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NCHN Healthcare News Digest

Issue #9 | Monday, October 18, 2010

+ NCHN Featured Network: Coalition of Health Services, Inc. (TX)

The Coalition of Health Services was organized in February 1996 and incorporated as a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization in October 1997. There are currently 14 hospital affiliates, serving twenty-six counties of the Texas Panhandle.

The purpose of the Coalition of Health Services is to enhance rural health through coordinated and collaborative efforts of the member rural health care facilities, their partners and to support ongoing rural health initiatives in individual communities. This effort includes preventive and public health endeavors, as well as, primary health care delivery through the establishment of comprehensive medical homes for every resident. Opportunities have arisen to provide basic public and preventive health services, the institution of services that were new to specific sites and the simultaneous infrastructure development and modeling of a successful network of rural health entities. These entities now serve over 400,000 people living over a sparsely populated 26,000 square miles.

To read more, including services, download the Coalition's Sharing Form (pdf)

Carolyn Witherspoon BSN, RN
Executive Director

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. View all network sharing forms...

+ Lakelands Rural Health Network (SC) Hiring 2 Positions: Nurse Manager and Membership Service Coordinator

Funded by the Duke Endowment, the purpose of Lakelands Cares is to provide a coordinated community approach to caring for the uninsured. The major program goals and priorities are the following: connecting clients to a medial home; expanding capacity of current providers by engaging the medical community; utilizing a case management model to coordinate care, helping clients navigate programs, and addressing the barriers they face; and coordinating eligibility efforts to work in partnership to qualify people for multiple services through one portal.

The Lakelands Cares Case Manager reports to the Program Director. The Nurse Manager qualifies coordinates care and services for the low income, uninsured population of the Lakelands region and is responsible for assessment and management of Lakeland Cares individuals with emphasis on psychosocial wellness, medication assessment and reconciliation, planning care, and health coaching through the use of motivational interviewing techniques and patient self-management techniques. Lakelands Cares Nurse Manager will also assist with events and meetings, and the management of the front office and waiting area, attending to patient’s needs as necessary.

Education Requirements: Diploma Nurse and/or RN. Preferred BS RN Three years experience in area of specialty. Certification, Licenses and/or Registrations required RN or NP. Supervisory experience.

Get more details and find out how to apply...

The Lakelands Cares Eligibility Specialist reports to the Program Director. The Membership Service Coordinator qualifies all individuals for services by performing initial assessment with patients and using interview skills and computer software to dialogue with patients and recommends patients for Lakelands Cares Services and/or community resource services. Lakelands Cares Membership Service Coordinator will also assist with events and meetings, and the management of the front office and waiting area, attending to patient’s needs as necessary.

Education Requirements: Associates degree required. BA or BS preferred. Bi-lingual (Spanish) not required but preferred. One year experience.

Get more details and find out how to apply...

+ Community Health Works (GA) Launches

Greg Dent, President and CEO of Community Health Works, was elected President of NCHN in April 2010.

MACON, GA (September 29, 2010)—The Georgia Department of Community Health State Office of Rural Health has awarded Community Health Works of Macon, Georgia, a grant that will help improve healthcare access statewide for the un- and under-insured, according to Greg Dent, President and CEO of Community Health Works (CHW).

“We are really excited to have this opportunity,” Dent said. “It will allow us to do some innovative, cutting edge work that will significantly improve access to affordable care throughout Georgia.”

Dent said that CHW will work in partnership with Healthcare Georgia Foundation Health TechDL to create a web-based incubator program to prepare Georgia communities to establish community health centers with federal funding under Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act.

“There are significant Federal dollars being made available now for 330 Federally Qualified Health Centers,” Dent said, “and it looks like more will be made available in the future. But getting the funding will be very, very competitive nationwide. Our grant from the Office of Rural Health will enable us to provide training and technical assistance that Georgia communities will need to make effective applications.”

Dent said communities will be selected through evaluation process to receive the internet-based training. Three communities which have not previously received state funds for development of an FQHC will be chosen for individualized assistance.

CHW will also look for communities that have clinics without 330 status, but that have previously received state funds for start up costs. One of these communities will be chosen to receive a grant of $150,000 to support operations until 330 designation is achieved. Interested communities may register at

Community Health Works serves Georgia as a regional center for health innovation and seeks to provide better health for all people through communities working together.

For More information, contact:
Greg Dent, President and CEO
Community Health Works
(478) 254-5201

+ Please help RAC and ORHP identify successful place-based initiatives

A letter from Kristine Sande, Program Director, Rural Assistance Center

Dear NCHN Members:

Community development experts have long advocated for a more effective, targeted way to guide local investments in health and human service programs.  One of the more recent approaches promotes a type of “place-based” policy, which leverages investments by focusing resources to address the needs of particular places.  Effective place-based policies can influence how rural areas develop, as well as how well they function as places to live, work, operate a business, preserve heritage, and more.

The Office of Rural Health Policy and RAC need your help.  The place-based policy concept has been pushed by the Administration as a way to drive positive change at the community level by targeting Federal investments.  This holds potential promise for rural communities, given limited economies of scale in sparsely populated areas and the challenge of maintaining the human and capital resources needed to effectively deliver services.  However, in order to make the greatest possible impact, policymakers need examples of promising “place-based” community development initiatives from rural communities and stakeholders like you.   
In particular, we are interested in the following:

  • Concise descriptions of how your community has used a place-based approach to community development;
  • Examples of the range of Federal, State and philanthropic programs and resources that have been brought to bear through positive local coordination and collaboration;
  • Examples of quantifiable improved outcomes as a result of these activities, particularly when relevant to improving the delivery of health care and human services; and
  • Contact information so that we can gather more information from you, if necessary.

This is an excellent opportunity for rural communities to have a voice in shaping the federal policies which most affect them.  We look forward to hearing from you.  Please direct your comments to RAC information specialist Alex McEllistrem-Evenson via E-mail, at

Kristine Sande
Program Director
Rural Assistance Center

+ 2010 Report from the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services Now Available

The 2010 report from the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services (NACRHHS) is now available.  The 2010 Report includes chapters on home and community based care for rural seniors, the rural primary care workforce, and rural health care provider integration. The attached letter provides a short summary of each chapter. 

The NACRHHS is a 21-member appointed citizens' panel of nationally recognized rural health and human service experts that provides recommendations on rural issues to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Each year, the Committee issues a report focusing on three key rural topics.  This year’s report is the culmination of a year-long effort that included site visits to North Carolina and Minnesota to learn about the implications of each topic at the community level. 

The report is available electronically on the Committee’s Web site at

(Source: Information on Rural Health Issues e-mail, NIH, October 15, 2010)

+ New Report Proposes Research Agenda to Transform Health Care Based on Principles of Industrial System Engineering

A new report funded by AHRQ and the National Science Foundation found multiple opportunities to use industrial and systems engineering (ISyE) to help realize the goals of a new patient-centered health care system. Industrial and Systems Engineering and Health Care: Critical Areas of Research explores the critical areas of research at the ISyE and health care, with a special emphasis on the supportive role of health IT.  Investing in ISyE research may help in creating a fundamentally better health care delivery system.  Achieving such breakthrough change requires new ISyE methods specific to health care, and integrating knowledge production across countless demonstration projects and small research efforts.  Innovation in health IT has the potential to support ISyE approaches to health systems design and evaluation.  The full report provides a vision of the new health system and a detailed research and action agenda.

Excerpt from Vision of an Ideal Health Care Delivery System:

"The emphasis is on a system that is new, patient-centered, and engineered:

(1) The new, redesigned system is integrated, ubiquitous, distributed, responsive, expansive, flexible, and resilient. (2) Delivery of health care is personalized, facilitated by secure information flow, and mindful of patient privacy. Transparency and open access enable people to make informed choices about their health, with a focus on prevention and health promotion. (3) The delivery system is information-optimized and runs smoothly, efficiently, and safely. All stakeholders leverage ISyE and information and communication technologies to drive both subsystem and system-wide changes. Incentives are aligned to enhance quality of life for all, at the individual and population levels. Evidence-based analytics and mathematical modeling inform standard care processes and biomedical knowledge discovery."

Download the report... (pdf) (Source: AHRQ Electronic Newsletter, Issue #297, October 14, 2010)

+ Remarks to the Rural Health Outreach and Network Development Grantees Meeting

In case you missed it, HRSA posted Administrator Mary K. Wakefield's speech to Grantees on the HRSA website. While many NCHN members are not grantees, many of the comments are timely and relevant, especially comments about Meaningful Use and HIT.

First, I want to thank all of you for taking the time to be here today, and I especially want to thank Tom Morris and the ORHP staff for planning this important meeting for our rural grantees.  ORHP has a terrific leader and a sterling team committed to health care.

It’s great to be among so many rural friends.  As many of you know, I grew up in a small town in North Dakota and began my first foray into health care as a nurse’s aide in a small rural hospital and a rural nursing home.

Across my work in rural health care and rural health policy, I’ve seen firsthand many of the challenges that you confront and I commend your dedicated hard work and commitment to rural health issues.  I hope you come away from this meeting energized with new ideas and even more motivation to expand the vital work you’re doing in rural communities across America.

This is a very historic time to be working in health care whether its rural or urban.  Earlier this year, of course, President Obama signed the landmark health care bill, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which I’ll talk about shortly.  This act will expand the benefits of health insurance to 32 million people, many of whom live in rural areas, and of course it engages on a number of other fronts to improve the health and health care of the Nation.  Many rural health leaders helped lead the way in getting this historic bill passed and it’s a real tribute to their efforts.  

Continue reading... ( website, August 2, 2010)

+ Webinar Invitation: Organizing for Success & Partnership Development through MAPP

Webinar: Organizing for Success & Partnership Development through MAPPDate: Thu, Oct 21, 2010 @ 2:00 PM EDT
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

During this webinar, Julia Joh Elligers from NACCHO will describe the basic steps involved in Organizing for Success & Partnership Development--the first phase in the Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP) process. Stephanie Welch will share her experiences working with MAPP communities in Tennessee. Stephanie will describe how she organized and educated staff members, recruited and communicated with community partners, and coordinated MAPP partnerships and leadership teams. Participants will be able to ask questions and engage speakers. Registration is required and participation is free.

Register online...

+ Information on EHR Incentive Program

The Office of Health Information Technology and Quality (OHITQ) identified a key policy development related to the Meaningful Use Regulation as part of the Electronic Health Record Incentive Program administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that impacts our programs and populations served especially in the rural setting.

Get more information... (CMS website) (Source: Office of Rural Health Policy Weekly Announcements, Community-Based Division, October 4-8, 2010)

+ Complimentary Webinar on 340B for Prospective Members

Congress recently enacted the most dramatic changes to the 340B drug discount program since the program’s inception. Not only is there a significant increase in the number and categories of hospitals participating in the 340B program, there are new compliance requirements that will affect every 340B stakeholder, including your hospital.

Safety Net Hospitals for Pharmaceutical Access (SNHPA) is hosting a complimentary, interactive webinar on Tuesday, October 26, from 1:00-2:30 PM (Eastern Time). We wanted to make sure you knew about this opportunity to receive valuable information about the program and SNHPA's role in helping your institution maximize its 340B savings, comply with program requirements and join the 340B community in protecting and enhancing this vital federal program. 

Who Should Attend:
Pharmacy directors, CFO's, in-house counsel, government relations directors and compliance officers. 

Speakers and Agenda:
The webinar will be moderated by Bill von Oehsen, President and General Counsel and Rita Baskett, Director of Pharmacy and Educational Services. Mr. von Oehsen was deeply involved in drafting the original 340B law as well as the changes that were included in the health reform law. Rita Baskett was a pharmacy manager at Carolinas Healthcare System for six years and has extensive experience with 340B and patient assistance programs. Whether your hospital has been in the 340B program two months or 10 years, this free webinar will address your key questions. You will learn about the latest developments on legislation to extend 340B discounts to the inpatient setting, resulting in millions of dollars in savings, as well as to address a variety of regulatory and legislative threats to the program. In addition, you will learn how to:

  • Implement effective strategies to enhance your 340B savings;
  • Address key operational issues and challenges;
  • Comply with the program's dynamic and complex requirements;
  • Select the best inventory management solutions for your facility;
  • Seize opportunities to generate revenue using contract pharmacy arrangements;
  • Properly utilize 340B for employees, long term care, managed care and other populations;
  • Learn about Medicaid billing policies and how to properly bill Medicaid;
  • Engage in advocacy efforts to repeal the prohibition against using 340B for orphan drugs for children’s and rural hospitals.

Register online by October 25th. Attendance is free, but registration is required.

For more information about the webinar or SNHPA membership, please contact SNHPA Manager of Member Services Karen Hicks at or (202) 552-5854. 

+ ONC Workforce Development Program: Help is Here!

In April, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) awarded $84 million in cooperative agreements for the Health IT Workforce Development Program to help ensure that health professionals have the technical support they need to adopt electronic health records.

Now, about six months later, we’re starting to see the first results of the program:

  • The University of Texas at Austin’s Health IT Summer Certificate Program graduated its first class of students, who are now certified Health Information Managers and Exchange Specialists.
  • Health IT classes are under way at 84 community colleges that are using the curriculum developed through the Curriculum Development Centers Program.

This is just the beginning. All in all, ONC’s Health IT Workforce Development Program is expected to reduce the shortfall of skilled health IT professionals by 85 percent.

To learn more, read Dr. David Blumenthal’s new letter: The Health It Workforce Development Program: Help Is on the Way. Also visit the Health IT Buzz Blog for the latest on other health IT initiatives.

(Source: ONC Health IT email, October 13, 2010)