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NCHN eNews
March 6, 2012
Dear NCHN Members and Friends,

This week there is lots of NCHN news and national news. NCHN news includes information on the Quarterly Membership Call next Monday, potential locations for the 2013 Conference, as well as other reminders. There are a lot of deadlines coming up March 15th - it is the deadline to make an award nomination, reserve your room for the conference (almost), and to submit a sponsorship application.

Finally, thank you to all who shared their feedback on the format of the newsletter. We like hearing from you and value everything you tell us.

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NCHN Quarterly Membership Call: Monday, March 12 at 2:00 PM ET

Please join us for the NCHN Quarterly Membership Call on Monday, March 12 at 2:00 PM ET for a discussion with Allison O’Connor, Heath Care Consulting Senior Manager with Eide Baily, LLP.  Allison will be sharing with us some examples of how operating and/or cost efficiency initiatives have been implemented at the hospital or clinic level in preparation for provisions of the Affordable Care Act.  The telephone number and access code will be provided through a Save-the-Date email from Rebecca.  Please plan to share what your network is doing to address the implementation of provisions of the Affordable Care Act. 



Can you count?
Quick! Count the number of times that the letter F appears in the following sentence: “Finished files are the result of years of scientific study combined with the experience of years


The CurtisHotel Reservations for the 18th NCHN Annual Educational Conference

IMPORTANT: Hotel reservations close on March 16th. Make your reservations today for the NCHN Annual Conference

Hotel Reservations
NCHN Rate: $145+tax/night (Single/Double)
Deadline: March 16, 2012 or when all rooms have sold out



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)

2012 NCHN Awards

NCHN is pleased to accept nominees for the fourth annual NCHN Awards Program. The program is designed to honor outstanding individuals and organizations in the field of health networks. NCHN members are invited to submit nominations for the 2012 Awards. Nominations should be made by completing and submitting the nomination form along with your written narrative no later than March 15, 2012.

» Download the Nomination Guidelines (pdf)
» Complete the Nomination form online

2013 NCHN Conference Location

The Conference Planning Committee is vetting possible locations for the 2013 Annual Conference – NCHN will be going east or south – so if you have a suggestion for a city for NCHN to visit in April 2013, please send it along to Rebecca ASAP.   Former NCHN Annual Conference locations in the south and east over the past 15 years includes: 

    • Charleston, SC - 2009
    • Louisville, KY - 2007
    • Nashville, TN -  2006 & 1997
    • Safety Harbor, FL – 2005
    • Memphis, TN - 2004
    • Chicago, IL – 2005 & 2000
    • St. Louis, MO – 2003
    • Charleston, SC – 2002
    • Orlando, FL – 2001
    • Niagara Falls, NY – 1999
    • New Orleans, LA - 1998
    • Scarborough, ME - 1996

NCHN Quarterly Membership Call: Monday, March 12 at 2:00 PM ET

Please join us for the NCHN Quarterly Membership Call on Monday, March 12 at 2:00 PM ET for a discussion with Allison O’Connor, Heath Care Consulting Senior Manager with Eide Baily, LLP.  Allison will be sharing with us some examples of how operating and/or cost efficiency initiatives have been implemented at the hospital or clinic level in preparation for provisions of the Affordable Care Act.  The telephone number and access code will be provided through a Save-the-Date email from Rebecca.  Please plan to share what your network is doing to address the implementation of provisions of the Affordable Care Act. 

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

Nominating Committee Call
Thursday, March 8 @ 10:00 AM ET

Quarterly Membership Call
Monday, March 12 | 2:00 - 3:00 PM ET

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. 

Member Newsletters




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



NQF Webinar: Community Tool to Align Measurement
National Quality Forum

Webinar: March 7, 2012
1:30 - 3:00 PM ET

A new tool developed by the National Quality Forum (NQF) can help you align, expand, or start your measurement and public reporting efforts in ways that fit with key national programs. Reap the benefit of learning from others engaged in similar work across the country.


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




House and Senate Approve Payroll Tax Conference Report
by David Lee

February 17, 2012 (Rural Health Voices: News and Opinion from the National Rural Health Association) - In votes taken Friday morning, the House and Senate approved the Payroll Tax Conference Committee’s Conference Report extending a number of rural Medicare Extenders and updating the sustainable growth rate (SGR).  Several of these critical rural Medicare provisions were seriously threatened in recent months but, because of your advocacy and persistence, NRHA was successful in making sure a number of the provisions were included in the final package:

  • Ten-month extension of outpatient hold-harmless provision for hospitals under 100 beds.
  • Ten-month extension of the current geographic practice cost index
  • Ten-month update of the sustainable growth rate (SGR)
  • Ten-month extension of the current payment levels for rural ambulance providers
  • Four-month extension of current “508 Hospital” wage index reclassification
  • Four-month extension of the current technical component for pathology lab services


» Final Agreement on Rural Medicare Provisions Reached (Rural Health Voices, Feb. 16, 2012)

Some U.S. women live far from maternity care
by Amy Norton

March 1, 2012 (Baltimore Sun) -Some U.S. women, especially in the rural West, live more than an hour's drive from a hospital with maternity care, a new study finds.

There's no set ideal for how close a pregnant woman should live from a maternity hospital. And the study did not look at whether women living more than an hour's drive away face bigger risks.

[RE: Telemedicine]


Homing In on the Medical Home
by Edward Prewitt

March 2, 2012 (HealthLeaders Media) - The concept of the patient-centered medical home, introduced by the American Academy of Pediatrics way back in 1967, continues to gain steam. But what does it mean to be patient-centered?


Diabetes Coordination Program a Lesson in Rural Innovation
by John Commins

February 29, 2012 (HealthLeaders Media) - We hear a lot these days about the challenges facing rural healthcare providers.

Those challenges are real and daunting. They include accessing technology and capital, finding qualified clinicians and other skilled healthcare workers and technicians, and providing access and wellness strategies for a population mix that can often be disproportionately poor, uninsured, unhealthy and isolated.

We should not forget, however, that rural healthcare providers are also creating innovative programs to overcome these many obstacles. These rural healthcare professionals are not sitting back waiting for someone else to solve their problems.


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.


Rural Grantees Selected for the Second Phase of the Healthy Weight Collaborative

March 5, 2012 (ORHP Community-Based Division Bi-Weekly Newsletter) - The Healthy Weight Collaborative is a partnership between HRSA and the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ) supported by the Affordable Care Act Prevention and Public Health Fund. Together, HRSA and NICHQ have embarked on a nationwide quality improvement effort focused on the prevention and treatment of childhood and adult obesity.

We are delighted to announce the forty teams selected for the second phase of the Healthy Weight Collaborative. These teams join the ten Phase 1 teams and represent broad geographic diversity comprising urban, rural, tribal, and underserved communi-ties from each of the ten HRSA Regions. This phase is a ground-breaking approach as an entirely virtual learning community, focusing on applying quality improvement methods to obesity prevention across multiple sectors of healthcare and the commu-nity. The forty new teams will apply the lessons learned from the first teams and test new interventions in their own communities. Lessons learned in the Collaborative will contribute to broader federal, state and local efforts and help accelerate progress in the field of obesity prevention.


$1.3 Billion to Improve the Health and Independence of America’s Older Adults

March 2, 2012 (AoA News Release) - Grants of more than $1.3 billion to every state, the District of Columbia, and five territories to continue implementing programs that help older adults live healthy, safely and independently in their communities were awarded today by Kathy Greenlee, assistant secretary for aging in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The grants will help older adults avoid institutional care through home and community-based supportive programs with an emphasis on prevention and wellness, nutrition, family caregiver and respite services.


Medicaid and Rural America
Center for Rural Affairs analyzes benefits of Medicaid in rural areas — Rural children increasingly reliant on public health insurance

March 1, 2012 (Syracuse Journal-Democrat) - Medicaid protects long-term care for millions of seniors, helps people with disabilities live independently and provides health coverage that ensures children can see a doctor when they get sick. The Center for Rural Affairs released a new health care report today, entitled – Medicaid and Rural America – that examines these and other vital roles Medicaid plays in rural areas.

“A variety of unique characteristics of rural communities make Medicaid crucial for rural people and rural places,” said Jon Bailey, Rural Research Director at the Center for Rural Affairs and author of the report.


Country doctors: Center draws doctors to underserved areas
by Emily Christensen

January 30, 2012 ( - Dr. William Durbin believes family medicine is the second-best career in the world.

The best? Rural family medicine.

"Rural medicine gives you a unique opportunity to do things you won't experience in a big city," Durbin recently told a small group of third-year medical students from Des Moines University. "And by big city I mean anything over 1,000."




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)

Funding Opportunity for Testing New Approaches to Prenatal Care
Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation

As part of the Strong Start campaign, CMS has released a funding opportunity announcement to reduce the frequency of premature births – medically defined as less than 37 weeks of gestation – in pregnant Medicaid beneficiaries. Under this initiative, the CMS Innovation Center will award up to $43.2 million through a competitive process to providers, States, and managed care plans to achieve better care, improved health, and lower costs for pregnant Medicaid beneficiaries and their newborns.

The Strong Start grant funding opportunity is a four-year initiative to test and evaluate enhanced prenatal care interventions for women with Medicaid coverage who are at risk for having a preterm birth.

he intent of this initiative is to engage with a wide variety of interested parties who have developed innovations to improve care, improve health, and lower costs for Medicaid women at risk for preterm births. Eligible applicants include:

  1. Providers of obstetric care (e.g. provider groups or affiliated providers and facilities)
  2. State Medicaid Agencies
  3. Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs)
  4. Conveners in partnership with other applicants. The convener may be a direct applicant, or may convene and support other organizations to become applicants. Examples of conveners include States, associations of providers or other health service related organizations.  

Letter of Intent due:  March 21, 2012, by 5:00 pm EST
Applications are due:  June 13, 2012, by 5:00 pm EST
Anticipated Award Date:  September 10, 2012



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