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NCHN eNews
November 15, 2011 ONLY 2 days until National Rural Health Day
Dear NCHN Members and Friends,

National Rural Health Day is almost here! Are you ready? Do you have a plan? Bill Hessert at NOSORH sent out the weekly NRHD news last Friday and, if you aren't sure what you can do to celebrate, his email has numerous suggestions. We hope you will celebrate and we hope you will share your activities with NCHN - on Facebook, Twitter, the Discussion Board, by email... however you would like. NOSORH will also be celebrating by hosting a series of webinars. You can check them out in Bill Hessert's email...

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.







NRHD November 17, 2011

Upcoming NCHN Calls & Events

Program Development Committee Call
Tuesday, November 15 @ 1:00 PM ET

Coffee/Tea Chats with Dr. Mary Kay Chess
Wednesday, November 16 @ 11:00 AM

National Rural Health Day
Thursday, November 17, 2011

NCHN Transformer Leadership Learning Community Session
Friday, November 18 @ 11:00 AM ET

2012 Annual Conference Planning Committee
Monday, November 21 @ 2:00 PM ET

NCHN Offices Closed for Thanksgiving
Thursday and Friday, November 24 & 25

NCHN Quarterly Membership Call
Business Plans for Networks
Monday, December 12 @ 2:00 PM ET



From the Forum

There are no new posts this week.


The Tooth about Teeth


Our teeth are very useful. They break down food so we can swallow and they assist us in speech. How may of these fun facts about your teeth do you know?



November Coffee/Tea Chat

It’s time for the November Coffee/Tea chat!  For one hour you will have a chance to engage with your colleagues around issues that are top of mind for you.  

One specific topic we will spend a bit of time on will be the strategic value proposition of your key partners.  Come with your curiosity and your questions and be prepared to share and create best practices!  See you Wednesday, November 16 at 11:00 AM ET. 

Details for calling in are posted on the NCHN on-line forum under the Coffee/Tea Chat session.  

» VISIT THE FORUM (If you have problems accessing the forum, contact Christ by email or phone at 540-392-0013).

Please Help Us Complete the NCHN Member Directory
(I'm just going to leave this in here until I hear from some of the networks without a description.)

Please take a look at the current NCHN Member Directory (pdf), review your contact information, and submit a description and photo for your primary contact. Email Christy with submissions or updates.

You may also revise or submit your Member Profile on the NCHN website.




ED Opening at North Country Health Consortium

Application deadline: November 23, 2011

The Northern NH Area Health Education Center/North Country Health Consortium is seeking a highly experienced leader to become its Executive Director. The ideal candidate will have an appropriate Masters Degree in public health, health systems administration, or similar.

AHEC/NCHC is a workforce education development center and vertical network of not for profit organizations. The Executive Director will lead innovative collaboration to improve health access to a regional population in the rural White Mountains of Northern New Hampshire.

Highly qualified candidates should submit letters of interest and curriculum vitae to the Chair of the Search Committee, Edward D Shanshala II, by email at Ed.Shanshala@ACHS-Inc.Org or by mail to 25 Mount Eustis Road, Littleton, New Hampshire 03561.




Weekly National Rural Health Day Update

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hello Everyone,

Can you believe it? After all of the planning and discussion, after all of the build-up and anticipation … National Rural Health Day is next Thursday! We can’t even begin to describe how excited we are that our National Rural Health Day celebration on November 17 is almost here. In big way, it’s all because of you – the events and activities you have planned to celebrate National Rural Health Day have blown us away! Thank you for making National Rural Health Day such a huge success, even before it begins – once again, you have stepped up to the plate and delivered in a big, big way!

Given that this is the final update before next Thursday, I wanted to touch base on a few important last-minute items:

  • This week is a perfect time to reach out to policymakers and make sure they hear about the wonderful things happening for National Rural Health Day.  If you can’t use your office phone to contact policymakers, you may want to invite rural hospitals, rural health clinics or rural health providers to contact them instead to share their thoughts on rural health issues.  Think about the possibilities – and please let us know if NOSORH can help you with this.  Also, be sure to check out the “Letter to Legislators” from Rural Hospitals and the “Letter to Legislators” from Chambers/Town Councils templates in the Tools section of the National Rural Health Day website if you are looking for language to help shape your message to policymakers.
  • We are pushing hard to make National Rural Health Day an annual event – and to be one of the events nationwide on November 17! One easy way to do that is by having everyone go online to any of the search engines (Yahoo, Bing and of course, Google) at the same time on or before November 17; type the words National Rural Health Day in the search box and hit return. The more everyone does that, the better chance we have of making National Rural Health Day one of the most popular search items of the day – so let’s all plan on searching together at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. EST on 11/14, 11/15, 11/16 and 11/17!

    Also, be sure to use the #NationalRuralHealthDay hashtag every time you tweet – and visit and like NOSORH on Facebook!
  • Speaking of recognition, NOSORH distributed a press release about National Rural Health Day yesterday … and within two hours of distributing the release, it was picked up by more than 200 media outlets!  Click hereif you would like to read or download a copy of the release.  Also be sure to let us know if you are contacted by any media regarding National Rural Health Day – we’d love to know!
  • IMPORTANT:  I will actually be out of the country and unavailable next week to field your last-minute requests. In my absence, Tinamarie Illar (; (814) 404-3030), who helped us develop our initial National Rural Health Day plans, will be checking my email and the National Rural Health Day website to make sure we respond to any last-minute requests Tina can be especially helpful if you have any questions regarding media inquiries – so feel free to contact her if you need any assistance. Of course, you are always welcome to contact NOSORH staff members who will do their best to help meet your last-minute needs for your celebration.
  • As we mentioned last week, NOSORH invites everyone to join us for a series of webinars/press conferences between 11:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. EST on National Rural Health Day (Thursday, November 17). Anyone interested in attending any or all of these informative webinars can do so online Please note that this is a different weblink than the one we provided last week – due to what could be higher demand than we’re accustomed to for our regular webinars, we need to use a different link on National Rural Health Day.  Also, please contact Donna Pfaendtner (; (586) 336-4627) if you would like to join any of the webinars and will not have computer access that day, or if your computer does not have audio streaming capabilities.

    A special thank you to our partners who have agreed to be part of our celebration that day; webinar times, topics and participating partners include:
    • 11:30 a.m. EST – Delivering Occupational Health Care to Farm Families across the Nation
      • Carolyn Sheridan (Clinical Director, AgriSafe Network)
    • 12:30 p.m. EST – Rural Health 101
      • Tom Morris (HRSA Associate Administrator for Rural Health Policy)
      • Kristine Sande (Program Director, Rural Assistance Center)
      • Rebecca Davis (Executive Director, National Cooperative of Health Networks)
    • 2:00 p.m. EST – Caring for Rural Veterans
      • Mary Beth Skupien (Director, Veterans Health Administration Office of Rural Health)
    • 3:00 p.m. EST – Being a Rural Health Provider is a Great Thing
      • Natalie González (National Rural Recruitment and Retention Network)
    • 4:00 p.m. EST – Quality of Care in Rural America/Partnership for Patients
      • Mary Wakefield (HRSA Administrator)
      • Sue Sheridan (President/Founder, Consumers Advancing Patient Safety)
      • Dennis Wagner (Co-director, Partnership for Patients Initiative, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

The National Rural Health Day Webinar schedule and the NRHD Webinar Flyer are also available on the National Rural Health Day website.  All of the webinars are free, so please join us – and please invite your local media contacts to join us as well!

  • Have you been asked to deliver a speech or make a presentation on National Rural Health Day but aren’t sure where to start?  This National Rural Health Day Presentation Template which we recently added to the Tools section just might be what you’re looking for. This template provides talking points for your remarks – and can double as your PowerPoint presentation as well!

Well, it appears the work is about done – now it’s time to “Celebrate the Power of Rural!” Happy National Rural Health Day, everyone – enjoy the celebration!

Take care,

S. William Hessert, Jr., Communications Coordinator
National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (E-mail)



HCAHPS Scores: Beyond Patient Perception to Quality Indicators

Webinar: Tuesday, November 15 @ 2:00 PM CST

Event Description:
How does your organization view HCAHPS scores? Does your staff understand that HCAHPS scores are more than just a measure of customer satisfaction and that your hospital’s financial performance in the future will be based in part on them? In this exclusive one-hour event, the QHR Learning Institute brings you Quint Studer, bestselling author and founder of the Studer Group. Quint and his team will help you and your team identify ways to use the HCAHPS data as quality metrics in your organization. You will learn how to use HCAHPS data to identify the clinical outcomes that need attention as you work to improve the quality of care and prepare for Value Based Purchasing (VBP). You will leave the session with actionable tactics that have a powerful, positive impact on the quality of your patient care, your HCAHPS scores and your entire organization.


NOSORH Webinar: Introduction to Federal Workforce Programs that Affect Rural America

November 15, 2011 @ 2:00 PM EST


  • To increase the familiarity of rural health care providers and SORHs regarding selected Federal workforce funding opportunities outside of ORHP
  • Provide Web sites and contact information for additional information
  • To discuss a few non-HHS funding opportunities that may also be in interest to a rural audience


Watch the Live Webcast of the ONC Grantee Meeting and Stakeholder Summit

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), invites you to join us online for the 2011 ONC Grantee and Stakeholder Summit on November 17, 2011 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST via live webcast. The summit will spotlight health IT's achievements and challenges, and provide a forum for sharing insights across programs and stakeholders to improve health, health care, and reduce costs.
Key speakers will include:

  • Farzad Mostashari, MD, ScM, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
  • David Blumenthal, MD, Samuel O. Thier Professor of Medicine and Professor of Health Care Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital/Partners HealthCare System and Harvard Medical School
  • Aneesh Chopra, United States Chief Technology Officer, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President
  • Leon Rodriguez, Director, HHS Office for Civil Rights
  • Rick Gilfillan, MD, Acting Director, Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Jay Walker, Curator, TEDMED Conference


HRSA Health IT & Quality Webinar

“Tips For Overcoming the Gray Areas of Meaningful Use Stage 1 for Safety Net Providers”

November 18, 2011 @ 2:00 PM EST


Achieving Compliance with the Joint Commission’s Staffing Effectiveness Requirements
Offered by Concerro

November 29, 2011 @ 1:00 PM ET

Does your hospital have adequate staffing? Join Concerro for a complimentary staffing management webcast as the Joint Commission discusses how to ensure your facility is staffed effectively to provide quality patient care.

Attendees will learn valuable information on updated regulations around staffing effectiveness and how to identify whether or not your hospital has adequate staffing.
During this webcast you will learn how to:

  • Describe the Joint Commission’s staffing effectiveness approach
  • Identify one strategy to use in your organization’s effectiveness compliance activities
  • Apply updates to regulations to comply with what surveyors are looking for


SNHPA Webinar: 340B Compliance in an Era of Increased Oversight

November 29, 2011 @ 1:00 PM EST

The 340B program is facing unprecedented scrutiny from federal regulators and policymakers. In its first-ever study on the 340B program, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) needs to improve its oversight of the program, including in the areas of preventing diversion and tightening up eligibility criteria for private non-profit hospitals. Three influential members of Congress have, in response to the GAO study, asked HRSA for a detailed accounting of its oversight of the program. A growing number of 340B hospitals have reported receiving letters from drug manufacturers raising questions about whether their 340B drugs are being properly used and requesting additional information from the hospitals. HRSA has also announced that it will begin recertifying the eligibility of all covered entities, including hospitals, to ensure that entries in the 340B database are both accurate and up to date. Taken together, these developments signal that the 340B program is entering a new era of increased oversight. Both industry and covered entity stakeholders believe that audits by HRSA are inevitable and could begin as early as next year. Drug companies are also discussing conducting audits.

Safety Net Hospitals for Pharmaceutical Access (SNHPA) will host a webinar on Tuesday, November 29 from 1:00-2:30 PM (Eastern) focused on the changing 340B compliance landscape. Besides updating attendees on recent compliance-related developments, the webinar will provide practical guidance on how hospitals enrolled in the 340B program can effectively respond to new oversight actions, including audits.

Who Should Attend: In-house counsel, pharmacy directors, 340B pharmacy managers, CFOs, and government relations staff.




A Federal Recipe for Rural Pessimism
by Timothy Collins

November 7, 2011 (The Daily Yonder) - Big budget cuts at the federal level portend very hard times in small town U.S.A. Tim Collins looks at what's likely to change in alternative energy and social services.

Let them eat cake.
— Attributed to Marie Antoinette.

Chuck Fluharty has been a participant-observer in rural policy circles for a long time. With his expertise and information networks, the Rural Policy Research Institute’s president is a great bellwether.

Normally, Chuck is optimistic about rural America. A recent encounter at a meeting found him changed, even from earlier this year when our paths crossed. He is now pessimistic, but remains open to potential opportunities.

In short, Chuck believes the federal government is serious about budget cutting. Cuts in the next five to ten years will fall heavily on rural America. Whatever cake we’ve seen is going to have a new recipe and will be smaller, less nutritious, and harder to find.


We Can’t Wait: Health Care Innovation Challenge Will Improve Care, Save Money, Focus on Health Care Jobs
New Funding Available for Next Generation of Health Care Innovations

November 14, 2011 ( | News & Events) - Up to $1 billion dollars will be awarded to innovative projects across the country that test creative ways to deliver high quality medical care and save money. Launched today by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Health Care Innovation Challenge will also give preference to projects that rapidly hire, train and deploy health care workers. 

“We’ve taken incredible steps to reduce health care costs and improve care, but we can’t wait to do more,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Both public and private community organizations around the country are finding innovative solutions to improve our health care system and the Health Care Innovation Challenge will help jump start these efforts.”

Funded by the Affordable Care Act, the Health Care Innovation Challenge will award grants in March to applicants who will implement the most compelling new ideas to deliver better health, improved care and lower costs to people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, particularly those with the highest health care needs. The Challenge will support projects that can begin within six months. Additionally, projects that focus on rapid workforce development will be given priority when grants are awarded.


Report warns of lack of nurses in rural areas
by Mississippi Business Journal Staff

November 9, 2011 (Mississippi Business Journal) - A rural health authority and demographer at Mississippi State University warns that fewer nursing students returning to less populated parts of the state could have serious consequences on health care.

Ronald Cossman, an associate research professor at the university’s Social Science Research Center, said a survey of nursing students currently enrolled in Magnolia State colleges and universities showed that fewer say they plan to work in rural areas after graduation.

Long-term effects of insufficient numbers of nurses employed in rural parts of the state would result in insufficient medical care, he added.

“The state needs to nurture and grow a pipeline of healthcare personnel if we are to meet the needs of underserved, primarily rural, places in Mississippi,” Cossman said.


New NIH brochure educates Hispanics suffering from the symptoms of serious illness

November 7, 2011 (NIH News Release) - The National Institute of Nursing Research releases Spanish-language palliative care publication

Dealing with the symptoms of a serious illness is difficult. For the Hispanic population, language and cultural barriers can add to the burden, making it even harder to get relief. A new Spanish-language publication from the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), a component of the National Institutes of Health, provides those in the Hispanic community with information about palliative care, a comprehensive treatment that reduces or eliminates pain and other distressing symptoms of illness and medical treatments.

Cuidados Paliativos: El alivio que necesita cuando tiene síntomas de una enfermedad grave (Palliative Care: The relief you need when you're experiencing the symptoms of serious illness) explains what palliative care is, who it benefits, and how it works. "Although often seen as an end-of-life protocol, palliative care provides relief to patients dealing with chronic illnesses as well, including AIDS, cystic fibrosis, and diseases of the heart, lungs, and kidneys," noted Dr. Patricia A. Grady, NINR director.


A Solution to Rural Alaska's Dental Problems?
by Sarah Clune

November 8, 2011 (PBS NewsHour) - We met dental health aide therapist student Jana Schuerch at the Yuut Elitnaurviat Dental Training Clinic in Bethel, Alaska. Schuerch, 28, lights up when she tells us about her fiancé, Charlie, and their three young children living in Nome -- a plane ride (or two) from Bethel.

She's one of four second year students in the Alaska Dental Health Aide Therapist Training Program. After spending their first year of training in Anchorage, the students practice at the clinic here, where children and adults come for basic and preventive dental care. Enrollment in the program requires a high school diploma and a letter of sponsorship from an Alaska Tribal Health Organization. After they complete the two year program, they'll go to small, rural villages like Toksook Bay (see our slideshow on that community here).


CMS Survey Shows High Satisfaction Rates for Medicaid and CHIP

November 8, 2011 ( | News & Events) - Parents of children with Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage are showing high satisfaction with their access to doctors and the quality of health care, according to a survey announced today by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

“These results show how Medicaid and CHIP are making a positive difference in providing high quality care and peace of mind for families,” said CMS Administrator Donald Berwick, M.D. 

Findings from the report, “Parents’ Views of CHIP and Medicaid: Snapshot of Findings From a Survey of Low-Income Parents,” was announced at the fall meeting of the National Association of Medicaid Directors. 


Supreme Court: Pre-Election Health Care Showdown
by Jesse J. Holland and Mark Sherman

November 14, 2011 ( - The Supreme Court on Monday promised an extraordinarily thorough springtime review of President Barack Obama's historic health care overhaul — more than five hours of argument, unprecedented in modern times — in time for a likely ruling affecting millions of Americans just before the presidential election.

That ruling, expected before next summer's Independence Day holiday, could determine the fate of Obama's signature domestic achievement, the most far reaching domestic legislation in a generation but a political lightning rod as well. It is vigorously opposed by all of Obama's prospective GOP opponents.




ORHP Funding Announcement: Rural Health Care Services Outreach Program

The Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) is pleased to announce the release of the FY 2012 Rural Health Care Services Outreach Grant Program (announcement number: HRSA-12-083). ORHP’s Outreach Program supports projects that demonstrate effective models of outreach and service delivery through collaboration, adoption of an evidence-based or promising practice model, demonstration of health outcomes, replicability and sustainability. Proposed projects will have an outcomes-oriented approach that will enhance and sustain the delivery of effective health care in rural communities by tracking specific health indicators that will demonstrate the impact of their project at the end of their grant period. They will be based on evidence-based or promising practice models in order to avoid “reinventing the wheel” and demonstrate health status improvement in rural communities. Proposed Outreach projects can take the framework of an evidence-based or promising practice model and tailor it to their community’s need and organization.

Applicants may propose funding for up to three (3) years from May 1, 2012 to April 30, 2015. The maximum award is up to $150,000 per year. We expect to fund approximately 80 grantees.

Closing Date: November 22, 2011

TA Call
A technical assistance call was held on September 29, 2011 (Thursday). The call was recorded and available for playback. To access the playback, please call: 1-800-229-6331. It will be available until November 22, 2011.

For further questions on this funding opportunity, please contact the program coordinator, Kathryn Umali, 301-443-7444,

Need help writing your Outreach Program application?
Contact your State Of-fice of Rural Health (SORH) for grant-writing resources. Please visit: to find your SORH contact information. A webinar about evidence-based/promising practice mod-els and evaluation will be posted on starting October 7, 2011.




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