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NCHN Healthcare News Digest

Issue #17 | Monday, January 10, 2011

+ NCHN Reminders & Upcoming Events


  • Have you completed and returned the 2011 Dues Assessment for your network? Please send it in asap!
  • NCHN has a new Associate Membership category (find out more...)
  • Will we see you at the NRHA Policy Institute from Jan. 24 - 26, 2011 in Washington, DC? You can still register online at

Upcoming Committee Calls

  • January 13, 2011 @ 12:30 PM ET: 2011 Annual Conference Planning Committee Call
  • January 13, 2011 @ 2:00 PM ET: Executive Committee Call
  • January 13, 2011 @ 3:15 PM ET: Program Development Committee Call

NCHN Orientation Sessions

If you missed the NCHN orientation session on January 6th, you can still register for the session to be held on Tuesday, January 11 at 12:30 PM ET. The Orientation Session will provide an overview of the programs and services of NCHN and review the benefits of your membership. This will also give you the opportunity to meet other new NCHN members and/or recently hired network directors. (We are using the term “recently” very liberal --as some of the directors may have been in their positions for several months, but not had the opportunity to attend a NCHN conference and/or an orientation call.)

The following items will be discussed: Mission of NCHN; Strategic Plan and Goals for 2010-2013; Membership Benefits; Business Partners Program; Committees.

  • January 11, 2011 @ 12:30 PM ET

Pre-registration is required: To register for one of these sessions, email

Peer-to-Peer Sharing Sessions with HRSA Network Planning Grantees

  • January 19 @ 1:30 PM ET
>> More information on Peer-to-Peer Sharing Sessions...

+ 17th Annual NCHN Conference

Don't miss your networking opportunity of 2011!

Please join us in Scottsdale, AZ, April 17-20, 2011 for the annual gathering of NCHN members.  This year’s Conference Planning Committee has been working extra hard to plan a conference that promises to make an impact!  With two pre-conference workshop offerings, along with two and half days of educational sessions, all aimed at improving your skills as a network leader, there is something for everyone.  Members of the Conference Planning Committee have strived to provide all conference participants with take home tools that will assist you in boosting the success of your network. 

Visit the Conference Web Site to:

  • View the schedule
  • Make hotel reservations
  • Register online
  • Submit an application to exhibit

+ NCHN Members' News

State Advisory Council Recommends VA as Telemedicine Demonstration Site
News from Bay Rivers Telehealth Alliance (formerly Northern Neck Middle Peninsula Telehealth Consortium)

Telemedicine recommendations from the Virginia Health Reform Initiative Advisory Council were sent to Governor Bob McDonnell on December 21st, 2010. The final report includes technology themed recommendations from six taskforces of the Virginia Health Reform Initiative Advisory Council.

Here is the recommendation regarding telehealth:

Technology- Virginia should become a demonstration site for the use of telemedicine in areas where there are underserved populations; consider the future application of an all payer claims data base; promote the growth of access to broadband and telemedicine services; and help small primary care practices acquire small business loans to invest in new technologies.

>> View the entire report... (Source: Telemedicine News: State Advisory Council Recommends VA as Telemedicine Demonstration Site, email sent by Bay Rivers Telehealth Alliance on Jan. 10, 2011)

Share your Network's news with other NCHN Members...
Send a link to your news by email to

+ NCHN Partner, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine – Virginia Campus Receives “Business of the Year” award from the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce

The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine - Virginia Campus was the recipient of the area's "Business of the Year" award by the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce at the December Annual Chamber Dinner.  VCOM was one of nine organizations nominated for this award which recognizes community involvement; civic and charitable contributions; innovation: and economic impact to the Montgomery County, Virginia community. 

Since its founding in 2002, VCOM, a not-for-profit business, has graduated over 600 physicians and employed hundreds of faculty and staff members.  Currently enrollment is over 720 doctoral and 30 post-baccalaureate students. VCOM has grown from one to four buildings, including a research building and a simulation and technology building with state-of-the-art equipment for educational instruction and evaluation.     While much of the country is facing a physician workforce shortage, the addition of VCOM has guaranteed a medical student population that, along with the other four Virginia medical schools should meet Virginia’s and the region’s physician needs. The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine – Carolinas Campus, a branch campus of VCOM will be opening in Spartanburg, SC in August 2011.

About VCOM:  The Edward Via  College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM)  provides medical education and research that prepares globally minded, community-focused physicians who improve the health of those most in need.  The Carolinas Campus has a collaborative partnership with Wofford College and the Virginia Campus has had a collaborative partnership with Virginia Tech since 2002. The Carolinas Campus will feature a three-story, 65,000 square-foot facility on its 18.69-acre campus on Howard and College Streets in Spartanburg, SC. The Carolinas Campus will matriculate 150 students in its first class in 2011. The Virginia Campus has expanded to four buildings and is located in the Research Park at Virginia Tech.

About Osteopathic Physicians: Osteopathic physicians (D.O.s) are licensed in every state to practice the full scope of medicine, including examining patients, diagnosing illness, performing surgery, and writing prescriptions.  D.O.s practice in every field of medicine as full physicians and since their training emphasizes principles that the body can heal itself given optimum conditions, disease prevention and proper nutrition and exercise are emphasized in their practice of medicine.  D.O.s are also trained in musculoskeletal manipulation to address overall health needs of their patients. 

About NCHN and VCOM Partnership: Rebecca J. Davis, Ph.D., Executive Director of NCHN has been a faculty member at VCOM since its opening in 2002.  In July 2006, NCHN and VCOM entered into a partnership, “Building Health Networks for Rural and Small Healthcare Providers,” which extended VCOM’s support to NCHN in the area of payroll management.  In addition, VCOM has contributed $5,000 travel funds to Dr. Davis’ travel expenses each year since 2006.  Through the partnership with VCOM, NCHN has access to faculty support services, including medical library services, educational pricing for computer and related equipment, and human resources. 

NCHN congratulates VCOM on their receipt of the “Business of the Year” award and thanks them for their continued support and partnership with NCHN. 

>> Visit the VCOM web site to find out more...

+ Grant Writing as a Career Scholarships Available

A message from Beverly Santacola to NCHN Members

I want to train grant writers to help rural America. As a national grant writing trainer and consultant with a passion for rural America, I am willing to provide 10 scholarships for Grant Writing as a Career training to experienced and successful writers. In exchange for the no-cost training, participants will be writing grants for an Indiana based rural nonprofit as part of the writing assignments during the four-week training. Participants will be taught how to create jobs within the grant proposals they write, as well as have the opportunity to be connected to potential clients after successfully completing the course. Participants will receive training via one hour online webinars and weekly grant writing assignments for a period of four weeks. To be eligible and receive a Certificate of Completion, participants must attend all 4 training sessions and complete all assignments.

Send resume and cover letter stating why you are interested and how you think your skills match the need. There are no obligations beyond the 4 week class. Only participants that demonstrate a passion to help rural people will be considered for the scholarships. The value of this free scholarship offer is nearly $1,200 per person as offered through my website at

Send cover letter and resume to Beverly Santicola via email:   For additional information or questions, please direct them to Beverly Santicola, 866-843-3493.

Beverly Santicola, CEO
2010 Purpose Prize Fellow
US Government Grants
2929 Buffalo Speedway, Suite 213
Houston, TX 77098
Phone: 866-843-3493

+ Registration Now Open for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs and Medicaid Payments Have Already Been Issued by Two States

[On January 5, 2011], the first payments under the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program were issued by Oklahoma and Kentucky. Kentucky processed payment to the University of Kentucky‘s teaching hospital, University of Kentucky Healthcare. The first payment, $2.86 million, was one-third of the hospital’s overall expected amount for participating in the program. Oklahoma issued payments to two physicians at the Gastorf Family Clinic of Durant, OK, for $21,250 each, for having adopted certified electronic health records (EHRs). These incentive payments for the adoption of certified EHR technology are federally-funded under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Select for additional information on the this action by Oklahoma and Kentucky.

>> Get more information on the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records Incentive Programs (Source: AHRQ Health IT Update, Jan. 6, 2011)

+ ORHP Funding Opportunity: Rural Access to Emergency Devices

The Office of Rural Health Policy is pleased to announce a funding opportunity for the Rural Access to Emergency Devices (RAED) Grant Program.  The purpose of the RAED Grant Program is to 1) purchase automated external defibrillators (AEDs) that have been approved, or cleared for marketing, by the Food and Drug Administration; 2) provide defibrillator and basic life support training in automated external defibrillator usage through the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, or other nationally recognized training courses, and 3) place the AEDs in rural communities with local organizations.

The application guidance (doc) is available online and applications are due February 28, 2011.  To download this application, please go to and click on Find Grant Opportunities, Basic Search, and type in HRSA-11-088 in the Funding Announcement Number.  The new awards will be announced by August 1, 2011.

*Please Note: All applicants are highly encouraged to submit their applications at least 2 days in advance of the due date. Extensions or waivers are highly unlikely. All applications are required to be submitted in . Paper applications are no longer acceptable.

>> View the funding announcement....
The program contact is Eileen Holloran, or 301-443-7529. (Source: RAED Funding Opportunity Annoucnement, email sent Jan. 5, 2011)

+ Reminder: Important Information on the Timely Claims Filing Requirement

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would like to remind Medicare Fee-For-Service physicians, providers, and suppliers submitting claims to Medicare for payment that, as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), effective immediately, all claims for services furnished on or after Jan 1, 2010, MUST be filed with your Medicare contractor no later than one calendar year (12 months) from the date of service – or Medicare will deny those claims.

If you have Medicare Fee-For-Service claims with service dates from Thu Oct 1, 2009, through Thu Dec 31, 2009, those claims MUST be filed by Fri Dec 31, 2010, or Medicare will deny those claims. Claims with service dates from Thu Jan 1, 2009, to Thu Oct 1, 2009, keep their original Fri Dec 31, 2010 deadline for filing.

For claims for services that require reporting a line item date of service, the line item date will be used to determine the date of service.  For other claims, the claim statement’s “From” date is used to determine the date of service.

Additional Information

(Source: CMS - Last Year's Last Weekly Reading Materials, Jan. 4, 2011)

More from CMS

  • Come January, the healthcare industry will have less than a year left to prepare for the Version 5010 transaction set change on Sun Jan 1, 2012.  Have you started to prepare for the transition? ... Whether you are well along with your Version 5010 project or just starting, you will find value in one or more of these free webinars.  For more information and to register, visit

  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will host a Town Hall Meeting to discuss the Physician Quality Reporting System (formerly known as the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative, or PQRI).  The purpose of the Town Hall Meeting is to solicit input from participating stakeholders... (Link for more information)

+ Census 2010

By now you have probably seen the first report released by the Census Bureau regarding the 2010 Census. The population of the United States grew 9.7% over the past decade, to 308.7 million people.  This includes everyone living in the United State, according to the Census Bureau, not just citizens or legal immigrants.

As always, there are winners and losers when the Census numbers are counted. Most are not surprising. The West and South experienced double-digit growth rates, with 14.3% growth in the South, and 13.8% growth in the West. The Midwest and Northeast had much slower growth rates, at 3.9% and 3.2% respectively. Nevada was the fastest growing state, followed by Arizona and Utah. Michigan was the biggest loser, followed by Rhode Island, Ohio, and Louisiana.

"The Census forms the backbone for our political and economic systems...," said Robert Groves, director of the Census Bureau. The Census numbers are used to apportion Congressional seats, which is the process of dividing the 435 seats in the House of Representatives. Eight states will lose one seat in the House of Representatives, including Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, while New York and Ohio will lose two seats. Eight states will gains seats, with Texas leading the way, with a four seat gain. Florida will gain two, and Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington will each gain one seat. The remaining 32 states will have the same number of districts.

>> Get more information about the 2010 Census... (Source: The Agurban - an Agracel Publication, Jan. 4, 2011)

+ Apple iPad and mobile operating system on most doctors' must-have lists

Apple's iPad and "i" operating system (iOS) are expected to be the tools of choice for most doctors in 2011, according to a survey by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. The survey, involving nearly 1,200 IT professionals and line of business executives at more than 800 enterprises, government agencies and Managed Services Providers, indicates that 73 percent of respondents expect to deploy the iPad and other iOS devices within their organizations in the next 12 months. More than a quarter of respondents expect to rollout "immediately." In addition, one-third of respondents identified point-of-care applications--such as clinical decision support and medical image viewing tools—as top priorities when using iPads or similar devices. The iPad deployments are accelerating mostly due to the mobile device's handy point-of-care applications and uses, according to the survey.

>> Full story... (Source: Telemedicine and e-Health News Alert, Jan. 4, 2011)

More from the Telemedicine and e-Health News Alert (Jan. 4, 2011)

+ ONC Issues Final Rule for Permanent Certification Program for Health Information Technology

Steps to create permanent health IT certification program underway

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today issued a final rule to establish the permanent certification program for health information technology.  The permanent certification program provides new features that will enhance the certification of health information technology, including increasing the comprehensiveness, transparency, reliability, and efficiency of the current processes used for the certification of electronic health record (EHR) technology.  Meaningful use of “Certified EHR Technology” is a core requirement for eligible health care providers who seek to qualify to receive incentive payments under the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs as authorized by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.

“This final rule completes the two-phased approach ONC began with the proposed rule issued in Spring 2010 and includes several important improvements to our certification processes,” said David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P., national coordinator for health information technology.  “Our goal is to make the transition to the permanent certification program as seamless as possible.” 

The temporary certification program, established through a final rule published on June 24, 2010, will continue to be in effect until it sunsets on December 31, 2011, or at a later date when the processes necessary for the permanent certification program to operate are completed.  ONC expects to stand-up the programmatic activities necessary to implement the permanent certification program throughout 2011. 

Features of the permanent certification program include:
Organizations must first be accredited in order to test and/or certify health information technology; Certification bodies authorized by the National Coordinator (ONC-Authorized Certification Bodies or ONC-ACBs) are required to conduct post-certification surveillance; and ONC-ACBs are permitted to perform “gap certification.” 

>> Continue reading... (Source: HHS Home | ASPA | Newsroom, Jan. 3, 2011)

+ Two Upcoming National Education Calls (from CMS)

National Provider Teleconference on Preparing for ICD-10 Implementation in 2011

Wed Jan 12, 1-3pm EST

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will host a national provider teleconference on “Preparing for ICD-10 Implementation in 2011.”  Subject matter experts will review basic information on the transition to ICD-10 and discuss implementation planning and preparation strategies for this year.  A question-and-answer session will follow the presentations.

Target Audience:  Medical coders, physician office staff, provider billing staff, health records staff, vendors, educators, system maintainers, and all Medicare fee-for-service providers

The following topics will be discussed:

  • Planning for transition to ICD-10 – “A call to action”
  • ICD-10 implementation for services provided on and after Tue Oct 1, 2013 – No grace periods or delays
  • Date of service implementation requirements
  • Tools for converting codes – 2011 General Equivalence Mappings (GEMs)
  • Partial freeze of ICD-9-CM and ICD-10 code updates, except for new technologies and diseases
  • Use of unspecified codes in both ICD-9-CM and ICD-10
  • Updating payment and coverage policies for ICD-10
  • Differences between ICD-9-CM and ICD-10
  • Internal planning groups and organizational strategies
  • Awareness, educational strategies, and assessing training needs
  • Implementation plan development and impact assessment
  • Determining vendor readiness
  • Coding gap analysis – What needs to be done for your coding staff
  • Assessing quality of medical record documentation
  • Developing an ICD-10 budget
  • Consequences of poor preparation
Registration will close at 1pm EST on Tue Jan 11 or when available space has been filled; no exceptions will be made, so please register early. 

>> Register online...

Fourteenth National Education Call on Medicare Fee-For-Service Implementation of HIPAA Version 5010 and D.0 Transactions

Wed Jan 19, 2-3:30pm EST

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will host its fourteenth national education call regarding Medicare Fee-For-Service (FFS) implementation of HIPAA Version 5010 and D.0 transaction standards on Wed Jan 19.  This session will focus on the errata impact to HIPAA transactions and the Medicare FFS companion guides.  Subject matter experts will review how Medicare FFS is implementing the errata, review the Medicare FFS companion guide, and provide information to help the audience through the transition to implementation; the presentation will be followed by a Q&A session.

Target Audience: Vendors, clearinghouses, and providers who will need to make Medicare FFS specific changes in compliance with HIPAA Version 5010 requirements.

  • General overview
  • Medicare FFS implementation of the errata
  • Medicare FFS Companion Guide
  • What you need to do
  • Q & A

CMS will be adding a webinar as part of this national conference call (details follow below).  This feature will allow participants who are on the internet the ability to follow the presentation online as it is given as well as the opportunity to answer polling questions during the presentation.  This will not have any effect on those participants who are only dialing in to the audio portion of the call.  CMS thanks those of you who will participate in this feature.  Participants who are not participating in the webinar should be sure to download the presentation for the call in advance from the CMS website at

Registration will close at 2pm EST on Tue Jan 18 or when available space has been filled; no exceptions will be made, so please register early.  (Note that if you are planning to sit in with a group, only one person needs to register.)  To register for the call (and receive dial-in information):

  • Visit
  • Fill in all required information.
  • Verify that your time zone is displayed correctly in the dropdown box.
  • Click “Register.”
  • You will be taken to the “Thank you for registering” page and will receive a confirmation email shortly thereafter.  Please save this page in the event that your server blocks the confirmation emails.  (If you do not receive the confirmation email, please check your spam/junk mail filter as it may have been directed there.)
  • If assistance for hearing impaired services is needed, the request must be sent to no later than 3 business days before the event.

At the time of the call, first dial in for the call audio, then direct your browser to and sign in as a guest (using your first and last name).

(Source: CMS Reading Materials - Two Upcoming National Education Calls, Jan. 4. 2011)

+ Brain Teaser: The Senses Challenge


This is a link to 20 fun puzzles to test your senses.

Aside: Apparently I (Christy, NCHN staff) need to "sharpen up a little." Hey, we wouldn't recommend a brain teaser we hadn't tried.

>> Take the Senses Challenge...

+ Submit Your News

Submit news or a newsletter from your network to