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NCHN eNews
February 14, 2011
Dear NCHN Members and Friends,

This is the newly redesigned and latest issue of the NCHN Weekly Digest, a newsletter we use to share information and news that we think will be useful to health networks. This issue includes conference updates, our latest featured member, and plenty of national news.

We hope you enjoy it and, as always, if you have information you would like to share, or have any feedback, please email us.








2011 NCHN Annual Conference

If you have not visited the 2011 Conference Site recently, it's a great time to check it out. The schedule is filling in, with more session descriptions and presenter bios. An exciting agenda has taken shape, and we hope you will be there to gather information, share news from your network, and meet other members!


New Member: White River Health System (AR)

NCHN welcomes White River Health System (WRHS), Batesville, AR as our newest network member.  Organized in 2010, WRHS' mission is to "create and sustain a healthcare network focused on enabling the implementation of health information technology infrastructure, health information technology, and health information exchange." Its purpose is "to improve access to quality efficient healthcare for rural residents of North Central Arkansas."  The network is comprised of four members located in the Batesville area.  Angela Dugger, Interim Program Director, will serve as the NCHN contact. Please join the Board in welcoming Angela to NCHN.

Upcoming Call Dates

Program Development Committee Call:
Tuesday, February 15 @ 1:00 PM ET – 2:30 PM ET

Executive Committee Call:
Monday, February 21 @ 1:00 PM ET

2011 Annual Conference Committee Call:
Thursday, February 24 @12:30 PM ET

NCHN Leadership Summit Committee:
Wednesday, February 23 @ 11:00 AM ET

NCHN Orientation Call:
Wednesday, February 23: 12:00 - 1:30 PM
Pre-registration is required: To register, email


From the Forum

Annual Network Member Survey: Does anyone have a [network meber] survey they would be willing to share?

MBQIP, HRSA MCR Bene QI Project: Are any NCHN members being asked to participate in this project?

Membership Benefits: Does anyone have a membership benefits flyer they would be willing to share?

From -

If five persons can sew five dresses in five days...

How many persons can sew fifty dresses in fifty days?



Member Spotlight: Prince of Wales Health Network

POW Health Network
The Prince of Wales Health Network is a vertical Network of healthcare providers serving Prince of Wales Island, located in rural Southeast Alaska.  Prince of Wales Island (POW) is the 3rd largest island in the U.S., encompassing over 2500 square miles, with nearly 1000 miles of rugged coastline and 12 communities spread throughout the Island.  The Network was formed out of recognition by the healthcare providers serving the Island that improved, facilitated collaboration would be essential to the financial success of all members, enabling them to continue providing quality care to POW’s residents. 

Network members include Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, the regional IHS provider for Southeast Alaska and 330 funded Community Health Center for the majority of the Island’s population (based in Sitka), PeaceHealth, a faith based hospital system based in Washington that operates Ketchikan General Hospital and a primary care clinic on POW, Alaska Island Community Services, a non-profit agency  based in Wrangell that provides itinerant primary care and behavioral health services through 330 Community Health Center funding to the island’s most remote, northern communities, and the State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Craig Public Health Center.

Perhaps the greatest value of the Prince of Wales Health Network is increased and facilitated communication among Network members.  Travel in Southeast Alaska, especially to the most rural communities is extremely expensive, time consuming and weather dependent.  The Network infrastructure has allowed the Island’s providers, many who are located off-island, to come together bi-monthly to discuss the healthcare needs of POW and opportunities for collaboration. 

Some of the Network’s most successful projects to date include:

  • Collective advocacy for increased support to the Island’s EMS system, resulting in a new, paid position for an island-wide EMS Coordinator.
  • Support for two new regularly occurring visiting specialty clinics to POW – Cardiology and ENT.
  • Support for multiple CME opportunities for island healthcare providers.
  • Streamlined operations and referrals between the Island’s healthcare providers.
  • A community education campaign to better inform residents about services available locally on POW.
  • Facilitation of a community based, island-wide planning process to improve the behavioral health system on POW.

Although addressing the island’s behavioral health system was not a planned activity for the Network when it was formed in 2008, the POW Behavioral Health Planning Project is the greatest success of the Network to date.  With grant funding received from the State of Alaska Division of Behavioral Health following the closure of the Island’s primary provider of mental health and substance abuse services, network members saw an opportunity that exemplified why the Network was formed.  The POW Health Network has pulled together local stakeholders, service providers, and State representatives to provide needs assessment, capacity building, and strategic planning to strengthen the behavioral health system on POW. 

According to Diane Casto, Manager for the State of Alaska Division of Behavioral Health Prevention & Early Intervention, “The work of the POW Health Network is a perfect example of what community action is all about—bringing together the right people, using data to identify the critical issues of the community, engage members toward positive change and keep the focus on the community and its citizens.  The POW Health Network has done an amazing job of developing community ownership of the process to assess the behavioral health needs of POW; developing community readiness and capacity to address these issues, and engaging all interested citizens in the hard work of coalition-building and community partnerships.  This is the way to make meaningful and lasting change in a community.”

The Prince of Wales Health Network is extremely proud of the work it’s accomplished in its short, 3 year lifespan.  The Network has a new, 3 year work plan in place, which includes incorporation as a 501c3 nonprofit organization, support for increased interagency communication and collaboration, continued improvement of the Island’s behavioral health system, development of increased opportunities for our youth, and increased collaboration for maternal and child health services.

For more information, please contact Esther Hammerschlag, Network Director at (907) 826-2410 or, or visit the POW Health Network website at



2011 AgriSafe Network Webinar Series

February 24, 2011
Falls and Aging Farmers: Prevalence and Prevention
Presenter: Deborah Reed, PhD, RN, MSPH
Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of Kentucky
Session link:

March 23, 2011
Pesticides and Farm Worker Health
Presenter: Matthew Keifer, MD, MPH
Dean Emanuel Endowed Chair in Agricultural Medicine, Marshfield Research Foundation, National Farm Medicine Center
Session link:

April 6, 2011
The National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC): Practical Resources for You and the People You Serve
Presenter: Kaci Buhl, MS
Project Coordinator, National Pesticide Information Center, Oregon State University
Session link:
For the most up-to-date information on the webinars and directions to log in, please go to

Agricultural Medicine Training

Dates: February 21-25, 2011
Location: Heart Institute, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27834

Intended audience:
Physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, veterinarians, health educators, migrant health clinicians, & others with interest in rural and agricultural health care and safety.

Topics include:

  1. Acute agricultural injuries, behavioral health issues, agricultural skin diseases, musculoskeletal diseases and ergonomics, services for farmers with disabilities, prevention of agricultural illness and injury, & use of personal protective equipment
  2. Cost Session 1 (M-Wed noon) $499; Cost Session 2 (Wed. noon –Friday pm) $499

Training Brochure:

Save the date: Come on down to Austin, Texas, for NRHA's Annual Rural Health Conference

Don't miss NRHA's 34th Annual Rural Health Conference May 3-6 in Austin, Texas. The Annual Conference is the nation's largest event created for anyone 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. Click here to learn more and to view the agenda.

Also mark your calendars for the Rural Medical Educators Conference directly preceding the Annual Conference May 3. Click here to learn more.



Whitepaper Now Available on Data Segmentation in Electronic Health Information Exchange

The whitepaper provides a detailed examination of the feasibility, benefits, and challenges of segmenting health information and explores key circumstances related to its use, various applied approaches, and the current legal environment that influences its appeal.

Data segmentation is defined by the paper as the process of sequestering certain data elements from capture, access, or display that are perceived by a legal entity, institution, organization, or individual as undesirable to share. As discussed in the whitepaper, data segmentation offers a potential means to implement current legal requirements and honor patient choice.

» The whitepaper can be downloaded here.

New Network in Southeastern Illinois

A new network in Southeastern Illinois has been established, in affiliation with the National Center for Rural Health Professions, to develop and implement innovative programs, and to address the shortage of health care professionals working and residing in 13 Southeastern Illinois counties. The Illinois counties include Clark, Crawford, Cumberland, Edwards, Gallatin, Hamilton, Jasper, Lawrence, Richland, Saline, Wabash, Wayne and White. The network has received funding from the US Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration. The vision of the network is to: sustain a network that creates, facilitates and evaluates health career awareness and opportunities to grow and retain a workforce to meet the healthcare needs of Southeastern Illinois.


Blumenthal resigns as national health IT coordinator, will return to Harvard

Feb. 08, 2011 (Telemedicine and e-Health News Alert)

Dr. David Blumenthal is stepping down as National Coordinator of Health IT after two years to return to a faculty position at Harvard University. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the office will “conduct a national search to find the right successor for this key position.” Blumenthal, who took the position in 2009, is the third person to serve as ONC head since the office was created in 2004.


Beacon Community Program Video

Feb. 08, 2011 (ONC News Update on HIT)

Check out the Beacon Community Program video to learn from health IT leaders about the challenges facing America's health care system, and the opportunities health IT provides for improvement.

The video features an overview of the Beacon Communities, which have been funded by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), to serve as examples of health IT in action. These communities have made significant inroads in the development of secure, private, and accurate systems of electronic health record adoption and health information exchange.

Health and Human Services Launches Health Indicators Warehouse to Support Innovation

Feb. 11, 2011 (HHS News Release)

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched a new web portal providing important health and health care indicator data to support innovations in information technology. The Health Indicators Warehouse represents a vast collection of health and health care indicators along with new web 2.0 technologies to support automated data services through application programming interfaces (APIs).

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said, “The Health Indicators Warehouse provides a new public resource needed to fuel development of innovative information technology applications needed to improve health and health care decision-making.”

HHS featured the resource as an important step toward addressing data transparency and the agency’s commitment to its Open Government Plan and the Community Health Data Initiative.




ONC to provide additional funding to accelerate critical access and rural hospitals’ switch to electronic health records

Feb. 8, 2011 (HHS News Release) - Dr. David Blumenthal, MD, MPP, national coordinator for health information technology in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today announced an additional $12 million in new technical support assistance to help critical access hospitals (CAHs) and rural hospitals adopt and become meaningful users of certified health information technology. Today’s funding announcement will come through ONC’s Regional Extension Center (REC) program to provide a wide range of support services  to the 1,777 critical access and rural hospitals in 41 states and the nationwide Indian Country, headquartered in the District of Columbia, to help them qualify for substantial EHR incentive payments from Medicare and Medicaid.  This funding is in addition to the $20 million provided to RECs in September 2010 to provide technical assistance to the CAHs and Rural Hospitals.

“Critical access and rural hospitals are a vital part of our healthcare system.  Health information technology can offer rural health care providers and their patients resources and expertise that may not be currently available in their communities.  We recognize that the transition to electronic health records (EHRs) is a challenge and that rural facilities face even greater challenges to make the transition from paper to electronic records,” Dr. Blumenthal said.  “This additional funding recognizes the need to address these challenges and represents another important milestone in our commitment to critical access and rural hospitals throughout the country as they transition to EHRs.”




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