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NCHN eNews
May 3, 2011
Dear NCHN Members and Friends,

Welcome to the latest issue of the NCHN Weekly Digest. This week, we announce the approval of two new NCHN members and share announcements from 2 current members (see Member Blurbs). In addition, we have an uncharacteristically large number of upcoming events that you (or your network's members might be interested in). Speaking of network members, if you need to forward this email to someone, there is actually a nifty little "Forward" link at the bottom of this email.

Finally, we were excited to receive ORHP's announcement of funding availability through the Rural HIT Grant Program and sent it to you last week when we received it. Nonetheless, we want to make sure you all see it. Thus, we're including it again this week. There is a technical assistance call one week from today.

As always, if you have information you would like to share, or have any feedback, please email us.







NCHN Welcomes 2 New Members

The NCHN Board is pleased to announce the approval of two new members. Please join us in welcoming the following organizations to NCHN!

Hancock County Rural Health Network (Sneedville, TN)

Organized in 2010, the HCRHN aims to increase access to care for residents of Hancock County.  HCRHN is currently focusing on the areas of mental health and substance abuse integration. The HCRHN works to increase access to healthcare services for the county residents and to provide needed education for service providers.

Jennifer Noland, Network Director
Ph: 423-300-0609

Oregon Rural Health Care Quality Network (Bend, OR)

Mission: The ORHQN will optimize healthcare quality and safety in every rural community by connecting healthcare providers through the network and by sharing knowledge and resources with each other and the communities they serve.

ORHQN's purpose is to:

  • provide current and timely information to members on a consistent basis to facilitate growth and learning;
  • foster connection and collaboration between members to promote partnerships in a seamless network;
  • promote patient safety and prevention of adverse healthcare events to assure that rural Oregonians receive the best care in the state; and
  • provide the tools and coordination to engage healthcare consumers and community members in assessing their local services, and, in turn, make publicly available the results of how this input is used to improve safety and quality outcomes.

Eric Buckland, Executive Director
Ph: 541-306-3439
Web Site


From the Forum

There are no new Topics posted this week. Have a question for the members?


You have 12 black socks and 12 white socks mixed up in a drawer. You're up very early and it's too dark to tell them apart. What's the smallest number of socks you need to take out (blindly) to be sure of having a matching pair?

» VIEW THE ANSWER (the question is #3)


RWHC (Member Partner) Announces Certification for EHR Module for Stage One Meaningful Use

The RWHC Quality Indicators Program is certified as an EHR Module for Stage One Meaningful Use. This certification, RWHC MU v11.1, along with our current Core Measures Program provides an opportunity to maximize staff time, efficiency, and data accuracy while meeting your multiple quality measure submission requirements.


CROPS Teaches Teens to Win Grants

April 28, 2011 - Most teens are happy when they receive an “A” on a class assignment. Eight teens from Lakehills, Texas received not only an “A,” but also a $1,500 grant for a future Boys and Girls Club in their rural community. The grant is a result of a three-hour grant writing class the teens took with Beverly Santicola, executive director of the Center for Rural Outreach & Public Services, Inc. (CROPS) of Starke County, Indiana.

“This is a wonderful experience for rural teens who want to make positive changes in their community,” says Santicola, who runs youth programs to encourage teens to become community leaders by developing diverse skills, like grant writing and public speaking. Last year, Santicola was selected as a Purpose Prize Fellow by Civic Ventures, receiving recognition for her work with disadvantaged youth and rural America.




Technical Assistance Call for Rural Health Information Technology (HIT) Grant Program

Tuesday, May 10, 2011 @ 2:00 ET

There will be a technical assistance call for the Rural HIT Grant Program funding announcement which will be held May 10th at 2pm eastern. The toll-free number to call in is 1-888 -577-8992.  The Passcode is HIT.   For your reference, the Technical Assistance call will be recorded and available for playback within one hour of the end of the call and will be available until June 10, 2011 11:59 PM (ET). The phone number to hear the recorded call is: 1-866-420-5718.

For questions on this funding opportunity, please contact the program coordinator, Marcia Green at 301-443-3261 or

AHRQ TalkingQuality Webcast (Free)

Who Are You Talking To? New Insights Into the Audience for Consumer Reports on Health Care Quality

Wednesday, May 11, 2011, 2:00 - 3:00 PM ET

Who is seeking and looking at comparative information on the quality of health plans and providers? Join the TalkingQuality community on May 11 to hear about:

  • Key audiences for comparative quality information, and what they want to know and do.
  • How you can use information on who's visiting your site to produce a more inviting and usable site.

Target Audience

  • Leadership and staff at organizations that report on the quality of medical groups and clinicians, hospitals, health plans, nursing homes, and other health care providers.
  • The vendors, researchers, and consultants who contribute to the work of those organizations.


Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) Training (Free)

May 10 - 11, 2011
Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine (New Orleans, LA)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) one day and a half course has been designed to serve those who will perform crisis and risk communication and media relations in the event of a public health emergency. CERC is an approach used by scientists and public health professionals to provide information during natural or manmade disasters, when an individual or an entire community have to make health-related decisions under time constraints.


CMS Attestation Calls in May

Sign Up for CMS' National Provider Calls about Attestation
CMS is holding conference calls for eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) participating in the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program to provide information on the attestation process. These calls will take place next week. Mark your calendars for one of the calls below.

Tuesday, May 3, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. ET - Register to join this call if you are an eligible hospital or CAH who wants to learn more about the attestation process for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program.

Thursday, May 5, 1:30 - 3:00 p.m. ET- Register to join this call if you are an EP who wants to learn more about the attestation process for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program.

What the Calls Will Cover

  • Path to Payment – Highlighting the steps you need to take to receive your incentive payment
  • Walkthrough of the Attestation Process – Guiding you through CMS' web-based attestation system
  • Troubleshooting – Helping you successfully attest through CMS' system
  • Helpful Resources – Reviewing CMS' resources available on the EHR website
  • Q&A – Answering your questions about the attestation process

» REGISTER ONLINE (for the May 3 call)

» REGISTER ONLINE (for the May 5 call)

HRSA & CMS conference call: Discover how partnerships can make care safer and more affordable

Who: Mary Wakefield, PhD, Health Resources and Services Administration administrator, and Joe McCannon, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services senior advisor to the administrator
When: Thursday, April 28 at 3 p.m. EST

Join Mary Wakefield, PhD, Health Resources and Services Administration administrator, Joe McCannon, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services senior advisor to the administrator, and other rural partners for a conference call to discuss how rural hospitals can become involved in Partnership for Patients, a new public-private partnership that brings together hospitals, employers, health plans, physicians, nurses and patient advocates along with state and federal governments in a shared effort to make hospital care safer, more reliable and less costly.  

Call-in: 877-352-5212
Participant passcode: 3141862 Please dial in five minutes before the call begins.

Other Events



Administration Implements Affordable Care Act Provision to Improve Care, Lower Costs

April 29, 2011 (HHS News Release) - The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today launched a new initiative which will reward hospitals for the quality of care they provide to people with Medicare and help reduce health care costs.  Authorized by the Affordable Care Act, the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing program marks the beginning of an historic change in how Medicare pays health care providers and facilities—for the first time, 3,500 hospitals across the country will be paid for inpatient acute care services based on care quality, not just the quantity of the services they provide.

This initiative helps support the goals of the Partnership for Patients, a new public-private partnership that will help improve the quality, safety and affordability of health care for all Americans. The Partnership for Patients has the potential over the next three years to save 60,000 lives and save up to $35 billion in U.S. health care costs, including up to $10 billion for Medicare.  Over the next ten years, the Partnership for Patients could reduce costs to Medicare by about $50 billion and result in billions more in Medicaid savings. 


Join SNHPA To Ensure Your 340B Savings and Improve the Program

As a hospital enrolled in the 340B drug discount program, you probably have lots of vexing questions regarding how to effectively use 340B while complying with the law. Questions like:

  • Which patients and clinics qualify for 340B discounts?
  • What can we do if a drug manufacturer overcharges us?
  • How can we make sure we maximize our benefit from a contract pharmacy relationship?
  • How do we properly bill Medicaid?
  • What can we do about declining third party reimbursement?

Safety Net Hospitals for Pharmaceutical Access (SNHPA), a non-profit organization in Washington, D.C., provides answers to these questions and more for our 700 hospitals nationwide, which represent the majority of hospitals enrolled in 340B. Regardless of whether your hospital has been enrolled in 340B for three months or three years, SNHPA will meet your unique needs in compliance, operations and maximizing program savings.

SNHPA is independent from both the government and the pharmaceutical industry, so we are able to provide objective, creative and customized guidance on every aspect of 340B, especially in identifying opportunities to get the most out of this complex and ever-changing program. Since we are a membership organization, we are able to provide this support cost-effectively.

But we do more than provide support to help you achieve your financial objective—we are the only organization that advocates on behalf of 340B hospitals with Congress and regulators. 340B, which has always faced significant opposition from the powerful and highly-organized drug industry, is under increasing scrutiny. Indeed, Congress has ordered a study on 340B and whether it is still “necessary” post-health reform. Further, both the pharmaceutical industry and the National Community Pharmacists Association are raising questions about core aspects of this vital program, and are encouraging Congress to limit it to just uninsured patients. Finally, 340B hospitals are facing significant reductions in reimbursement from third party and government payers.

SNHPA is working to protect 340B from these legislative and regulatory threats. We need the support of all 340B hospitals in order to continue effectively protecting and improving the program.

To join our community of 340B hospitals, simply click here for a membership packet and complete the included application, and we will send you an invoice. Dues are based on bed size and range from $1,650 to $7,500/year based on the level of service.
We look forward to receiving your application and getting your hospital on board. If you have any questions or need additional materials, please let us know.


Congress authorizes $15M for TATRC Alzheimer's research grant program

As the leading voluntary health organization advocating for Alzheimer's care, support and research, the Alzheimer's Association is pleased that Congress has authorized a $15 million investment to be provided to the Department of Defense's Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) to create an Alzheimer's Research Grant Program. The program will provide grants for research that will explore the causes, complications and potential treatments associated with Alzheimer's disease, particularly among those in the military.


May is Older Americans Month

From - Each year the Administration on Aging (AoA) issues a theme for Older Americans Month to assist our National Aging Services Network of state, tribal, area agencies on aging, and community services providers plan for activities that might take place in May or throughout the year. The theme of this year's celebration-Older Americans: Connecting the Community-pays homage to the many ways in which older adults bring inspiration and continuity to the fabric of our communities. It also highlights the many ways technology is helping older Americans live longer, healthier and more engaged lives.


Other News Links



ORHP: Rural Health Information Technology (HIT) Grant Program

Deadline: May 27, 2011

ORHP is pleased to announce the release of the Rural Health Information Technology (HIT) Grant Program (HRSA-11-137). HIT is critically important for rural communities and while a lot of the early innovation in the use of electronic records and HIT networks was done in rural communities, many challenges still remain. This pilot program was developed as a result of the President’s Rural Health Initiative which identifies HIT as a priority area and the Secretary’s Rural HIT Taskforce.  To address these and other HIT issues, Secretary Sebelius established an HHS Rural HIT task force co-led by HRSA Administrator Dr. Mary Wakefield and the Office of the National Coordinator.  The purpose of the taskforce is to discuss the challenges rural communities face in adopting HIT, ways to address these challenges, and how to coordinate resources from the federal level.  One of the major challenges that the taskforce has identified is access to capital and ORHP anticipates that this program will assist rural communities in addressing this challenge.

Due to the unique broadness and flexibility of the 330a authorization, ORHP had a great opportunity to develop this grant program in response to these initiatives. The rural HIT program was developed out of the Network Development Program legislation (330a authority), keeping the focus on rural networks.

For further questions on this funding opportunity, please contact the program coordinator, Marcia Green at 301-443-3261 or





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