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NCHN Healthcare News Digest

Issue #6 | Monday, September 20, 2010

+ NCHN Quarterly Membership Call

NCHN’s Quarterly Membership Call is Monday, September 20 at 12:30 PM ET. The topic is the 340B Drug Discount Program.

Presenter: Bill von Oehsen, President and General Counsel, Safety Net Hospitals for Pharmaceutical Access (SNHPA)

William von Oehsen is a Principal in Powers, Pyles, Sutter and Verville, P.C., a law firm specializing in health care law and policy.  He helped establish and serves as President and General Counsel to the Safety Net Hospitals for Pharmaceutical Access (SNHPA), an organization of over approximately 500 public and private non-profit hospitals participating in the Public Health Service 340B drug discount program.  Mr. von Oehsen played a key role in the passage of the law that created the 340B drug discount program, and is deeply involved in the implementation of the program.  In 1997, he helped organize the 340B Coalition, which now represents a dozen or more national organizations whose members comprise virtually all of the safety net providers participating in the 340B program. Mr. von Oehsen, along with his colleague Ted Slafsky, is also responsible for the creation and publication of the Federal Drug Discount and Compliance Monitor, the first publication to focus specifically on the 340B program and other pharmacy access issues.  He and Mr. Slafsky serve as Executive Editors of the publication.

In addition to representing SNHPA and other clients on 340B matters, Mr. von Oehsen provides guidance to states, local governments and other health care entities in their efforts to improve access to pharmaceutical care and to ensure compliance with pharmaceutical laws.  Mr. von Oehsen has experience in counseling clients on matters involving not only the 340B program, but also the Medicaid drug rebate program, Medicare Part D, the federal supply schedule and federal ceiling price programs, state pharmaceutical assistance programs, and related authorities.  Mr. von Oehsen has testified before the U.S. Congress and numerous state legislatures and provides technical assistance to federal and state policy makers in both the legislative and executive branches.  He has handled litigation matters involving pharmaceutical pricing.  He also practices in the area of food and drug law. 

Mr. von Oehsen received a Bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, an M.T.S. from Harvard University and a J.D. from Georgetown University.

Topics to be discussed on the call include:

  • How is 340B a cost-savings strategy, especially for smaller hospitals?
  • How do we determine if we qualify for 340B and how do we enroll?
  • Which patients, hospitals and facilities are eligible for 340B drugs?
  • Can we continue to use our group purchasing organization (GPO)?
  • Do we need a Memorandum of Understanding and how do we put one into place?
  • How do we keep separate inventories of inpatient and outpatient drugs?
  • How do we properly bill Medicaid?
  • Do we need to set up a contract pharmacy arrangement and how does that work?
  • What is the prohibition against accessing 340B discounts on orphan drugs and what steps are being taken to reverse this policy?
  • What efforts are underway to extend 340B pricing to the inpatient setting?

The call is free, but you must pre-register so that we are sure we have enough lines for all participants.  To pre-register for the call, please email Cindy Stinnett at You will be provided with call in information for the call by email.

+ GrantStation Webinar for NCHN Members

Please join Rebecca Davis, Executive Director, National Cooperative of Health Networks Association (NCHN), and Cynthia M. Adams, CEO of GrantStation for this short and informative tour of the GrantStation website. The webinar will review the many tools and resources available on GrantStation to help you identify the right grantmaker for your health care programs, as well as write compelling letters of inquiry and powerful grant proposals. This interactive session will use projects from participants to demonstrate how the GrantStation website can assist you in identifying health care funding opportunities. There will be lots of time for questions. This webinar will be held on Thursday, October 21st at 2pm EDT.

Register online... (Source: NCHN Calendar & GrantStation)

+ HHS seeking public input in the development of a National Health Care Quality Strategy and Plan

The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is seeking public input in the development of a National Health Care Quality Strategy and Plan [PDF - 53 KB].  HHS welcomes comments and suggestions on all aspects of the proposed structure, principles, conceptualization, and specific details of the National Quality Strategy.  This document outlines our initial thinking regarding the plan and identifies specific areas where feedback would be particularly valuable. 

Continue reading... (Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, ASPA > Newsroom > Reports, September 9, 2010)

+ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Webcast on New and Improved Registries for Evaluating Patient Outcomes and Health IT

AHRQ will be conducting a live Webcast of one of the sessions during the AHRQ 2010 Annual Conference on September 27 at 8:00 a.m. ET.  During the session titled, New and Improved: Registries for Evaluating Patient Outcomes and Health IT Richard Gliklich and Nancy Dreyer of Outcome Science, Inc. will review the important enhancements to the second edition of Registries for Evaluating Patient Outcomes: A User’s Guide and conduct an interactive discussion with the audience on topics for future editions. The new handbook will be available for download from the AHRQ Web site on the morning of the Webcast.

Get more information... (Source: AHRQ Electronic Newsletter, Issue #294)

More from AHRQ:

+ RFQ: EHR product and implementation and optimization organization (IOO) vendors

All Respondents must sign and submit a Notice of Intent to Respond by 9/17/10 at 5:00 PM EST, indicating they plan to complete this RFQ within the prescribed time frame and willingness to adhere to all requirements.

Responses are due on 10/6/10 by 3:00 PM EST.  Responses received late will be rejected or deemed non-conforming and returned to the respondent unopened. MEREC assumes no responsibility or liability for late delivery or receipt of responses. The responses will be evaluated using the requirements and criteria set forth in these RFQs.  Notification to respondents who submitted conforming responses that they are candidates will be mailed when the evaluation process is completed.  Candidates will become “MEREC Supported” when the HIN/MEREC Agreement is signed. The list of MEREC Supported vendors will be presented on the MEREC website and communicated to providers thereafter.

View the RFQ and get more information... (HealthInfoNet website)

+ EHR Certification Capacity Expanded: Additional Certification Body Named by ONC

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) named InfoGard Laboratories, Inc., San Luis Obispo, Calif. as an ONC-Authorized Testing and Certification Body (ONC-ATCB). The addition of InfoGard Laboratories, Inc. as an ONC-ATCB provides more options for EHR vendors to have their products tested and certified for compliance with the standards and certification criteria that were issued by the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services earlier this year. 

Certification of EHRs is part of a broad initiative undertaken by Congress and President Obama under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.  HITECH created new incentive payment programs to help health providers as they transition from paper-based medical records to EHRs.  Incentive payments totaling as much as $27 billion may be made under the program.  Individual physicians and other eligible professionals can receive up to $44,000 through Medicare and almost $64,000 through Medicaid.  Hospitals can receive millions.

To qualify for the incentive payments offered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) providers must not only adopt, but also demonstrate the meaningful use of, certified EHR systems.  

More information about ONC certification programs... (Source: ONC Health IT e-mail, September 17, 2010)

+ HHS Awards $130 Million to Boost Health Professions Workforce

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced $130.8 million in grants to strengthen and expand the health professions workforce. Six areas are targeted: primary care workforce training, oral health workforce training, equipment to enhance training across the health professions, loan repayments for health professionals, health careers opportunity programs for disadvantaged students, and Patient Navigator outreach and chronic disease prevention in health disparity populations. The grants include $88.7 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Continue reading... (Original Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, News Release, September 17, 2010)

+ Funding Opportunities from

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Announces Health 2.0 Developer Challenge in Patient Health Information
Grants of $2,500 including coffee with author Clay Shirky will be awarded to health providers for their success in developing a Web-based tool that uses sample data from the CMS or VA to help patients stay healthy and manage their care....
Deadline: September 25, 2010
Posted: August 29, 2010

AHRA and Toshiba Announce Third Annual Putting Patients First Program to Fund Grants Focused on Providing Education and Improving Patient Care
Grants of up to $7,500 will be awarded to healthcare facilities working to improve quality and patient safety during CT, MR, ultrasound, X-ray, and vascular imaging....
Deadline: 10/15/10

Amgen Foundation and Ashoka's Changemakers Announce Patient Empowerment Competition
Grants of $10,000 (plus potential future funding of up to $1 million) will be given to individuals and organizations worldwide with the best proposals to empower patients in their own health care....
Deadline: September 29, 2010
Posted: August 6, 2010

Bread Brands Announce Inaugural Get Ingrained Grants Program
Two grants of $15,000 each will be awarded to individuals or groups in the United States committed to bettering the health of their neighborhoods, towns, or cities....
Deadline: October 4, 2010
Posted: July 30, 2010

Aetna Foundation Announces 2010 Grant Program Funding Priorities
Two-year research, project, or policy grants of up to $250,000 will be awarded to nonprofits working to improve health and the healthcare system in three areas; reducing obesity, racial and ethnic healthcare equity, and integrated health care....
Deadline: Quarterly
Posted: March 19, 2010

Visit Philanthropy News Digest for more opportunities... (A Service of The Foundation Center)

+ HHS awards more than $14 million to support patient-centered outcomes research

Funds will support programs to help promote more informed health decisions and options that best fit an individual patient's needs and preferences.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Health, Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH, today announced the award of more than $14.2 million to develop, implement, and test strategies to increase the adoption and dissemination of interventions based on patient-centered outcomes research among racial and ethnic minority populations. 

“A healthier nation must include our underserved and minority communities.  We now have the opportunity to determine which interventions truly help diverse populations achieve optimal levels of health,” Dr. Koh said. 

Continue reading... (Original Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, News Release, September 15, 2010)

+ The Affordable Care Act & Behavioral Health

On Wednesday, September 15th, HHS hosted a webchat discussion on how provisions in the Affordable Care Act will help ensure that those with behavioral health disorders receive the coverage they need. The webchat is saved and you can view it online.

View the webchat... (Source:

+ HRSA HIT and Meaningful Use Workshops

HRSA has announced a series of HIT and Meaningful Use Workshops as part of HRSA’s ongoing technical assistance efforts.  The vendor-neutral workshops will provide insights and tools for successfully negotiating the stages of EHR implementation from planning to post- implementation optimization of use which will qualify users for the CMS Incentive Payment.   These workshops will be hosted by several HRSA grantees that have successfully implemented EHR technology.

View the list of HIT and Meaningful Use Workshops... (Source:

+ Save the Date: Health Care Conference Call with President Obama

Linking Community and Faith Leaders to New Benefits and Information
Date: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 @ 4 p.m. EST
A Conference call for Faith and Community Leaders with the President of the United States

You are invited to join President Obama for a conference call to discuss key new benefits of the Affordable Care Act.   As community leaders, we want to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information and resources about these new benefits to share with your communities and congregations.

On September 23rd, the six month anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, several new health care benefits begin to apply:  young people up to age 26 can stay on their parents plan, key prevention benefits are covered without co-pays or deductibles, insurance companies can no longer discriminate against kids with pre-existing conditions or drop people from coverage when they become sick and need it most. HHS and the White House want to make sure that you have information at your fingertips to help your community members access the benefits of health care reform.   
HHS officials will provide an update on the Affordable Care Act, highlight new outreach resources, and answer questions from community and faith leaders.  Leaders will also share their efforts to bring the benefits of health care reform home to communities.  President Obama will speak to key issues related to health reform implementation.

Dial in information:

  • For those with internet access, please join the call online at:
  • For those without internet access, please dial: 1-888-455-6860 or 1-866-844-9416.

+ NCHN Members: 2011 Annual Conference Planning Committee Needs Your Help

The 2011 NCHN Annual Conference Planning Committee is busy at work planning an exciting and action packed 17th Annual Conference, which will be held in Scottsdale, AZ, April 17-20, 2011.  In preparation for this boot stomping, ‘Event Winner’ conference, they need your help!  Please take a few minutes to complete a survey on the commonly shared components of successful health network organizations, regardless of type, size, age, location, etc.  They are looking for input from network leaders, staff, board members, officers, network members, former staff, and anyone connected to networks, either presently or formerly.  They are planning some exciting sessions around “Common Components” --- things that all networks have or should have in place to be successful. These are components of the organization, not characteristics of the network leader.

So, jump on this link and provide your feedback and plan now to attend the 2011 Conference!

Also, please share this link with your staff, board members, and network members as we are looking for input from a broad audience of folks working with and connected to health networks. Thanks a bunch for your assistance!  See you in Scottsdale in April!

Complete the Survey...