NCHN e-News: October 20, 2015

Save the week of April 18, 2016 for the next NCHN Annual Educational Conference!
Location and additional details coming soon!

Please Help Us Welcome 2 New Directors to the NCHN Board of Directors
Carolyn Witherspoon               
Carolyn Witherspoon, Executive Director
The Coalition of Health Services, Inc  - Amarillo, TX
Carolyn has seven years of experience as an NCHN Board member, including serving as President from 2011 through 2012. In 2013 Carolyn was recognized as NCHN's Outstanding Network Leader of the Year.  Please thank Carolyn for her willingness to serve again in this capacity.  We're happy to have you back on the board Carolyn!!

Donna Newchurch, Executive Director
Louisiana Rural Ambulance Alliance - Napoleonville, LA
This is Donna's first time serving on the NCHN board.  Donna has served on the Conference Planning Committee since 2013 and was a huge help with the 2013 conference in New Orleans. Donna is also serving on the Rural Assistance Center’s Advisory Board.  We welcome her fresh eyes. Thank you for joining Donna!

FINAL Call for Committee Membership
NCHN is your Association and we need your leadership and participation at all levels. Serving on a committee is an excellent way to get involved in the leadership of NCHN while collaborating with other network leaders. This is the final call for committee membership. If you have questions about committee service and or would like to sign up for a committee please contact Rebecca at  (970-712-0732) or Linda at (217-549-4121).  If you are interested in seeking a future leadership role in NCHN’s governance structure, one of the requirements is to have served on at least two committees.  Please sign up for a committee today!  

2015 - 2017 NCHN Committees
Awards Committee -- The purpose of the Awards Committee is to promote the NCHN Awards Program. The Committee will encourage members to nominate their peers for the designated award categories, review the selection criteria and make recommendations for revisions as needed to the Board of Directors, review the nominations and make recommendations on award winners, following established selection criteria, and assist with the Awards Luncheon at the 2016 and 2017 Annual Conferences. The Committee will also explore the possibility of expanding the awards program and will make recommendations for new categories to the Board of Directors.  Membership to this Committee should be former NCHN Award winners. The Awards Committee will determine their meeting schedule and will meet as needed.

2016 Conference Planning Committee – The purpose of the Conference Planning Committee is to organize and plan the Annual NCHN Conference. This includes selection of dates and location for the 2017 conference, development of the theme and workshops to support the theme, and overall management of the 2016 conference. NCHN’s Vice President serves as the Chair of the Committee. The Conference Planning Committee will begin meeting in October and will tentatively meet on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 11:00 AM ET.  

Leadership Summit Committee - The purpose of the Leadership Summit Committee is to manage the annual Leadership Summit. This development of the topic focus, identification of speaker(s) to support the topic, overall management of the 2016 Leadership Summit, including selection of dates and location for the 2016 Summit, as well as the 2017 Summit. This Committee will determine their meeting schedule and will meet as needed. 2016 Leadership Summit is tentatively scheduled for October 2016

Membership Task Force - The purpose of the Membership Task Force will be to review NCHN membership records.  The Task Force will be comprised of two current Directors and at least two members, preferably, one long-term NCHN member, e.g. 7 years or longer, and one new NCHN member, e.g., within the last year or two. The Membership Task Force will develop recommendations on targets for membership growth for NCHN, as well as targets for retention. The Task Force will meet by conference call, as needed, to develop recommendations for Board consideration. 

Program Development Committee - The purpose of the Program Development Committee is to review the Association’s current programs and services and make recommendations for new program and services. The Board of Directors has designated that a major focus of this committee is the continual review and updating and promotion the “Tools and Strategies for Managing Health Networks” website. The Committee will also assist in the education of the membership on any programs changes and introduction of new programs and services. The Committee will meet monthly.

Sponsorship Committee – The purpose of the Sponsorship Committee is to oversee the management of the NCHN Business Partner and Sponsorship Program, including the NCHN Member to Member Business Partners. The Business/Sponsorship Program guidelines should be reviewed and recommendations for any changes forwarded to the Board of Directors. The committee will assist with recruitment of both sponsors and NCHN members with products or services for sell. The committee will assist with review of applications for Sponsorship and Business Partnerships and make recommendations to the Board of Directors. The Sponsorship Committee will determine their meeting schedule and will meet as needed.

Executive Roundtable

Executive Roundtable Call:  NCHN ER Calls Return! 

Tuesday, October 27 @ 2:00 PM ET; 1:00 PM CT; 12:00 PM MT; 11:00 AM PT; and 10:00 AM AKST

The NCHN ER (Executive Roundtable) calls are your opportunity to connect with your peers across the country. The calls are facilitated by Mary Kay Chess, Ph.D., and provides an hour each month for you to explore opportunities and challenges of managing a successful health network.  We hope you can join us!

Disruptive Board Members or Key Innovators! 
Disruptive Board members can be trouble, and they're often key innovators and highly valuable to your network. In order to meet and exceed your sustainability goals, you need to guide-and even cultivate-disruptive innovation in your Board. What does disruptive innovation mean on your board and, how do you cultivate it in the midst of the continual changes in healthcare?  Where does curiosity fit?  And, failures?  Let's explore your insights into disruption in your board and the qualities of disruption that keep your network alive and viable.
NCHN Quarterly Informational Call - December 21, 2015  2:00 PM EST
Topic to be determined. If you have a suggestion, please email Rebecca at

Upcoming Events

  • Executive Roundtable Call: October 27, 2015 @ 2:00 PM ET
  • Executive Committee Call: November 3, 2015 @ 4:00 PM ET
  • Board of Directors Call:  November 17, 2015 @ 4:00 PM ET
  • National Rural Health Day: November 19, 2015
  • Executive Committee Call: December 15, 2015 @ 4:00 PM ET
  • Quarterly Information Call:  December 21, 2015 @ 2:00 PM ET

Member News

The Hospital Cooperative - ID
On August 10, over 90 people joined The Hospital Cooperative for a highly anticipated presentation by Joe Tye. Joe Tye is the author of The Florence Prescription; From Accountability to Ownership. The workshop, Creating a Positive Culture, was a one day event and focused on helping employees improve their accountability and ownership. With insight from personal struggle and hospital oversight, Mr. Tye shared many ideas that inspired those who attended. By the end of the program all of the attendees were taking the “Pickle Pledge,” a daily mantra to help people keep a positive out look in their professional world as well as their personal life. 

Greater Delta Alliance for Health (GDAH)- AR
Saving Lives with State of Art Training - 
GDAH’s Health Education for Local Providers OB simulation training program is using realistic birthing simulators for healthcare education. GDAH's Executive Director Mellie Bridewell stated "With the most advanced birthing simulator in Arkansas, we make it possible for our healthcare providers to learn the necessary skills needed to meet the challenges for emergency obstetric services,” Full article.

Funding News & Announcements

HHS Awards More Than $240 Million to Expand the Primary Care Workforce
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell recently announced more than $240 million – including about $176 million in Affordable Care Act funding – to support the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and NURSE Corps scholarship and loan repayment programs to increase access to primary health care in the communities that need it most.Full Press Release

HHS awards up to $22.9 million in Planning Grants for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in conjunction with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Assistant Secretary of Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), awarded a total of $22.9 million to support states throughout the nation in their efforts to improve behavioral health of their citizens by providing community-based mental and substance use disorder treatment. Read the October 19. 2015
press release.
Training Opportunities

The Nonprofit Quarterly
A Complimentary Webinar - What financial reports does YOUR board need: Ensuring that the mix fits your governance needs;.A Conversation with Hilda H. Polanco -October 28, 1:00-2:00pm EST  
Click here to register
There is no such thing as a one size fits all approach to financial reporting to the nonprofit board. Each organization’s board must understand the variables needing to be watched in their own specific enterprise. Nonprofit financial expert Hilda Polanco will help CFOs, CEOs and board members understand what kind of reporting is most effective in what sizes and types of organizations. Among other things, you will learn: 
  • How to ensure the financial literacy on your board meets your needs
  • When Cash-flow reports are vital
  • How to create a dashboard to track your own critical variables
The New England Rural Health RoundTable
The New England Rural Health RoundTable (RoundTable) will host a Rural Health Works (RHW) Training on Thursday, December 3, 2015. The training will be held at the Southbridge Hotel & Conference Center at 14 Mechanic Street, Southbridge, MA 01550. The National Center for Rural Health Works (RHW) will present the training. The RHW workshop will provide training in (1) Economic impact, (2) Community health needs assessment toolkit, and (3) Budget studies (feasibility) for new or expanded health care services. The training is designed for professionals from agencies that are involved or plan to be involved in providing assistance to communities in any of these three areas. Enrollment will be limited to 25 participants and will be on a “First Come, First Serve” basis.Ann Peton, Director, National Center for the Analysis of Healthcare Data (NCAHD), will provide a one-hour training session on how to use mapping and spatial data analysis to further support the outcomes of RHW.    If you have questions, contact Gerald A. Doeksen or Cheryl F. St. Clair at 405-744-9823, 9824 or 9814.  
registration form

Rural Population Health Learning Collaborative
On Monday, October 26th from 1:00 to 2:00 ET, the Rural Population Health Learning Collaborative will hold a webinar on Sustainability Strategies for Community Health Workers (CHW).  Participants will hear about how CHW can improve health care outcomes, different approaches to funding CHWs, one state’s efforts to pass legislation on accreditation. For additional information, contact Matt Stryker at 574-855-4671 or Learn more about Community Health Workers in Rural Settings at the Rural Assistance Center.

Take Advantage of Your NCHN Membership!

Would you like additional review and editing assistance before submitting your next federal proposal? Through your NCHN membership, you have access to discounted rates on professional grant review services. To learn more, click here.

Pathfinder - is a new, free, interactive website, offered by where users have access to an extensive list of resources of professional development opportunities. This website is designed to help you develop your career path as a grants professional. Our library provides profiles on top quality resources in the area of grant research, writing, and management, as well as strategic planning.  Please visit us by clicking the pathfinder link above.

Your NCHN membership provides a significant subscription discount to Contact Linda with questions or to place an order.

We are happy to once again offer the benefits of the HCAHPS Breakthrough Webinar Seriesâ„¢  Take advantage of this dynamic leadership education series, beginning November 17, 2015. Each webinar is focused on one HCAHPS domain and is crafted to provide participants with a step by step actionable blueprint to sustainably improve their patient experience scores. Recordings are available for viewing for one year from the date of the webinar. To order please contact Linda.
Here’s how the HCAHPS Breakthroughâ„¢ – Webinar Series works: 
  •  The content has been designed to provide an engaging, educational, how-to roadmap that will captivate the imagination of attendees to successfully drive positive      behavioral change at every level.
  •  Each webinar includes a downloadable Learning Guide that features priority best practice tools, LEAN friendly SOP checklists, and critical implementation skills.
  •  As a value-added bonus, every hospital team will receive a complimentary one hour customized Coaching Call with authors Brian Lee, CSP.
  •  Participants who miss any of the scheduled webinar series, or wish to revisit or share the content with other employees, can access the HCAHPS Breakthroughâ„¢  Library for three months following the final webinar.
  •  A mid-year National Symposium on HCAHPS Sustainability, will take place on February 8-10, 2016, at the Annual HealthCare Service Excellence Conference, at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort in Phoenix, AZ. (A conference within a conference.)

Member to Member Business Partner 
NCHN Member to Member Business Partner Program 
NCHN members interested in marketing products and/or services they have developed may apply for participation in the NCHN Member to Member Business Partner Program (MMBPP). Participation is available to any dues paying NCHN member desiring to share their products or services with other NCHN members. Qualifications to participate in the MMBPP:
•    Must be a NCHN voting member in good standing
•    Must have products or services available from the network for NCHN
     members to evaluate and purchase
•    Application must be approved by NCHN Board of Directors 
To download the application please click 
apply here.
For questions please contact Rebecca 

National News

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
HHS publishes a roadmap to advance health information sharing & transform care
ONC issues Interoperability Roadmap defining critical actions to enable a learning health systemThe Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) recently released the final Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap (Roadmap). The Roadmap coordinates public and private sector efforts to advance the safe and secure exchange of electronic health information across the country to improve individual, community and population health. It defines a path forward to improve our health care system through the use of interoperable health information technology, including a focus on person-centered and self-managed care and the overall improvement of health care outcomes.  
Full Press Release

HHS issues rules to advance electronic health records with added simplicity and flexibility
Public comment period offers forum to gather additional feedback and inform future policies. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) recently released final rules that simplify requirements and add new flexibilities for providers to make electronic health information available when and where it matters most and for health care providers and consumers to be able to readily, safely, and securely exchange that information. The final rule for 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria (2015 Edition) and final rule with comment period for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHRs) Incentive Programs will help continue to move the health care industry away from a paper-based system, where a doctor’s handwriting needed to be interpreted and patient files could be misplaced.  Full Press Release

HIMSS Statement on the Interoperability Roadmap
Arlington, VA (October 6,2015) - HIMSS reaffirms its commitment to improving the quality, safety, access, and cost effectiveness of healthcare by achieving widespread secure, electronic exchange of health information. ONC’s Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap is intended to put our Nation on the path to a Learning Health System--where standardized, electronic health information is securely available when needed for patients and providers to engage and drive actionable outcomes.
 Read More.

CMS and ONC Release Two Final Health IT-Related Regulations: A Joint 2015-2017 Meaningful Use Modifications/Stage 3 Rule and the 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria Rule
Arlington, VA (October 6, 2015) - On Oct. 6, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) each released a final regulation: CMS published the Meaningful Use 2015-2017 Modifications/Stage 3 Rule and ONC the 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Rule.  Read More.

HIMSS Statement on the Meaningful Use Stage 3 Rule
Arlington, VA (October 6,2015) - IT is a critical tool enabling positive transformation, value-based care models, and the delivery of better care, improved outcomes, and lower costs. In response to the new final regulations recently released, HIMSS appreciates the continued efforts of CMS and ONC to simplify and provide flexibility for meeting the Meaningful Use program requirements. We support the confirmation of the 90-day reporting period for 2015. Further, we support the emphasis placed on January 1, 2018 - the start of the period where providers are required to meet Stage 3 objectives and measures.
Read More.

Contact List for Providers with Questions About Medicare and Medicaid

On October 1 the United States health care community transitioned to ICD-10. Recognizing that providers may still need help with the transition, CMS has issued a new ICD-10 Resource Guide and Contact List to help them find answers to their questions. CMS remains committed to working with the community on the transition. Help is available if you experience any challenges using ICD-10. To locate ICD-10 information and contacts quickly:
  • Step 1 Find resources on our CMS ICD-10 website and Road to 10
    online tool.
  • Step 2 Contact your MAC for Medicare claims questions. Your MAC is your first line for Medicare claims help. MACs cannot respond to questions about Medicaid or commercial health plans.
  • Step 3 Contact the ICD-10 Ombudsman for questions. The ICD-10 Ombudsman is an impartial advocate with a dedicated team of experts to answer your questions. Responses will typically be sent within 3 business days of receipt.
Visit the CMS ICD-10 website and for the latest news and resources, including the ICD-10 Quick Start Guide

Crucial Moment for the 340B Drug Discount Program
A critical deadline looms for healthcare providers in the 340B drug discount program. On October 27, 2015, the public comment period closes for proposed federal regulatory changes that could significantly impact how they care for low-income patients. This is especially important for rural hospitals as 340B savings allow many to meet their missions and help keep their doors open. The program was created in 1992 to help safety-net providers stretch scarce resources. It requires drug companies to sell discounted medications to hospitals that treat high numbers of the poor, community health centers, hemophilia centers and Ryan White HIV/AIDS clinics. Rural hospitals were added to the program in 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act. About $7.5 billion in discounted medications is purchased through the program each year. That generates an estimated $3.8 billion in savings that eligible providers use to supply discounted and free medications and to help fund clinical care for uninsured and underinsured patients. The new proposed guidance comes from the Health Resources and Services Administration which oversees the program. After several misfires, it is the most comprehensive overhaul in the 23-year history of 340B.  One draft rule is particularly problematic for rural hospitals: All infusion orders need to be written by hospital providers as a result of care delivered at the hospital. But many rural hospitals don’t have oncologists on staff. Even if they do, local residents often have their cancer diagnosed and a treatment plan developed by urban hospitals that have extensive expertise. The patients then bring the plans back to their rural providers for care. Under the proposed rules, the rural hospital would not be permitted to use 340B drugs despite being medically responsible for the infusion. As well, 340B pricing would be prohibited for discharge medications. Many hospitals provide these meds or prescriptions to patients who have been cleared to go home after an inpatient stay. Discharge medications play a crucial role in preventing hospital readmission. Such changes, if enacted, would dramatically limit the amount of savings rural hospitals can receive through 340B. In turn, that limits their ability to deliver services to the underserved. It is very important that providers inform HRSA of these potential impacts before the October 27 deadline. Comments can be filed
here.  For more information please visit

Healthy People 2020
On October 15th, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that
a new set of objectives proposed for Healthy People 2020 is open for public comment. This 10-year roadmap to better health for the nation relies on broad input from public health experts, officials and the general public. Rural health stakeholders have a chance to weigh in and ensure that this initiative takes into account unique rural considerations. Proposed additions to the 42 existing topic areas for health promotion include objectives for family planning; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health; disaster preparedness; and social determinants of health.

NCHN is a national professional membership organization comprised exclusively of health networks, alliances, and/or network stakeholders dedicated to supporting the success of health networks. Its mission is to support and strengthen health network. Network members include some of the of most longstanding and established networks in the country, as well as some of the most recently formed networks. Find out more online at

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To learn more about membership and to join, go to 
or contact Linda Weiss at

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