MACHC
Weekly E-Blast:  
Voicing the latest news on Communities in Need
In This Issue
Enrollment until March 31, 2014
Have news to share with us? Want to be featured on our next E-Digest? Want to read about something in particular? Please email us at aneeqa@machc.com. 

Let's Stay Connected
    
October 11, 2013 
Community Health Center Spotlight

Fix the Cliff Petition

Take Action Now! Sign Our Petition to tell the President and Congress to stop Health Center funding Cuts

En Espanol

 

America's Health Centers play an important role in delivering care to many Americans and could be the health care home for many more, yet unless Congress and the Administration act, funding for the Health Center program will be cut by 70%. A cut of this size would force Health Centers  to close their doors, lay off staff, and reduce the services they provide, leaving millions of Americans without access to the health care services they need.

Help us send a clear message to Congress and the President that the time to fix the Health Centers "funding cliff" is now! Sign the Health Centers petition and help us meet our goal of 25,000 signatures collected during the month of October. If we can achieve this goal, we hope to earn a response from the White House about how they will address this critical issue. CLICK the link below to sign the petition now and THEN ask your friends, family and colleagues to sign it in support of Health Centers.

Link to sign the petition.

You can also  download the petition and make hard copies available in your Health Center waiting room using the petition template. Keep track of how many signatures you collect and send your tally to grassroots@nachc.com.

 

*Scroll down to the Health Observances section for a wonderful piece by our own Chase Brexton Health Services.

  

We will continue to highlight and support all the wonderful achievements of Health Centers!

  

You could be next! Please contact Aneeqa Chowdhury at aneeqa@machc.com to be placed on the SPOTLIGHT!
MACHC Happenings
Thank you so much for attending 
MACHC's Annual Conference 2013. 
We hope you enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed having you all there!
 

 

(1) *TODAY*
When: Friday, October 11, 2013 from 1:00 p.m.- 2:00 p.m. ET 
Please join CMS for a webinar, "Helping Consumers Enroll," to get the latest news and tips to help you assist consumers in the Marketplace. Ask questions before and during the call via email at training@cms.hhs.gov. Please refer to the call in the subject line.

What: Helping Consumers Enroll Webinar
Who should attend: Any individual who has been certified as a Certified Application Counselor (CAC) by his or her CAC Designated Organization  
RSVP: Only those participants who register will receive the call-in information.
Please register for the session by visiting the following link:
Friday, October 11, 2013 from 1:00 p.m.- 2:00 p.m. ET
https://goto.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1024070

Space is limited - we strongly encourage individuals from the same organization to gather in a common room and participate as a group using
a single call-in line.
This webinar will be conducted using "VOIP" technology. Please check your computer settings in advance to ensure that your speaker volume is adjusted appropriately. If you know in advance that you will not be able to hear via VOIP, please email training@cms.hhs.gov for alternative arrangements. 

  

 

(2) *TODAY*

Region III - DHMH Public Health & Healthcare Preparedness Regional Conference

When: October 11, 2013, 8:30 AM - 4:30 AM

692 Maritime Boulevard
Linthicum Heights, Maryland 21090-1952

Region III -  DHMH Public Health & Healthcare Preparedness Regional Conference

This year's OP&R Regional Public Health and Medical Preparedness Conferences will be one-day interactive strategic planning workshops designed to build and enhance our healthcare coalitions.  The workshops will be composed of a series of highly interactive exercises facilitated by senior leaders from the National Healthcare Coalition Resource Center (NHCRC).  Faculty will assist coalition partners with developing a shared vision and future directions for the coalition.  A detailed after action report, with a summary of findings and recommendations for future action, will be provided to each coalition. 

Click HERE to register.

  

(3) 27th Annual AIDS Walk Washington  

October 26, 2013 

Freedom Plaza 

The 27th annual AIDS Walk Washington will be held on Saturday, Oct. 26, at Freedom Plaza. Activities begin at 7:00 am. The 5K timed run begins at 9:15 am with the Walk stepping off at 9:20 am. Click here to register, donate or volunteer. 
 
(4) Addressing the Mess: A Delaware Hoarding Symposium
November 4, 2013, 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
John H. Ammon Medical Education Center at Christiana Hospital. 
$20.00 registration fee includes lunch. 
Call 800-223-9074 or 302-255-9390 for a registration form or to be a vendor at this event OR visit the following website:
  
(5) SAVE THE DATE: Employee Retention Webinar

Date and Time: Wednesday November, 6, 2013 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. 

The Health Systems and Infrastructure Administration (HSIA) and the Mid-Atlantic Association of Community Health Centers (MACHC) are hosting an Executive Employee Retention Webinar. The webinar is being provided for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), Hospitals, Local Health Departments and Health Clinics to learn strategies to retain health providers. 

Richard Finnegan an employee Retention Consultant from The Retention Institute will be facilitating the webinar. 

The Seminar will cover the following topics/activities:

  • Group discussion regarding which of the principles and strategies are most driven by human resources
  • Prioritizing exercise regarding which strategies are most important
  • Identification of tactics to achieve strategies
  • Determination of schedules, sequences, and responsibilities
  • Identification of the cost of turnover
  • Outcomes will include a shift in thinking from programs to processes and if necessary from HR being solely accountable for engagement and retention to a specific model of share accountability
  • Brief overview of the value of cultural competency training 

Registration information TBA on the next E-Blast or check MACHC website.

  

 

(6) Uniform Data System (UDS) Training 2013

December 4th, 2013 8:00 AM - 
4:00 PM
Harbourtowne Golf Resort
9784 Martingham Circle
St. Michaels, MD 21663
Aimed at those who are responsible for gathering and reporting the data elements. The Uniform Data System (UDS) in-person training is a full day program covering the preparation of the 2013 UDS Report.  The training addresses each of the tables, including a discussion of the changes that have been made and the definitions necessary to complete the reports. The UDS training is aimed at those who are responsible for gathering and reporting the data elements included in the UDS report, as well as management and clinical staff who need to understand the definitions and concepts used.
Click here to register.
Policy, Advocacy and Legislation
National News

New Look-Alike Designation Process

The HRSA Bureau of Primary Health Care has released Program Assistance Letter 2013-10: On-Site Compliance Reviews for Initial Designation and Designation Period Changes. Though the review process still is estimated to require 180 days, there are changes in the steps to be taken prior to official Look-Alike designation. Once HRSA believes that the Look-Alike initial designation application is complete and eligible, an on-site review will be scheduled. This, like the Operational Site Visit for grant funded FQHCs, is an evaluation of compliance with FQHC regulations and will take 2-3 days. Applicants will receive an official report of the review and be allowed a period to respond to any findings. Then applicants will be notified through the Electronic Handbook of the official approval or disapproval of the designation application. The initial designation period, like the grant funded project period, will be three years. Interested applicants should review the 2013 Look-Alike application guidance along with these compliance review changes. 
Government Shutdown Enters Week Two; Negotiations Remain Stalled
As you are no doubt aware and as discussed in last week, the federal government officially shutdown last week. The shutdown is entering week two with no sign of resolution. Negotiations remained stalled over the weekend, and the path forward remains unclear. The longer the shutdown continues, the more likely it becomes that this battle will become intertwined with the October 17th deadline to raise the debt ceiling - creating a much larger fiscal fight in the coming days.
NACHC held a TeleForum

Important Outreach and Enrollment Updates

According to a recent update, Community Health Centers working to enroll patients into the Health Insurance Marketplace are encouraged to use the online system to sign patients up rather than sending in paper applications to ensure faster application processing times. The Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) in a recent communication assured that glitches in the Healthcare.gov system are being addressed. It has also been noted that a paper application may be unavoidable since some patients may not have an email account or are uncomfortable using computers. Health centers know their patient population best and should proceed with the method that is most effective for their patients.

  • Outreach and enrollment webinar (for slides, CLICK HERE) from Thursday, October 10th at 4:00 PM EST where you can learn more about best practices, lessons, strategies, and considerations for incorporating outreach and enrollment into your health center or PCA operations.
  • Call For Stories: NACHC is collecting outreach and enrollment health center stories.  Please share what your health center, HCCN, or PCA is doing to get residents enrolled in coverage.  Send local news articles, newsletters, press releases, photos, or even just an email with health center-related O&E developments or problems to Aneeqa Chowdhury at aneeqa@machc.com and Amy Simmons at asimmons@nachc.org.
they will address this critical issue. Click
HERE to sign the petition now and THEN ask your friends, family and colleagues to sign it in support of Health Centers.
 

CMS Stage 2 Guide for the EHR Incentive Program Released

CMS Stage 2 Guide for the EHR Incentive Program Released

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released a new resource for Eligible Professionals entitled, An Eligible Professional's Guide to Stage 2 of the EHR Incentive Programs, which provides a comprehensive overview of Stage 2 of the EHR Incentive Programs. The guide outlines criteria and requirements for Stage 2 meaningful use, 2014 clinical quality measure changes and reporting, 2014 EHR certification, and other resources.

 

A decision by the Obama administration to require that consumers create online accounts before they can browse health overhaul insurance plans appears to have led to many of the glitches that have frustrated customers, independent experts say. Most e-commerce websites - as well as medicare.gov - are not designed to require those merely browsing to set up accounts. But it's one of the first steps on healthcare.gov.
The experience described by Ms. Skrebes is in stark contrast to reports of widespread technical problems that have hampered enrollment in the online health insurance marketplace run by the federal government since it opened on Oct. 1. While many people have been frustrated in their efforts to obtain coverage through the federal exchange, which is used by more than 30 states, consumers have had more success signing up for health insurance through many of the state-run exchanges, federal and state officials and outside experts say.

Feedback Requested on Contracting with Qualified Health Plans

Now that the new Health Insurance Exchanges have gone live, participating Qualified Health Plans are ramping up their networks in order to finalize their coverage and providers for the beginning of 2014 when the newly enrolled will be able to access their covered benefits. NACHC policy staff are interested in knowing from individual centers whether plans are reaching out to make them part of their provider networks, what payment rates are offering, and whether the rates are reasonable in the eyes of the health center? This feedback will enable NACHC policy staff to continue the dialogue with CMS and Capitol Hill and encourage CMS to strengthen the essential community provider minimum contracting requirements for 2015 and beyond. Read more about this issue here.

 

  


One part of the Affordable Care Act is intended to improve dental coverage for children, an extension of effort by public health advocates that followed the 2007 death of a Maryland boy named Deamonte Driver, who was killed by a bacterial infection that spread from an abscessed tooth to his brain.
State News
DELAWARE

CMS Releases Medicare FQHC PPS Proposal

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a proposed rule regarding the Medicare Prospective Payment System (PPS) rate for FQHCs per the Affordable Care Act. The proposal is scheduled to begin October 1, 2014 and increases Medicare payments by approximately 30 percent for services furnished to Medicare beneficiaries in medically underserved areas. Federally qualified health centers will be transitioned to the new payment system throughout Fiscal Year 2015. "The new payment system will help even more patients get care in federally-supported health centers," said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. "The services provided by these centers help ensure patients get important primary and preventive care that lowers costs and improves health outcomes." Under the new PPS, Medicare proposes to pay FQHCs a single encounter rate per beneficiary per day for all services provided. The rate would be adjusted for geographic variation in costs and for the higher costs associated with furnishing care to a patient that is new to the health center or is receiving a comprehensive initial Medicare visit (that is, an initial preventive physical examination or an initial annual wellness visit).

 

MARYLAND
Maryland's online marketplace for health insurance is working better after technicians found the cause of a bottleneck that hampered efforts to create accounts online, the executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange said Thursday, but visitors to the website were still running into delays

A Message from the Maryland Health Connection:

Whether you're enrolling online or in person, Maryland Health Connection is providing you with ways to prepare for the enrollment process. 
Please visit the new "Prepare for Enrollment" page on MarylandHealthConnection.gov where you can review health plans, including Qualified Health Plans and Managed Care Organizations, and review rate estimates. 
Keep these resources on hand when selecting the plan options best for you and your family.

 

  

Finance & Business

BPHC Provides Guidance in These Uncertain Times

HRSA Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) Associate Administrator Jim Macrae and his team shared insights on issues relevant to health center financing. The issues discussed included:

  • Federal Budget. Depending on what happens on the appropriations side, the health center program might enjoy an almost $700,000 million increase in budget
  • New Access Points (NAP). Depending on available resources, BPHC might fund further down the NAP list from the last request for applications and could also consider making a second NAP opportunity available
  • Capital Funding. Guidance on a small capital opportunity for health centers will likely be available near the end of this year or early next year with a focus on Patient-Centered Medical Home
  • Expanded Services Funding. BPHC is looking at releasing some kind of expanded services application in 2014 if funding is available
  • Government Shutdown. If Congress doesn't reach agreement by October 1 on a continuing resolution to keep government functioning, there will be an impact on health centers:
  1. Health centers will still receive awards, but likely at a pro-rated level
  2. Health centers will still be able to draw down resources through the Payment Management System
  3. BPHC support will be limited because of staff furloughs

BPHC also emphasized some other changes:

  • Health Center Profiles. Each health center should check out their health center profile page and call the BPHC hotline with questions
  • Health Center Compliance. All health centers are being transitioned to a three-year project period, which will be marked by the Service Area Competition (SAC) as the first review of compliance with Health Center Program requirements and a mid-cycle (18-month) operational site visit (OSV) to validate compliance, with guidance from project officers between these two formal reviews.
Southern California Public Radio's Stephanie O'Neill, working in partnership with Kaiser Health News and NPR, reports: "But while about 45 employees work here to make Hollywood magic happen, general manager Sunder Ramani is focused on the less exotic work of paying the bills and figuring out how to provide insurance to about 15 employees who don't have union-provided health coverage"  
The Latest News on ACA
What's the LATEST 
on the ACA this week? 

  

Feedback Requested on Contracting with Qualified Health Plans

Now that the new Health Insurance Exchanges have gone live, participating Qualified Health Plans are ramping up their networks in order to finalize their coverage and providers for the beginning of 2014 when the newly enrolled will be able to access their covered benefits. NACHC policy staff are interested in knowing from individual centers whether plans are reaching out to make them part of their provider networks, what payment rates are offering, and whether the rates are reasonable in the eyes of the health center? This feedback will enable NACHC policy staff to continue the dialogue with CMS and Capitol Hill and encourage CMS to strengthen the essential community provider minimum contracting requirements for 2015 and beyond. Read more about this issue 
 

  

*Important: New Marketplace Tools Available*

Want to see how the online application and enrollment process will work for the federal Health Insurance Marketplace? The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a video that walks you through the single, streamlined online application by showing how a user can create an account, fill in the application, and see which new health insurance options users are eligible for. Another video on the online enrollment process explains the "Enroll To-Do List" and shows how users can see side-by-side comparisons of available health insurance plans. In addition, the Commonwealth Fund has released a new, fun interactive tool to help individuals learn how the Affordable Care Act's Health Insurance Marketplaces work. 

  

Enrollment Assister "Who's Who" Fact Sheet Released

A new fact sheet from Enroll America's Best Practices Institute breaks down the definitions of four key assistance options. It also includes a handy chart that maps out the differences between them.

 

Rural Areas Receive Insurance Marketplace Funding

HHS announced that it is releasing $2.5 million nationwide to educate and enroll uninsured individuals and families living in rural areas across the country. Rural health organizations can each anticipate receiving at least $25,000 from HRSA for these purposes. In Pennsylvania, only one grant awardee was announced: Clearfield-Jefferson Community Mental Health Center, Inc.
 
The Affordable Care Act and your Community Health Center

NACHC is pleased to present a new video, "The Affordable Care Act and Your Community Health Center."  Short and to the point, this new communications tool can assist health centers with educating their patient populations about coverage options under Medicaid, or purchasing a private insurance policy in the online Health Insurance Marketplace.

This is not the first, and will more than likely not be the last animated informational video about the Affordable Care Act in the digital realm. However, this video is unique because it speaks directly to the Community Health Center population and emphasizes the major role health centers are playing in outreach and enrollment.

The video was produced in multiple formats with the idea that it will be played in health center waiting rooms across the country. The formats include:

These various formats will allow health center patients to watch the videos on mute (if the health center staff chooses to mute them) while they wait to see a physician.

Please feel free to use and share this tool as you see fit. 
----------------------

 For helpful outreach and enrollment resources, please click here.

 

Grants & Funding Opportunities

Disclaimer: Funding opportunities are scarce due to government shutdown.

 

Debunk the Myths: Grant Application Video Series

Federal grants can be excellent funding opportunities for your project, but not understanding the process can lead to a great deal of frustration. This video series will debunk common myths and assist you with your grant applications.
  

FY 2014 Service Area Competition (SAC) Technical Assistance

Service Area Competition - New, Competing Continuation, and Supplemental (HRSA-14-021, HRSA-14-022, HRSA14-023, HRSA-14-024, HRSA-14-025, HRSA-14-026, HRSA-14-027, HRSA-14-028)

Through the Service Area Competition (SAC), HRSA will award approximately $468 million in funding to an estimated 310 SAC applicants. A SAC application is a request for Federal financial assistance to support comprehensive primary health care services for a competitively announced underserved area or population. All available service areas (see below) are currently served by Health Center Program grantees whose project periods are ending in FY 2014.

Application Deadlines

Project Period Start DateHRSA Announcement NumberGrants.gov Deadline (11:59 PM ET)HRSA EHB Deadline (5:00 PM ET)
November 1, 2013HRSA-14-021July 24, 2013August 7, 2013
December 1, 2013HRSA-14-022July 31, 2013August 14, 2013
January 1, 2014HRSA-14-023August 14, 2013August 28, 2013
February 1, 2014HRSA-14-024September 11, 2013September 25, 2013
March 1, 2014HRSA-14-025October 9, 2013October 23, 2013
April 1, 2014HRSA-14-026October 30, 2013November 13, 2013
May 1, 2014HRSA-14-027December 4, 2013December 18, 2013
June 1, 2014HRSA-14-028January 8, 2014January 22, 2014

*Please click on the title for more information regarding the various grants. 

 

 

AHRQ Disseminating Patient Centered Outcomes Research to Improve Health Care Delivery

Application Deadline: September 27, 2013

Grants to leverage the capacities of existing broad-based networks of providers and other key stakeholders to disseminate and implement existing evidence for improving the quality of care delivery. Spread of evidence to support change in care delivery requires coordination, buy-in and active participation by diverse providers across multiple settings of care, collaboration with other key stakeholders (including payers and consumers) who are instrumental in shaping care delivery, and adaptation of interventions to local conditions. In recognition of these well-documented challenges and needs, this funding opportunity requires that applicants represent existing networks of providers and other stakeholders that have the knowledge, on-going relationships, expertise, infrastructures, past experience and understanding of local needs and constraints to maximize buy-in, collaboration, and appropriate adaptation to local conditions. 

  

Bureau of Primary Health Care Loan Guarantee Program

Application Deadline: Applications accepted on an ongoing basis
Loan program to Section 330 health centers to obtain a loan guarantee for the financing of a medical facility construction, renovation and modernization.
Has your FQHC joined the 
National Branding Campaign?

 

With more than 43 billion people  eligible to enroll in private insurance starting this October 1, FQHCs strive to create an identifiable unifying identity for themselves. This is where the National Branding Campaign for Our Health Centers comes into place. 

The campaign is a national branding effort to strengthen recognition of our Health Centers as a unified and nationwide network of quality community-based primary care providers.  Initially created at the state level by the Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers (PACHC) and its membership, the National Association of Community Health Centers has expanded the campaign nationwide.

 

The FQHC Brand Components  

MACHC recently hosted a Branding Webinar for MD and DE Health Centers with CEO of PACHC, Cheri Reinhart and Event and Communications Coordinator, Kirsten Keyes, as guest speakers. If you missed the webinar and would like access, please click here.

 

*MACHC will bring back Cheri Reinhart, CEO of Pennsylvania PCA present and lead a workgroup during MACHC's Annual Conference on Thursday - September 19, 2013! 

Health Observances This Week
 
The Sexiest Health Topic of All: Dental Hygiene
By  Alicia Gabriel, Chase Brexton Health Services

If your eyes are the window to the soul - maybe your mouth is the window to the body. Have you ever noticed how before you get the flu, you might get a canker sore? Or when you have sinus trouble, your teeth hurt? Or how your breath stinks when you're hungry?

October probably means a couple things to you - and we doubt dental hygiene is on that list. But October really is National Dental Hygiene Month. And, it may sound like a dull topic, but we know it's important to focus on and totally worth reading about.

Good dental hygiene helps prevent:

  • Bad breath (halitosis) by removing the bacteria between teeth - bacteria from things that are decaying - like old food!
  • Tooth decay and cavities by removing plaque from the tooth and gum.
  • Gingivitis and gum disease (periodontal disease), which will damage your gum tissue, cause problems with the bones supporting the teeth, and may cause you to lose teeth.
  • Heart disease! There is evidence that periodontal disease is connected to heart disease. The American Academy of Periodontology reports that people with gum disease are twice as likely to have heart disease as those without gum disease.

While the connection between gum disease and heart disease is still in research, regular dental hygiene still remains a key to maintaining (and even regaining!) oral health.

The American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA) says good dental hygiene takes 4 easy steps: Brush, floss, rinse, chew!

So first things first: brush! Two minutes a day, two times a day. Use an extra soft or soft brush. Hard bristles will wear away the surface of your teeth and damage your gums. Don't use a kids brush if you're an adult, and vice versa - even though we all know how tempting Thomas the Tank Engine brushes are. Any brand of toothpaste will do, as long as it has fluoride. Fluoride will help strengthen weak spots and prevent tooth cavities.

Now, get out the floss.

Gums that receive daily flossing feel good - they aren't puffy, sore, or red, and they don't bleed as easily. Remember: it is not normal for your gums to bleed.

Waxed floss may be easier for you to use, but any brand of floss is great. Now, you don't need to floss twice a day, but once is definitely needed. Floss in a gentle zig zag motion between each tooth. Don't force the floss between your teeth. Forcing floss can cause cuts to the gums and can damage caps.

You've brushed and flossed, and now it's time to rinse and spit! Rinsing your mouth each day with an anti-microbial mouthwash is an important step you can take to prevent gum disease (gingivitis). Mouthwash reaches spots your toothbrush and floss don't get to.

Finally: Chew sugarless gum! Yes. It sounds weird, but chewing sugarless gum has been shown to stimulate the most important natural defense against tooth decay: our saliva. So, chewing sugarless gum after meals helps to fight cavities, neutralize plaque acids, remineralize enamel to strengthen teeth, and wash away food particles. Plus, it tastes good and makes your breath yummy. Who knew?

Follow the four steps and see your dentist every six months for a healthier mouth and a healthier you! 

Mid-Atlantic Association of Community Health Centers | | aneeqa@machc.com |
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Copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved.