Weekly E-Blast:  
Voicing the latest news on Communities in Need
In This Issue

Next Enrollment Period starts
 November 15, 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 

Let's Stay Connected
May 19, 2014 
FINAL Reminder: Calendar Year (CY) 2015 Requirements for Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) Medical Malpractice Coverage for Health Centers Program Assistance Letter (PAL) 2014-03 - HRSA has issued PAL 2014-03 to describe the process for Health Center Program grantees to submit FTCA deeming applications for CY 2015.
Applications are due by Friday, May 23, 2014, 11:59 pm, ET.
MACHC Website Under Construction..... 

New Updates coming this SUMMER 

Technical Assistance Request Form 
---to be submitted prior to receiving any TA from MACHC---
New Blog Post Stresses the Importance of Letters of Support from Local Officials and Community Supporters 


Health Center Advocates are now fully engaged in the next important phase of the "Access Is the Answer" campaign: gathering letters of support for their health centers from local officials and community supporters. With only a few weeks to go before the deadline of May 31st, in a new blog post former House of Representatives member Henry Bonilla (TX) and a former Capitol Hill Staffer weigh in on the importance of these letters. Said Bonilla, "The power folks at home have over the issues and process in Washington is very real - during my time in Congress I dedicated most of my time and energy trying to be responsive to the needs of my constituents and counted on THEM to tell me about those needs and priorities." Continue Collecting Access is the Answer Support Letters at Your Health Center.


As Health Center Advocates will recall, we have set a goal for every Health Center to collect 5 letters of support from local elected officials and 10 letters of support from community partners by the end of May. Start collecting local support letters today to demonstrate an outpouring of support from back home and make the case for Health Centers. You can learn more about the Access is the Answer campaign by visiting the Campaign for America's Health Centers website and by checking out this blog post featuring some of the shining stars of the Access is the Answer campaign! Don't forget to let us know when you collect support letters - use the report form on the campaign website OR email us directly at


Join the Access is the Answer Campaign and advocate for CHC Funding!

Health Centers are facing an unprecedented threat and a unique opportunity in 2014. Like every year, Health Centers will have to fight to secure annual funding from Washington. But unlike any year in Health Center history, this year we face a looming Health Center funding cliff - a potential 70% reduction in Health Center program funding scheduled to take effect in 2016. As Health Center Advocates we will also have to make sure that programs, like Medicaid, that are essential to our survival remain intact and strong in the face of efforts to save money.

These are threats to Health Centers AND to the more than 22 million patients Health Centers currently serve and the millions more that Health Centers will need to grow to serve in our communities. Your advocacy through the Access is the Answer campaign is essential if we are to ensure that Health Centers will be there for everyone who needs access to health care.

What can YOU do?

To make the Access is the Answer campaign a success, commit to taking 3 easy action steps:

Number 1: Sign the Access is the Answer petition. 

Number 2: Work with your Health Center leadership to collect Access is the Answer support letters from local elected officials

Number 3:  Work with your Health Center leadership to collect community support letters. 

The value of advocacy:

All politics is local. Congress and the President do really pay attention to the voices of those back home in the community. That means the most effective advocacy has to come from YOU back home.

The Access is the Answer Campaign will be asking Advocates to weigh in on many issues as the campaign goes forward, but if YOU and tens of thousands of Advocates take the 3 steps, we will be laying the foundation for success in a fight neither Health Centers nor our patients can afford to lose. Thanks for joining the Access is the Answer campaign and building the power of Health Center Advocacy.  

MACHC Happenings

Outreach Team Conference Call

When: Monday, May 19, 2014

2 p.m. - 3 p.m.

1-866-740-1260 Access Code: 4319483

Target Audience: Outreach staff members

Discuss latest Outreach and Enrollment resources, best practices, trends and issues. These issues are presented on HRSA reports and other platforms to find resolutions.


(2) Transformational Conference Call

When: Tuesday, May 19, 2014

10 a.m. - 11 a.m.

1-866-740-1260 Access Code: 4319483

Target Audience: FQHC Leadership

Discuss latest State news, barriers, trends and issues. These issues are presented on HRSA reports and other platforms to find resolutions.

(3) Starting the Conversation; Encouraging Patients to make a Quit Attempt in a Healthcare Setting
May 22, 2014  12:30 - 1:30 pm 
Target Audience:  Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Nurses and Medical Assistants
The purpose of this presentation is to inform healthcare practitioners on the importance of asking about a patient's smoking status, advising health outcomes due to tobacco use, and referring individuals to tobacco cessation programs. Participants will learn to conduct assessments and strategies to customized care for patients interested in quit smoking. In addition to this, the presentation will cover best practices in tobacco treatment programs in a healthcare setting. Lastly resources will be identified for healthcare workers to distribute among their patient populations.
Presenters:  Julinda Massey, MPH, a certified tobacco cessation counselor 

(4) Updates in Diabetes Care and Self-Management
May 29, 2014   12:30 - 1:30 pm
Target Audience:  Physicians, Nurse Practitioners and Nurses
Diabetes is a serious disease and can lead to severe side effects.  Diabetes is a major cause of stroke, and is a leading cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic lower-limb amputations, and new cases of blindness among adults in the United States.  In this presentation, you will review the newest guidelines in diabetes management.

Presenters:  Michele McBride RN, BSN CDE is both an inpatient diabetes educator and the Coordinator of the Outpatient Diabetes Education Program for Adventist Healthcare.  Michele has over 30 years experience in Nursing, the last 7 years in diabetes Education.  She is the mother of a son with type 1 diabetes.  



(5) Emergency Preparedness Table Top Event
When: June 12, 2014, 9:15 am - 2 pm
Where: Maritime Conference Center, MD
Target Audience: At least 2-3 Emergency Preparedness per health center are required to attend as well as DHMH Chairs and Coordinators.
This TTX is an interactive, discussion-based activity focused on a plausible scenario. The TTX will focus on health centers ability to make high-level decisions and use emergency management concepts in response to an event which will result in staffing/supply impacts and difficulty sustaining operational status.  The progressive scenario and corresponding prompts will aid and facilitate the exploration of the health centers understanding of emergency management fundamentals including the National Incident Management Incident (NIMS) and the relationship with their Incident Command System (ICS), the emergency planning process, the role of mutual aid agreements, and emergency public information. Ultimately, the TTX will highlight the need for a networked approach to preparedness and response.
MACHC's Annual Conference
When: Thursday, September 18th - Friday, September 19th, 2014 
Where: Dover Downs Conference Center, Dover, DE
  • (1) National Conference on Tobacco and Behavior Health
  • When: May 19 - 20th 

    Location: Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center

    5701 Marinelli Road, Bethesda, MD 20852


    Individuals with a behavioral health condition are nicotine dependent at a rate of 2 to 3 times higher than the general population and consume more than 34% of all cigarettes smoked in the United States.

    The goal of this conference is to provide a platform for attendees to share their perspectives on how the health system working collaboratively can decrease these statistics. Focusing on integration, interventions, and the impact of the ACA (insurance), participants will have the opportunity to hear from and exchange ideas with national leaders, public health cessation experts, policy makers, researchers, and behavioral health prevention and treatment experts on current cessation activities.

    Click HERE to register. 


    May 20, 2014 1:00-2:00 pm 
    Please join the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) for a webinar on diabetes, distress, and depression where Dr. Fisher will explore the construct of emotional distress, and suggest strategies for integrating the emotional side of diabetes into regular diabetes care. This approach can reduce confusion between depression and distress so that appropriate and targeted patient-centered interventions can occur.
    (3) Navigating and Preparing a HRSA Application: Responding to a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Webcast -
    HRSA's Office of Federal Assistance Management (OFAM) is conducting a webcast on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 1:00pm, ET to educate prospective and current HRSA grantees about the structure of FOAs for grants and cooperative agreements, providing valuable technical assistance on how to respond to a FOA.

    (4) Register Now for a Review of the New Medicare PPS for Federally Qualified Health Centers

    An MLN Connects™ National Provider Call will take place on Wednesday, May 21st from 12:30-2:00 PM ET. The call will describe the final policies for the new Medicare PPS for FQHCs, including the encounter-based per diem payment rate, adjustments, coinsurance, and the transition to the new payment system. Attendees will also have a chance to ask questions. Click here for more information and to register for the call. Click here to register.


    (5) Who's Leading the Leading Health Indicators? Webinar on Clinical Preventive Services

    May 22, 2014 12:00-1:00 pm
    Through three presentations focusing on data, communication efforts, and effective implementation strategies, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion will explore the importance of immunizations and the progress we are making to address this issue.


    (6) Stage 2 Meaningful Use Requirements Focus of May 29 Call

    One of the upcoming MLN Connects™ National Provider Calls will cover Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements, reporting options, and the data submission processes for Eligible Professionals (EPs).  Register online for this Thursday, May 29, 1:30 pm - 3 pm, ET call that will cover:


    • the differences between Stage 1 and Stage 2 criteria
    • reporting quality measures once to meet multiple reporting requirements
    • the processes for submitting data

    EPs who have completed at least two program years under Stage 1 of Meaningful Use in the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs are required to meet Stage 2 criteria starting in 2014, the first year of Stage 2 implementation. You can email questions in advance to  no later than May 21 to be considered for inclusion in the presentation. 


    (7) Maryland Rural Health Association

    Call for Proposals The Call for Proposals is now open. The conference will gather rural health leaders in the public, private, and non-profit sectors to discuss the major issues facing rural Maryland. Past conference attendees have pointed toward the value of illustrating best public health and community level practices as most useful to participants. Additionally, the conference planning committee is hoping to illustrate how recent statewide programs and policies have been implemented or are impacting rural Maryland both in terms of health and the economy. Examples include, but are not limited to the following: behavioral health, CMS Waiver implementation, Community Transformation Grant, the Affordable Care Act, oral health. Every proposal will be given consideration by the Rural Health Conference Planning Committee and presenters will be notified by June 13, 2014. 

    Please submit proposals online at Call For Proposals Due Date May 23, 2014.

    Outline of Information Asked on Online Submittal: Link


    (8) Office of Women's Health Quick Health Data Online

    The Office of Women's Health has announced the availability of telephone trainings on their new online information system - Quick Health Data Online.  The system contains data on demographics, mortality, reproductive and maternal health, disease incidence, and access to care at the county level for all states and territories.  It also includes data on prevention, violence, and mental health at the state level.  Where possible the data provided includes race, ethnicity and gender and, if able, age.  It incorporates graphing and mapping features so that the data of interest can be used directly as tables, graphs/chart and maps.  There will be two one-hour trainings per month: a basic training of an overview of the system and mapping and a second training that will provide emphasis on mapping techniques.  To access the calls, use the toll-free number:  1-877-925-6129; passcode, 410171 and go to the Quick Health Data Online website.  

    Quick Health Data Online 101 Trainings:

    • Monday, May 19, 2-3 pm, ET (Basic)
    • Wednesday, May 21, 11-12 pm, ET (Focus on Mapping)
    • Tuesday, June 17, 3-4 pm, ET (Basic)
    • Thursday, June 19, 1-2 pm, ET (Focus on Mapping)

    (9) Community Guide for Community Health Centers Webinar

    The Public Health Foundation, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) are offering a webinar on May 12 at 1:00 pm highlighting The Guide to Community Preventive Services, or "The Community Guide."  Hear from a health center that used the Community Guide to improve their patient's cancer screening rates.  The web-based resource was developed to complement evidence-based recommendations of the US Preventive Services Task Force.  It can be used by health centers to develop evidence-based systems of population management, support care planning and coordination, and build partnerships with public health agencies and community resources.  Registration is required.


    (10) Save The Date: National Health Center Week 2014 Webinar Scheduled for Thursday, May 22nd at 2PM ET

    National Health Center Week will be observed August 10th-16th this year and is themed: Celebrating America's Health Centers: Local Engines for Healthier Communities. To kick off National Health Center Week planning efforts NACHC will host its annual NHCW webinar May 22nd at 2PM ET. The webinar is open to all and will discuss the nuts and bolts of how to plan and host successful events, recruit local sponsors, and invite federal, state, and local officials to join the celebration at your health center. Without a doubt one of the best ways to ensure a successful NHCW event is to start your planning EARLY and allow plenty of time to prepare. Save the date and plan to join us for the NHCW Kick Off Planning webinar, Thursday, May 22nd at 2PM ET. Look for more information on how to register and join the webinar in next week's Washington Update! And, be sure to visit the National Health Center Week website to get event ideas and access resources to support your event planning.


    (11) Enroll America's State of Enrollment Conference

    When: June 16th-18th

    Enroll America will be convening their first national conference in Washington DC . This conference will offer trainings, workshops, keynotes, and events to learn and exchange best practices and prepare for the next open enrollment period. Early-bird registration rates expire on Friday, April 11th. Click here for more information.


    (12) SAVE - THE - DATE 


    AUGUST 23-27, 2014


    Community Health Institute (CHI) & EXPO is THE largest and most important annual gathering of 2000 community health center  managers, clinicians, employees, board members and leaders. Every aspect of the community health center movement is represented and  fully-vested at CHI, making it an excellent networking opportunity. CHI provides essential up-to-date information, training and technical  assistance on the latest community health center challenges, providing professionals in the industry with cutting-edge strategies for community health center success                                       

    Policy, Advocacy and Legislation
    National News
    Documenting Scope of Project in Updated Forms 5A and 5B Program Assistance Letter (PAL) 2014-06 - HRSA has issued PAL 2014-06 to describe updates made to the forms used to document the services and sites in a health center's federally approved scope of project and to introduce supporting resources. 
     In order to ensure all Health Centers are using these updated forms to record an accurate scope of project, HRSA will initiate a scope alignment validation (SAV) process for all health centers in late June.  Additional guidance and technical assistance will be released soon.
    NEW Friday's Slides Posted: Exemptions from the Individual Shared Responsibility Payment
    Please note: the full summary of Friday's Deep Dive Presentation on Exemptions from the Individual Shared Responsibility Payment will be included in a forthcoming newsletter.  In the interim, we posted the slides we presented on Friday, May 9 to our  Resources for Assisters page on  The slides contain valuable information for assisters, including how to help consumers apply for an exemption.  The slides can be found here:
    The confirmation process for President Obama's choice for the next Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) began last week. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the current Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), appeared before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) on Thursday, May 8 for the first of two Senate confirmation hearings. Burwell faced few tough questions during the two hour hearing, with the focus primarily on concerns around implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In an exchange with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Burwell expressed her support for community health centers and her commitment that the administration would work with Congress on a solution to the looming funding cliff that faces the Health Centers program.  
    NACHC has released a new fact sheetHealth Centers and the Uninsured: Improving Access to Care and Health Outcomes, that highlights health centers' essential role in providing a source of primary and preventive care for the uninsured and underinsured, who will rely on health centers more heavily for their care needs even after health reform expansion.
    Register for the National Health Center Week 2014 Webinar on Thursday, May 22nd at 2 PM ET National Health Center Week will be observed August 10th-16th this year and is themed: Celebrating America's Health Centers: Local Engines for Healthier Communities. To kick off National Health Center Week planning efforts NACHC will host its annual NHCW webinar May 22nd at 2PM ET. The webinar is open to all and will discuss the nuts and bolts of how to plan and host successful events, recruit local sponsors, and invite federal, state, and local officials to join the celebration at your health center. Without a doubt one of the best ways to ensure a successful NHCW event is to start your planning EARLY and allow plenty of time to prepare. Click on the title to register for the webinar and join us on the 22nd! And, be sure to visit the National Health Center Week website to get event ideas and access resources to support your event planning.
    The NACHC Research Department created a new modulized toolkit to help academics and external researchers better understand the health center model and how health centers' unique structure and context necessitate certain models of research engagement and participation that are community-based.  The toolkit provides academics and researchers with guidance and steps to take to help build more equitable and sustainable partnerships with health centers. 
    New Data About Health Center Quality of Care

    new study in Health Services Research shows that patients, particularly those who do not have health insurance and receive care at Community Health Centers, have fewer hospitalizations.  They also receive similar or a better quality of preventive care compared to similar patients of non-health center primary care providers.

    "These findings suggest that federally funded health centers could be a more efficient system of primary care especially for the uninsured," said Neda Laiteerapong, M.D., the study's lead author and assistant professor of medicine at University of Chicago. "The fact that patients in our study had fewer office visits and received similar or better quality of care could suggest that these centers do more preventive care per visit."
    Researchers looked at data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey between 2004 and 2008 for the study.  They analyzed data from a sample of adult patients who visited a health center over a two year period of time and compared it to the outcomes of non-health center patients.   In addition to fewer hospital visits, health center patients were also more likely to have received dietary advice and breast cancer screening.
    Georges C. Benjamin, M.D., executive director of the American Public Health Association (APHA), Washington D.C., also responded to the study saying "It verifies that if you have a coordinated care model, you can have better outcomes most of the time-this is a good example of where health reform is going."  He also added, "We know only 10 percent of primary care wellness is about going to the doctor's office," he said. "It's the behavioral things that matter and federally-funded clinics understand that very well
    Also, since we're talking about quality of care, it's worth noting again that a previous study by  the Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of California-San Francisco, (July 2012)  found that health centers demonstrated equal or better quality performance than private practices on ambulatory quality measures, despite serving patients with more chronic disease and socieoeconomic complexity.
    As Medicaid enrollment continues to increase, many new enrollees may have a harder time finding a primary care provider than anticipated, as many providers stop taking new patients. 

    New research highlights relationship between foreclosures and public health

    New research suggests that living within a block of a house that has gone into foreclosure can cause a person's blood pressure to rise - an interesting twist on the relationship between housing affordability and health. "The study tracked 1,750 Massachusetts residents from 1987 through 2008 and found that each foreclosure within 100 meters of a person's home affected their systolic blood pressure, the top number in the reading. The neighbors may be worried that foreclosures are hurting their home values or the safety of their communities, and that anxiety can boost blood pressure," the study said.

    U.S. recommends daily pill for those at risk of HIV

    Healthy people at risk for HIV are advised to take daily pills that cut the odds of infection by more than 90 percent, U.S. health officials said Wednesday in the first formal recommendation on using the drugs as a preventive.

    The group urged to take the pills includes people with HIV-infected partners and those who inject illicit drugs and share equipment, or have been in treatment programs for injection medicine use, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement. Gilead Sciences' anti-AIDS pill Truvada has been approved as a preventive medicine for the virus that causes AIDS.

    Summary of CMS Final Rule with Comment on the Development of a Medicare Prospective Payment System (PPS) for FQHCs 

    Click here for the Summary.

    50% of Americans take prescription drugs

    About half of all Americans take at least one prescription drug each month, and 10% take more than four, according to a new government report.

    "Health, United States, 2013" is an annual report on the nation's health prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. This year's report includes a special section on prescription drugs.

    State News

    Preparedness staff hosts exercise

    The Emergency Medical Services and Preparedness Section (EMSPS) hosted a two-day exercise that focused on receiving the Strategic National Stockpile and the evaluation of that plan. The Receipt, Stage, and Store portion of the exercise involved federal, state, local and hospital stakeholders who will respond to a Weapons of Mass Destruction event.

    DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay and Deputy Director Crystal Webb participated. Invited guests included the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. Results will evaluate and enhance DPH's Weapons of

    Mass Destruction response. 

    Delaware's first Medical Marijuana compassion center to open in July.

    In July 2014, the State of Delaware will join New Jersey, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. as locations to purchase Medical Marijuana legally, when Delaware opens its first pilot program compassion center.

    The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) operates the Medical Marijuana Program through the Health Systems Protection Section, based in the Jesse Cooper Building at 417 Federal St. in Dover, DE. The office issues patient and caregiver identification cards and coordinates all program functions, including fiscal management and supervision of the compassion center.

    The law allows qualifying patients to purchase and use marijuana to treat a specific set of debilitating conditions. The program is limited to Delaware residents who are 18 years and older, have a state-issued identification, and are treated by a Delaware-licensed physician. Patients can legally purchase up to three ounces in a 14-day period and possess up to six ounces. 

    The medical use of marijuana should be imperceptible to most citizens, as patients are directed not to consume it in

    public places or in vehicles. Patients are also informed that diverting from qualified patients to others is a serious situation that could result in removal from the program.

    For details on conditions and application procedures, visit

    or call the Medical Marijuana Program at 302-744-4749. 

    Did you know?

    Delawareans can complete a Healthy Checklist by visiting the Delaware Cancer Consortium's (DCC) website: Individuals can learn how to stay healthy, including when to get cancer screenings. Employers, doctors, and other health care providers and cancer consortium members can easily find resources they need. Learn more today! 


    Diabetes and Heart Disease Program seeks volunteer leaders

    The Diabetes and Heart Disease Prevention and Control Program office seeks volunteers to be trained as lay leaders for the Diabetes and Chronic Disease Self- Management Programs. Volunteers must complete a four- day training course, commit to conducting two, six-week workshops in their first year, and want to help improve the quality of life of people living with diabetes and other chronic diseases.

    The Diabetes Self-Management Program Lay Leader training course is scheduled on these dates:

    May 27 and 28, and June 2 and 3, 2014
    8:00 a.m.
    - 4:30 p.m.
    Thomas Collins Building, 1st floor conference room 540 S. DuPont Hwy.
    Dover, DE 19901

    The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program Lay Leader training course is scheduled on these dates:

    June 24, 25, 30, and July 1, 2014 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

    Williams State Service Center, 2nd floor conference room 805 River Rd.

    Dover, DE 19901

    Persons with Type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases are invited to register for workshops given two and a half hours, once a week, for six weeks. Workshops are held in senior centers, churches, libraries and hospitals. For more information and to view a complete schedule, visit gt.html. To register for these courses, contact Emilio Nazario at 302-744-1177 or


    Clarification: Medicaid Account Transfer Special Enrollment Period (SEP)
    CMS has clarified information about the SEP for consumers who submitted their application prior to March 31 and received Medicaid denials after March 31. The special enrollment period is available both for consumers who applied directly with their state Medicaid agency and for consumers who applied at the Federally-facilitated Marketplace, were transferred to Medicaid and subsequently denied Medicaid eligibility. To reiterate, consumers must have applied before March 31, but may have been denied after that date to be determined eligible for the special enrollment period.
    Fueling arguments from ACA opponents, health exchanges built in Massachusetts, Oregon, Nevada and Maryland have been both unsuccessful and costly, with the bill for the four systems totaling nearly half a billion dollars.


    Maryland has surpassed 67,900 enrollments in qualified health plans through Maryland Health Connection, and more than 275,000 Marylanders have gained Medicaid coverage in 2014.

    As of May 10, 2014, there are approximately 343,000 total enrollments, a number that will continue to grow this year.

    Medicaid enrollment is year round. Marylanders also can still enroll in qualified health plans if they have major life events like getting married, having a baby, or losing their current coverage.

    Marylanders who think they may qualify for a special enrollment period should call the Consumer Support Center at 855-642-8572 (TTY 855-642-8573) for information and to enroll.

    As of April 29, 2014, 275,090 individuals have gained Medicaid coverage in 2014 and remain active in Medicaid. This includes the 95,889 PAC enrollees who were automatically converted on January 1, 2014 to full Medicaid coverage.

    As of May 10, 2014, 67,907 individuals have enrolled in a qualified health plan.

    In addition, as of May 13, 2014, 12,947 dental plan enrollments have been sent to participating insurance companies.

    Finance & Business
    New HHS Data Show Quality Improvements Saved 15,000 Lives and $4 Billion in Health Spending
    New preliminary data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) show an overall 9 percent decrease in hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) nationally during 2011 and 2012. National reductions in adverse drug events, falls, infections and other forms of hospital-induced harm are estimated to have prevented nearly 15,000 hospital deaths, avoided 560,000 patient injuries and saved approximately $4 billion in health spending during that period. The Affordable Care Act is also helping to reduce hospital readmissions. After holding constant at 19 percent from 2007 to 2011 and decreasing to 18.5 percent in 2012, the Medicare all-cause 30-day readmission rate further decreased to approximately 17.5 percent in 2013. This represents an 8 percent reduction in the rate and an estimated 150,000 fewer 30-day hospital readmissions among Medicare beneficiaries between January 2012 and December 2013. These major strides in patient safety are a result of public-private partnerships and active engagement by patients and families. Partnerships include the federal Partnership for Patients initiative, Hospital Engagement Networks, Quality Improvement Organizations, AHRQ, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and many others. Select to access the  HHS news release and an AHRQ report about the methods the agency used to estimate the national rate of HACs. 


    As federal officials continue to examine health care spending in the U.S., it appears one easy fix is to reduce the use of "low-value" services, which are often unnecessary. 
    New Study Examines Financial Health of Hospitals After Recession
    A new AHRQ-funded study examines the financial health of almost 3,000 hospitals across the country. "Hospital Financial Performance in the Recent Recession and Implications for Institutions That Remain Financially Weak" was published May 5 online in Health Affairs. Overall, the study findings imply that the recession did not appear to have a permanent effect on the vulnerable hospitals studied, according to the abstract and article. Hospitals that were financially weak before the recession maintained their position compared with the financially strong. The recession did not create additional fiscal pressure for hospitals that were initially financially weak or in safety net roles, but both groups have financial deficiencies that could limit their resources for meeting growing demands on the industry. Financially strained hospitals may find it difficult to address policy changes and invest in innovations that can make patient care safer.
    As federal officials continue to examine health care spending in the U.S., it appears one easy fix is to reduce the use of "low-value" services, which are often unnecessary. 
    It's Neither "Super" Nor a "Circular" so Why is Everyone Calling it the Supercircular (or maybe the "Omnicircular")?   
    Thursday, May 22, 2014 
    Registration cutoff: May 19 

    Click here for more information and to register.


    Going for the Gold?  New Funds for Expansion - Procurement, Property and Federal Interest - What you need to know to compete for new funding and not end up with a headache! 
    Tuesday, May 27, 2014 
    Registration cutoff May 25 

    Click here for more information and to register.


    Time and Effort Reporting: Burdens and Risks for Health Centers 
    Tuesday, June 3, 2014 
    Registration cutoff June 1 

    Click here for more information and to register.


    Interested in registering for the entire series?  Click here to register for the all 4 webinars at a discounted price!

    Latest News on ACA






    HHS announced a new special enrollment period (SEP) for individuals who are currently receiving COBRA coverage. Until July 1, these consumers can terminate COBRA and receive an SEP to enroll in FFM coverage.                               
    So what's new with this guidance? Normally, a consumer has three options regarding COBRA coverage:

    • decline an initial offer of COBRA coverage, get an SEP, and enroll in marketplace coverage;
    • switch from COBRA coverage to marketplace coverage during open enrollment; or
    • wait until the exhaustion of COBRA coverage to get an SEP.
    So if an individual started receiving COBRA, dropping it prior to its expiration previously would not have been considered a loss of minimum essential coverage (MEC) and trigger an SEP.
    Consumers should call the Call Center and inform representatives that they are calling about their COBRA benefits and the Marketplace
    Outreach and Enrollment (O/E) Resources -People may still enroll in a private health plan through the Marketplace only if they qualify for a special enrollment period. Use the following resources to assist in O/E efforts: 

    In the fourteenth in the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities' "Beyond the Basics" series of webinars titled "Beyond the Basics of Exemptions, Penalties and Special Enrollment Periods," we focus on triggers and timing for special enrollment periods, how people can qualify for exemptions from the individual responsibility requirement, and how the penalties for not having coverage are calculated.  We review information from past webinars as well as address new developments and updates.



    For other helpful outreach and enrollment resources, please click here

    For General FAQs on HRSA Health Center Outreach and Enrollment Assistance Supplemental Funding, click here

    Transformational Team Talk & Outreach Upates

    MACHC's ACA- Moving Forward Webinar

    To access the webinar slides, click here 
    For the webinar recording, please email Aneeqa Chowdhury at

    If your application counselors have not completed training for the Certified Application Counselor, this is your 
    lastopportunity to have training until later this summer or early fall.
    There are two links one to complete an on line application:
    and the next to sign up for the training:
    You must file an online application to obtain your test scores. If you miss this step you will not receive the test results.
    The training is scheduled as follows;
    3-day CAC Webinar ( 3 hours each day 1pm-4pm) 5/19, 5/20, and 5/21 
    3-day Webinars are limited to 75 students per session



    The MHBE Call Center Hours of Operation & Holiday Closings for the period of May 1, 2014 through September 30, 2014 will be as follows:


    Hours of Operation

    Mon - Fri - 8am-6pm

    Sat - 8am - 2pm

    Sun - CLOSED


    Holiday Closings

    Memorial Day - May 26

    Independence Day - July 4

    Labor Day - September 1


    Exchange Updates for ACSE (CACs):

    For those application counselors that could not complete the previously scheduled Webinars, they will need to get in touch with to un-enroll in order to be notified of future Webinar training.


    Application Counselor Sponsoring Entity (ACSE) Phone Call Notes from Monday, April 28, 2014:

    For webinar slides (which was later emailed by the Exchange), please CLICK HERE

    For Maryland Health Benefit Exchange's, click on the image below.


    Debbie Ruppert, Office of Eligibility Services, DHMH

    + Difficulty getting cases through MD Health Connection. Applications going through CARES. Meeting with CMS this week and talking about long term systems of use until Exchange moves towards the Connecticut system as the primary system. Going through system, business changes and design changes. 
    + PAC re-determinations will start in June.
    When faxing in applications, be sure to utilize the following cover page.


    Questions asked on Medicaid:

    How is retro eligibility currently being processed?

    + If you have submitted the app through MHC, system cannot accomodate retro.

    There has to be a clean up project for those who requested retro on system. File those with local health dept or social services henceforth, system no longer has those capabilities. Through CARE system. Use paper applications.

    + NO MCO, enrollment broker system still survives. Enrollment broker will follow-up with applicant to do an MCO enrollment at a later time.

    + Connecticut system regarding the retro enrollment. There will be some way to do this whether via online or paper application.

    When submitting re-verification documents to the call center? How long before we anticipate before eligibility to be completed? If document submitted not acceptable, will call center notify enrollee or CAC?

    + Right now, turnaround time is 24 hours. However, the standard is no more than 3 business days. If document comes through and is not acceptable document, then consumer will receive phone call indicating this.

    If the consumer points CAC as authorized person to receive information. Will the appointed receive this information?

    Yes, appointed rep can be contacted via phone. However system is not receiving anything at this time so hard copy mailing may not go out.

    + There is a standard cover sheet being used where you check off what type of document it is for sending in verification form.

    Grants & Funding Opportunities

    Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health:Improving Maternal Health and Safety (HRSA-14-134)

    Apply By: Mon, 16 Jun 2014 

    Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program States/Territories Part B Supplemental Grant Program (HRSA-14-048)
    Apply By: Wed, 28 May 2014 
    Application Deadline: Applications accepted on an ongoing basis
    Funding for hunger prevention, self-sufficiency, healthcare, and education to those who are underserved. Pennsylvania is one of the eligible states.
    Application Deadline: Applications accepted on an ongoing basis
    Provides seed funding to emerging nonprofits, or to new projects of established organizations in the areas of education; environment; health and human services; and hunger and nutrition. Pennsylvania is one of 13 eligible states.
    Application Deadline:  Applications Accepted on an Ongoing Basis
    The Community Response Fund supports organizations, activities, and events that address access to needed oral health care and community resources that improve oral health. Programs that address an immediate response to an urgent issue that impacts access to clinical care, provide short-term access to needed care for the underserved, or sustain organizations experiencing short-term challenges are the focus. A limited number of program concepts that provide longer term solutions or essential services for particularly underserved populations will also be considered. The program will also support Missions of Mercy clinics.
    Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Corner 
    PCMH Practice Assessment Tools

    Patient-Centered Medical Home Assessment Tool (PDF) The Patient-Centered Medical Home Assessment (PCMH-A) is a self-assessment tool created by the Safety Net Medical Home Initiative to allow practices to gauge their progress in implementing each of the change concepts. The PCMH-A is an interactive PDF that can be downloaded, completed, saved and shared.


    Advancing the Practice of Patient and Family Centered Care in Primary Care and Other Ambulatory Settings: Getting started

    Available from the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care


    Assessing, Diagnosing and Treating Your Outpatient Primary Care Practice

    This workbook provides a guide for assessing your practice and change management tools for quality improvement and performance. This workbook provides examples, tools and customizable forms to guide your clinical micro-system on a journey to develop better performance.


    Primary Care Development Corporation Patient-Centered Medical Home Assessment Tool and Manual

    The Primary Care Development Corporation, a not-for-profit organization providing financing and services to expand access to care in underserved communities, has released an update of its free online tool for assessment to meet 2011 NCQA PCMH recognition. PCDC's tool helps guide practices through the NCQA medical home survey process. Providers and staff can assess how their practice operates compared to PCMH 2011 standards, including their use of electronic health records; patient and provider communication; data and patient outcomes reporting; workflow redesign; and care management and coordination.


    Offers an overview of the tenets of the NCQA PCMH 2011 Recognition Program, and focuses on individual NCQA PCMH standards. Through a practice assessment and interactive lessons, users determine a roadmap for transformation or formal recognition. The online training program then offers field-tested strategies to guide users through PCMH transformation or recognition, addressing key topics such as team selection and communication with stakeholders.?This course is designed for all levels of staff at practices who either want to obtain NCQA PCMH 2011 Recognition and/or for practices looking to transform into a medical home without formal recognition.

    Clinical Quality 
    Informaticists joined clinical quality experts in a brain storming session this week with new ONC chief Karen DeSalvo, exchanging ideas on developing the "next generation" of quality measures. 
    Charged with developing new e-clinical quality measures that can work in tandem with accountable care measures, theHIT Policy Committee's Quality Measures Workgroup offered recommendations to Karen DeSalvo at her first policy meeting.
    The Workgroup's co-chairs, National Quality Forum VP Helen Burstin, MD, and Veterans Health Administration informatics director Terry Cullen, MD, developed recommendations for measure domains, criteria and implementation, some of which seems to have drawn resistance from a few health IT companies.
    Health Observances This Week
    TODAY IS.... Monday, May 19, 2014 
    is National Hepatitis Testing Day. This is a day for people at risk to be tested, and for health care providers to educate patients about chronic viral hepatitis and testing.



    May 19-25 marks National Water Illness and Injury Prevention Week!


    The week before Memorial Day has been designated National Recreational Water Illness and Injury (RWII) Prevention Week. RWII Prevention Week 2014 will take place May 19-25, 2014, marking the 10th anniversary of this observance.

    Each year, RWII Prevention Week focuses on simple steps swimmers and pool operators can take to help ensure a healthy and safe swimming experience for everyone.

    The theme for RWII Prevention Week 2014 is Healthy and Safe Swimming: We're in it Together. It focuses on the role of swimmers, aquatics and beach staff, residential pool owners, and public health officials in preventing drowning, pool chemical injuries, and outbreaks of illnesses. It highlights swimmer hygiene and the need for swimmers to take an active role in helping to protect themselves and prevent the spread of germs. These messages are reinforced by health promotion materials to educate the public on how to prevent recreational water illnesses (RWIs).

    For information about previous RWII Prevention Weeks, visit the Dates of Celebration and Additional Resources page.

    What are RWIs?

    Recreational water illnesses (RWIs) are caused by germs spread by swallowing, breathing in mists or aerosols of, or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks, water play areas, interactive fountains, lakes, rivers, or oceans. RWIs can also be caused by chemicals in the water or chemicals that evaporate from the water and cause indoor air quality problems. Diarrhea is the most common RWI, and it is often caused by germs like Crypto (short for Cryptosporidium), Giardia, norovirus, Shigella, and E. coli O157:H7. Other common RWIs include skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic, and wound infections. Children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems are most at risk for RWIs. More information about RWIs can be found on the  Basics of RWIs page.

    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.

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