Medicare and new tools that will improve the quality of care for all patients.
This call is intended to outline the CMS’ goals in implementing various Medicare ACO initiatives.

DATE: December 7, 2011 @ 2:00 PM EST
Audio Conference Line: 800-837-1935
Meeting ID: 32084888

Registration is not required. We ask that if several people are calling in from one location that they call in on one line.

Medicare Shared Savings Program Regulations
The Advance Payment Solicitation


Affordable Care Act 101

Conference Call: December 6, 2011 @ 8:00 PM EST

Did you know...?

  • young adults can stay on their parent’s health insurance until the age of 26, even if they don’t live at home or are married?
  • there is now a plan for people with pre-existing conditions to access health insurance called the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan?
  • 8 million children who are currently uninsured are eligible to receive care through the Children’s Health Insurance Program known as CHIP?


HIT Policy Committee Advisory Meeting; Notice of Meeting

December 7, 2011
10:00 AM - 3:00 PM EST
The meeting will be held at Omnie Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. Comments and questions may be submitted in writing.

This notice announces a forthcoming meeting of a public advisory committee of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). The meeting will be open to the public.

General Function of the Committee: to provide recommendations to the National Coordinator on a policy framework for the development and adoption of a nationwide health information technology infrastructure that permits the electronic exchange and use of health information as is consistent with the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan and that includes recommendations on the areas in which standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria are needed.

Procedure: Interested persons may present data, information, or views, orally or in writing, on issues pending before the workgroups. Written submissions may be made to the contact person on or before two days prior to the workgroup's meeting date. Oral comments from the public will be scheduled at the conclusion of each workgroup meeting. Time allotted for each presentation will be limited to three minutes. If the number of speakers requesting to comment is greater than can be reasonably accommodated during the scheduled open public session, ONC will take written comments after the meeting until close of business on that day.


Live Webcast: New CMS Estimates of State-by-State Health Expenditures

At Noon ET on Wednesday Dec. 7, the Kaiser Family Foundation will hold a live interactive webcast to discuss trends in state health care expenditures and the implications for national and state efforts to constrain health care costs. The webcast will examine new state-by-state estimates of public and private health spending from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which will be published that morning in the online journal, Medicare and Medicaid Research Review. An expert panel will offer perspectives on the trends within and across states, as well as the outlook for policy efforts to control costs, including provisions of the Affordable Care Act and various state initiatives.

Viewers can email questions to before or during the live webcast.

The webcast will feature study lead author Gigi Cuckler, an economist with the CMS Office of the Actuary; John F. Holahan, Director of the Health Policy Research Center at The Urban Institute; and Dan Crippen, Executive Director of the National Governors Association. Larry Levitt, a Foundation Senior Vice President and Co-Executive Director of the Kaiser Initiative on Health Reform and Private Insurance, will moderate the discussion.

A live link will be posted 15 minutes before the webcast begins.


Best Practice Approaches in the New Economy
Southern Rural Development Center

Webinar: December 8, 2011 @ 11:00 AM EST

About the webinar: Our world has changed and past strategies to add vitality in our cities and towns are failing in a globalized society. Based on the successful approaches from real people in real communities, this presentation is the result of nearly two years of research and site visits to more than 70 smaller and mid-sized communities in 20 states that are experiencing success in a global paradigm. The presentation outlines five pillars of success in the New Economy while providing community examples that operationalize global competitiveness themes.


National Rural Health Day Celebration Recap

Webinar: December 12, 2011 @ 2:00 PM EST (1 hour)


State Support for Primary Care Practice Transformation: Replication of the North Carolina Model
National Academy for State Health Policy

Webcast: December 13, 2011 @ 2:00 PM EST

This webcast is an introduction to the new Infrastructure for Maintaining Primary Care Transformation (IMPaCT) initiative in North Carolina, funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). It will outline the key components of North Carolina’s primary care practice transformation strategy, their interrelationship, lessons learned, the role of a state level coalition, and collaboration with area health education centers. The webcast will describe an upcoming opportunity for three states to receive technical assistance to adapt North Carolina’s model.


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.




Super committee gone, 27% Medicare pay cut threat remains
by Charles Fiegl, amednews staff

December 5, 2011 ( - The failure of the congressional debt panel leaves the 2012 SGR cut unresolved and threatens physicians with additional pay reductions starting in 2013.

Lawmakers again find themselves with less than a month to pass legislation to stop a steep decrease in Medicare payments to physicians.

Doctors are in the familiar situation of facing severe pay cuts brought on by Medicare's sustainable growth rate formula. On Jan. 1, the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services is set to start paying claims for Medicare services at 27.4% less than 2011 rates.


Rural Suicides Follow Medicaid Cuts
by Alan Farnham

December 5, 2011 (ABC News) - Suicide is on the increase in rural America--nowhere so much as in western mountain states like Idaho, Wyoming and New Mexico. Mental health professionals attribute it in part to cutbacks in Medicaid funding, to the recession and to the culture of the rural West.

In Idaho, somebody kills himself every 35 hours, according to a 2009 report to Idaho's governor by the state's Council on Suicide Prevention. Their report calls suicide "a major public health issue" having a "devastating effect" on Idaho's families, churches, businesses and even schools: 65 students aged 10 and 18 killed themselves in a recent five-year period.


Schock introduces legislation to include rural health clinics in EHR incentive game
by Jeff Byers

November 28, 2011 ( | Government News) - Congressman Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) has introduced legislation to amend the Social Security Act to make practicing eligible professionals in rural health clinics (RHCs) eligible for EHR and quality improvement incentives under Medicare.

Introduced Nov. 17 in the 112th U.S. Congress, H.R. 3458 seeks to ensure seniors in rural areas can continue to rely on their local doctors for quality healthcare using up-to-date technology while keeping the cost of receiving care affordable.

“This revision will allow rural health clinics to operate under the same guidelines as other hospitals and healthcare clinics throughout the country,” a statement from Schock’s office asserted.


Affordable Care Act Helping Consumers Get Better Value for Their Health Care Dollars
CMS News Release

December 5, 2011 ( | Online Library | News) - New Proposal Makes Rebates to Consumers Tax Free, Increases Transparency

Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final regulation that will ensure health insurance companies spend at least 80 percent of consumers’ health insurance premiums on medical care, not income, overhead and marketing. Insurance companies that fail to meet the new standard are required to provide a rebate to consumers.

Known as the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR), this rule provides unprecedented transparency and accountability of health insurance companies for customers. Created by the Affordable Care Act, the MLR requirements provide protection and value to approximately 74.8 million insured Americans. Estimates from last year indicate that, starting in 2012, up to nine million Americans could receive rebates worth from $0.6 to $1.4 billion. However, early reports suggest insurers lowered premium growth rather than face the prospect of providing rebates – a win-win for consumers.


Medicare Covers Screening and Counseling for Obesity

November 30, 2011 ( | Online Library | News) - Decision Adds a New Preventive Service for Medicare Beneficiaries

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) yesterday announced that Medicare is adding coverage for preventive services to reduce obesity. This adds to Medicare’s existing portfolio of preventive services that are now available without cost sharing under the Affordable Care Act. It complements the Million Hearts initiative led jointly by CMS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in partnership with other HHS agencies, communities, health systems, nonprofit organizations, and private sector partners across the country to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes in the next 5 years.

“Obesity is a challenge faced by Americans of all ages, and prevention is crucial for the management and elimination of obesity in our country,” said CMS Administrator Donald M. Berwick, MD. “It’s important for Medicare patients to enjoy access to appropriate screening and preventive services.”


US Labor Department, Colorado Department of Labor and Employment sign agreement to reduce misclassification of employees as independent contractors

December 5, 2011 (WHD News Release) - Nancy J. Leppink, deputy administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division, and Ellen Golombek, executive director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, signed a memorandum of understanding Dec. 5 regarding the improper classification of employees as independent contractors. Following the signing, Leppink and Golombek hosted a press teleconference during which they discussed how the U.S. Department of Labor and the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment will embark on new efforts, guided by this memorandum, to protect the rights of employees and level the playing field for responsible employers by reducing the practice conducted by some businesses of misclassifying employees. This partnership is the 11th of its kind for the U.S. Department of Labor.




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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