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NCHN eNews
September 6, 2011
Dear NCHN Members and Friends,

Welcome to the latest issue of the NCHN Weekly Digest. On the forefront this week, ORHP has released the FY2011 Rural HIT Network Development awards. We know some of you were waiting for this! Also, the 1st NCHN Leadership Summit is quickly approaching. Don't forget to register 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

Extraordinary Leadership Transforms Networks - 2011 NCHN Leadership Summit Sept 27 2011 in Kansas City MODate: 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.



Inside each set of the following words, there are a pair of smaller words. By putting & between them, lo & behold, you'll make a familiar phrase. For example, "Thighbone/Swallowtail" conceals "High & Low."

1. Skyrocketing/Trolleyman
2. Thermometer/Apoplexy
3. Delaware/Bordering
4. Surprised/Trashiness
5. Throughout/Stumblebum



New Member: Michigan Rural EMS Network

Please join the NCHN Board in welcoming Leslie Hall with Michigan Rural EMS Network (MiREMS) as a new Network Member. Founded in 2008, MiREMS exists to increase the effectiveness of rural EMS delivery systems, thereby decreasing the morbidity and mortality of patients. The mission of MiREMS is to provide support to Michigan rural EMS professionals and EMS agencies.

MiREMS has 32 network members and its programs include outreach, professional and community education, and legislative advocacy.

Leslie Hall, Executive Director
Ph: 989-284-5345

Upcoming NCHN Calls & Events

Quarterly Membership Call: Demonstrating Value & Membership Retention
Monday, September 12 @ 2:00 PM ET

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




ORHP Announces FY 2011 Rural HIT Network Development Awards

On September 1, 2011, ORHP announced the release of 40 new Rural Health Information Technology Network Development (RHITND) Awards. This 3-year pilot program was developed in FY 2011 as a result of the President’s Rural Health Care Initiative and Secretary’s Rural Health Information Taskforce. The purpose of the RHITND Program is to improve health care and support the adoption of Health Information Technology (HIT) in rural America by providing targeted HIT support to rural health networks. Funding can be used for the purchase of equipment, staff training, hiring of a HIT consultant, etc.

Early congratulations to the NCHN Network Members who received awards! We hope to be able to share more details next week!





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. 



Monthly Rural Health Care Conference Call

September 8, 2011 @ 2:00 PM ET

Dial-in: 1 (800) 240-9939
Passcode: 6772 932#
Universal Service Fund (USF)

The Rural Health Care Program of the Universal Service Fund (USF), which is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), is a support program authorized by Congress and designed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide reduced rates to rural health care providers (HCPs) for telecommunications services and Internet access charges related to the use of telemedicine and telehealth.

Program applicants and service providers can raise issues of concern or seek clarification on program rules during monthly outreach conference calls. The discussion of agenda items is followed by a general question and answer period.


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!




ORHP Announces Recipients of FY 2011 Rural Health Information Technology (HIT) Network Development Awards

September 2, 2011 ( | News & Events) - The Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) is pleased to announce the release of 40 new Rural Health Information Technology Network Development (RHITND) Awards. This 3-year pilot program was developed in FY 2011 as a result of the President’s Rural Health Care Initiative and Secretary’s Rural Health Information Taskforce.

The purpose of the RHITND Program is to improve health care and support the adoption of Health Information Technology (HIT) in rural America by providing targeted HIT support to rural health networks. Funding can be used for the purchase of equipment, staff training, hiring of a HIT consultant, etc.


HHS announces $11.9 million to implement health information technology in rural areas

September 2, 2011 (HHS News Release) - Rural health networks across the nation will receive more than $11.9 million to support their adoption of Health Information Technology (HIT) and certified Electronic Health Records (EHR). The funding announced today by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will also help these rural health networks’ participating eligible providers qualify for Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive payments, administered by the Centers for Medicare &Medicaid Services.

“We need health information technology to bring our health care system into the 21st century,” said Secretary Sebelius.  “These funds will help safety net providers acquire state-of-the-art health information technology systems to ensure the delivery of quality care to some of the most remote areas of our country.”


New Community Health Worker Toolkit Available on RAC

September 2, 2011 (RAC News Release) - Rural communities now have more information to help them develop community health programs. With the addition of the Community Health Workers (CHW) informational toolkit to the Rural Assistance Center (RAC) website, communities can quickly review examples of community health worker programs and learn how to develop an effective CHW program.
Community health workers are people in a community who help expand access to health services. This toolkit provides examples of how rural communities have developed CHW programs as well as methods used to provide CHW services in a variety of rural locations.

Content for the CHW toolkit was developed by the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis as part of the Community Health Gateway. The Gateway is designed to help rural communities learn about proven methods of providing rural residents with better access to health and human services. Development of these resources is part of an ongoing effort by NORC and RAC to provide innovative health and human services information to rural America.

Funding for this project is provided by the federal Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP), part of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). To learn more about the Community Health Gateway and Community Health Worker informational toolkit, visit

For more information
Kristine Sande, RAC Program Director

CMS releases e-prescribing incentive program final rule

August 31, 2011 (CMIO) - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced changes to the Medicare e-prescribing (eRx) incentive program for 2011.

Since publication of the 2011 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) final rule, CMS has received public comments raising concern that the Medicare eRx incentive program did not align with the Medicare or Medicaid EHR incentive program, as well as the need for additional significant hardship exemption categories. 


Related: E-prescribing exemption deadline extended to Nov. 1 (

HHS awards $40 million to boost public health infrastructure, prepare tomorrow’s public health workforce

August 31, 2011 (HHS News Release) - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today over $40 million in grant funding, partly supported by the Affordable Care Act, to state, tribal, local and territorial health departments and several schools of public health to enhance the nation’s public health infrastructure and strengthen the public health workforce. Awarded in nearly every state, this funding will improve the delivery of necessary public health services in communities, cities and states across the country.

“These funds will help health departments around the country maximize the impact of the essential services they provide every day, and build the public health workforce to ensure we’re ready to meet the public health challenges of tomorrow,” said Secretary Sebelius. “Strengthening our nation’s public health system is critical to protecting the health of all Americans.”




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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