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
August 18, 2014 
MACHC's 32nd Annual Meeting and Conference:
"Leveling the Playing Field Through the Power of One Voice''
When: September 18-19, 2014
Where: Dover Downs Conference Center

Never has there been a more important time for health centers to lead and shape the health care delivery system of the Mid Atlantic and never has it been a more critical time to speak with one voice.

Maryland and Delaware community health centers have played - and continue to play - a pivotal role in reforming their state's health care system. Decisions and efforts affecting the future of the health center network and our patients are well underway. Reform initiatives requiring us to change the way we organize care, diagnose illness, bill for reimbursement and measure improvements in health care have challenged us from every angle. All of these demands are time-consuming and come with significant cost - and financial risk.

Our conference theme "Leveling the Playing Field Through the Power of One Voice'' signifies this need. From the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, to the new Hospital Waiver in Maryland, we are key players in the face of health care reform in our state. If you are interested in learning more about such topics as ICD-10 implementation, population health management, managed care contracting in an Affordable Care era, diversifying your FQHC portfolio, best practices in Behavioral Health and Primary Care integration, you should attend this conference.

We invite you to attend our 32nd Annual Meeting and Conference on September 18-19th in Dover, Delaware at the Dover Downs Conference Center where we will engage you in the important questions before us.

For overnight accommodations, please contact Dover Downs VIP reservations at 1-866-473-7378 and refer to the MACHC Annual Conference for a discounted rate of $139.00 per night. The room block will close on August 25, 2014.
***How did you spend National Health Center Week? Want to share with us? Please send us a description and pictures to Aneeqa Chowdhury at



(1) Outreach Team Call

August 22, 2014; 11 am -12 pm

Call in 1-866-740-1260 Access Code 4319483

To get on call listserv, email

Audience: MD and DE Outreach and Enrollment Staff including Navigators, Assistors and CACs.

Topic: Discuss State and FQHC O/E updates, trends, best practices, obstacles and issues. These are recorded and shared with HRSA bi-weekly.


(2) Transformational Call 

August 26th CANCELLED

due to CHI (NACHC)Normal bi-weekly calls will resume starting September 9th.


(3) CLAS Standards Training Project

 September 10, 2014 I  12:30 - 1:30 PM

Learn about the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS Standards) are increasingly important and useful as guidelines for health care practices to better serve their diverse patient populations and address persistent health disparities.  In addition, CLAS Standards implementation is strategic at this time because it is directly linked to major statewide initiatives currently underway in Maryland, and provides a blueprint of strategies to help address the "triple aim" in health care-improving patient experience of care and health care quality, improving population health, and reducing costs. Such issues are the focus of an increasing body of evidence about the positive impact of CLAS-related approaches to health care delivery. 

Registration Link:

(4) MACHC's 32nd Annual Meeting and Conference: "Leveling the Playing Field Through the Power of One Voice''
When: Thursday, September 18th - Friday, September 19th, 2014 
Where: Dover Downs Conference Center
1131 North Dupont Highway,Dover, DE 19901
Never has there been a more important time for health centers to lead and shape the health care delivery system of the Mid Atlantic and never has it been a more critical time to speak with one voice
Maryland and Delaware community health centers have played - and continue to play - a pivotal role in reforming their state's health care system. Decisions and efforts affecting the future of the health center network and our patients are well underway. Reform initiatives requiring us to change the way we organize care, diagnose illness, bill for reimbursement and measure improvements in health care have challenged us from every angle. All of these demands are time-consuming and come with significant cost - and financial risk. 
Our conference theme "Leveling the Playing Field Through the Power of One Voice'' signifies this need. From the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, to the new Hospital Waiver in Maryland, we are key players in the face of health care reform in our state.
If you are interested in learning more about such topics as ICD-10 implementation, population health management, managed care contracting in an Affordable Care era, diversifying your FQHC portfolio, best practices in Behavioral Health and Primary Care integration, you should attend this conference.
We invite you to attend our 32nd Annual Meeting and Conference on September 18-19th in Dover, Delaware at the Dover Downs Conference Center where we will engage you in the important questions before us.   
Discounted upgraded rooms are available for $142.31 per night (plus applicable taxes and fees).This fee is for one traditional single/double or deluxe room.  For upgrades, additional fees will be incurred.  
NOTE: Each reservation will include an eventbrite fee per person. To reserve a room, please go to our registration page. If you have any questions, please contact Deitra Bell at 301-577-0097, ext 123 or Monique Alexander at ext 124 
Vendor registration now open:

  • The SAMSHA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions is hosting this webcast to discuss how one health center uses new behavioral Health Information Technology (HIT) patient engagement tools in their integrated behavioral health care settings. An HIT expert will review the technologies available to primary care providers, how to ensure IT tools support your clinical outcomes goals, and tips for implementing them into your clinical workflow.

    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                                       

    (4) 2014 Mid Atlantic Medical Neighborhood Forum -The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center
    National Harbor, MD  October 3 -4, 2014

     The Mid Atlantic Medical Neighborhood Forum is the second event in a series of local and regional forums to advance collaboration among all community healthcare stakeholders.  Dr Paul Grundy, Founder and President of the Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative (PCPCC), is confirmed as the keynote for the first day of the two-day event.  On the second day, we will host the Inaugural Mid Atlantic Medical Neighborhood Golf Tournament and Awards Luncheon at the Andrews AFB.  

    Event details and registration here.

    Emergency Preparedness Events:


    Email from MACHC relative to the Ebola Virus sent last week: 

    As many of you may have read on the news, the Ebola Virus is a public health concern that has impacted 2 US citizens who are being treated here in the US.  We thought it might be helpful to arm you with some information regarding the virus and what is being done right now by the CDC to address the virus.   The following is a hyperlink to the CDC web-page on the Ebola Virus:


    Also attached please find a fact sheetand a info graphic that address the Ebola Virus produced by the CDC.


    2014 HPP-PHEP Fall Regional Preparedness Conferences



    DHMH has scheduled this year's round of Fall conferences. The dates and locations are:


    Regions I and II

    October 10, 2014 / Wisp Resort Conference Center (McHenry, MD)


    Region III

    October 3, 2014 / Maryland Department of Transportation Headquarters (Hanover, MD)


    Region IV

    October 17, 2014 / Tidewater Inn (Easton, MD)


    Region V

    October 24, 2014 / Universities at Shady Grove Conference Center (Rockville, MD)   


    Results from June 2014 Quarterly Communications Drills

    Statewide HAN Drill for Healthcare Partners

    On June 26, DHMH/OP&R conducted a statewide, no-notice test of the Maryland Health Alert Network (HAN) system for healthcare partners. The goals of this drill: (1) to successfully deliver a test notification message to all Maryland acute care hospitals, DHMH State Facilities, and federally qualified health centers (FQHCs); and (2) to receive a response back that the message was received within the specified timeframe.


    Drill results: 112 recipients were notified; 82 recipients acknowledged receipt of the message within the 2-hour allotted response timeframe. This represents a 73% success rate.


    Thank you healthcare partners, for your continued participation in the quarterly HAN drills! The next drill will take place in September.



    MSAT Satellite Phone Maintenance Check-up Visits Underway


    MSAT preventive maintenance visits to health departments and healthcare organizations are now underway. For detailed information to assist you in preparing for your facility's visit, see the attached handout: "MSAT Satellite Phone Preventive Maintenance Visits".



    We thank you in advance for your cooperation as we work to ensure that all of our state partners have functional redundant communications capabilities.



    HPP Facility Inventory Assessment Project Update


    The Facility Inventory Assessment sponsored by OP&R is now underway. Multiple vendors are assisting with this project. A goal has been set to complete the inventory assessment of all HPP-funded supplies and materials by December 31, 2014. HPP Regional Coordinators are contacting each facility to schedule inventory assessment visits.


    To ensure an efficient and effective inventory process, please notify all appropriate personnel at your facilities. It is essential that the vendor has safe access to all relevant HPP supplies and materials during the assessment visit.




    Preparedness News


    DHMH Response to Ebola Outbreak: Update


    DHMH continues to monitor the situation surrounding the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa. There are currently no known cases of EVD in Maryland, and EVD poses little risk to the U.S. general population at this time. However, healthcare workers are advised to be alert for signs and symptoms of EVD in patients with compatible illness who have a recent (within 21 days) travel history to countries where the outbreak is occurring, and should consider isolation of those patients meeting these criteria, pending diagnostic testing. Maryland clinicians who suspect Ebola virus in a traveler should contact their local public health department immediately.


    See the attached letter from Lucy Wilson, MD, ScM, Chief of the Center for Surveillance, Infection Prevention and Outbreak Response at DHMH. It contains guidance on epidemiology and identification of potential Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases and web links for additional information. Additional guidance for clinicians can be found at the CDC's Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) website [ ].


    For specific information regarding infection control recommendations and other healthcare-related resources, go to [ ] and scroll down to the Additional Resources section.


    A folder has been created on the Maryland Health Alert Network (HAN) website where new and updated information will be posted. To access the folder, log in to HAN, click on the Documents tab, and select the folder "Ebola Virus". We recommend that you "watch" this folder in order to receive automatic notifications when new content has been added. (Simply select the folder and click the "Watch" link by the star icon in the panel on the right.)



    Governor's Cabinet-Level Tabletop Exercise Addresses Ebola Virus


    Governor O'Malley convened several state agencies, including the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) in partnership with the Governor's Office of Homeland Security, to participate in a Cabinet-level tabletop exercise (TTX). The goal of the exercise was to test Maryland's operational readiness for preparing and responding to a significant public health crisis impacting the broad community of emergency responders, stakeholders, partners and residents. A variety of capabilities were tested during this exercise, including information sharing across several governmental levels and disciplines, public messaging and notification protocols, law enforcement operations in support of public health interventions, and biosurveillance.


    TTX participants included DHMH; the Governor's Office of Homeland Security (GOHS); Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS); Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA); US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR); and the CDC's Division of Global Migration and Quarantine.


    For additional details, visit:



    Results Released: 2014 National Survey on Emergency Management


    In April 2014, Health Facilities Management (HFM), the American Society for Healthcare Engineering, the Association for the Healthcare Environment, and the Association for Healthcare Resource & Materials Management conducted a targeted online survey to investigate recent trends in healthcare emergency management. A random sample of 911 hospital and health system executives were selected for participation. The results of this survey have now been released.


    To review the HFM article containing the survey results, visit: Hospital Disaster Planning: 2014 Emergency Management Survey



    Star-Spangled Spectacular Celebration: September 10-16, 2014


    The 200th anniversary of the National Anthem will be celebrated in Baltimore during September 10-16, 2014. A series of large public events have been planned for September 11-14, when the State Emergency Operations Center will be fully activated. See the attached flyer for further details regarding this event.




    Healthcare Coalitions: Regional Spotlight


    Region III Health and Medical Task Force Hospital Evacuation and Patient Tracking Exercise


    The Region III Health and Medical Task Force and DHMH will be hosting a two-day exercise on August 19 & 20, 2014 to review and practice the implementation and execution of facility emergency operations plans and Hospital Incident Command during an earthquake that causes facility damage, power and utility failures, and the need to evacuate patients. The exercise will test critical decision making for hospital evacuation, the utilization of patient tracking software, and the use of various communication platforms during a regional surge event.



    Hospital Evacuation & Information Sharing Tabletop Exercise

    Date: August 19, 2014

    Time: 8:00am - 12:00pm

    Location: Alternate Care Site at Greater Baltimore Medical Center


    Hospital Evacuation & Electronic Patient Tracking Functional Exercise

    [Please note: participation in the functional portion of the exercise is limited to those who have already been identified as players.]

    Date: August 20, 2014

    Time: 8:00am - 12:00pm

    Location: participating Region III hospitals and local health departments


    Representatives from public health and healthcare (e.g. designated emergency planners and at least one additional staff member) are being invited to participate in the tabletop exercise on August 19, 2014. The additional staff member should be someone with extensive knowledge of your hospital/agency's capabilities, particularly with regard to emergency response.


    To register, email Lauren Terry, DHMH Exercise Coordinator, at For questions regarding exercise content, please contact Lauren Terry or Edward Johnson, HPP Region III Coordinator, at




    Preparedness Training, Exercises and Events


    September is National Preparedness Month!


    September is 2014 National Preparedness Month! Throughout September, activities to promote emergency preparedness will be taking place across the country. National Preparedness Month is a time toprepare yourself and those in your care for emergencies and disasters, both large scale and smaller local events. For additional information and to find out how you can get involved, visit



    Integrated Public Health and Medical Preparedness Forum (IPHMPF)


    The next IPHMPF will be held on August 25, 2014 at 9:30am. Please watch your email for a reminder notice containing information on this month's featured presenter as well as the teleconference/webinar log-in instructions.




    Upcoming Training Opportunities  ------------- 


    Community Psychological First Aid.

    The MD Responds MRC is pleased to announce Psychological First Aid training opportunities to be held on multiple dates and locations throughout Maryland. Take this free, half-day training and learn about how to improve your mental health! In Coping in Today's World-Community Psychological First Aid, the Red Cross will provide information about mental health and emergencies, including about how to prepare, respond, and recover from trauma. Participants will also receive information on community resources for coping with stress.


    Intended Audience: this course is open to the general community (healthcare background not required). Bring your friends or neighbors!


    For additional information and registration details, see the attached flyer.




    Response Planning for Functional Needs Populations in Rural Communities.

    This training is designed to educate participants on planning for the safety of those with functional needs during a crisis event - particularly persons housed in assisted-living facilities and nursing homes. Because of their restrictions and gaps in community support, rural people with functional needs are at greater risk of injury and death during a crisis than those living in suburban and urban areas. Such individuals require specialized care, transportation, shelter, and medical needs that must be considered before a crisis occurs.


    Region I

    Date: August 11, 2014

    Time: 9:00am - 4:00pm

    Location: Garrett College


    Region IV

    Date: August 14, 2014

    Time: 9:00am - 4:00pm

    Location: Talbot County Emergency Services


    Logistics: Lunch will not be provided. Attire is business casual or daily uniform.


    To register:




    Joint Criminal and Epidemiological Investigation Workshop.

    This training focuses on the unique challenges of responding to a biological incident. The purpose of the workshop is to train law enforcement and public health professionals in how to work closely together for notification and information sharing purposes in order to successfully and rapidly respond to a suspected biological incident. The training will be conducted by subject matter experts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


    Region IV

    Date: August 19, 2014

    Time: 8:30am - 4:30pm

    Location: Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay, Cambridge, MD


    Region III

    Date: August 21, 2014

    Time: 8:30am - 4:30pm

    Location: Mt. Washington Conference Center, Baltimore, MD


    Target Audience: public health epidemiologists/investigators, healthcare planners, law enforcement, EMS, Fire/HazMat, military personnel, and public information officers who may be involved in joint investigation.


    For additional information and registration details, see the attached flyer.




    G290 Basic Public Information Officer/G291 Joint Information Center/System.

    The MEMA Preparedness Directorate, Active Learning and Exercising Branch invites you to participate in the jointly-offered G290 Basic Public Information Officer and G291 JIC/JIS course. The G290 course segment emphasizes the basic skills and knowledge needed for emergency management public information activities. The G291 segment discusses how to work in a multi-jurisdictional and/or multi-agency JIC, JIC concept of operations, and how to plan for and equip a JIC. These courses are intended for the new or less experienced PIO. [Note: this is the class that is required prior to taking the Advanced PIO class at the Emergency Management Institute, Emmitsburg, MD.] 


    Date: August 19-21, 2014  (3-day course)

    Time: 8:00am - 4:30pm

    Location: Allegany County Department of Emergency Services (Cumberland, MD)


    For additional information and course registration instructions, see the attached flyer.



    VI.  Preparedness Resources


    Guidance for Infection Prevention and Respiratory Protection.

    1. The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) has released a guidance document containing CSC guidance for respirators. This document, titled "Infection Prevention for Ambulatory Care Centers During Disasters," has been posted to the ASPR Communities of Interest (COI) website. To download, visit scroll down to the "Tools" section.



    2. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Occupational Health Branch (OHB) has developed a useful guide and template for healthcare organizations to employ in developing and implementing effective respiratory protection programs, with an emphasis on protecting healthcare workers from aerosol transmissible diseases. The template is not copyright protected; rather, it is intended to be modified and tailored by the end user to suit their individual facility's needs. The CDPH guide and templateare included here.




    FEMA National Incident Management System (NIMS) Online Training Courses.

    FEMA's Emergency Management Institute (EMI) offers a variety of interactive, web-based NIMS training courses. For additional information and access to these free online courses, visit:





    ATTENTION MD FQHCS - Thank you for joining the MACHC Emergency Preparedness & Management Call on Wednesday, July 23rd at 10 AM. 


    1. MACHC's Table Top Exercise (see slides attached) After Action Report Improvement Plan (AARIP). Please find AARIP attached here. Additionally, the Situational Manual discussed during the discussion is attached here


    2. DHMH Satellite Phone Recall FQHCs that still have the satellite phones distributed by DHMH 4 years ago, please send them back to: 
    L. Kay Webster, MPH

    Office of Preparedness & Response

    Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

    300 W. Preston Street, Ste. 202

    Baltimore, MD  21201 

    3. Please get in touch with your Regional Coordinators if you have not already done so and be more active in your Regional Coalition. You should already have their contacts in emails I have sent within this year numerous times. Please find them below: 


    Regions I and II Health Care Coalition 

    [Allegany, Frederick, Garrett and Washington Counties]

    Alison Robinson

    Allegany County Health Department

    12501 Willowbrook Road
    Cumberland, MD  21502
    301-759-5238 (Office)

    443-934-2232 (Mobile)

    301-777-2069 (Fax) 


    Region III  Health and Medical Task Force


    [Baltimore City; Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard Counties]

    Edward Johnson

    Harford County Health Department

    120 S. Hays Street, Suite 230
    Bel Air, MD  21014 
    410-877-1031 (Office)

    443-388-6290 (Mobile)

    410-420-3448 (Fax)


    Region IV -

    [Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne's, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico and Worcester Counties]

    Aniket Telang

    Kent County Health Department

    A.F. Whitsitt Center

    300 Scheeler Road

    P.O. Box 229
    Chestertown, MD  21620

    410-778-4861 (Office)

    443-690-3091 (Mobile)


    Region V  Emergency Preparedness Coalition

    [Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George's and St. Mary's Counties]

    Kamelah Jefferson

    Prince George's County Health Department

    9201 Basil Court, Suite 318

    Largo, MD  20774


    443-462-0230 (Mobile) 



    4. Find ATTACHED (Please click here) the guide was developed to provide hospitals in California with a useful tool for developing and implementing effective respiratory protection programs, with an emphasis on protecting health care workers from aerosol transmissible diseases. It was prepared by the Occupational Health Branch (OHB) of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) with funding from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOS H) National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL).  It sure looks like something that we can perhaps modify for Maryland.  
    Also attached, you will find the template for setting up a respiratory protection program in hospitals.  

    5. Upcoming: Assisting two FQHCs with Planning for Onsite Drill/Exercise in October 2014. The FQHC sites will be announced in the coming weeks. MACHC INVITES ALL FQHCS to participate during both or at least one of the drills as observers to take notes back to your own shop.
    N95 Masks POD (training) are in the horizon after the drill and release of After Action Report.
    Please look for the latest EP related updates RIGHT HERE!



    New Updates will be UNVEILED at MACHC's Annual Conference!!!!


    Technical Assistance Request Form 
    ---to be submitted prior to receiving any TA from MACHC---


    National Health Center Week 2014   

    Happy Health Center Week! Thank you for all the hard work you have done to assist people in enrolling in health coverage. Without your team's dedication, thousands of Americans would not have access to the high-quality health care they deserve. 

    How did your health center celebrate the week? Please send us an update and pictures of the event(s).
    Policy, Advocacy and Legislation
    National News

    Despite rigorous campaigning and incentive programs, fewer health care providers have adopted electronic health records than hoped, but policy makers are still pleased with the progress made to date.  

    White House launches Fed website fixer

    Hoping to prevent another disaster, the White House on Monday launched the U.S. Digital Service, a team of experts that aims to fix problems with government websites and help upgrade federal technology infrastructure.

    To head up the new office, the White House turned to Mikey Dickerson, a former Google engineer who helped resurrect after its high-profile meltdown. Dickerson also worked for the Obama campaign's analytics team. He'll have the title of deputy chief information office.

    Drugmaker says FDA modifies hold on experimental Ebola drug, potentially clearing way for use

     U.S. health authorities have eased safety restrictions on an experimental drug to treat Ebola, a move that could clear the way for its use in patients infected with the deadly virus.

    Canadian drugmaker Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp. said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration modified a hold recently placed on the company's drug after safety issues emerged in human testing.

    HRSA Updates Progressive Action Process 

    The Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) issued Health Center Program Requirements Oversight Program Assistance Letter (PAL), PAL 2014-08, to provide policy clarification and updated program guidance regarding the HRSA Bureau of Primary Health Care Progressive Action process. PAL 2014-08 includes information about enforcement actions as well as when and how program requirements compliance status and past performance impacts funding award decisions. 


    Who is Still Uninsured as of June 2014?

    According to a new brief from the Urban Institute, Who are the Remaining Uninsured as of June 2014?, uninsured adults are more concentrated in the South and in states that chose not to expand their Medicaid programs.  Three months after the first Marketplace open enrollment period closed, 13.9 percent of adults still remain uninsured as of June 2014.  The characteristics of the uninsured have now shifted toward a group that is less educated, more likely to be unmarried, and for whom English is not the primary language.  Three out of five uninsured adults in June 2014 had heard some or a lot about the Marketplace and the individual mandate, but fewer than two out of five had heard about the Marketplace subsidies.  Most uninsured said they were uninsured for financial reasons.
    New data highlights the economic and community impact of community health centers
    According to the National Association of Community Health Centers, health centers are helping to generate measureable improvements in health outcomes, reduce health care spending and "perform just as well or better than private practice physicians on 94 percent of quality measures." Check out NACHC's newest National Health Center Week 2014 infographic for more details.
    Hospitals seek to help consumers with Obamacare premiums
    Low-income consumers struggling to pay their premiums may soon be able to get help from their local hospital or United Way. Some hospitals in New York, Florida and Wisconsin are exploring ways to help individuals and families pay their share of the costs of government-subsidized policies purchased though the health law's marketplaces - at least partly to guarantee the hospitals get paid when the consumers seek care. But the hospitals' efforts have set up a conflict with insurers, who worry that premium assistance programs will skew their enrollee pools by expanding the number of sicker people who need more services.
    According to a new survey conducted by the National Business Group on Health, employers across the country are anticipating health care spending to increase by an average of 6.5% this year, leading many to significantly change insurance offerings in order to help control costs. 
    Death By Salt? New Study Finds Too Much Sodium Is A Global Killer
    Americans are accustomed to being nagged about salt. We're told we consume too much - particularly from processed foods. And that all this salt can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. According to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, nearly 1 in 10 cardiovascular deaths around the world can be linked to sodium consumption.  

    HHS has announced the availability of $100 million in Affordable Care
    Actfunding to expand access to primary care through new Community Health Centers. Funding will support an estimated 150 new health center sites across the country in 2015.The webinar recording is now available from the  NAP Applicant Technical Assistance Session, which provided an overview of the announcement. As a reminder, applications are due in by Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at 11:59 pm, ET and in HRSA's Electronic Handbook (EHB) by Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 8:00 pm, ET.

    HRSA Webinar Targets Self-Auditing to Avoid Duplicate Discount in the 340B Program

    The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is hosting a webinar, Self-Auditing to Avoid Duplicate Discount in the 340B Program, Wednesday, August 27, 2014, 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm, ET.  This webinar will highlight how 340B leading practice sites are successfully preventing duplicate discounts while maintaining maximum 340B program integrity and auditable records that verify 340B drug dispensing and billing in accordance to 340B Federal/State requirement. Registration is required.

    State News
    If you receive a letter from the Health Insurance Marketplace asking you to verify information you submitted about citizenship or immigration status, it is legitimate and you must send the requested documents by Sept. 5 or your Marketplace coverage will end Sept. 30. If you want your coverage to continue, please read the letter and act now. Learn more here.

    Maryland Awards $16 Billion, 10-year Contract for Health Insurance

    Top state officials last Wednesday approved spending $16 billion over the next 10 years on health insurance for over 200,000 state employees, retirees and their dependents.

    One of the largest contracts ever granted, the three-member Board of Public Works approved it at a meeting dominated by discussion of the positives and negatives of health care delivery in Maryland, including serious patient care problems at a state hospital in Hagerstown.

    Comptroller Peter Franchot repeatedly objected to the size and length of time in the health insurance contract. "Who knows what's going to happen to health care over the next 10 years?" Franchot complained. He noted that just six years ago there was no Obamacare, and there is political uncertainty about the future.

    In the end Franchot joined Gov. Martin O'Malley and State Treasurer Nancy Kopp in approving the $16 billion award to CareFirst of Maryland, United Healthcare Services of Minnesota and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States.

    Aetna Life Insurance Co. of Connecticut, one of the current contractors, protested its exclusion from the contract award, and is appealing the decision.


    Maryland health department cautions contractors on police, fire reports 

    Maryland's health department has alerted state contractors caring for disabled adults and children that they are obligated to report incidents at their facilities that involve police, fire and medical assistance.

    The advisory - which comes as broader safeguards are being proposed by child advocates - was sent this week to nearly 300 professionals who work with disabled clients. Regulators said it was spurred by a recent Baltimore Sun investigation of an Anne Arundel County group home operator, LifeLine, which failed to notify regulators about numerous reports alleging abuse and neglect by its staff.

    Finance & Business
    16% Of Large Employers Plan To Offer Low-Benefit 'Skinny' Plans Despite ACA: Survey

    Despite reassurances that low-coverage, "skinny" insurance plans would be a thing of the past with the implementation of health care reform, looking to cut costs, many large employers are still planning to offer plans that do not meet minimum coverage requirements under the ACA.  

    HHS Establishes October 1, 2015 ICD10 Launch Date

    In a final rule (PDF) issued last Thursday, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) formally set an October 1, 2015, compliance date for conversion to ICD-10 diagnostic and procedure codes.  The agency had the option to issue an interim final rule with comment period, but instead proceeded with a definitive date through issuance of the final rule. 

    Latest News on ACA


    NACHC Outreach & Enrollment Webinar Series:

    "Sign me up!" Navigating the Outreach & Enrollment Landscape

    The 2014-2015 open enrollment period is around the corner and Community Health Centers continue to be on the forefront of educating the uninsured about their options and signing them up for coverage.  The new, free webinar series-"Sign me up!" Navigating the Outreach and Enrollment Landscape-will focus on what we learned from the first open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act, what to expect and prepare for in the next round of open enrollment, and the latest news, updates and information on the Health Insurance Marketplace.

    The first webinar in the series is available now: Connecting Kids and Teens with Free and Low-cost Coverage, Wednesday, July 30th, 2014.

    Click here for the webinar.


    FOR FFM/ Federal Partnership States only:

    More SEPs for Consumers with Medicaid Denials
    Last week, HHS issued a  fact sheet describing two limited circumstances that triggered Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs) in the Federally-facilitated Marketplace (FFM) for some consumers who applied for and were denied Medicaid or CHIP.  

    First, consumers who fell in the Medicaid gap because their incomes were below 100% of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL) can get SEPs if their incomes rise above 100% FPL later in the year. To be eligible for this SEP, a consumer must (1) live in a state that did not expand Medicaid, (2) have applied for and been denied Medicaid at either his state's Medicaid agency or the FFM while his income was below 100% FPL (but not necessarily during Open Enrollment), and (3) experience an income increase that makes him eligible for Advanced Premium Tax Credits (APTCs) or Cost Sharing Reductions (CSRs).

    Second, HHS announced that SEPs are available to consumers who initially applied for coverage using the "in line" SEP and were denied Medicaid or CHIP after open enrollment.  


    New SEP Guidance from CMS

    In its August 5 Weekly Assister Newsletter, CMS announced new ways in which some people can obtain coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace (Federally-Facilitated Marketplace) outside of open enrollment, including people who were denied Medicaid in non-expansion states but whose circumstances have changed.  The two new special enrollment periods (SEPs) for "limited circumstances" available at are for:

    Consumers in the Medicaid Gap whose income increase during the year:  A SEP is now available for consumers who live in a state that did not expand Medicaid, if the consumer applied at either the state Medicaid agency or the Marketplace and was denied Medicaid, had income below the poverty line at the time of application and would have been eligible for Medicaid had the state expanded, but then experienced an increase in income that now makes him or her eligible for Advance Premium Tax Credits (APTC) and Cost Sharing Reductions (CSR).

    Medicaid ineligible consumers who qualified for an "in line" SEP in April but was referred to Medicaid:  A SEP is also available for consumers who tried to apply for coverage through before March 31, 2014 but were unable to do so because of system issues, received an "in line" SEP that allowed them to complete a Marketplace application between April 1, 2014 and April 15, 2014, were deemed Medicaid/CHIP eligible by the Marketplace and transferred to the state's Medicaid or CHIP agency, but were subsequently denied Medicaid or CHIP.

    Consumers in either circumstance are able to apply for APTCs/CSRs through the Marketplace and should contact the Marketplace Call Center (1-800-318-2596) to request a Special Enrollment Period.  If approved for a SEP, they will have 60 days to select and enroll in a qualified health plan (note: the first month's premium must be paid on time to complete enrollment).

    Assisters are urged to inform any consumers that may fall into either circumstance about these new opportunities for accessing Marketplace coverage.  CMS has provided a new tip sheet regarding these "Limited Circumstances" Special Enrollment Periods here:, also available on the Resources for Assisters page.  
    Save the Date

    The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities' Beyond the Basics of Health Reform webinar series will begin again in October!  We will be presenting a four-part refresher course that will provide an overview of the Affordable Care Act, eligibility for coverage programs, policies and processes for enrolling into and renewing coverage, and plan design.  

    After the four-part series, we will continue the Beyond the Basics webinars through open enrollment, presenting on in-depth topics affecting  eligibility and enrollment.  We will be sending more details on the webinars and opening registration in September, but for now, please mark your calendars.  The tentative dates and times for the webinars are:

    Wednesday, October 8, 2014
    2:00 pm-3:30 pm (Eastern), 11:00 am-12:30 (Pacific)

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014
    2:00 pm-3:30 pm (Eastern), 11:00 am-12:30 (Pacific)

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014
    2:00 pm-3:30 pm (Eastern), 11:00 am-12:30 (Pacific)

    Wednesday, October 29, 2014
    2:00 pm-3:30 pm (Eastern), 11:00 am-12:30 (Pacific)

    This webinar series is intended for those working on the implementation of health reform including navigators, assisters, CACs and others assisting consumers apply for coverage in a Marketplace.  We hope you all can join us! 


    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

    Invitation: ACSE Monthly Status Meeting @ Monthly 

    from 10am to 11:30am on the fourth Monday, August 25th

    Conference Call 877-431-1883 code 370 252 4147 

    Change Agent Network Meeting


    The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange (MHBE) is now accepting applications for 

    Application Counselor Sponsoring Entity (ACSE) program.

    Since you are already Certified ACSE, what better way to introduce others to this program. If you know anyone interested, please forward this 


    Applications will be accepted until September 2, 2014.   


    From the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange 

    There are 92 days until the next open enrollment begins Nov. 15. Together we are making progress toward operation of the new MD HBX system. We are encouraged by the level of teamwork between our partner organizations.

    In the meantime, thank you for subscribing to the MD HBX newsletter. Our goal is to provide all MD HBX project participants with timely and relevant insight.

    To help us to achieve our goal, we would like to increase the number of readers of our newsletter and incorporate your feedback and questions. We invite you to send one list of email addresses of your staff who should receive the updates, as well as your feedback and questions, to
    MD HBX System Sneak-Peek

    Managing Consumer Accounts 

    After consumers create an account in the Consumer Portal to apply and enroll in health coverage, they can view, update, and manage these items using the Account Home page:

    • Password
    • Contact information
    • Language preferences
    • Security questions and answers for password reset
    • Email or postal mail notification preference
    • Authorized representative for accountholder decision-making 

    The consumer can link an application completed by a worker to his or her account, after the worker has completed and submitted the application (i.e., after eligibility has been determined).  


    We Are Making Progress

    Late July and Early August

    The MD HBX system implementation is advancing. These notes from the project team detail progress:

    Testing Real-Life Scenarios

    Before open enrollment, we are testing the system using mock consumers seeking health coverage, through a process called User Acceptance Testing (UAT). UAT allows the project team to test real-life situations such as adoptions, births, marriage, divorce, separation, elderly parents, and adult children in the household.

    Preparing the System

    • Updating the MD HBX Eligibility and Enrollment functionalities is nearly complete. Current work includes updating the system for Spanish speakers. We are also working to define how the system will handle Medicaid data errors.
    • We are continuing to work with insurance carriers to develop 834 transactions, which enroll consumers in the carrier health plans. 

    Preparing Our People

    • During the Change Agent Network meeting July 29, we conducted a live demonstration of the MD HBX system to leaders from our partner organizations. The audience watched the successful enrollment of a fictional bachelor named Henry in a qualified health plan in the Consumer Portal. Next, they saw the Worker Portal facilitate the successful enrollment of a fictional single mother named Kathy into Medicaid and her daughter into MCHP.
    • We have completed outlining training courses and curriculums. The next step is to create the training materials for instructors.  


    MD HBX Frequently Asked Questions

    Question: Is an address required for enrollment in the MD HBX system?

    Answer: An address is not needed to enroll in the MD HBX system. This allows Marylanders who are homeless and others without a permanent address to apply for coverage using the system. The system will automatically send notifications and verifications to the nearest Local Health Department (LHD).

    Question: Is a phone number required for enrollment in the MD HBX system?

    Answer: A phone number is required to enroll in the MD HBX system. This allows the primary applicant to be contacted if there is an issue. People who do not have telephone numbers will enter their local health department's telephone number.

    Question: Does an applicant need a Social Security Number (SSN) to enroll in health insurance using the MD HBX system?

    Answer: The MD HBX system allows users to proceed without a SSN if they attest that they are applying for a SSN number. The system will temporarily provide them an alternative ID. The consumer will then have 89 days to provide their SSN to the carrier or their coverage will be terminated.

    Question: Does everyone who lives in the house have to apply for insurance coverage through MD HBX?

    Answer: No. Generally, only individuals who are a part of the same taxable household should be on the application, although they do not all need to seek coverage. For example, an applicant's roommate with whom the applicant does not file taxes should not be on the same application.

    Question: If a spouse already has insurance through their employer, should they be included on the application?

    Answer: If the spouses file taxes together and are requesting a subsidy, they both must be included in the application. However, in the Current Health Insurance section of the application, the spouse with existing insurance coverage must answer "no" when asked if they are requesting coverage and mark that they already receive insurance through their employer. Married applicants must include their spouse and file taxes jointly to receive Advanced Premium Tax Credits (APTC) and cost-sharing reductions.


    Grants & Funding Opportunities

    Reminder: Outreach and Enrollment (O/E) Ongoing Funding 

    Health centers that received O/E grant funds in July 2013 have already received the ongoing O/E funds in their base award to cover the months between July 1, 2014 through the end of their FY 2014 budget period. Health centers should be preparing for the upcoming open enrollment period that begins on November 15, 2014. Contact with any questions or concerns related to O/E.


    Reminder: Fiscal Year 2015 Affordable Care Act (ACA) New Access Point (NAP) Grants (HRSA-15-016) - Applications for funding opportunity HRSA-15-016 are due in by Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at 11:59pm, ET and in HRSA's Electronic Handbook (EHB) by Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 8:00pm, ET.
    View more information and resources on the NAP opportunity


    Federal Surplus Personal Property Program

    Application Deadline: None  

    Eligible state and local government agencies and nonprofit organizations, including health centers, can obtain property that the federal government no longer needs through the Federal Surplus Personal Property Donation Program.


    Update: Fiscal Year 2015 New Access Point (NAP) Funding Opportunity (HRSA-15-016) - Webinar recordings are now available from the NAP Applicant Technical Assistance Session and the Cooperative Agreement Partners Briefing which provided an overview of the $100 million announcement to support an estimated 150 NAP grant awards in FY 2015. 
    As a reminder, applications are due in by Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at 11:59pm, ET and in HRSA's Electronic Handbook (EHB) by Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 8:00pm, ET.


    Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children Access to Care Grants 

    Application Deadline: August 18, 2014

    Matching grants to support community-based initiatives in the U.S. providing dental care to underserved/limited access children. Special consideration will be given to programs that have demonstrated success and/or have potential for replication in other communities.

    Funds may be used to cover:

    • Child oral health care
    • Costs of clinic supplies and instruments
    • Patient/parent education materials
    • Take-home supplies (toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc.)
    • Education and/or outreach to recruit dentist participation in program activities
    • Other activity with clear, direct impact on pediatric oral health care  
    Application Deadline: Applications accepted on an ongoing basis
    Funding for hunger prevention, self-sufficiency, healthcare, and education to those who are underserved. 
    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 
    New Tool to Support Policymakers Use of Research in Their Work
    State policymakers face tremendous pressure to make informed decisions using the most up-to-date evidence available, but finding and translating this research into policy can often be quite difficult. NASHP, with support from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), has created a new tool to help state health policymakers find and implement CER and PCOR in their work: A Roadmap For State Policymakers To Use Comparative Effectiveness And Patient-Centered Outcomes Research To Inform Decision Making. The Roadmap offers a range of short-, medium- and long-term strategies to help policymakers through key steps in the process. These steps include finding research, using it to design evidence-based policies, and monitoring and incorporating new research as it becomes available.
    A companion brief entitled Programs Supporting The Use Of Comparative Effectiveness and Patient-Centered Outcomes Research  provides additional background and multiple examples of programs currently being used by state policymakers to incorporate this research into their work.

    2014 Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Standards and Accreditation Updates Webinar - Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 1:00pm - 2:30pm, ET. 
    BPHC is hosting a webinar  with the National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA), The Joint Commission (TJC) and the Accreditation Association of Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) on the new 2014 PCMH standards and accreditation updates.

    To participate in the session use the following link: PCMH Standards and Accreditation Updates . Connect to the audio line using 1-800-857-5012; passcode: 9413383.

    Clinical Quality 

    What will the national supply of physicians, advanced practice nurses and physician assistants in non-primary care specialty and subspecialty fields look like in 2025? 

    HRSA's just-published health workforce brief projects

    • Increased physician supply,
    • Growth in the supply of advanced practice nurses that outpaces that of physicians, and
    • Growth in the supply of physician assistants that outpaces that of physicians, but is not as rapid as the growth of the supply of advanced practice nurses.

    New recommendations have been released by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for children at increased risk of meningococcal disease. The Updated Recommendations on the Use of Meningococcal Vaccines recommends an age-appropriate meningococcal conjugate vaccine instead of the meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine for children and adolescents. All adolescents should be routinely immunized at 11 to 12 years of age, and given a booster dose at 16 years of age. Unvaccinated or first-year college students who have previously been vaccinated through age 21 living in residence halls who received their last does before their 16th birthday should also receive a single dose of quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine.


    Psychological First Aid (PFA) Kit  
    PFA is an evidence-based approach designed to reduce the initial distress caused by traumatic events and to foster short- and long-term adaptive functioning and coping to help individuals of all ages.   . Anyone can become trained on PFA through an online PFA training. There is also a PFA mobile app that provides a quick and thorough review for those who have previously received training to provide PFA.

    Medicare Now Covers Hepatitis C Screening in Primary Care Settings for Persons Born during 1945 to 1965 and Others at High Risk - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) screening will be covered by Medicare for adults when ordered by beneficiary's primary care provider. Beneficiaries must meet one of two conditions: 1) born during 1945 through 1965; 2) at high risk for Hepatitis C Virus infection. 
    CDC provides more information about HCV testing and counseling for people who test positive for HCV

    Health Observances This Week


    Neurosurgery Outreach Month Although most people think of them as brain surgeons, neurosurgeons are medical specialists who diagnose and treat disorders of the entire nervous system. Of course, they operate on the brain, but they actually spend a large part of their time helping patients with back and neck problems, providing surgical and nonsurgical care. They also are leaders in diagnosing and treating head and neck injuries, including traumatic brain injuries and concussions. Every August, an interesting and unique subspecialty area of neurosurgery is highlighted through a public outreach campaign. For more information, contact: Member and Public Outreach Department | American Association of Neurological Surgeons | 847.378.0500 |
    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.

    Mid-Atlantic Association of Community Health Centers | | |
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