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NCHN eNews
October 11, 2011
Dear NCHN Members and Friends,

Welcome to the latest issue of the NCHN Weekly Digest. ONC Health IT wants your implementation stories and we want your plans for National Rural Health Day. We hope you will make plans to Celebrate the Power of Rural on November 17th. The NRHD website has suggestions and tools to help you. Whatever you do, please do something to join in the celebration and share it with us! Share your plans here on the NCHN Discussion Forum.

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

Executive Committee Call
Monday, October 17 @ 2:00 PM ET

Program Development Committee Call
Tuesday, October 18 @ 1:00 PM ET
Tuesday, November 15 @ 1:00 PM ET

Coffee/Tea Chats with Dr. Mary Kay Chess
Wednesday, October 19 @ 11:00 AM ET
Wednesday, November 16 @ 11:00 AM

Board of Directors Meeting
Monday, November 14 @ 2:00 PM ET

National Rural Health Day
Thursday, November 17, 2011


From the Forum

What will you be doing to celebrate National Rural Health Day?


Change one letter of each of these 3 words to create a new set of words with a common theme.

walk, boy, sleet



National Rural Health Day

NCHN  encourages its members to join NCHN and the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) and other state/national rural stakeholders – in celebrating the first-ever National Rural Health Day on Thursday, November 17, 2011.

NOSORH created National Rural Health Day as a way to showcase rural America; increase awareness of rural health-related issues; and promote the efforts of NOSORH, State Offices of Rural Health and others in addressing those issues.  Plans call for National Rural Health Day to become an annual celebration on the third Thursday of each November.

Events recognizing National Rural Health Day and “Celebrating the Power of Rural” are being planned throughout the nation. Approximately 62 million people – nearly one in five Americans – live in rural and frontier communities throughout the United States. “These small towns, farming communities and frontier areas are wonderful places to live and work; they are places where neighbors know each other and work together,” notes NOSORH Director Teryl Eisinger. “The hospitals and providers serving these rural communities not only provide quality patient care, but they also help keep good jobs in rural America.”

These communities also face unique healthcare needs. “Today more than ever, rural communities must tackle accessibility issues, a lack of healthcare providers, the needs of an aging population suffering from a greater number of chronic conditions, and larger percentages of un- and underinsured citizens,” Eisinger says. “Meanwhile, rural hospitals are threatened with declining reimbursement rates and disproportionate funding levels that makes it challenging to serve their residents.”


» SHARE YOUR PLANS on the NCHN Discussion Board



The Healthcare Coalition of Lafayette County

HCC of Lafayette County has released its latest newsletter with exciting headlines, including:

  • $900,000 HIT Grant Moves Telehealth Plans Forward
  • $80,000 Planning Grant Awarded to the HCC
  • HCC: A Rural Health Network (a video)





Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals Named NRHA Partners with iVantage Health Analytics to Benchmark Rural Health

September 28, 2011

Kansas City, MO - The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) announced [on September 28, 2011] at its Critical Access Hospital Conference the names of the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) in America.

The Top 100 scored best on the Hospital Strength Index(TM), in this first-ever comprehensive rating of CAHs. NRHA also announced a partnership with iVantage Health Analytics to improve and advance business intelligence and benchmarking for rural healthcare and to support the 1,750 rural hospitals whose executives are seeking to improve performance.

This Index offers hospital executives, trustees and boards of directors an objective way to measure their relative performance among their peers and across 56 different performance metrics, the most comprehensive tool on the market.


VCOM Dean Recognized By Virginia Secretary of Health

The Honorable Bill Hazel, Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources, recognized Dixie Tooke-Rawlins, D.O., Dean and Executive Vice President, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine for being selected Educator of the Year by the American Osteopathic Foundation (AOF). This coveted award is made each year to an individual who exemplifies the osteopathic medical profession’s highest standards of excellence in teaching and long-standing contributions to academic advancement.




UPCOMING EVENTS A Conference Call Tour for Faith & Community Leaders

Wednesday, October 12 at 12:30 pm ET (12:30 PM Eastern, 11:30 PM Central, 10:30 PM Mountain, 9:30 AM Pacific)
Phone: 866-705-5077
Passcode: 6149465

The Affordable Care Act is helping expand access to affordable, quality care for millions of Americans.  You can learn about these benefits on makes it easy for community members to learn about the benefits they are eligible for through the Affordable Care Act, and to compare insurance plans and find the option that’s best for them.  By answering just a few basic questions, community members can find public and private health coverage options tailored specifically for their needs.

Please join Craig Stoltz, Managing Editor of and Mara Vanderslice, Acting Director of the HHS Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, for a virtual tour of
Religious and community leaders can play an important role connecting vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations to quality, affordable health care.  Join us to learn how to connect members of your congregation and community to the care they need.

Participants are encouraged to access via their web browsers to follow the tour. Affordable Care Act 101

October 18, 2011 @ 8:00 PM ET
Conference Call

November 1, 2011 @ 12:30 PM
Conference Call

There are millions of people who lack access to health care, essential for healthy children, families and communities, throughout the United States.  Many families don’t know what their options are to access better care.

NOW YOU CAN LEARN MORE about many provisions that are currently in place that could help you and those in your congregation or community.

The Affordable Care Act expands access to care, ends abuses of insurers, and makes health care more affordable.  The law helps those with pre-existing health conditions, people who are under age 26 and without health insurance, the most vulnerable in our society and those who are currently insured.  To learn more about the health care law and how to access health care benefits in your community, RSVP to attend our Affordable Care Act 101 Conference Call from the dates listed above.


CMS Rural Health Open Door Forum

October 18, 2011 @ 1:00 PM EST

Conference Leaders: Carol Blackford, John Hammarlund, Matthew Brown

Please dial in at least 15 minutes prior to call start time.

To participate by phone:
Dial: 1-800-837-1935 & Reference Conference ID: 83522688
Persons participating by phone are not required to RSVP.
TTY Communications Relay Services are available for the Hearing Impaired.  For TTY services dial 7-1-1 or 1-800-855-2880. A Relay Communications Assistant will help.

Encore: 1-855-859-2056 Conference ID# 83522688
Encore is an audio recording of this call that can be accessed by dialing 1-855-859-2056 and entering the Conference ID, beginning 4 hours after the call has ended. The recording expires after 3 business days.


ICAHN's 11th Annual CAH Workshop

October 20, 2011
Springfield, IL

As the healthcare system continues its reform journey, awareness and positioning become paramount to not just surviving, but doing so in a manner to provide your rural communities the quality care and services they need and deserve. Organizational and physician alignment, affiliation, accountable care, debt refinancing/restructuring, and quality initiatives will all play a role in how you approach the future of your facility.




Speak Your Piece: Misguided Times
The New York Times wrote that the impact of rural development funding was "uncertain." One thing is certain, however. Failing to invest in rural communities will create two vastly different Americas.

By Chuck Hassebrook

October 4, 2011 (The Daily Yonder) - We cannot build a strong nation on a foundation of crumbling communities. Even the sound elements are weakened by those not maintained.     

So it would be a mistake to write off rural communities and suspend federal investment in their future, as advocated by some in the September 13 New York Times article “US Spending Billions on Rural Jobs, But Impact is Uncertain.”  It would be just as misguided as cutting off investment in strengthening core urban areas. 


ONC Health IT Wants Your HIT Stories

ONC Health IT has requested stories about HIT implementation. You can also read others' stories at the link posted below.


National Rural Health Resource Center Receives Contract from Veterans Health Administration for Hospice and Palliative Care

October 4, 2011 - The National Rural Health Resource Center (The Center), a national nonprofit organization based in Duluth, MN, has been awarded a contract from the Department of Veterans Health Administration, Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 23. VISN 23 covers states in the Upper Midwest Region, including Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, along with portions of Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin and Wyoming.


More people using free preventive benefits provided by Affordable Care Act

October 6, 2011 (HHS News Release) - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reported today that nearly 20.5 million people with Medicare reviewed their health status at a free Annual Wellness Visit or received other preventive services with no deductible or cost sharing this year.  In addition, nearly 1.8 million people with Medicare have received discounts on brand-name drugs in the Medicare Part D coverage gap, also known as the "donut hole," between January and August of this year.  The total value of discounts to people with Medicare in the donut hole is nearly $1 billion through August of this year, with an average savings of $530 per beneficiary.

“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more people with Medicare are getting preventive services like mammograms for free,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “The new health care law is also making prescription drugs more affordable for millions of seniors and people with disabilities.”


As premiums rise, are even the insured scrimping by skipping doctor visits?
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show more money spent on health insurance but less on care.

October 10, 2011 ( - Americans are spending more money on insurance premiums, and they're spending less out of pocket on health services. The trend doesn't reflect patients getting more health coverage for their insurance money, experts say. It reflects patients, even those with insurance, avoiding spending cash on health care they think can be put off.

"Patients are paying more, and they are getting less. It's a distortion of the economics of health care in our country," said Glen Stream, MD, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. "And we see people for economic reasons deferring important screening procedures or coming in less often for chronic conditions such as diabetes."




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.


FNIH Announces Annual Grant Funding Opportunity forThe Heart Truth® Community Action Program

Deadline: October 31, 2011

Purpose: Through Heart Truth Community Action Program, FNIH seeks to equip community organizations to use The Heart Truthmaterials, messages, and tools in combination with their own organizational programs to assist women to identify personal risk factors for heart disease and to motivate them to take action to lower their risk by taking steps to adopt a heart healthy lifestyle through skill-building, goal-setting, and social support.  This multifaceted campaign, which evolved through extensive formative research, primarily targets women aged 40-60.  Moving forward, the campaign also seeks to reach women aged 25-39.  The campaign's goal is to give women a personal and urgent wake-up call about their risk of heart disease. 

Priority will be given to applications that propose programs/activities that not only raise awareness of the issue of heart disease in women but also provide actionable steps, follow up, and support for women to lower their risk of heart disease.  In addition, priority will also be give to applications that propose to reach women of color, low income, or in rural areas.




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