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NCHN eNews
March 13, 2012
Dear NCHN Members and Friends,

The NCHN Annual Conference is only a month away and we want to remind you of impending deadlines. These will have passed when we send the newsletter out next week. For those of you who scan, is a quick overview with links:

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Crista Benavidez2012 Conference Keynote Announced

Collaboration Strategies: From Brainstorming to Results!
During this dynamic and interactive presentation, Crista F. Benavidez will share ready-to-apply collaboration techniques to help you accomplish more of your organizations goals. Be prepared to jump into the driver’s seat of your own success toward becoming a more effective health network professional.

By the end of this keynote presentation, conference participants will:

  • Receive information that emphasizes the “how” behind collaboration concepts
  • Learn the 10 Keys to creating a collaborative environment
  • Be able to identify the five elements that impact collaboration
Crista F. Benavídez is an internationally recognized speaker specializing in interpersonal communication, and organizational learning. Her subject offerings include: conflict management, personality/behavior styles, communicating with difficult people, customer service, communication diversity, and effective teaming. She holds a Master of Arts degree, with Distinction, in Organizational Learning and Instructional Technologies and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Communication and Spanish from the University of New Mexico.



This exercise will test your ability to recall and recreate sounds in your mind. This stretches the part of the brain where audio is stored. Close your eyes and try to hear the following sounds:

1. Your favorite song
2. A stapler stapling some paper
3. Fingernails on a chalkboard
4. A toilet flushing
5. A babbling brook

How well did you do at reproducing those sounds in your head? With practice, you'll get better at imagining sounds.


2012 Committee Sign-Ups

NCHN is a membership organization, which is governed by representatives from the membership.  In addition to the importance of volunteer Directors, it is also important to have even broader representation of the membership serving on the various NCHN Committees.  The committees operate to assist the elected Board of Directors and the Officers in meeting its goals and objectives of the Association. 

The 2011 Committees will be giving a report of their accomplishments during the 2012 Annual Membership Meeting in Denver on Monday, April 16.  At the same time, recruitment of members to serve on the 2012 Committees will be coming to a close.  Please take a few minutes to review the 2012 Committees and their descriptions at and sign up to serve on a committee or committees during 2012 at

If you have been serving on a committee during 2011 and would like to remain on that committee, please include your selection on the survey.

Remember, NCHN is your Association and we need your leadership and participation at all levels. The Board of Directors and Officers encourage you to sign up for a 2012 Committee today!  If you have specific questions about committee member responsibilities or need more information, please feel free to discuss with Rebecca.

Thanks in advance for your support and dedication to NCHN! 

Exhibitor Opportunities at the Annual Conference

Exhibit space is open and available at the Annual Conference. Please share the conference information with vendors and business you think would be interested in working with health networks. If they can't make it to the conference, they may still want to reach out via advertising and sponsorship opportunities. More information is on the conference website. For a promotional email to share with your colleagues, email Christy and she will send it to you. (Application deadline: March 15, 2012)

March Coffee/Tea Chat – Wednesday, March 21 at 11:00 AM ET

Join NCHN leaders for our March Coffee and Tea conversation with Dr. Chess. 

On Wednesday, March 21, 2012 from 11:00 AM (ET) until 12:00 PM (ET), you and your network colleagues will have an opportunity to explore best practices in the networks, exchange ideas for sustainable growth and consider approaches to building solid business plans through involving your boards and community members.  The telephone number and access code will be provided through a Save-the-Date email from Rebecca.  We look forward to hearing your perspectives at during our monthly call. 

Warmly, Mary Kay

Transformer Leadership Learning Community – Final Call, Friday, March 16 at 11:00 AM ET

The final call for the 2011 - 2012 NCHN Transformer Leadership Learning Community will be Friday, March 16th from 11 AM (ET) until 12:00 PM (ET).  Dr. Chess will provide coaching and support for creating personal and measurable leadership goals.  If you have time, review the first five chapters in the Network Leadership Transformation Workbook.  The telephone number and access code will be provided through a Save-the-Date email from Rebecca.  And, if you have time for a deeper "dive" before our call, take a look at this article: The 5 Habits of Highly Effective CEO's

We are looking forward to this leadership exploration! 

Warmly, Mary Kay

Upcoming NCHN Calls & Events

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

RHNR Consulting Group Task Force Call
Wednesday, March 14 @ 12:00 PM ET

2012 Conference Planning Committee Call
Thursday, March 15 @ 2:00 PM ET

NCHN Transformer Leadership Learning Community Session
Friday, March 16 @ 11:00 AM ET

HRSA Rural Health Network Planning Grantees Leadership Learning Community Call
Friday, March 16 @ 12:30 PM ET

Board of Directors Call
Monday, March 19 @ 2:00 PM ET

Coffee/Tea Chat with Dr. Mary Kay Chess
Wednesday, March 21 @ 11:00 AM ET

Rural Health Network Resources – Consulting Group Task Force Call
Wednesday, March 28 @ 12:00 PM ET

Upcoming Deadlines
March 15, 2012: Award Nominations due
March 15, 2012: Exhibit/Sponsor/Advertisor application deadline (NCHN Conference)
March 16, 2012: Hotel Reservations close (NCHN Conference)
April 1, 2012: Early Bird registration ends for the NCHN Conference (add $75 after 4/1/12)




Share your Materials at the 2012 NCHN Conference

The 2012 Conference Planning Committee invites you to bring any promotional items that you have developed for your network and would like to share with Conference participants to the 2012 Conference in Denver.  Items such as pins, notepads, sticky notes, chap-stick, candy, etc.  Any small item(s) that is easy to return home with through airport security.  We are looking for a variety of items to share with the conference participants, as well, as give our members an opportunity to distribute their marketing materials to other networks. If you would like to participate in this member exchange of marketing tools, please let Debbie Comeau know by emailing her at by March 23.  We will let you know the number of each item that will be needed as we get closer to the conference dates, but suspect between 75-100 pieces of any one item. 




NRHA Annual Conference

Join colleagues and experts from across the country for networking, education and advocacy April 17-20 in Denver for NRHA's 35th Annual Rural Health Conference, the nation's largest gathering of rural health professionals. Come early for the annual Rural Medical Educators Conference on April 17. 

* First time members receive a 1 year complimentary NRHA membership
* Scholarships available


More from NRHA
• NRHA will accept presentation submissions for its 2012 Rural Health Clinic and Critical Access Hospital conferences and the Rural Multicultural and Multiracial Health Conference March 1 through April 27



IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Stage 2 Requirements for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs

Conference Call: March 12, 2012
Audio and transcript link posted below

Target Audience: Hospitals, Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and professionals eligible for the Medicare and/or Medicare EHR Incentive Programs. Refer to links below for more details on eligibility requirements for professionals and hospitals.


Rural Health Open Door Forum

Webinar: March 13, 2012
2:00 - 3:00 PM EST

The Rural Health ODF addresses Rural Health Clinic (RHC), Critical Access Hospital (CAH) and Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) issues, as well as some inclusion of other questions and concerns that occur in clinical practice pertaining to other CMS payment systems that also extend into these settings. Topics that frequently arise on this forum often deal with payment & billing for services subject to Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) and/or Physician Shortage Area (PSA) status, cost report clarifications, classifications for & qualifications of rural provider types, and the many special provisions being implemented for improving rural health in the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003. Timely announcements and clarifications regarding important rulemaking, quality program initiatives, and other related areas are also included in the Forums.


Webinar on AHRQ Quality Indicators Toolkit for Hospitals 2

Webinar: March 13, 2012 @ 3:00 PM EST

Learn about a new Toolkit designed to guide hospitals through the process of improving performance on the AHRQ Inpatient Quality Indicators (IQIs) and Patient Safety Indicators (PSIs). The Toolkit covers every step: from the first stage of self-assessment to the final stage of ongoing monitoring. During this Webinar, you will hear about the purpose of this extensive resource, how it was developed, how it is organized for easy use, and how a hospital has used the Toolkit.


Step by Step: Starting A Telehealth Program
Telehealth Resource Centers

Webinar: March 15, 2012

The TRC Webinar Series provides timely information and demonstrations to support and guide the development of your telehealth program by experienced telehealth professionals from the HRSA-designated Telehealth Resource Centers (TRCs).


The Benchmark for Excellence in Patient Safety™ Program

Webinar: March 22, 2012
10:00 - 11:00 AM CDT

Join Clarity and your fellow small and rural providers for this free webinar to learn more about the National Benchmark for Excellence in Patient Safety™ Program specifically designed for critical access, small and rural healthcare organizations. The webinar also introduces the Healthcare SafetyZone® Portal, the web-based patient safety event management system that your colleagues are currently using at their facilities.


HRSA Health IT & Quality Webinar

Using Health IT for Patient Safety

March 23, 2012 @ 2:00 PM EST




Policies give states more flexibility to establish Affordable Insurance Exchanges

March 12, 2012 (HHS News Release) - Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced policies to assist states in building Affordable Insurance Exchanges.  Starting in 2014, these one-stop marketplaces will allow consumers and small businesses to choose a private health insurance plan and offer the public the same kinds of insurance choices as members of Congress.

The policies released today will help states in designing their Exchanges to best meet the needs of their consumers.  They offer states substantial flexibility as they design a marketplace that works for their residents.


» Health Insurance Exchange Rules Highlight 'State Flexibility' (Kaiser Health News, March 12, 2012)

Healthcare Job Growth Accelerating
by John Commins

March 12, 2012 (HealthLeaders Media) - Job growth in the healthcare sector has been strong in the first two months of 2012, accounting for one in five new jobs in the overall economy, and even surpassing the robust pace of job growth throughout most of 2011, new federal data shows.


Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System Offers Recommendations to Strengthen Safety Net Hospitals Under Health Reform
Mary Mahon

March 8, 2012 (The Commonwealth Fund) - New Report Offers Ways to Leverage Medicaid and Disproportionate Share Hospital Payments to Sustain and Support Safety Net Institutions and Improve Care for Vulnerable Populations

A new report released by the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System offers a series of recommendations to help shore up safety net hospitals and make sure under health reform that they can continue to provide high-quality care to low-income, vulnerable patients.


Health Reform Law Ends Lifetime Limits for 105 Million Americans

March 5, 2012 (HHS News Release) - Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released a new report today on how the health reform law has eliminated lifetime limits on coverage for more than 105 million Americans. Before health reform, many Americans with serious illnesses such as cancer risked hitting the lifetime limit on the dollar amount their insurance companies would cover for their health care benefits.


Dismantling the rural health workforce pipeline

March 8, 2012 (OKPolicy Blog) - For the past 27 years, a statewide network of Area Health Education Centers (OKAHEC) has worked to increase the supply of primary care providers and improve access to health care in Oklahoma’s rural and underserved communities. Now this program is going away, another victim of the state fiscal crisis and of our failure to provide adequate funding of services that help make us a healthier, better educated, and more prosperous state.


Federal Register: HIT
Health Information Technology: Standards, Implementation Specifications, and Certification Criteria for Electronic Health Record Technology, 2014 Edition; Revisions to the Permanent Certification Program for Health Information Technology

March 7, 2012 (Federal Register) - Under section 3004 of the Public Health Service Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services is proposing to revise the initial set of standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria adopted in an interim final rule published on January 13, 2010, and a subsequent final rule that was published on July 28, 2010, as well as to adopt new standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria. The proposed new and revised certification criteria would establish the technical capabilities and specify the related standards and implementation specifications that Certified Electronic Health Record (EHR) Technology would need to include to, at a minimum, support the achievement of meaningful use by eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs beginning with the EHR reporting periods in fiscal year and calendar year 2014. This notice of proposed rulemaking also proposes revisions to the permanent certification program for health information technology, which includes changing the program's name.


More from the Federal Register
» Request for Comment: Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Electronic Health Record Incentive Program-Stage 2 (Federal Register, March 7, 2012)

Hospital Groups Will Get Bigger, Moody’s Predicts
by Reed Abelson

March 8, 2012 (The New York Times) - Responding to changes in health care, big hospital groups are expected to get even bigger. And some hospitals will join forces with once-unlikely partners, health insurers and for-profit companies, a new report says.

The difficult business environment and the changes expected in how hospitals will be paid for delivering care are driving many smaller, stand-alone hospital groups into the arms of larger and better-financed organizations, said Lisa Goldstein, who follows nonprofit hospitals for Moody’s Investors Service and is one of the authors of a report expected to be released Thursday.


Curing our health care system
by Lawrence R. Plavnick

March 12, 2012 ( - Since the passage in 2010 of the Patient and Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare," much attention has been given to the availability and cost of insurance for individuals. However, what may prove to be the most profound effect of the act is how it promises to change the fundamental structure of heath care service in America.

The act created the Medicare Shared Savings Program, which requires health care providers that want to receive "fee-for-services" Medicare payments to organize into "Accountable Care Organizations" or ACOs.




Telehealth Network Grant Program

Purpose: This announcement solicits applications for the Telehealth Network Grant Program (TNGP).  The primary objective of the TNGP is to demonstrate how telehealth programs and networks can improve access to quality health care services in rural and underserved communities.

Grants made under this authority will demonstrate how telehealth networks improve healthcare services for medically underserved populations in urban, rural, and frontier communities.  TNGP networks are used to: (a) expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of health care services; (b) improve and expand the training of health care providers; and/or (c) expand and improve the quality of health information available to health care providers, and patients and their families, for decisionmaking.  However, as noted below, because of legislative restrictions, grants will be limited to programs that serve rural communities, although grantees may be located in urban or rural areas.

Applications are due by April 13, 2012.


Telehealth Resource Center Grant Program (posted 2/24/12; due 4/20/12)


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