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NCHN eNews
March 20, 2012
Dear NCHN Members and Friends,

First and foremost, thank you to all who have completed your 2012 Dues Assessment and Membership Renewal. Listed below are continuing members and associate members. Secondly, the early-bird registration deadline for the conference is almost here. You can save $75 by registering before April 1st! And, on a final note, the 2012 NCHN and NRHA Conferences are co-located. If you are interested in attending the NRHA Conference, as well, their early registration ends March 26th and includes a complimentary 1-year membership for first-timers.

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2012 Dues Assessments and NCHN Memberships

Thank you to all of the networks who have submitted their Dues Assessments and renewed their NCHN Membership!

2012 Network Members
Arizona Rural Womens Health Network
Coalition of Health Services, Inc.
Coastal Carolinas Health Alliance
Community Health Works
CROPS Health Network
East Georgia Health Cooperative
Giles Free Clinic
Hancock County Rural Health Network
HCC of Rural MO
Health & Wellness Cooperative of Northern Michigan
Health Future LLC
Health Innovations Network of Kansas, Inc.
HealthGroup of Alabama
Heartland Health Alliance
Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network
InSRHN - Indiana Statewide Rural Health Network
Medi-Sota, Inc.
Michigan Rural EMS Network
Montana Health Network
Nevada Rural Hospital partners
North Country Health Consortium
North LA Regional Alliance
Northcentral Montana Healthcare Alliance
Northeast Minnesota AHEC's mnHEALTHnet
Northeast Missouri Rural Health Network
Northeast Oregon Network
Northern Lakes Health Consortium
Northland Healthcare Alliance
Oregon Rural Healthcare Qualtiy Network
Partners in Health Network, Inc.
Pioneer Health Network
Prince of Wales Health Network
Rural Health Information Network of South Texas
Santa Cruz County Adolescent Wellness Network
Southwest Idaho Community Health Network
Spectrum Health Regional Hospital Network
Sunflower Health Network
Synernet, Inc.
Tennessee Rural Health Workforce Network, TRP
The Hospital Cooperative, Inc.
Thumb Rural Health Network
Union County Health and Wellness Network
Upper Peninsula Health Care Network
Western Healthcare Alliance

2012 Associate Members
Beverlyann Austin, PhD
Mary Kay Chess, PhD
Holly Crump
Paul 'Buz' Davis
Deb Gott
Esther Hammerschlag
Martha McLeod
Tiffany Simpson-Crumpley



Of the 100 people at a recent party, 90 spoke Spanish, 80 spoke Italian, and 75 spoke Man­darin. At least how many spoke all three languages?

Have you solved it yet? If you are work­ing the problem, mak­ing hypotheses, testing your ideas, and com­ing up with a solution, you are using your frontal lobes. This is great exercise because the frontal lobes follow the “last hired, first fired” adage. They are they last areas of your brain to develop and the first to suffer the ravages of time and stress. So, keep exercising! Just like your voluntary muscles, regular brain workouts will help you keep more active neuronal circuits in your brain which helps you function better today, as well as cre­ate a protective barrier against aging.


NCHN Conference: Still time to save $75 on registration

Join us in Denver for the only educational conference devoted to health networks and their leaders. When you register before April 1st, you save $75 on conference registration!

Designed for:

  • Network Leaders
  • Network Staff
  • Network Board Members
  • Health Network stakeholders

All Together Now Topics

  • business planning for health networks
  • developing new programs and shared services
  • discussion of the future of health networks
  • health information technology programs within health networks
  • importance of collaboration
  • maintaining board member commitment and participation
  • negotiation skills
  • network sustainability
  • sharing of best practice models
  • strategies for implementing the provisions of the Affordable Care Act


  • $525 for NCHN Members and HRSA Network Development Grantees before April 1, 2012
    ($600 after April 1st)
  • $625 for non-Members
    ($700 after April 1st)

March Coffee/Tea Chat – Wednesday, March 21 at 11:00 AM ET

Join NCHN leaders for our March Coffee and Tea conversation with Dr. Chess. 

On Wednesday, March 21, 2012 from 11:00 AM (ET) until 12:00 PM (ET), you and your network colleagues will have an opportunity to explore best practices in the networks, exchange ideas for sustainable growth and consider approaches to building solid business plans through involving your boards and community members.  The telephone number and access code will be provided through a Save-the-Date email from Rebecca.  We look forward to hearing your perspectives at during our monthly call. 

Warmly, Mary Kay

Upcoming NCHN Calls & Events

Coffee/Tea Chat with Dr. Mary Kay Chess
Wednesday, March 21 @ 11:00 AM ET

Rural Health Network Resources – Consulting Group Task Force Call
Wednesday, March 28 @ 12:00 PM ET

Upcoming Deadlines
March 15, 2012: Award Nominations due
April 1, 2012: Early Bird registration ends for the NCHN Conference (add $75 after 4/1/12)




Share your Materials at the 2012 NCHN Conference

The 2012 Conference Planning Committee invites you to bring any promotional items that you have developed for your network and would like to share with Conference participants to the 2012 Conference in Denver.  Items such as pins, notepads, sticky notes, chap-stick, candy, etc.  Any small item(s) that is easy to return home with through airport security.  We are looking for a variety of items to share with the conference participants, as well, as give our members an opportunity to distribute their marketing materials to other networks. If you would like to participate in this member exchange of marketing tools, please let Debbie Comeau know by emailing her at by March 23.  We will let you know the number of each item that will be needed as we get closer to the conference dates, but suspect between 75-100 pieces of any one item. 




NRHA Annual Conference

Join colleagues and experts from across the country for networking, education and advocacy April 17-20 in Denver for NRHA's 35th Annual Rural Health Conference, the nation's largest gathering of rural health professionals. Come early for the annual Rural Medical Educators Conference on April 17. 

* First time members receive a 1 year complimentary NRHA membership
* Scholarships available


More from NRHA
• NRHA will accept presentation submissions for its 2012 Rural Health Clinic and Critical Access Hospital conferences and the Rural Multicultural and Multiracial Health Conference March 1 through April 27



The Benchmark for Excellence in Patient Safety™ Program

Webinar: March 22, 2012
10:00 - 11:00 AM CDT

Join Clarity and your fellow small and rural providers for this free webinar to learn more about the National Benchmark for Excellence in Patient Safety™ Program specifically designed for critical access, small and rural healthcare organizations. The webinar also introduces the Healthcare SafetyZone® Portal, the web-based patient safety event management system that your colleagues are currently using at their facilities.


The Affordable Care Act 2nd Anniversary Celebration
The HHS Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and Faithful Reform in Health Care

Conference Call: March 22, 2012 @ 2:00 PM ET

Featured Guest Speaker:  U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin

People of faith will celebrate the 2nd Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act with a “virtual party” via teleconference.  The special guest speaker will be the Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Regina Benjamin, who will remind callers about the new benefits in the Affordable Care Act.  Individuals will share their very personal stories about what health care reform has meant for them.  Everyone is encouraged to gather with colleagues, friends, or family members around a speaker phone; share a piece of anniversary cake or other treat together; and celebrate the progress made in moving toward our faith-inspired vision for our health care future. 

» RSVP (required)

HRSA Health IT & Quality Webinars

Using Health IT for Patient Safety
March 23, 2012 @ 2:00 PM EST

This webinar will highlight how health information technology (IT) can be used in safety net provider settings to increase patient safety.  Each year it is estimated that 100,000 patients die from medical errors.  The presenters will showcase their use of health IT to decrease drug errors through medication reconciliation, prevent adverse drug events, and increase patient safety through care coordination across settings.


Overview of Stage 2 Meaningful Use Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) for Safety Net Providers
March 30, 2012 @ 2:00 PM EST

In February 2012, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the proposed criteria for Stage 2 of the CMS Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program.
This exclusive webinar will feature lead staff from CMS who will provide an overview of the Meaningful Use Stage II Proposed Rule, released in February with comments due in April.  Staff will also be available to address specific questions from safety net providers. HRSA encourages all safety net providers to participate in this call to learn more about this proposed rule.



County Health Rankings & Roadmaps Website: New Tools and Features for the 2012 Release
County Health Rankings & Roadmaps

Webinar: March 27, 2012 @ 3:00 PM EDT

The new tools, features, and resources on the website will be demonstrated. (The new website, however, will not be available to the public until the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps release on April 3, 2012.)

Karen Odegaard, Community Engagement Specialist for the County Health Roadmaps project, will be the guest presenter.


Primary Care Medical Home (PCMH) Series
Joint Commission Resources

Webinar: March 27, 2012
1:00 - 2:00 ET

Topic: Primary Care Medical Home (PCMH) Standards - A Deep Dive
During this 60-minute discussion, we will take a deep dive into the PCMH standards, focusing on what you need to know to achieve designation.

At the conclusion of this event, participants will be able to:
- Identify the primary care medical home specific requirements and EP’s associated with this option
- Assess your organization’s level of compliance with meeting the existing Joint Commission ambulatory care requirements


13th Annual Ned E. Baker Lecture in Public Health
National Association of Local Board of Health

Live Webcast: March 29, 2012
4:00 - 5:30 ET

"Telling the Public Health Story - How to Affect Policy, Engage Elected Officials, and Inspire Citizens"

Lecture Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the characteristics of narrative that make it the most powerful form of human communication.
  • Learn the structure and qualities that distinguish a compelling story from an ordinary sequence of events and learn how to apply these qualities to public health achievements.
  • Understand specific steps public health organizations can take to use stories more effectively in internal, external, formal, and informal communications.




Hospitals Need to Invest More in IT Infrastructure: CDW
Although 84 percent of caregivers say technology improves treatment of patients, hospitals require more investment in IT infrastructure, a report by CDW Healthcare revealed.

March 19, 2012 ( - Hopes are high for technology to improve patient care, yet IT departments need to invest in the infrastructure required to run electronic health record (EHR) applications, according to a new report by CDW Healthcare.

CDW offers IT services to more than 15,000 health care organizations in the United States, including providers in rural areas as well as large hospital networks.


Medicare Payment Advisory Commission Releases Report on Medicare Payment Policy
Recommendations aim to make Medicare a more prudent purchaser of health care services

March 15, 2012 (Medicare Payment Advisory Commission) - Today, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) releases its March 2012 Report to the Congress: Medicare Payment Policy. The report includes the Commission’s analyses of payment adequacy in fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare, Medicare Advantage and Part D, as well as the Commission’s assessment of the sustainable growth rate (SGR) system for physician payment.

According to Glenn Hackbarth, MedPAC chairman, “This report recommends steps toward one of the Commission’s goals for the Medicare program—to make Medicare a prudent purchaser of health care services, while ensuring access to high-quality care for Medicare beneficiaries.”


MEDPAC: Hospitals Should Get 1% Payment Update in 2013
by Cheryl Clark

March 16, 2012 (HealthLeaders Media) - The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission's (MEDPAC) submitted its payment policy report to Congress Thursday. Its recommendations cover hospital inpatient and outpatient services, and ambulatory surgical care among other services.

Rates for hospitals and their outpatient departments should increase 1% starting in 2013, the commission recommends, but E&M (evaluation and management) visits in hospital outpatient settings should be reimbursed the same as other outpatient settings or physicians' offices, and ambulatory surgical centers should get .5% more in 2013.


Secretary Sebelius unveils “MyCare” stories

March 16, 2012 (HHS News Release) - Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today unveiled “MyCare,” a collection of online personal video and blog stories of Americans helped by the Affordable Care Act.  MyCare is a new educational initiative to help inform Americans about new programs, benefits and rights under the health care law.  Americans are encouraged to share their own stories by using the Twitter hashtag #MyCare or visiting


ERS Report: Rural Wealth Creation: Concepts, Strategies, and Measures

March 14, 2012 (New Policy Topics Information @ ERS email) - This report presents a conceptual framework for rural wealth creation, drawing upon the U.S. and international development literature. The framework emphasizes the importance of multiple types of assets (physical, financial, human, intellectual, natural, social, political, and cultural capital) and the economic, institutional, and policy context in which rural wealth strategies are devised. The report discusses the role of wealth creation in the rural development process, how wealth can be created in rural communities, and how its accumulation and effects can be measured.


4 Tech Success Strategies for Hospitals
by Joe Cantlupe

March 16, 2012 (HealthLeaders Media) - Changes wrought by technology are making an indelible mark in service lines for health systems big and small. This is being reflected in a hospital when a patient is given an iPod with a Pandora app to listen to any music she wants to hear as she waits for an oncological exam (You want Motown, you've got it!) and in the surgical suite where physicians use da Vinci robotic systems for minimally invasive procedures, as well as new cloud-based data systems that allow clinicians instantaneous access to a patient's heart rhythms.


More from HealthLeaders Media
» Rural hospital accesses big-city treatment with technology (March 19, 2012)

HealthAffairs Blog: Health IT Meaningful Use Mission Creep
by Leslie Lenert and David Sundwall

March 16, 2012 (HealthAffairs Blog) - Health Information Technology (HIT or health IT) is one of the few areas where there is bipartisan agreement on investment in American society.  In this article, we ask if the expanding role of Meaningful Use (MU) regulations is taking current Obama administration health IT efforts beyond their foundation of agreement into the soft sands of partisan politics.

The American healthcare system has embarked on a process to encourage and accelerate adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) through a program of incentive payments to providers. This new initiative was authorized in law (the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, contained in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, January, 2009).


Community colleges play vital part in rural areas’ economic development, professor says
by Wayne Grayson

March 18, 2012 (Tuscaloosa News) - During a recent trip to Washington, D.C., University of Alabama education professor Steven Katsinas stressed the importance of community colleges in the economic development of rural areas while making the case that Pell Grants are vital in making these institutions more accessible.

Katsinas, the director of UA’s Education Policy Center, was invited by the Rural Community College Alliance to make three presentations, one of which was held March 2 at the White House before the White House domestic policy issues staff.


» Rural Students and the State University (The Daily Yonder, March 19, 2012)

Telemedicine revolution needed in rural health care
by Pete Aleshire

March 6, 2012 ( - MHA finalist for $25 million grant that could cut costs and improve care by linking local doctors to specialists in real time

Dr. Alan Michels can still vividly recall the heart attack patient he saved thanks to the clamor of angels on his shoulder.

Well, not angels exactly — cardiology specialists, actually, who provided all the expert advice in real-time needed to save a patient who had essentially dropped dead.




Rural Health Research Center Cooperative Agreement
Office of Rural Health Policy

Purpose: The purpose of the RHRC Cooperative Agreement Program is to increase the amount of high quality, impartial, policy-relevant research to assist decision-makers at the federal, state and local levels to better understand problems faced by rural communities, and provide information that will improve access to health care and population health.

Applications are due by April 13, 2012.


Telehealth Network Grant Program

Purpose: This announcement solicits applications for the Telehealth Network Grant Program (TNGP).  The primary objective of the TNGP is to demonstrate how telehealth programs and networks can improve access to quality health care services in rural and underserved communities.

Grants made under this authority will demonstrate how telehealth networks improve healthcare services for medically underserved populations in urban, rural, and frontier communities.  TNGP networks are used to: (a) expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of health care services; (b) improve and expand the training of health care providers; and/or (c) expand and improve the quality of health information available to health care providers, and patients and their families, for decisionmaking.  However, as noted below, because of legislative restrictions, grants will be limited to programs that serve rural communities, although grantees may be located in urban or rural areas.

Applications are due by April 13, 2012.


Telehealth Resource Center Grant Program (posted 2/24/12; due 4/20/12)



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