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NCHN eNews
January 10, 2012
Dear NCHN Members and Friends,

Welcome to the latest issue of the NCHN Weekly Digest. This week, there are a few new funding opportunities, new forum posts by NCHN members, lots of national news, and a couple of reminders. In NCHN matters, don't forget to complete your 2012 dues assessment (due last Friday).

The Curtis, the lovely hotel that is serving as the venue for the 2012 NCHN Annual Conference, has a dedicated reservation link - it's easier than it was last year to reserve your room! We hope you will be joining us in Denver for NCHN's major event of the year.

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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All Together Now at the Curtis

Reserve Your Room for the 2012 NCHN Annual Educational Conference

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

The Curtis has opened reservations for the 2012 NCHN Annual Educational Conference in Denver, Colorado.

Rate: $145+tax/night (single or double)




A palindrome is a word, phrase, verse, or sentence that reads the same backward or forward.


Can you solve this palindrome riddle?


Pronounced as one letter but written with three, only two different letters are used to make me. I'm double, I'm single I'm black, blue, and gray. I'm read from both ends and the same either way.



2012 Dues Assessments

Due: Friday, January 6, 2012

Dues Assessments were due on January 6, 2012. We are still missing assessments from many members, and we hope you plan to continue your membership in 2012.

Please complete and submit the 2012 Dues Assessment form as soon as possible (estimated time to complete: 5 minutes or less).

Invoices can be sent via email once your assessment form is received.  Your electronic invoice will be from


Upcoming NCHN Calls & Events

Program Development Committee Call
Monday, January 17 @ 2:00 PM ET

Coffee Chat with Dr. Mary Kay Chess
Wednesday, January 18 @ 11:00 AM ET

NCHN Transformer Leadership Learning Community Session
Friday, January 20 @ 11:00 AM ET

2012 Conference Planning Committee Call
Monday, January 23 @ 2:00 PM ET




New Forum Posts


  • Membership Application, Forms Samples (12/14/2011) by Laurie Miller
    I am looking for samples of membership applications. We are a newly formed 501 (3)© now in a position to bring in new members. Our service is Health Information Exchange. Thank you in advance for your contribution.


  • Affordable Care Act, National Women's Health Week (1/9/2012) by hcrump
  • Progress Reports, Ways to simplify records and reports (1/9/2012) by hcrump




NRHA: It's time to fight for rural health

January 9, 2012 (NRHA Email)

Let’s fight for rural together.
Join fellow rural health advocates in D.C. Jan. 30 through Feb. 1.

More than 450 rural health care professionals will attend the 23rd Rural Health Policy Institute to learn firsthand about the development and implementation of federal health care policy.

You don’t want to miss:
- Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
- Health Resources and Services Administration Administrator Mary Wakefield
- Face time with your members of Congress
- Capitol Steps performance
- Advocacy 101 pre-conference workshop on Sunday, Jan. 29

Click here to register and book your hotel room right away.

And to learn more about what’s happening in D.C. and around the country that impacts rural health, check out NRHA’s most recent Rural Roads magazine.

NOSORH's The Branch: January 2012

The January 2012 issue of The Branch is available online (pdf).



HRSA's Grants Process: Pre-Award, Award Post-Award, and Grant Closeout

January 10, 2012

These webcasts will assist applicants applying for HRSA funds, discuss the registration process, and address important items such as how to register for a DUNS number, registration with CCR, and registration with


Community Health Needs Assessments

Webinar: January 11, 2012
1:00 - 2:00 PM

Community Health Needs Assessments are a great way to highlight for the community the importance of local hospitals and clinics, both in regard to health and to economic impact! 

Join us, Wednesday, January 11 from 1 – 2 pm for an informative webinar with Clint Cresawn, Colorado STRIDES Program Manager, on Colorado STRIDES and its new technical assistance packages designed to assist with community needs assessments. 


HRSA Health IT and Quality Webinar

"Tips For Engaging Safety Net Patients Using Health IT”

January 20, 2012 @ 2:00 PM ET


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.


Wipfli Rural Health Clinic and Critical Access Hospital Conference

January 31 - February 2, 2012
Bloomington, MN

The 12th Annual Rural Health Clinic Forum and Critical Access Hospital Conference are again being held together, giving you the chance to attend one or both! This event is designed to help organizations like yours succeed through quality education and the opportunity to communicate directly with regulators and existing RHCs and CAHs.




Collaborative Efforts Can Save Money And Improve Care
by Harris Meyer

January 5, 2012 (Kaiser Health News) - Peter Cady, who works 12-hour shifts on his feet at Intel’s plant here, occasionally suffers severe lower back spasms. But he nearly gave up seeking medical help because in the weeks it took to get a doctor’s appointment and a referral to physical therapy, the pain usually subsided. 

These days, however, Cady is much happier with his care.

Rather than waiting to see a doctor, Cady and other patients with routine back pain now see a physical therapist within 48 hours of calling, compared with about 19 days previously, Intel says. They complete their treatment in 21 days, compared with 52 days in the past. The cost per patient has dropped 10 percent to 30 percent due to fewer unnecessary doctor visits and diagnostic imaging tests. And patients are more satisfied and return to work faster. 


President Obama Signs the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011
New Law Includes Physician Update Fix through February 2012

January 4, 2012 (CGS) - On December 23, 2011, President Obama signed into law the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 (TPTCCA). This new law prevents a scheduled payment cut for physicians and other practitioners who treat Medicare patients from taking effect immediately. While the negative update for the 2012 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule is now scheduled to take effect on March 1, 2012, the Administration remains strongly opposed to letting this cut take effect. As he has repeatedly made clear, President Obama is committed to a permanent solution to eliminating the Sustainable Growth Rate’s cut. We will continue to work with Congress to achieve this goal.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has also recently implemented several important changes for Medicare providers and beneficiaries, and we would like to remind physicians and practitioners of some of these key changes for 2012. For many of your patients, Medicare costs will go down. Medicare cost-sharing for Part B services will decline in some cases and, for the first time, the Part B deductible will decrease, by $22, to $140.


National Health Service Corps Critical Access Hospital Pilot Program

January 9, 2012 (Office of Rural Health Policy Community-Based Division Bi-Weekly Announcements) - The Health Resources and Services Administration has released its 2012 guidance for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program (LRP), which includes a pilot program that expands eligibility to Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and eligible clinicians working in CAHs: primary care physicians; psychiatrists; nurse practitioners; certified nurse midwives; and physician assistants. The NHSC CAH Pilot Program was created as part of the White House Rural Council (

CAHs and interested clinicians should review the 2012 guidance. CAHs that want to become service sites have to be in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) and meet other basic program requirements ( index.html). Currently, approximately 64 percent of CAHs are located in HPSAs. Of these, 36 percent have HPSA scores of 14 or more.

Once they are approved as service sites, their clinicians can apply for loan repayment. The NHSC will pay up to $60,000 for an initial 2 years of full‐time clinical practice to clinicians serving at an NHSC‐approved service site with a HPSA score of 14 or higher. Applicants working at NHSC‐approved service sites with HPSA scores of 13 or lower are eligible to receive up to $40,000 for an initial 2 years of full‐time clinical service.

The NHSC will pay up to $60,000 for an initial 4 years of half‐time clinical practice to clinicians serving at an NHSC‐approved service site with a HPSA score of 14 or higher. Applicants working at NHSC‐approved service sites with HPSA scores of 13 or lower are eligible to receive up to $40,000 for an initial 4 years of half‐time clinical service.

Allowing CAHs to be eligible for loan repayment will enhance health care access and flexibility. Most providers working for these hospitals staff clinical settings across the CAH, ranging from outpatient clinics, skilled nursing care and emergency services, as well as providing limited inpatient hospital services.

Please help us get the word out about this program to CAHs and interested clinicians so they can take advantage of this opportunity. The Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) and the NHSC have conducted Webinars related to this change ( The NHSC has a contact available to answer questions: Lindsey Toohey ( Additional contacts include your State Offices of Rural Health. You may also Contact your State PCO for assistance, or your ORHP project officer or regional liaison.

For additional program details, please see the 2012 NHSC Loan Repayment Program At-A-Glance Fact Sheet, the NHSC Loan Repayment Program Announcement Flyer and the complete Application and Program Guidance. ORHP believes there will be significant interest among CAHs in becoming NHSC service sites to help address the ongoing access challenges these facilities face. The flexibility for loan repayors to divide service time between inpatient and outpatient care will be attractive to program applicants.

The ICD-10 Transition: Focus on Non-Covered Entities

January 9, 2012 (CMS) - On October 1, 2013, the ICD-9 code sets used to report medical diagnoses and inpatient procedures will be replaced by ICD-10 code sets. To accommodate the ICD-10 code structure, the transaction standards used for electronic health care claims, Version 4010/4010A, must be upgraded to Version 5010 by January 1, 2012. This fact sheet provides noncovered entities with background on the ICD-10 transition, potential benefits to adopting the new coding, and resources for more information.


Federal health care IT spending set to grow
by Angela Petty

January 8, 2012 (The Washington Post) - With money tight, congressional appropriators rarely insist that agencies spend money. Yet the omnibus spending bill passed Dec. 17 approved $100 million for a joint Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs effort to develop digital medical records — even though they missed deadlines for requesting the money.

A recent Deltek report projects that the federal health care information technology market will grow from $4.5 billion in 2011 to $6.5 billion by 2016, far surpassing overall federal IT growth estimates.

» CONTINUE READING Resource: How to Implement EHRs

Step 1 - Assess Your Practice Readiness
The assessment phase is foundational to all other EHR implementation steps, and involves determining if the practice is ready to make the change from paper records to electronic health records (EHRs), or to upgrade their current system to a new certified version.


Healthcare Created 314K Jobs in 2011
by John Commins

January 9, 2012 (HealthLeaders Media) - Healthcare created 22,600 jobs in December, finishing a strong year for job growth that saw 314,700 payroll additions in 2011. Healthcare accounted for nearly for nearly one in five new jobs in the overall economy, Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows.

Hospitals created 9,800 new jobs in December, and 89,100 jobs in 2011, more than double the 37,300 jobs hospitals created in 2010.


Rural origin plus a rural clinical school placement is a significant predictor of medical students’ intentions to practice rurally: a multi-university study
Authors: Walker JH, DeWitt DE, Pallant JF, Cunningham CE

January 9, 2012 (Rural and Remote Health) - Health workforce shortages are a major problem in rural areas. Australian medical schools have implemented a number of rural education and training interventions aimed at increasing medical graduates’ willingness to work in rural areas. These initiatives include recruiting students from rural backgrounds, delivering training in rural areas, and providing all students with some rural exposure during their medical training. However there is little evidence regarding the impact of rural exposure versus rural origin on workforce outcomes. The aim of this study is to identify and assess factors affecting preference for future rural practice among medical students participating in the Australian Rural Clinical Schools (RCS) Program.

Results: Almost half the students (47%; n=58) self-reported a 'rural background'. Significantly, students from rural backgrounds were 10 times more likely to prefer to work in rural areas when compared with other students (p<0.001). For those preferring general practice, 80% (n=24) wished to do so rurally. Eighty-five per cent (n=105) of students agreed that their RCS experience increased their interest in rural training and practice with 62% (n=75) of students indicating a preference for rural internship/basic training after their RCS experience. A substantial percentage (86%; n=108) agreed they would consider rural practice after their RCS experience.


Coming soon: exercise by prescription
by Jay Price

January 8, 2012 (Charlotte Observer) - Evidence of exercise's range of health benefits has become so overwhelming in recent years that the American College of Sports Medicine created a major outreach program called "Exercise is Medicine" that's aimed at making exercise a central part of disease prevention and treatment.

Researchers don't have enough data yet for doctors to write exercise prescriptions with the kind of precision that may one day be possible. On a parallel track to the research into the optimal dose of exercise for each illness and each patient, some scientists are already studying the best way to deliver those future prescriptions of exercise.




Educating Women about Programs, Benefits, and Rights under the Affordable Care Act (RFP)

Funding is available to support activities and events that provide awareness and education to women living in the United States and its affiliated territories on the programs, benefits, and rights under the Affordable Care Act. These activities can cover differ-ent areas of the Affordable Care Act such as preventive services, Medicare benefits, reducing health disparities, and the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. Educational sessions should target women and provide them with information that will allow them to make informed health care decisions for themselves and their families. It is important to target women because they are more likely to be the primary health care decision makers for themselves and/or their family.

Applications are due by January 20, 2012.


Northwest Regional Telehealth Resource Center Special Projects Grants

Purpose: The NRTRC is an organization that supports growth in telemedicine and telehealth through the sharing of information, leveraging a community of experience and expertise, and collaborative activities that benefit communities served through increased access to healthcare delivered through telehealth. Projects selected will be requested to share tools developed and information and lessons learned with NRTRC membership.

Applications are due by February 3, 2012.


State Implementation Grants for Systems of Services for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN)

Purpose: This grant program improves access to a quality, comprehensive, coordinated community-based systems of services for CYSHCN and their families that is family-centered and culturally competent. This grant program improves access to a quality, comprehensive, coordinated community-based system of services for CYSHCN and their families that is family-centered and culturally competent.

The initiative supports grants to assist State Title V Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) programs, family organizations, providers, and other partners to implement the six core outcomes of a system of services based on evidence based practices for CYSHCN.

Applications are due by March 1, 2012.


Contest: HHS launches first consumer health IT video challenge of 2012

January 9, 2012 (HHS News Release) - The National Coordinator for Health Information Technology announced today a nationwide, open call for entries in the Healthy New Year Video Challenge, highlighting personal stories of patients and families using health technology to improve health.  The video challenge, launched by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), kicks off the first in a series of consumer video contests in 2012 as a way to engage consumers to integrate technology into their health care.


New AHRQ Funding Opportunity on Research Centers in Primary Care Practice Based Research and Learning
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

December 12, 2011 (AHRQ email) - AHRQ has released a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) soliciting Center Core grant applications from organizations with a track record of success in conducting research in primary care practice-based research networks (PBRNs).  Each research center must have at least 120 primary care member practices organized around shared resources and research infrastructure. These centers will foster a highly collaborative, interdisciplinary research environment. AHRQ is particularly interested in supporting center infrastructure that will accelerate both the generation of new knowledge and a community of learning for primary care practices to improve quality, patient safety and effectiveness of care.  AHRQ intends to publish future “rapid-cycle” FOAs describing research projects that will be limited to funded centers because of the cohesive infrastructure required to respond to these rapid-cycle funding opportunities. Applications are due by January 26, 2012.



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