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NCHN eNews
September 13, 2011
Dear NCHN Members and Friends,

Welcome to the latest issue of the NCHN Weekly Digest. The highlight of this week's issue is definitely our Member News! Read on to find out about member networks that have received FY2011 Rural HIT Network Development awards.

Also, don't forget to register for the 2011 NCHN Leadership Summit before September 15th to get a discount. NRHA has extended a special offer to Leadership Summit attendees to register for the Critical Access Hospital Conference at the NRHA member rate. Find out more under Partner Blurbs.

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

2011 NCHN Leadership Summit

Don't miss the early bird registration deadline!
Register by September 15th to save.

Date: September 27, 2011
Location: Hyatt Regency Crown Center
2345 McGee
Kansas City, MO

According to Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary, the first know use of the word “Transform” was in the 14th century.  Transform implies a major change in form, nature, or function. A little creativity can transform an ordinary meal into a special event.  One synonym of transform is “metamorphose” – which suggests an abrupt or startling change induced by or as if by magic or a supernatural power! 

Join us in Kansas City for a “metamorphosing” experience!

Early bird registration ends Sept. 15, 2011 @ 5:00 PM ET
$125 for NCHN Members ($175 after 9/15/11)
$200 for non-Members ($275 after 9/15/11)


From the Forum

There are no new posts this week.



A man in a restaurant asked a waiter for a juice glass, a dinner plate, water, a match, and a lemon wedge. The man poured enough water onto the plate to cover it."If you can get the water on the plate into this glass without touching or moving this plate, I will give you $100," the man said. "You can use the match and lemon to do this." A few minutes later, the waiter walked away with $100 in his pocket. How did the waiter get the water into the glass?



Upcoming NCHN Calls & Events

Executive Coaching Training Call: Three Tools for Executive Coaches
Wednesday, September 14 at 11:00 AM ET
Pre-work:  Put Rule #6 into action and give an "A"! (Art of Possibility)
*Materials will be posted on the online discussion board

Leadership Summit Committee Call
Tuesday, September 20 @ 11:00 AM ET

Coffee/Tea Chats with Dr. Mary Kay Chess
Wednesday, September 21 at 11:00 AM ET

1st NCHN Leadership Summit
Tuesday, September 27
Hyatt Regency Crown Center: Kansas City, MO




Unaffiliated N.C. physicians join local HIE
Diana Manos, Healthcare IT News

September 7, 2011 (Wilmington, NC) - Coastal Connect Health Information Exchange (CCHIE) announced Wednesday the successful connection of 10 unaffiliated physician practices to its health information exchange.

According to CCHIE, it took “only three days” to connect the 10 practices, and in the initial phase they will be able to electronically transmit patient referrals. The next phase will include delivery of clinical results and reports to these practices from five local hospitals.

CCHIE officials said “the full, aggressive rollout” of this solution will begin in October with the goal for year one to connect 144 physician practices to the HIE. The project will be funded in part by a $1.46 million grant from the Duke Endowment.


Indiana Rural Health Association (IRHA) Receives Award to Create Telehealth Resource Center

September 7, 2011 - Indiana Rural Health Association (IRHA) is pleased to announce a new grant award, creating the Upper Midwest Telehealth Resource Center. IRHA applied for federal funding in March of 2011 and received notice of the grant award on September 2, 2011.

The Upper Midwest Telehealth Resource Center (UMTRC) is a consortium of active telehealth organizations, headed by the Indiana Rural Health Association, which provides a comprehensive set of telehealth clinical and technical assistance services leveraged into products of lasting value to rural providers.


HCC of Lafayette County Receives HIT Network Development Award


The Health Care Coalition of Lafayette County (HCC) was formed under the Community Health Improvement Project model. Comprised of over 25 community organizations, HCC is the hub of health services advocacy and projects in the area and recognized as the most collaborative organization in the county.

The program service area of HCC consists of Lafayette, Carroll, Ray, and Saline Counties, located in West Central Missouri.  All four counties are characterized as rural, with many farms, limited access to highways, and large tracts of open space. 

As a nationally-recognized vertical rural healthcare Network, HCC has been integral to initiatives in Lafayette County that improve health. HCC convened a Health Information Technology workgroup that established eRx and electronic medical records—a crucial step in ensuring the quality and sustainability of the area’s health services. In 2010, HCC received a United States Department of Agriculture Distance Learning Tele-Medicine grant to implement Tele-Medicine in primary care settings. While this is significant for Tele-Medicine efforts there is no ability to add EHR components to the application. 

The HCC has identified acute needs hindering the adoption of Meaningful Use of EHR’s including lack of funding, communication and interface capabilities across providers, provider fears, and multiple EHR products selected without interoperability. There is a need for the ability for multi-campus family practice clinics to see patients as “established” instead of “new” resulting in lower patient charges, decrease in duplication of testing, reduced cost of care, reduced drug seeking behavior, increased continuum of care among family practice providers and better and/or reduced emergency room care. 

Through this application the HCC will leverage existing resources and collaboration to address the aforementioned issues. The HIT Network Grant will enable the Network to “hardwire health care quality and patient safety” in each of its member organizations, through the meaningful use of electronic health records. This will ensure the greatest impact at the community level through improved patient safety, lower patient charges, reduced emergency room care and decrease in test duplication.

» For more information, contact Toniann Richard at or go to

The Healthcare Coalition of Lafayette County: Job Opening

The HCC is hiring for a full time HIT Manager. Resumes with references should be sent to or before Friday, September 23rd, 2011.  Resumes may also be mailed to HCC or faxed to 660.259.9019.

SUMMARY: The HIT Network Manager will be responsible for the day to day operations of the HIT Network and participating members. 

Target start date is October 17, 2011.  Salary range is +/-$40,000 per year plus benefits.


Western Washington Rural Health Care Collaborative (WWRHCC) Receives Rural HIT Network Development Award

Abstract (excerpts)

The grant applicant, Western Washington Rural Health Care Collaborative (WWRHCC), is a
mature, robust network of 10 public hospital districts (all CAR hospitals) serving the rural areas
of the coastal corridor of Western Washington. Our members in total serve a combined
population of 288,000 rural residents. The rural service areas of the WWRHCC feature large
percentages of elderly (age 65+) residents, and some include large Native American and
Hispanic populations.

WWRHCC is a model Rural Health Network, in that our achievements in collaboration have
overcome variations and disparities among our unique members, allowing us to move forward.
This is particularly true with regard to HIT implementation, as our members operate a variety of
HIT systems, including disparate ERRs in varying stages of implementation or, for several
members, no ERR at all. Therefore, perhaps WWRHCC's most notable achievement to date has
been the successful development and implementation of a strong Health Information Exchange
(HIE) under one of 16 Rural CAH FLEX HIT grants awarded nationally in 2007.

With grant funding assistance, five of WWRHCC's rural members and their affiliated clinical
providers will achieve Meaningful Use. This HIT project will enable our rural members to
improve the continuity of care through improved regional communication, manage their patients
more efficiently and more effectively through the delivery of evidence-based medicine,
participate in regional population health initiatives, and in many cases allow us to head off
clinical conditions and complications that require our rural patients and families to endure the
hardship of travelling for more complex levels of care that cannot be provided locally.
This grant project qualifies for all three funding preferences:
1) Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA)
2) Medically Underserved CommunitylPopulations/Area (MUCIMUPIMUA), and
3) Primary Care and Wellness.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Floersheim at or visit WWRHC online at

Nevada Rural Hospital Partners Receives HIT Grant

Nevada Rural Hospital Partners is among the NCHN members who have received a Rural Health Information Technology Network Development award through ORHP.

Nevada has fifteen small rural and frontier hospitals, nine of which we believe will not meet Meaningful Use Stage 1 without coordinated network support. These nine hospitals are located across a vast geographic area of 95,000 square miles with an average population density of only 2.95 persons per square mile, yet provide care to over 300,000 rural and frontier Nevadans. Lander County Hospital District, dba Battle Mountain General Hospital, is one of these nine facilities and will serve as the lead applicant for this grant opportunity.

These nine hospitals range in size from 4 acute care beds to a maximum of 25 acute care beds. Seven of these hospitals have long term care beds, six operate Rural Health Clinics, six hospitals receive tax support, and seven are Critical Access Hospitals. Additionally, six of the hospitals provide the only access to primary care available in their community.

All nine of these hospitals belong to a voluntary consortium of Nevada’s small hospitals: Nevada Rural Hospital Partners (NRHP). NRHP was established in 1987 through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to focus on solutions to the issues and challenges facing rural facilities. NRHP has a proud history of success, and works closely with the Nevada State Office of Rural Health. NRHP offers a wide variety of programs and services aimed at ensuring the viability of the facilities it serves by reducing costs, generating savings, enhancing quality, sharing resources, and expanding the use of technology. NRHP has effectively demonstrated its ability to meet member

» For more information, contact Holly Hansen, COO, at




NRHA Offers CAH Conference Discount to NCHN Leadership Summit Attendees at NRHA's CAH Conference

Join your colleagues for the Rural Health Clinic and Critical Access Hospital conferences Sept. 27-30 in Kansas City, Mo.

Thanks so much to our partners at NRHA (National Rural Health Association)!  NRHA will be holding their annual Critical Access Hospital (CAH) Conference in the same hotel in which NCHN will be hosting the 2011 Leadership Summit. NRHA has extended their membership registration rate to any NCHN member or Network Planning Grantee attending the NCHN Leadership Summit for the CAH Conference

If you are interested in attending the NRHA CAH Conference.  If you are not a current NRHA member and plan to attend, please let Rebecca know, so that we can confirm with NRHA that you are a participant at the NCHN Leadership Summit and eligible for this special offer from NRHA. 



Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Accelerated Development Learning Program

September 15-16, 2011
San Francisco, CA
Sponsord by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is offering ACO Accelerated Development Learning Sessions (ADLS) to provide the executive leadership teams from existing or emerging ACO entities the opportunity to learn about essential ACO functions and ways to build capacity needed to achieve better care, better health, and lower costs through improvement. Four ADLSs will be offered in 2011. Each will offer a focused curriculum on core competencies for ACO development, such as improving care delivery to increase quality and reduce costs; effectively using health information technology and data resources; and building capacity to assume and manage financial risk.

The goal of these sessions is to prepare participants to:

  • Understand their current readiness to become an ACO.
  • Identify organization-specific goals for achieving the three-part aim of improving care delivery, improving health, and reducing costs through improvement.
  • Begin to develop an action plan for establishing essential ACO functions.


Complimentary Webinar on 340B for Prospective Members (SNHPA)

September 20, 2011
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM ET

The federal 340B drug discount program, once a relatively obscure program impacting a small number of health care providers, has grown significantly over the past few years. More hospitals are becoming aware of 340B and how it can help them reduce costs at a time of major budget shortfalls and higher amounts of uncompensated care. As the program grows in size, so does the amount of scrutiny from drug companies and the government over how hospitals are utilizing this program.

In the coming months, 340B hospitals will face several new challenges. In September, Congress will issue its first ever report on the program, which is expected to call for increased oversight due to concerns over alleged drug diversion. There are also efforts by Medicaid, insurers and other payors to reduce reimbursement to 340B providers. New regulations defining the scope of the orphan drug discount prohibition for newly eligible rural and free-standing cancer hospitals have just been issued by the government. In addition, new regulations defining the patients and clinics eligible for discounts are expected shortly.

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


National Rural Health Day - SAVE THE DATE!

November 17, 2011

The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) invites all rural stakeholders to join the inaugural National Rural Health Day celebration on Thursday, November 17. NOSORH partners planning to recognize this special occasion include:

  • State Offices of Rural Health
  • National Rural Health Association
  • Rural Recruitment and Retention Network
  • National Cooperative of Health Networks
  • Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

How you celebrate is up to you — just be sure to celebrate!




Secretary Sebelius spotlights new efforts to empower patients to increase secure access to their health information

September 12, 2011 (HHS News Release) - HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today proposed new rules that would expand the rights of patients to access their health information through the use of health information technology (IT). Specifically, the new rules would empower patients and allow them to gain access to test results reports directly from labs. They would ensure that labs covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) provide such information, upon request, directly to patients or their personal representatives. The announcement came at the kick-off of the first-ever HHS Consumer Health IT Summit, which brought consumers, providers, and the public and private sectors together to discuss how best to empower consumers to be partners in their health and care through health IT.

“When it comes to health care, information is power. When patients have their lab results, they are more likely to ask the right questions, make better decisions and receive better care,” said Secretary Sebelius.“This Summit offers a unique opportunity for the public and private sectors alike to share strategies to improve consumer access to their health information, while safeguarding the privacy and security of their data.”


Request for Comment: Federal Strategic Plan to Reduce Health IT Disparities

September 12, 2011 (Health Information Technology and Quality eNews) - Comment period is now open for the Federal Strategic Plan to Reduce Health IT Disparities. Working to ensure all Americans benefit from health IT is one of the principles guiding the development and execution of the federal health IT strategy. For the past few months, the Health IT Disparities Workgroup — comprised of staff from HHS’s agencies with strategic and operational programs in health IT and co-chaired by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and the Office of Minority Health.


White House Proclaims National Health Information Technology Week

September 12, 2011 (ONC Health IT email) - President Barack Obama has declared the week of September 11-16, 2011, National Health Information Technology Week. National Health Information Technology Week is a time to highlight the importance of efficient information systems that protect the privacy and security of personal health information while improving the delivery of health care in the United States.




There are no new funding announcements this week. However, remember that you can always visit the RAC web site or use GrantStation (if you are a subscriber) to search funding opportunities. Both sites have excellent listings.

Please send us any announcements you would like to share witht he NCHN membership.



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