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February 5, 2013 LinkedInTwitterFacebook
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  • Later this week, we will be e-mailing you more information about the 2013 NCHN Annual Conference in New Orleans. If you are planning to attend, make your reservations now. Hotel rooms are selling quickly!
  • In two weeks, you will receive the first issue of the Bi-weekly Digest. With your feedback, we have made the decision to send these out on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month. We will still provide the same kinds of information, but in fewer emails!
  • Interested in helping to lead your Association? NCHN is accepting Board nominations.


2013 Conference Planning Committee Call
Tuesday, Feb. 12 @ 2:00 PM ET

Program Development Committee Call
Tuesday, Feb. 19 @ 1:00 PM ET



NCHN Welcomes New Network Member: Upper Midlands Rural Health Network
Please join the staff and Board in welcoming Tambra Medley and Upper Midlands Rural Health Network of Winnsboro, South Carolina. The Network's mission is to improve health in the Upper Midlands region through collaboration of a diverse group focused on access to care, health promotion and education. Its programs include HIT Network Development, Continuing Education programs, Telemedicine, Expansion of Child Health programs in schools, and local health education.

Tambra Medley, Director
Ph: 803.635.0217

2013 Conference Keynote Speaker Fundraising Program
In December, Chris Hopkins, Chair of the 2013 Conference Planning Committee, sent an email annoucning the 2013 Annual Conference Keynote Speaker Program. This Program will be used to help NCHN in reaching a new level of potential speakers for the Conference. Please consider contributing $200 to assist in funding a fantastic keynote speaker this year.

Special thanks to the following networks for their commitment of $200 each:

Partners in Health Network (Bob Whitler, WV)
Santa Cruz Adolescent Wellness Network (Cassalyn David, AZ)
Tennessee Rural Partnership (Cindy Siler, TN)
Montana Health Network (Chris Hopkins, MT)
Sunflower Health Network (Heather Fuller, KS)
Northcentral Montana Healthcare Alliance (Jack King, MT)
Southeast Texas Health System (Shannon Calhoun, TX)
HCC of Rural Missouri (Toniann Richard, MO)
Arizona Rural Women's Health Network (Kimberly Zill, AZ)
The Hospital Cooperative (Jon Smith, ID)

For more information about the program, contact Christy at


RWHC Newsletter (February 2013): Eye On Health, "Review & Commentary on Health Policy Issues for a Rural Perspective" is online (pdf)

» Submit your news


NCHN Welcomes New Business Partner: LoneStart Wellness (Feb. 1, 2013)

NOSORH's February 2013 issue of The Branch is online

NRHA 2013 Rural Health Awards: Nominate you favorite rural health professionals (Deadline: Feb. 14, 2013)

NRHA's Rural Health Policy Institute is underway. If you can't be there, you can follow along on NRHA's Facebook page.


Wakefield focuses on workforce and White House Rural Council to kick off NRHA’s Policy Institute (Feb. 4, 2013, Rural Health Voices)
National Rural Health Association CEO Alan Morgan introduced Mary Wakefield, PhD, U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration administrator, as a “rural rock star,” who then kicked off NRHA’s 24th annual Rural Health Policy Institute Monday morning in D.C.
» More news from the NRHA Policy Institute

The invisible health-care panel (Jan. 30, 2013, Politico)
A panel charged with helping devise solutions to the nation’s health care workforce crisis is having a workforce crisis of its own: It hasn’t been funded, and it’s never met. The commission was supposed to explore the health workforce needs in rural and “medically underserved” settings, the capacity of the nursing workforce, graduate medical education policies, education and loan programs for health care professionals and the “mental and behavioral health care workforce capacity.”

Rural Poor Are Concentrated (Jan. 30, 2013, Daily Yonder)
Poverty in rural America is more concentrated than in urban counties. Poor people are more likely to live in counties where a high percentage of people live in poverty.

Scaling Telehealth Programs: Lessons from Early Adopters (Jan. 30, 2013, The Commonwealth Fund)
Remote patient monitoring (RPM)—like home teleheath and telemonitoring—can help improve coordination, improve patients’ experience of care, and reduce hospital admissions and costs. Such technologies remotely collect, track, and transmit health data from a patient’s home to a health care provider and can facilitate communication and help engage patients in the management of their own care. This synthesis brief offers findings from case studies of three early RPM adopters...

Tracking State Activity on Accountable Care Organizations (Jan. 29. 2013, The Commonwealth Fund Blog)
A number of states are at the forefront of efforts to design and implement innovative payment and delivery approaches that advance accountability in health care delivery. Encouraged by state legislative mandates, as well as provisions in the Affordable Care Act to reorient federal health spending to promote accountable care, these states are developing a variety of initiatives to achieve better health outcomes at lower costs.

Submit your application for potential membership on the new Accountable Care Health IT FACA Workgroup (Feb. 2, 2013, ONC Health IT email)
HIT Policy Committee's Accountable Care Workgroup will be charged with making recommendations on how HHS policies and programs can advance the EVOLUTION of a health IT infrastructure that enables providers to improve care and population health while reducing costs in accountable care models. The workgroup will focus on specific high priority areas where programs and policies can shape the availability and use of health IT infrastructure necessary for Accountable Care Organizations to realize the three part aim.

Rural life can add stress to pregnancy (Jan. 30, 2013, Futurity)
Pregnant women in rural areas may lack appropriate means to manage their emotional and physical well-being. Health providers should serve as facilitators and link rural women with resources, researchers suggest.

CMS Announces New Inituative to Improve Care and Reduce Costs for Medicare (Jan. 31, 2013, CMS)
Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that over 500 organizations will begin participating in the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement initiative. Through this new initiative, made possible by the Affordable Care Act, CMS will test how bundling payments for episodes of care can result in more coordinated care for beneficiaries and lower costs for Medicare.
More from CMS (via Medicare Announces Substantial Savings for Medical Equipment Included in the Next Round of Competitive Bidding Program

CAH II physicians now eligible for EHR program (Jan. 2013, CMS)
Physicians who assign their reimbursement and billing to a Critical Access Hospital (CAH) under Method II (CAH IIs) are now eligible to participate in the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program as eligible professionals (EPs).

Administration issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on recommended preventive services policy (Feb. 1, 2013, HHS News Release)
The Obama administration today issued proposed rules for public comment regarding contraceptive coverage with no cost sharing under the health care law. The proposed rules provide women with coverage for preventive care that includes contraceptive services with no co-pays, while also respecting the concerns of some religious organizations.

Policy Options to Sustain Medicare for the Future (Jan. 30, 2013, Kaiser Family Foundation)
With Medicare expected to be a key part of Washington’s ongoing debate about solutions to reduce the federal budget and national debt, this report serves as a compendium of policy options that may be discussed in upcoming budget debates. The report presents a wide array of options in several areas and lays out the possible implications of these options for Medicare beneficiaries, health care providers, and others, as well as estimates of potential savings, when available.

Affordable Care Act "Sunshine" Rule Increases Transparency in Health Care (Feb. 1, 2013, CMS)
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today a final rule that will increase public awareness of financial relationships between drug and device manufacturers and certain health care providers. Called the “National Physician Payment Transparency Program: Open Payments,” this is one of many steps in the Affordable Care Act designed to create greater transparency in the health care market.

Updated: Rural Health Clinic fact sheet (Jan. 2013, Medicare Learning Network, CMS)
This publication provides the following information about Rural Health Clinics (RHC): Background; RHC services; Medicare certification as a RHC; RHC visits; RHC payments; Cost reports; Annual reconciliation; and Resources.

Updated: Atlast of Rural and Small-Town America (Jan. 2013, USDA)
The Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America assembles statistics on four broad categories of socioeconomic factors: People, Jobs, Agriculture, County classifications...

Coburn, McCaskill Introduce Bill to End Medicare Payment Gimmick in Health Reform Law (Jan. 30, 2013,
Today, U.S. Sens. Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) introduced a bill, S.183, that would sunset Section 3141 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).  The provision adjusted the calculation of a hospital wage index used to make payments under the Medicare program. Unfortunately, the provision has the net effect of reducing Medicare reimbursements for hospitals in every state except for Massachusetts. 

What's Wrong With Calling Obesity A Medical Problem? (Jan. 28, 2013, NPR)
Americans have gotten heavier since 1980 — this we know. But not everyone is convinced obesity in America warrants so much gloom and doom. Take Abigail Saguy, an associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles and the author of a new book called What's Wrong With Fat? She argues we've gone too far in equating obesity with disease.

Primary Health Care in America (Jan. 29, 2013,
A Senate panel on Tuesday examined a “major crisis” in primary health care at a time when 30 million more patients will soon get health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and worsen an already acute doctor shortage. One in five Americans today live in areas where they do not have adequate access to primary care...

Research Finds Link Between Poor Health And Seniors Switching Out Of Private Medicare Plans (Feb. 4, 2013, Kaiser Health News)
New research finds that many seniors who switch from their HMO-style Medicare Advantage plan to traditional Medicare have higher levels of significant health problems, fueling concerns that the private plans cater to more profitable, healthy beneficiaries but don’t provide the most attractive care for the very ill.


We are one of the least healthy counties in our state, now what? (Feb. 5, 2013 @ 3:00 PM EST, County Health Rankings & Roadmaps)

2013 Broadband Summit: Broadband Adoption And Usage – What Have We Learned? (Webinar available, Feb. 7, 2013, FCC)

County Health Roadmaps 101 (Feb. 12, 2013 | 3:00 - 4:00 PM EST, County Health Rankings & Roadmaps)

Technology: It Doesn't Always Work (Feb. 21, 2013, Telehealth Resource Center)

Other Event
Rural Mental Health First Aid (View guide to bring the 12-hour training course to your community)
Rural Mental Health First Aid is a way to build community level capacity to identify mental health and substance abuse issues early and for rural residents to increase their confidence to intervene and refer people to the resources that do exist. Rural communities have a long history of being innovative and taking responsibility.

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