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NCHN Healthcare News Digest

Issue #7 | Monday, October 4, 2010

+ NCHN GrantStation Call Rescheduled

The GrantStation webinar scheduled for October 21st at 2:00 EDT has been rescheduled for Thursday, November 11th at 2:00 PM.

Our thoughts go out to Cindy Adams who had to reschedule due to a family emergency.

Click here to register (for the November 11th GrantStation webinar for NCHN Members)

+ 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. 

> Access the report (pdf) (Source: AHRQ Electronic Newsletter, Issue #296)

The report includes a few references to Networks. Additionially, it includes a list of 7 recurring themes (excerpted below) of interest to networks, as it contains a list obstacles that many health networks have formed in order to address.

"Review of the 13 reports resulted in identification of seven common themes:

1. The current health care delivery system is both unsustainable in terms of cost and suboptimal in terms of value.
2. The current health care delivery system cannot adequately respond to changes in the larger environment and within the medical sciences.
3. Solving the problems of the health care delivery system is complex and will require approaches that are multidimensional, multileveled, and inclusive of multiple stakeholders.
4. Information technology will play a key role in the future health care delivery system.
5. Incentives are needed to promote change, including the use of systems engineering tools, information technology, and evidence-based medicine.
6. Opportunities are needed for cross-education and collaboration between health care professionals and scientific and technical professionals such as engineers and computer scientists.
7. Research funding is needed to explore the intersections between health care and the use of systems engineering tools, computer science methodologies, and information technology" (Valdez and Brennan, 2009: 3).

+ FCC Broadband Spectrum tool

The link below is to the FCC Broadband Spectrum tool.  The Spectrum Dashboard provides a public means of reviewing how spectrum bands are allocated and for what uses, and who holds licenses and in what areas. The beta version provides basic, plain language information about frequencies generally deemed appropriate for mobile broadband (225 MHz to 3700 MHz.) In addition, the beta version of the Spectrum Dashboard contains more detailed information, mapping, and research capabilities for the bands where broadband service is either already available, or potentially could be provided.  This might be a good resource for people and communities who would like to identify broadband providers and access in their area.

> FCC Broadbrand Spectrul Tool (Source: HRSA Email, September 29, 2010)

+ Forty-eight states receive new resources to build competitive health insurance marketplaces

Affordable Care Act will help states plan for health insurance exchanges

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today awarded nearly $49 million to help 48 states and the District of Columbia plan for the establishment of health insurance exchanges. A key part of the Affordable Care Act, starting in 2014, health insurance exchanges – new, competitive, consumer-centered private health insurance marketplaces – will put greater control and greater choice in the hands of individuals and small businesses.

Continue reading... (Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, ASPA > Newsroom > Reports, September 30, 2010)

+ Funding Opportunities

Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant Program

Last Day to Apply: October 8, 2010

Description: The purpose of the Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant Program (Network Planning) program is to expand access to, coordinate and improve the quality of essential health care services and enhance the delivery of health care, in rural areas. The program provides 1 year grants to rural entities to plan and develop a formal health care network. Link to Full Announcement

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

+ Winners of the NCHN 2011 Annual Conference Gift Certificates

At the 2010 Regional Meeting in Chicago, NCHN members Heather Fuller, Carolyn Witherspoon, and Tim Cox each received a gift certificate for $100 off of their 2011 Annual Conference registration. The meeting went well, with lots of good information shared. You can access a number of the presentations from the Chicago Schedule of Events on the NCHN website.

+ Nevada Rural Hospital Partners (NCHN Member) Welcomes New President

NRHP Board of Directors has selected Joan Hall to succeed Robin Keith as the President of NRHP and the Liability Cooperative of Nevada.  Hall is currently the Administrator of South Lyon Medical Center.  She’ll be joining the NRHP staff on January 1, 2011.   Keith and Hall will be focused on orientation during January and then on February 1st, Keith will be stepping down and Hall will assume the President’s role; I will stay on through the legislative session.   

Joan Hall has extensive experience in many aspects of healthcare management.  She has been a knowledgeable and active advocate for rural healthcare and her knowledge of hospital administration and clinical matters will be invaluable not only to NRHP, but to the hospital industry as a whole.   

If you would like to send Joan Hall a note, her email address at NRHP is

(Source: Robin Keith, President, Nevada Rural Hospital Partners)

+ HHS announces the launch of on Facebook on Facebook allows people to stay informed and connected about the Affordable Care Act

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced the launch of on Facebook:

“ on Facebook offers Facebook users a new tool to understand and stay informed about the Affordable Care Act,” said Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “This new page is another resource that people can use to learn about and discuss health care issues that are important to them, their family, or their small business.”

Continue reading... (Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, ASPA > Newsroom > Reports, September 27, 2010)

+ HHS awards $320 million to expand primary care workforce

Grants are part of Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund and other initiatives

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced $320 million in grants under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to strengthen the health care workforce.  Of those grants, $253 million will go to improve and expand the primary care workforce under the Prevention and Public Health Fund of the Affordable Care Act.  Another $67 million in Health Profession Opportunity Grants will provide low-income individuals with education, training and supportive services that will help them prepare to enter and advance in careers in the healthcare sector.

“Chronic diseases, most of which are preventable, are one of the main reasons health care costs have soared over the past several decades,” said Secretary Sebelius.  “Investing in our primary care workforce will strengthen the role that wellness and prevention play in our health care system.  With these grants, Americans from all backgrounds will have new opportunities to enter the health care workforce.” 

Continue reading... (Original Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, News Release, September 27, 2010)

+ Final Two Regional Extension Centers Selected

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) announced today the selection of two final awardees for the Regional Extension Center (REC) program:

  • CalOptima Foundation, covering Orange County, California ($4,662,426)
  • Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative, covering the state of New Hampshire ($5,105,495)

ONC also announced expanded coverage areas for two existing RECs in Florida:

  • Community Health Centers Alliances will cover additional areas in Glades and Hendry counties
  • Health Choice Network of Florida will cover additional areas in Indian River, Palm Beach, St. Lucie, Martin and Okeechobee counties

These additional awards complete a nationwide system of RECs that will help providers move from paper-based medical records to electronic health records (EHRs).

More information about the awards and a complete listing of RECs (Source: ONC Health IT email, September 28, 2010)

+ List of CMS Regional Rural Health Coordinators

Thanks to Christine Davidson (CMS-Chicago) for attending the 2010 Regional Meeting and sharing this information with our members

Region 1 (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont)
Rick Hoover
(617) 565-1258   

Region 2 (New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands)
Miechal Lefkowitz
(212) 616-2517

Region 3 (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia)
Patrick Hamilton
(215) 861-4097

Region 4 (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee)
Lana Dennis
(404) 562-7379

Region 5 (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin)
Christine Davidson
(312) 886-3642

Region 6 (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas)
Becky Peal-Sconce
(214) 767-6444

Region 7 (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska)
Robert Epps
(816) 426-6538

Region 8 (Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming)
Lyla Nichols
(303) 844-6218

Region 9 (Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, American Samoa, CNMI, FSM, Guam, Marshall Island, Republic of Palau)
Neal Logue
(415) 744-3551

Region 10 (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington)
Terry Cumpton
(206) 615-2391

+ Kaiser Permanente opens access to internal medical terminology to help others meet HHS’ goals for better use of health information technology

Convergent Medical Terminology tools allow clinicians to use familiar language to achieve standard electronic health information exchange

Kaiser Permanente today donated its Convergent Medical Terminology (CMT) to the International Healthcare Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO©) for U.S. distribution through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) so that all health care providers—large and small—can benefit from the translation-enabling technology. 

This donation makes the results of years of work at Kaiser Permanente available to help U.S. health professionals and hospitals achieve key meaningful use standards set forth by the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Continue reading... (Original Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, News Release, September 29, 2010)