NCHN e-News: February 16, 2016


Registration is NOW OPEN!

Renaissance Oklahoma City Convention Center Hotel
10 N Broadway Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK 73102

 April 18 - 21, 2016 

On Wednesday, April 20, 2016 NCHN will be sponsoring

Disney Institute
Disney's Approach to Business Excellence 

Click here to view the learning objectives and agenda for
Disney's Approach to Business Excellence 

Visit our conference website by clicking here.
Conference Registration
NCHN Members:
$725  (The registration fee includes: All sessions, including Disney's Approach to Business Excellence, 2 receptions, 3 breakfasts, 2 lunches, beverage breaks, and conference materials)

$825  (The registration fee includes: All sessions, including Disney's Approach to Business Excellence, 2 receptions, 3 breakfasts, 2 lunches, beverage breaks, and conference materials)

Disney Institute Only:
$599  (The registration fee includes breakfast, lunch, beverage breaks, and Institute materials)

 Disney Institute Only - (Guests of NCHN conference participant):
 $499  (The registration fee includes breakfast, lunch, beverage breaks, and Institute materials)

Continuing Education Credits - Disney's Approach to Business Excellence is accredited with the American College for Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). Other professional organizations may also accept Disney Institute programs for continuing education credit but it is the participant’s responsibility to confirm that these credits are accepted within their organization and it is the participant’s responsibility to apply for credit with their respective groups. NCHN will provide Disney Institute with the participant’s name and email address to create the certificate needed, either NASBA or ACHE, and will email it to the individual participant. Check with NCHN for more information if interested in continuing education credit.
Room Reservation
Click here to reserve online  or you can call 1-800-859-6877
(mention the group code "NCHNCHA" in order to get the conference rate)

Rates (available April 17- April 24, 2016 *based on availability)
Single/Double: $149 + tax (13.9%)/night
Reservation Deadline: March 28, 2016

Partnership with the National Rural Accountable Care Consortium (NRACC)
A brief reminder of our partnership with the
NRACC .  NCHN members are encouraged to provide this information to their physicians and physician practices. Instruct applicants to list your network as referring them to the program, and your network will receive $500.  The applicant must list your network in the "How did you hear about us" box on the application form. This offer ends February 29, 2016. More information and the application form can be found by clicking the link above.  Download the brochure here.

Executive Roundtable

Executive Roundtable Call:   Change: Network Leaders Leading, Managing, and Flowing with Change

NCHN ER Call – Friday, February 19 @ 12:00 PM ET; 11:00 AM CT; 10:00 AM MT; 9:00 AM PT; 8:00 AM AKST

 Network leaders face numerous opportunities to adapt to changes. We talk about the fact that leaders of networks must be flexible and adaptable and yet sometimes, change simply needs to be managed. In our February meeting, we'll consider five different changes that you might face in 2016 and together; we'll create and describe effective approaches and tools for thriving in a bit of change chaos.  

If you have a suggestions for future ER calls please email Rebecca

Upcoming Events

  • Board of Directors Call: February 16, 2016 @ 4:00 PM ET
  • ER Call: February 19, 2016 @ 12:00 PM ET
  • 2016 Conference Planning Committee Call: February 23, 2016 @ 11:00 AM ET
  • 2016 Conference Planning Committee Call: March 1, 2016 @ 11:00 AM ET
  • 2016 Conference Planning Committee Call: March 15, 2016 @ 11:00 AM ET
  • Executive Committee Call: March 15, 2016 @ 4:00 PM
  • NCHN Quarterly Informational Call: March 21, 2016 @ 2:00 PM  ET

Member News

Santa Cruz Adolescent Wellness Network (AWN) - AZ
Positive Youth Leadership Team is a program for Santa Cruz County high school sophomores, juniors and seniors to learn about issues affecting youth health in their community; work with professionals from health, education, and social services; and lead change. This program is designed as an opportunity for students to partner with AWN to expand youth voice and action for a healthy community.

Michigan Rural EMS Network - MI
The Michigan Rural EMS Network will be hosting the 8th Annual EMS Summit February 18-20, 2016 at the Bavarian Inn Lodge in Frankenmuth, MI.  To view the full brochure, click

Funding News & Announcements

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP)
Delta States Rural Development Network Grant Program 
An estimated total of $10,080,00 will made available for the 2016 Delta States Rural Development Network Grant Program.  Funding will support the development of integrated health care networks in the eight Delta States (Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Missouri) to coordinate care, achieve efficiencies, expand access to and improve the quality of essential health care services. With an emphasis on evidence-based approaches to population health, the Delta program strengthens the rural health care system by helping communities develop partnerships and jointly address problems that could not be solved by single entities working alone.  Eligible applicants are networks of three or more health care providers in the Delta states that will focus efforts on improving diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and acute ischemic stroke in their communities.  Applications are due on April 4, 2016.  FORHP will host a live technical assistance webinar on Wednesday, February 24, 2016 from 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM ET to assist applicants in preparing their applications. To join, go to; dial-in at 800-619-4542, participant code 6803316. For more information, contact Marcia Colburn at

Telehealth Network Grant Program 
FORHP is also accepting applications for the Telehealth Network Grant Program to demonstrate how telehealth 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, patients and their families for decision-making.  A significant change to the longstanding program is encouraging telehealth services be delivered through School-Based Health Centers (SBHC), particularly those serving high-poverty rural populations.  Approximately $6,000,000 is expected to be available annually to fund up to twenty (20) recipients.  Applicants may apply for a ceiling amount of up to $300,000 per year.  The deadline to apply is April 8, 2016 .  FORHP will hold a technical assistance webinar on Monday, February 29, at 2:00PM (EST).  To join, please visit; Toll-free call in number (for audio): 888-790-1954   ; passcode: 4171383.  For more information, contact Carlos Mena at .  

Small Health Care Provider Quality Improvement Program
This program will provide funding during federal fiscal years 2016 – 2019.  Approximately $4,150,000 is expected to be available annually to fund up to 21 recipients.  Applicants may apply for a ceiling amount of up to $200,000 per year.  This program announcement is subject to the appropriation of funds, and is a contingency action taken to ensure that, should funds become available for this purpose, applications can be processed, and funds can be awarded in a timely manner.  The project period is three (3) years.  Funding beyond the first year is dependent on the availability of appropriated funds for the Small Health Care Provider Quality Improvement Program in subsequent fiscal years, satisfactory recipient performance, and a decision that continued funding is in the best interest of the Federal GovernmentApplication deadline is March 4, 2016.

Office of the Secretary, Office of Minority Health
Communities Addressing Childhood Trauma (ACT) - This grant seeks to address unhealthy behaviors in minority youth and provide them with opportunities to learn coping skills and gain experiences that contribute to more positive lifestyles and enhance their capacity to make healthier life choices.  Application Deadline: April 18, 2016 Click here for full announcement.
Training Opportunities

How to Craft a Proposal to a Foundation
Proposal writing is the skill most sought after by savvy nonprofit staff members. On the one hand, writing a grant proposal is quite simple and follows a basic formula. However, submitting a proposal may be your only chance to put the case for funding your organization in front of a foundation, so you want to be sure to do it right. In this webinar, Judith Margolin provides invaluable tips on developing a compelling proposal narrative, what your proposal package should include, how to let your funder take the lead, and advice on writing and submission techniques that get your proposal noticed by foundation decision makers. This webinar is for beginning and intermediate grant writers who want to learn specifically about proposals to foundations. The 90 minute webinar will be held on Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 2:00 PM ET.Visit the link in the title above to register. The fee is $89.00 per person, $150.00 per site.

Take Advantage of Your NCHN Membership!

Network Leader Salary & Benefit Report
Every 2 years, NCHN conducts a Network Leader Salary & Benefit Survey and this is the year for the next survey and report.  Survey results are summarized into a report which  includes information such as average salary overall, salary by budget and region, and network leader benefits and demographics. NCHN members who participate in the survey receive a free copy of the report.

Watch your email later this year for more information as well as additional information in future newsletters.
Contact NCHN's Director of Member Services, Linda K. Weiss if you have questions.  217-549-4121 or

National News and Other Information

Obama Administration to Partner with 27 Communities to Boost Neighborhood Revitalization through Local Food Enterprises
The White House Rural Council (WHRC) has announced 27 communities in 22 states that will participate in a new federal initiative “that helps communities increase economic opportunities for local farmers and related businesses, create vibrant places and promote childhood wellness by improving access to healthy local food.”  To read the news release please click
New WHRC Initiative: Local Foods, Local Places.

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP)
Evaluation of the Frontier Community Health Care Network – In 2011, FORHP awarded a grant to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services to coordinate clinical services through a network of community health workers (CHW), who are either paid employees or volunteers working alongside local health care systems.  This policy brief evaluates the Frontier Community Health Care Network program to determine whether it improved patient outcomes and is the newest addition to the Community Health Worker Toolkit at the Rural Health Information Hub. For further study of the CHW model, see this recent issue brief from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Rural Health Research

Prediction of Financial Distress Among Rural Hospitals – The Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina has been monitoring rural hospital closures and last month developed the Financial Distress Index (FDI) “to better understand factors affecting rural hospital financial distress and to develop an early warning system”.  Using the most currently available information on hospitals’ financial performance, government reimbursement, and organizational characteristics, the FDI algorithm predicts whether a hospital is at high, medium-high, medium-low, or low risk of financial distress. 

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

Final Rule On Home Health Services.  On February 2, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its final rule implementing provisions of the Affordable Care Act and Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 that requires a physician to document a face-to-face visit with Medicaid beneficiaries for the initial order of home health services and certain medical equipment and supplies. This face-to-face requirement had already applied to Medicare beneficiaries. Of note for rural providers, the rule allows practitioners to conduct the face-to-face visit through the use of telehealth, and authorizes certain non-physician practitioners to conduct the face-to-face visit, including nurse practitioners, certified nurse specialists, certified nurse-midwives, and physician assistants. Importantly, the rule maintains the existing rule that only physicians are authorized to certify home health services and medical equipment. The rule is effective July 1, 2016. CMS will delay the effective date up to two years for states that must pass legislation to comply with the rule.

Hardship Exceptions to EHR Incentive Program.  CMS has streamlined the process to apply for hardship exception to their Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program, also known as Meaningful Use.  Exceptions to payment adjustments can be made to rural providers for reasons such as insufficient internet connectivity, disaster, practice or hospital closure, severe financial distress, and EHR certification/vendor issues. Eligible professionals must apply by March 15, 2016, and the deadline for eligible hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) is April 1, 2016.

Request for Comments: Performance Measures for ACOs. On February 2nd, CMS issued a proposed rule to update the methodology used to measure the performance of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP).  Of particular interest to rural providers and stakeholders is the proposal to modify the process for resetting performance benchmarks.   Recognizing that health cost trends vary in communities across the country, CMS proposes to use regional rather than national spending growth trends when establishing and updating an ACO’s rebased benchmark.  Comments are due by March 28, 2016.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,  Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Health Workforce

National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program
Primary care medical, dental and mental/behavioral health clinicians can get up to $50,000 to repay their health profession student loans in exchange for a two-year commitment to work at an approved NHSC site in a high-need, underserved area. The payment is free from Federal income tax and is made at the beginning of service so you can more quickly pay down your loans. Approved sites are located across the U.S., in both urban and rural areas. After completing your initial service commitment, you can apply to extend your service and receive additional loan repayment assistance. The amount you receive and length of your commitment depends on where you serve (service at sites in higher need areas yields greater loan repayments). It also depends on whether you select the full-time or half-time option. See the 2016 Application and Program Guidance (PDF - 401 KB) for details. See if your site is already approved at the NHSC Jobs Center. The NHSC gives priority consideration to eligible applicants whose NHSC-approved site(s) has a HPSA score of 26 to 14, in descending order, until funding is exhausted.
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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