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NCHN Healthcare News Digest

Issue #8 | Monday, October 11, 2010

+ NCHN Special Interest Call: Business Model of Sustainability for Health Networks

Date: Tuesday, October 12 at 12:30 – 2:00 PM ET

Description: Panel of Successful Network Leaders will discuss how they have developed programs and services that have led to the long-term viability of their health networks.

Confirmed speakers are:

  • Gerry Vicenzi, Synernet, ME
  • Larry Matheny, Coastal Carolinas Health Alliance, NC
  • Jon Sewell, Health Enterprises of Iowa
  • Martha McLeod, North Country Health Consortium, NH
  • Carolyn Bruce, Western Healthcare Alliance, CO 

There is no cost to participate; however, pre-registration is required to ensure enough conference lines are reserved.  To pre-register, please email Debbie Comeau at  Be sure to include your name, your network name and your email address.

Dial in instructions and handouts (if applicable) will be distributed the morning of October 12th.


+ NCHN Featured Network: Indiana Statewide Rural Health Network (InSRHN)

The Indiana Statewide Rural Health Network is a horizontal network comprised of 21 Critical Access Hospitals and 3 rural hospitals. The network was developed with funding from HRSA ORHP Rural Health Network Planning and Development grants submitted by the Indiana Rural Health Association which gave rise to the Indiana Statewide Rural Health Network in 2007.

The InSRHN to-date has several projects concurrently in process, as well as some that are completed or in the planning phases. All of the projects are overseen by the Network Director, Cindy Large and the Associate Director, Matt Serricchio. The business planning, sustainability of network and return on investment for the network and network members are a collaborative effort between Ms. Large and Mr. Serricchio.


  • Roundtables: Staff time to facilitate the meetings as well as planning and administrative work such as scheduling, coordination, meeting minutes, follow up, etc.
  • TeleStroke: InSRHN staff time to facilitate and oversee the partners in this project to ensure successful implementation of stroke network and “Get with the Guidelines” protocols for stroke care.
  • TeleMental: Staff time to facilitate relationships between rural hospitals and mental health centers or practitioners.
  • Leveraging Network: Staff time is needed to survey membership for needs assessment, vendor selection, negotiation, contract management, project management and oversight.

InSRHN follows a rough plan for all programs/projects implemented:

  • Needs assessment (Interest survey, discussion, member suggestions, national/state data, etc.)
  • Interest and participation surveys/discussions
  • Commitment of interest by members by signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
  • Project planning (Funding, resources, scope, etc.)
  • Vendor/Partner/Service/etc. evaluation and selection
  • Business plan
  • Project management Implementation
  • Satisfaction follow up
  • Data collection and program evaluation

The InSRHN telehealth projects are increasing availability and quality of services to underserved populations thereby showing an improvement in health outcomes for patients. InSRHN roundtables, video conferencing and leveraging of group resources have all shown successful results regarding time savings, improvement of services, problem solving, efficiencies, networking, cost savings with the ultimate goal of hospital performance improvement.

The InSRHN has developed a network Scorecard that monitors the ‘real-time’ return on investment (ROI) to members. This has proved as a useful tool in communicating the activities and initiatives of the network to its Board of Directors, members, potential members, and other key stakeholders throughout the state and nationally. The member ROI for 2009 was 477%.

To read more, including funding details and tips, download the InSRHN Sharing Form (pdf)

Cindy Large, Network Director
812/478-3919 ext 229

About NCHN Featured Network (NEW)
One of the greatest values NCHN can bring to its members is information about what networks throughout the country are doing to meet the needs of their communities. To share information about your network, you can submit your paper to using the following template: NCHN Sharing Form (doc). One network will be featured every week. We look forward to sharing more networks as they come in.

+ Western Healthcare Alliance (CO) Seeking a Director of Business & Program Development

Western Healthcare Alliance is hiring for a Director of Business & Program Development.  The position will be located in beautiful Grand Junction, Colorado and report directly to Carolyn Bruce, CEO of Western Healthcare Alliance.  

Position Title: Director, Business & Program Development
Status: Exempt
Position Type: Full Time
Reports to: Chief Executive Officer
*Open until filled*

Position Summary: Directs and oversees network functions to promote program effectiveness and Western Healthcare Alliance (WHA) member satisfaction. Works independently to evaluate and implement new product and market opportunities.

Manages existing WHA rural health programs and services including insurance programs, group purchase programs, leadership education and other hospital shared resource programs.

Present proposals for new programs/services. Determines feasibility and conducts planning to evaluate new services or product lines. Acquires and analyzes feedback from key opinion leaders, current and potential customers, third party market research and stakeholders.

This position reports to the CEO and will interact directly with the WHA Board of Directors. Excellent interpersonal, verbal, written communication and presentation skills required as well as strong expertise in the use of all Microsoft Office applications: Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and Internet-based research. Must be willing to travel within Colorado and the U.S. Must be able to successfully manage multiple projects and priorities. Requires five years of relevant experience in rural health networks, associations or foundations, a Bachelors Degree in Business, Healthcare Administration or other related field. Masters Degree preferred

Get more details and application instructions...

+ Funding Opportunity: Ideas sought for healthcare information network development contest

Hollywood, Fla.-based nonprofit health network developer The Joseph H. Kanter Family Foundation has launched a contest to solicit ideas for creating a collaborative activist network to advocate sharing healthcare information through electronic health records. According to Dwayne Spradlin, chief executive officer of InnoCentive, the Waltham, Mass. firm facilitating the contest, the best submission will win $5,000. Preference will be given to solutions whose solvers can carry out their proposed strategies, or who can identify other organizations or partners who are capable of doing so. Submission deadline is Oct. 24. For more information, visit the Web sites for InnoCentive or The Joseph H. Kanter Family Foundation.   

Full Story (Source: Telemedecine and e-Health News Alert, October 8, 2010)

+ AHRQ awards $473 million in grants for decision-improving health IT projects

The Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has awarded $473 million in grants and contracts for health information technology projects that help people make healthcare decisions based on the IT systems' level of effectiveness. According to AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, the projects will support numerous patient-centered comparative effectiveness research efforts, including healthcare interventions in real-world settings, advanced use of the research findings by diverse populations, development of effective patient registries, and training and career development for future researchers. The research will "give patients the information they need to talk with their doctors about their options for medical treatment," Clancy said, as well as "ensure that the care... is based on the best possible evidence and informed decisions." A complete list of reward recipients is available at AHRQ's recovery awards Web site.   

Full Story (Source: Telemedecine and e-Health News Alert, October 8, 2010)

+ BlackBerry-compatible medical record 'super app' unveiled in UK

CSC has partnered with Research in Motion Ltd. (RIM) to offer a smartphone "super application" that allows doctors to access and update patient information with a BlackBerry. The Patient in Your Pocket System, currently used by general practitioners in the United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS), enables workers outside a hospital or practice to use a password and NHS smartcard to view and enter up-to-date information about a patient and his condition. Patient data is encrypted locally and on the network; if the smartcard is moved away from the phone then data is lost. "This is the first 'super app' in healthcare that can really make a difference," RIM UK Healthcare Director Daniel Morrison-Gardiner said.

Full Story (Source: Telemedecine and e-Health News Alert, October 8, 2010)

+ Microsoft joins Continua Health Alliance, maintains HealthVault platform

Software giant Microsoft has joined the Continua Health Alliance (CHA) to contribute to the non-profit group's efforts to develop standards for connected personal health systems. According to David Cerino, general manager of Microsoft Health Solutions Group, until now the company has remained separate from CHA to focus on its HealthVault personal health platform. HealthVault is a Web-based program that helps users collect, store and share health information with family members and participating health and wellness services. The CHA membership "extends our commitment" to providing organizations with options for using HealthVault, Cerino said. CHA Director Chuck Parker said Microsoft's presence in the alliance will "help foster the Continua vision of personal connected health."

Full Story (Source: Telemedecine and e-Health News Alert, October 8, 2010)

+ Funding Opportunities

Health Center New Access Points Funded Under the Affordable Care Act of 2010

Last Day to Apply: November 17, 2010

Description: The purpose of the New Access Points opportunity is to establish health service delivery sites to improve the health of the Nation's underserved communities and vulnerable populations by assuring access to comprehensive, culturally competent, quality primary health care services. Link to Full Announcement

Community-Based Partnerships for Childhood Obesity Prevention and Control

Last Day to Apply: May 7, 2012

Description: The purpose of this funding opportunity is to enhance childhood obesity research by fostering the formation of local, state, or regional teams consisting of researchers, policymakers, and other relevant stakeholders (e.g., community representatives, public health practitioners or officials, educators) in order to identify research questions and hypotheses, design and implement the relevant research, and translate the research into evidence relevant to potential policy efforts in this area. Link to Full Announcement

+ HHS announces a major new investment in community health centers

More than $727 million in grants from the Affordable Care Act to upgrade and expand community health centers. Funds will provide care for an additional 745,000 underserved patients.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced awards of $727 million to 143 community health centers across the country to address pressing construction and renovation needs and expand access to quality health care.  The funds are the first in a series of awards that will be made available to community health centers under the Affordable Care Act.

Community health centers serve nearly 19 million patients, about 40 percent of whom have no health insurance. Community health centers deliver preventive and primary care services at more than 7,900 service delivery sites around the country to patients regardless of their ability to pay; charges for services are set according to income. 

Continue reading... (Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, ASPA > Newsroom > Reports, October 8, 2010)

+ Leadership Changes at ORHP

Email sent to ORHP Partners by Tom Morris, Associate Administrator for Rural Health Policy, ORHP

I'd like to let you all know about some leadership changes within ORHP.  As some of you may know, Carrie Cochran, the Office's Deputy Associate Administrator, has been asked to assume a new role in HRSA coordinating health care form activities.  We're pleased, however,  to announce that she will be replaced by Sahi Rafiullah.  Some of you may know Sahi as she had previously served as ORHP's Associate Director and Deputy from 1999 through 2002.

As you might suspect, this was a difficult decision for Carrie.  The opportunity to play a critical role in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act is a wonderful opportunity.  And, when you consider that she was personally recruited to the job by Mary Wakefield and Marcia Brand you can understand that it would be hard to say no.  I think we all know that Carrie's heart is in rural health.  At the same time, HRSA has been given a considerable charge in implementation of the Affordable Care Act with provisions related to expansion of community health centers, home visitation, expansion of the National Health Service Corps and other workforce related provisions.

As Carrie begins her new position, it's worth reflecting on her many accomplishments during her time in the Office. Carrie started as a HRSA Scholar in 2003 and in her time at ORHP served as a health policy analyst, policy coordinator and Deputy Associate Administrator.  She was a natural advocate for rural interests having grown up in Montana and quickly became a trusted national resource on rural health finance issues.  It would be difficult to note everything that Carrie has done for the Office over recent years but I'd like to highlight a few.

  • Strengthened our relationship with CMS both in Central Office and the Regions
  • Played a key role in the Frontier Extended Stay Clinic demonstration
    (in coordination with our colleagues at CMS)
  • Helped review and comment on the rural implications of important pieces of legislation such as the Deficit Reduction Act, the Medicare Modernization Act and the Affordable Care Act.
  • Created and implemented the Policy-Research Team
  • Helped to create the Rural Primary Care Issues Group
  • Served as a mentor and supervisor to six classes of Truman Fellows
  • Helped to steer through a re-organization of the Office in 2008
  • Strengthened the policy link between ORHP and the State Offices of Rural Health

All of that, however, is secondary to what a great friend and coworker Carrie was for so many of us.  We are pleased that she will continue to work at HRSA and I can't think of a better person to coordinate the Agency's health reform activities and implementation of provisions within the Affordable Care Act.  Because of her wealth of knowledge, we will have great excuses to see her regularly as I am sure that we'll be asking Carrie questions about Medicare issues, past bills, budget expenditures, special projects and the Frontier Extended Stay Clinic demonstration for years to come.

I'd also like to share a little information about Sahi.  She is a native of Racine, WI and got her undergraduate degree at Northwestern University and Masters of Public Administration at American. She came to government as a Presidential Management Intern (now Fellow) and worked at CDC initially before moving on to NIH where she was the Deputy Director of the policy office at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. She was selected as a LegisFellow with the Brookings Institute in 1998 and worked in the Congress for Senator Daschle.  After leaving government service in 2002 she returned to HRSA in 2009 and most recently served as the Director of Division of Policy Information Coordination (i.e. Exec Secretariat).

Sahi, Heather and I will continue to form the core of the Office's leadership along with our Division Directors Nisha Patel (Community-Based), Kristi Martinsen (Hospital-State) and Sherilyn Pruitt (Office for the Advancement of Telehealth) along with Julia  Bryan (Grants Coordination).

For those of you who would like to contact Carrie, her email remains the same (  Sahi can be reached at  If you have any questions about these changes, please feel free to contact me.

Tom Morris
Associate Administrator for Rural Health Policy Health Resources and Services Administration U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Rural Health Policy<>

+ ERS Briefing Room: Rural Income, Poverty, and Welfare

ERS research in this area focuses on the economic, social, and demographic factors that affect the income and poverty status of rural residents and their participation in Federal assistance programs, including food assistance programs. The industrial sources of earned income vary widely across rural areas. Social Security and other retirement programs play a large role in the economic status of rural retirees and the areas in which they are concentrated. Changes in welfare programs may disproportionately affect high-poverty rural areas. ERS conducts research at the family (micro) and area (macro) levels to provide policymakers with a detailed picture of rural income, poverty, and welfare-program conditions.

Go to the Briefing Room (ERS' research, analysis, and data on rural Americans' income, poverty, and welfare) (Source: ERS email notification, October 6, 2010)

+ FSRS Role-Based Training Webinar for FFATA Sub-Award Reporting

On October 7, 2010, GSA’s Office of Government-wide Policy held a role-based training webinar to prime awardees to familiarize the user community with the FFATA Subaward Reporting System ( reporting tool. The webinar provided a system overview, defined user roles, addressed the basic data flow and introduced the grants subaward and executive compensation reporting functionality.

While the live webinar was be limited to the first 1,000 attendees on the day of the call, the session was recorded and posted to for future reference.

View related news and get the link to the Webinar recording...

(Source: Thanks to Edie McRee Bowles, Executive Director, Northern Neck Middle Peninsula Telehealth Consortium Tappahannock, for submitting this for inclusion)