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
September 29, 2014 



(1) Step Out I Walk to Stop Diabetes

September 27, 9:30 am -1 pm 

Please join Family Health Centers of Baltimore for their walk to stop diabetes event. Full details on flyer attached.



(2) Outreach Team: 

Women & Latinos are Critical to Your Outreach Efforts    

October 3, 2014

Please join us to hear from the national nonprofit, Enroll America, about strategies you can begin to develop now, in order to engage Women and Latinos in your community and connect them to coverage. You will have an opportunity to learn how to integrate lessons learned from the first open enrollment to maximize your work.  The hour long webinar will provide examples of data informed tactics and unique solutions to challenges in doing in-reach/outreach work.  You can find related resources on working with and reaching key populations in our toolkits.

Speakers: Ambar Calvillo, National Director of Stakeholder Engagement & Jose Plaza, National Director Latino Engagement  

1.  Please join my meeting.

2.  Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP) - a headset is recommended.  Or, call in using your telephone.

United States: +1 (213) 493-0015

United States (toll-free): 1 866 899 4679

Access Code: 358-894-350

Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting

Meeting ID: 358-894-350


(3) Transformational Call -- CANCELLED *for MHBE meeting

October 7th; 10 am - 11 am

Bi-weekly calls to resume as scheduled starting October 7th.

To get on call listserv, email

Audience: MD MACHC Leadership

Topic: Discuss State and FQHC updates, trends, best practices, obstacles and issues. These are discussed and issues are brought to the respective official's attention. These topics are included in MACHC's advocacy efforts on behalf of FQHCs.


(4) Outreach Team: Engage Faith-Based Communities in your Outreach Efforts

October 17, 2014

Please join us to hear from the national nonprofit, Enroll America, about things you can do right now to effectively partner with faith based groups to get the word out about your program and connect people to coverage. With the start of Open Enrollment, faith institutions will again play a critical role in reaching the uninsured. Places of worship will be significant locations for enrollment events and points of reference for information. There are many lessons learned to be shared and tools and tips to apply when reaching multiple faith based groups, some of which have been captured in these toolkits. During this hour long webinar you will hear practical suggestions that you can run with now to amplify your reach in the community and leverage existing partnerships by including communities of faith.  

Speaker: Reverend Doctor Derrick Harkins Is the National Director for Faith Initiatives and African American Engagement for Enroll America. 

1.  Please join my meeting.

2.  Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP) - a headset is recommended.  Or, call in using your telephone.

United States: +1 (224) 649-0001

United States (toll-free): 1 877 309 2073

Access Code: 157-700-118

Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting

Meeting ID: 157-700-118



(5) Family Health Centers of Baltimore brings you Breast Cancer Screening & Lunch Event
October 25, 8:30 am - 4pm 
Please join Family Health Center's for their October;s Breast Cancer Awareness Event in light of Breast Cancer Awareness month--the event will include breast cancer screening, lunch and entertainment. For more information, find the attached flyer.



(6) Outreach Team: Creating an Earned Media Strategy: Simple Ways to Engage the Ethnic Media

October 31, 2014

Please join us to hear from the national nonprofit, Enroll America, about simple things you can do to engage the media in your efforts to get the word out about your program and connect people to coverage. This webinar will present the benefits of working with local radio, television, and print media outlets to get the word out. This will be an opportunity for you to hear about how this strategy can be effective in engaging non-English speaking individuals and minority groups in general, free of charge. You will learn about ways you can engage local media and use this powerful tool to educate and motivate consumers to take action. There are many lessons learned to be shared and tools and tips to apply when amplifying your reach, some of which have been captured in this outreach toolkit. During this hour long webinar you will hear practical suggestions that you can run with now to make the most of your time and outreach efforts.

Speaker: Dayanne Leal, Deputy Director of the Best Practices Institute at Enroll America

1.  Please join my meeting.

2.  Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP) - a headset is recommended.  Or, call in using your telephone.

United States: +1 (213) 493-0008

United States (toll-free): 1 877 309 2070

Access Code: 596-817-486

Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting

Meeting ID: 596-817-486

    (1) Sorting out Meaningful Use for 2014 and 2015

    Mon, Sep 29, 2014 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM EDT

    MU Webinar Offered by the HFP

    Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) regulations on attesting to Meaningful Use in 2014 and 2015 have changed, timelines have been pushed back, and new rules are in place about EMR versions that can be used to attest. Please join Debra McGrath, MSN, FNP,NP and Anna M. Gard, MSN, FNP-BC for a Health Federation of Philadelphia webinar.  This webinar will clarify the new rules and provide simple tools to help health centers keep track of their attestation and to assure that you are getting the most incentive dollars possible out of this program. Registration

    is required, click here. 

    HHS is hosting this Healthy People 2020
    webinar to discuss the complexity of diabetes and kidney disease. Panelists will share examples of steps to improve the quality of life for all persons who have, or are at risk for diabetes.

    October 1, 2014 through September 2015
    NACHC is offering several one-day, intensive workshops to prepare health centers and look-alikes to implement the new Medicare PPS regulations. For questions, contact Jaime Hirschfeld at or (301) 347-0460.


    (4) Supporting Homeless LGBTQ Youth through Better Access to Care Webinar, Wednesday, October 8, 2014 2:00pm - 3:00pm, ET -

    The National LGBT Health Education Center is hosting this webinar to raise awareness of the challenges experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ) youth. This webinar will discuss ways that health care providers can help facilitate access to culturally responsive care and resources.

    (5) 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.


    (6) Mark your calendars for these flu clinics in Delaware

    DPH plans three large flu immunization clinics this fall. Two flu clinics will be held at the New Castle Farmers Market, 101 N. DuPont Hwy., New Castle, DE 19720:
     Oct.10, 2014, 3:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.; and
     Oct. 24, 2014, 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
    One flu clinic will be held at the Blades Fire Hall, 200 East 5th St., Blades, DE 19973:
     Oct. 23, 2014, 3:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
    Visit or call 800-282-8672 for the complete schedule.


    (7) Save the Date: 2014 N.C. Rural Assembly
    Empowering North Carolina's Rural Communities

    Thursday, October 30, 2014
    DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Raleigh - Brownstone - University1707 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, North Carolina 27605

    Hosted by the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center. The Rural Center's signature event will return this October, with a new name, a new venue and a new strategic action plan for addressing the future of rural economic development. 

    (8) 2015 NACHC Policy & Issues Forum

    Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, DC

    March 18-22, 2015


    Emergency Preparedness Events:

    Pediatric Disaster Preparedness and Planning Program (TEEX)

    Mon, 01/12/2015 - 8:00am - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 5:00pm
    Thu, 01/15/2015 - 8:00am - Fri, 01/16/2015 - 5:00pm

    Enrollment is through the Commonwealth of Virginia Knowledge Center (KC). There are two options for enrollment (please see below).

    * For students who are comfortable using the Knowledge Center: If you have an existing account with any state agency, click here  for enrollment procedures. For students who do not already have an existing KC account, click here  for enrollment procedures.

    * For those who do not feel comfortable using the Knowledge Center, you may access an online enrollment form at this link. Our Help Desk will use the form to verify/create your account and enroll you in the course.

    This course, taught by the Texas Engineering and Extension Service, is a two day performance level course that addresses pediatric emergency planning and medical response considerations. The course addresses the need for emergency responders, first receivers, and emergency management personnel to increase their effectiveness in responding to pediatric patients and their unique needs/considerations. This course provides participants with skills and knowledge necessary to make pediatric considerations/accommodations while planning and preparing for community all-hazards events. Those who should attend include hospital staff and planners, public health, school administrators, American Red Cross, fire service, law enforcement, emergency management, military personnel and others that deal with children on a daily basis.

    Individuals who need an accommodation of a functional or access need to attend the training should contact the LMS Help Desk via telephone at 804-897-9995 or via email at

    . at least two weeks prior to the course start date.


    DatesTimesLocationEnrollment Deadline
    Jan 12-13, 20158:00-5:00FairfaxDec 30, 2014
    Jan 15-16, 20158:00-5:00RoanokeDec 30, 2014



    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)   


    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:


    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 to prepare 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


    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.


    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!


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

    ***If there are any job openings at any of MD or DE health centers, please email them to us at to be posted on our website.
    Policy, Advocacy and Legislation
    National News

    Sliding Fee Discount Program PIN

    HRSA has issued "Sliding Fee Discount and Related Billing and Collection Program Requirements" (Policy Information Notice 2014-02).  The PIN, which applies to both grantees and look-alikes, clarifies several aspects of the sliding fee discount program, including:

    • Development of the health center's fee schedule and sliding fee discount schedule;
    • Use of multiple sliding fee discount schedules;
    • Application of discounts to patient cost sharing amounts and supplies/equipment;
    • Cash/prompt payment discounts;
    • Discharge of patients due to refusal to pay;
    • Role of the governing board in establishing and approving the sliding fee discount program. 
    HRSA has supported the USDA Summer Food Service Program and would like to know if your health center participated in the program during Summer 2014.  
    Please complete this feedback form to let HRSA know about your participation: Summer Food Service Program Survey
    If you did not participate in the Summer Food Service Program but would like more information about it, contact  
    On September 15, 2014, the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace (Federal Marketplace) began sending notices to consumers who have an income-related data matching issue. Individuals who do not respond by Tuesday, September 30, 2014, may see the costs of their coverage change. For example, this may impact the cost of monthly premium premiums, copays, co-insurance and even their tax bill or refund during filing season.

    Fiscal Year 2015 Service Area Competition - Additional Areas (SAC-AA) for Baltimore, MD; Gonzales, TX; Los Angeles, CA; and Minneapolis, MN (HRSA-15-128)

    HRSA has released an FY 2015 SAC-AA Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), for Baltimore, MD; Gonzales, TX; Los Angeles CA; and Minneapolis, MN service areas. Technical assistance materials for SAC-AA applicants, including a recorded presentation and frequently asked questions are available at SAC-AA Webpage

    Congress Approves Short-Term Continuing Resolution

    Last week with the end of FY2014 looming, the House and Senate passed a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government through December 11th. The CR (H.J. Res. 124) would fund government programs and services at the current rate of $1.012 trillion and includes $88 million in funding to address the Ebola crisis as well as a 0.0554 percent across-the-board reduction to accommodate the Ebola-related funding under the cap. Congress will recess for the majority of October in advance of the mid-term elections. Once they return to DC in November, they may consider a FY2015 omnibus appropriations bill to continue funding past the December 11th expiration of the CR. However, appropriations action and timing will depend largely on the outcome of the elections. Please stay tuned for more information on the FY2015 appropriations process.

    Last Thursday HRSA awarded $9.9 million in ACA funds to 22 Health Centers to expand HIV care and treatment services. These awards are part of a three-year joint project by HRSA and the CDC to improve HIV health outcomes. To learn more, read the HRSA press release here

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Million Hearts initiative is seeking nominations for blood pressure control champions for the 2014 Million Hearts Hypertension Control Challenge. The challenge seeks to recognize high-performing small and large practices and health systems that have worked with their patients to achieve hypertension control rates at or above 70 percent. This competition is part of efforts by Million Hearts to help prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. The submission deadline is October 10. Success stories about the 2013 winners are available, along with information about hypertension.
    Free Healthcare Network Resources Available
    The National Cooperative of Health Networks Association (NCHN) has developed a collaborative online tool chest of resources for health networks. The site is designed to share knowledge, sample documents, and other resources to assist network leaders. The site offers templates, sample documents, and presentations that can be used as guides. Information is organized by category, which can be accessed via the navigation bar, sitemap, or the search bar. The site will be regularly updated.
    While the pap smear has long been the go-to exam for cervical cancer screenings, some scientists are pushing for alternative testing options and have developed new, less invasive testing options.  

    The Global Complacency On Ebola Must End 

    The Ebola epidemic now sweeping West Africa is a public health catastrophe, yet the world's response has been to treat it like a faraway monsoon or volcano, perhaps frightening but not something that much can be done about. This complacency is wrong-headed and dangerous. The catastrophe is worsening by the day because of the actions and inactions of people, those on the ground and those far away 
    New Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell tried to hit the reset button on perceptions of the health-care rollout in her first public speech since taking the job at the embattled department overseeing it. "What I've told my team at HHS is that we're not here to fight last year's battles, we're here to fight for affordability, access and quality," said Ms. Burwell to an audience of George Washington University students and faculty on Monday. "Let's move beyond the back and forth, let's move forward together" 

    State News

    Gearing up for Marketplace Open Enrollment


    Choose Health Delaware is the state's official program for health care reform and the Health Insurance Marketplace and is focused on reaching the uninsured and underinsured to increase their access to high-quality, affordable health care.


    Through August, more than 22,000 Delawareans had enrolled in health care coverage either through private coverage purchased on the Marketplace or through the state's expanded Medicaid program. The Marketplace's next open-enrollment period, for coverage in 2015, starts November 15 and ends February 15, 2015.  If you've recently moved, gotten married, had a child or experienced a similar life-changing event, you might qualify to enroll in coverage before November 15.  And qualified applicants can enroll in coverage through Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) throughout the year.


    There are many reasons to get covered through the Health Insurance Marketplace:


    • Free checkups. Annual checkups and preventive care, including mammograms, vaccinations and screenings, are all covered - without a co-pay. That means free.
    • Prescription drugs, emergency services, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance abuse services are all covered, too.
    • Health insurance companies compete for business, so consumers can compare offers and choose the best plan for them.
    • You are prepared if a crisis hits. Having health insurance means you're prepared for any health crisis - from a car-accident injury to a sudden illness or unexpected health condition. Health insurance can also help you avoid health issues before they become major problems.
    • Financial help. People with moderate and low incomes can get financial help to offset the cost of premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.
    • It's the law. If you or your dependents don't have insurance that qualifies as minimum essential coverage you'll pay a penalty.  The penalty for being uninsured in 2015 will be whichever of these amounts is higher: 2% of your yearly household income(only the amount of income above the tax filing threshold, $10,150 for an individual, is used to calculate the penalty) or $325 per person ($162.50 per child under 18).  You'll pay the fee on your 2015 federal income tax return. Most people will file this return in 2016.

    All 2014 Marketplace health plans will come up for renewal in 2015. Those who signed up for coverage in 2014 will receive notices from the Marketplace shortly before November 15, explaining the automatic enrollment process and how they can return to the Marketplace to see if they qualify for additional financial assistance and shop for plans. Consumers will also receive notices from their insurance company about their new 2015 premium and the amount they may save on their monthly bill with a premium tax credit.  

    Generally, if consumers do nothing, they will be automatically enrolled in the same plan with the same premium tax credit and other financial assistance, if applicable, as their 2014 plan.  


    Getting covered has already made a difference for many Delawareans. "My life has improved a lot," says Felipe Hernandez, a 25-year-old machine operator from Wilmington and a married father of a toddler. He's used his new coverage to pay for prescriptions and get a physical exam and other preventive care. "I feel less stress and more hopeful about the future for me and my family," Felipe says. "I want to buy a house, and having health insurance will help keep me out of debt."


    The state's Marketplace Guides, who are trained and certified to educate residents about their health insurance options and to help them enroll, are available to provide free in-person assistance throughout the state.  Visit for a list of where Marketplace Guides will be available and for more information on the Health Insurance Marketplace and Delaware's expanded Medicaid program.



    The second year of Maryland's health insurance marketplace for individuals and families begins on Nov. 9 when consumers will have access to a newly redesigned website that enables "anonymous browsing," the ability to compare plans - without registering personal information - before enrolling. This feature is being launched earlier than originally planned to enhance the shopping experience for Marylanders.

    "We're excited to announce that Maryland Health Connection will re-launch this fall better than ever and earlier than we anticipated," said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. "Marylanders will be able to use a new and improved website and work with insurance brokers, navigators and our call center to find affordable and quality coverage."

    Starting November 9, the redesigned exchange will be rolled out with a series of events, including a more intensive campaign of in-person assistance to help consumers and businesses during the upcoming season of open enrollment:

    Nov. 9 -- Anonymous browsing begins on Consumers can use the website to learn about available plans, get an estimate of financial assistance and begin comparing their health insurance options without having to enter personal information. This feature will continue throughout open enrollment.

    Nov. 15 -- The first HealthConnectNow! sign-up event will be held. About 25 sign-up events are being scheduled throughout Maryland -- four times the number held during the first open enrollment. Details about times, dates and locations will be announced in the coming weeks.

    Nov. 16 -- The call center opens to take phone applications at 855-642-8572 (TTY 855-642-8573).

    Nov. 17 -- All authorized insurance brokers (producers) and navigators are able to complete enrollments through the website and also provide in-person consumer assistance.

    Nov. 18 - All caseworkers at local health departments and departments of social services begin enrolling consumers through the website. Medicaid applications (currently completed through SAIL) will be directed through

    Nov. 19 -- Self-service enrollment through the website becomes available for the first time to the general public and all other stakeholders.

    "Anonymous browsing enables Marylanders to see available plans, compare offerings and costs, and prepare to choose the best plan for themselves and their families," said Carolyn Quattrocki, executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. "It is a feature that many consumers requested last year, and we're pleased to be able to provide it."

    All consumers shopping for health insurance on the exchange for the 2015 calendar year - even those who currently have a qualified health plan through the exchange - should re-enroll between Nov. 15 and Dec. 18 in order to compare plan prices and receive an advanced federal tax subsidy that could significantly lower their costs.

    Increased competition has led to new offerings from carriers, so all Marylanders are encouraged to check out the exchange. Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company is the newest carrier in the marketplace for 2015. Cigna joins CareFirst, Evergreen, Kaiser Permanente and UnitedHealthCare, all of which offered plans in the exchange in 2014.

    By going to the new and easier-to-navigate website in mid-November, Marylanders can:

    • See new 2015 plans and compare prices.
    • Find out whether they are eligible for free or lower-cost health insurance.
    • Sign up for coverage that takes effect on Jan. 1 for all of 2015.

    Through the work of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, which administers the Maryland Health Connection marketplace, since Jan. 1:

    • Maryland has enrolled more than 400,000 people in quality affordable coverage.
    • The number of charitable care cases in Maryland hospitals has dropped by more than 50 percent, driving down costs for all.
    • Safety net providers have reported 80 percent of their clientele are now insured, compared with 20 percent prior to implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA).



    Andrew Ratner, Director of Marketing and Outreach, (C) 443-827-6558,

    Alison E. Walker, Digital Communications Manager, 410-547-8154,

    Finance & Business
    Commonwealth Fund survey: ACA plans seen as affordable

    Seventy percent of the people getting health coverage through the ACA insurance exchanges believe they could now afford care if they get sick, according to a Commonwealth Fund survey released Thursday. Generally, the people in the exchanges find premiums affordable, although that's particularly true of lower-income people who are more heavily subsidized. "The subsidies are doing what they were designed to do - make comprehensive coverage attainable for low- and moderate-income families without employer-based health insurance," Sara Collins, Commonwealth Fund vice president for health care coverage and access, said in a statement. The report finds that 65 percent of people making less than $28,725 (or 250 percent of the federal poverty level) said their premiums were affordable. More than two-thirds pay less than $125 a month for individual coverage, and about 40 percent had deductibles of less than $500. That's all comparable to employer-sponsored coverage at this income level.

    Percentage of American women getting free birth control rises rapidly 

    Women are getting free birth control in the wake of the Affordable Care Act, which requires most private insurance plans to pay for contraception with no co-pay or other out-of-pocket costs. The percentage of women with private insurance coverage getting free oral contraception, or the pill, rose from 15 percent in the fall of 2012 to 67 percent this spring. The ACA's free birth control mandate went into effect January 2013. Free access to other forms of pregnancy prevention also rose, according to research conducted by the Guttmacher Institute and published online Thursday in the journal Contraception.


    Almost All Obamacare Enrollees Are Paying For Coverage 

    The Obama administration on Thursday finally revealed how many people paid for Obamacare on the national and state health insurance exchanges: 7.3 million. Since President Barack Obama announced in April that sign-ups on the Obamacare exchange marketplaces had surpassed 8 million, skeptics have demanded to know what portion of health insurance enrollees had actually paid for their coverage. At a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner offered a partial answer at last. 

    Latest News on ACA

    Marketplace Information and Assistance event being  held:

    DATE:            Saturday Oct. 11th

    TIME:             10:00 am - 2:00 pm

    10 - Noon:   Consumer Briefing Session

    Noon - 2:     Marketplace Assister Training


    LOCATION: Tuttleman Learning Center

    Temple University Campus

    1809 North 13th Street

    Philadelphia, PA  19122

    No reservations needed. All are welcome.


    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
    Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Update:

    What's in a name? A lot! So much so, that we feel compelled to draw a distinction between some of the terms that we have all been using on a regular basis. These distinctions are important for communicating with our colleagues, as well as our consumers.

    • Maryland Health Benefit Exchange (MHBE)- The public corporation and independent unit of Maryland state government that is responsible for the administration of Maryland Health Connection.
    • Maryland Health Connection - Maryland's marketplace at for individuals and families to compare and enroll in health insurance and determine eligibility for Medicaid and other assistance programs, federal tax credits and cost-sharing reductions.
    • MD HBX - The online application/web portal at that consumers will use this fall to enroll in health coverage, and the project supporting the adoption of technology used by Connecticut's health exchange for 2014.


    Enrollment Outreach and Kickoff Week

    We have started direct-outreach to Marylanders enrolled in a qualified health plan in 2014 to apply through Maryland Health Connection by Dec. 18 to keep any financial help they received this year. This is an opportunity for all consumers to see new plans and prices for 2015.

    Emails were sent this week to current QHP-enrollees, and letters will be mailed in early October to make sure these consumers know they need to take action this fall to keep their financial help for 2015. Marylanders can use an online signup form or automated phone system to request enrollment help from authorized insurance brokers or navigators. More information is on our website.

    Kickoff Week for the start of open enrollment in November was announced recently. The week features plan-browsing for consumers starting Nov. 9, and opportunities for in-person enrollment starting Nov. 15. Consumers will be able to enroll online at home starting Nov. 19:

    • Nov. 9 - Anonymous browsing begins on Consumers can use the website to learn about available plans, get an estimate of financial assistance and begin comparing their health insurance options without having to enter personal information.
    • Nov. 15 - The first HealthConnectNow! sign-up event will be held. About 25 sign-up events are being scheduled throughout Maryland. Details about times, dates and locations will be announced in the coming weeks.
    • Nov. 16 - Call center opens to take phone applications at 855-642-8572 (TTY 855-642-8573).
    • Nov. 17 - All authorized insurance brokers (producers) and navigators, and some assisters and certified application counselors are able to complete enrollments through the website and also provide in-person consumer assistance.
    • Nov. 18 - Caseworkers at local health departments and departments of social services begin enrolling consumers through the website. Medicaid applications (currently completed through SAIL) will be directed through
    • Nov. 19 - Self-service enrollment through the website becomes available for the first time to the general public and all consumer assistance staff.


    We Are Making Progress

    Preparing Our People

    We are providing training to make sure that everyone who will be using the system is ready. The training consists of online tutorials and classroom-based training. You will receive an email with step-by-step instructions on how to access online training within "THE HUB."

    Once you have completed each web-based tutorial, "THE HUB" will automatically give you credit and a transcript. You will then be allowed to enroll in classroom-based training.


    We Want Your Feedback

    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 a list of email addresses of your staff who should receive the newsletter, as well as your feedback and questions, to

    Grants & Funding Opportunities

    FY 2015 SAC Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA)  

    HRSA has released the next two rounds of FY 2015 SAC FOAs (HRSA-15-012 and HRSA-15-013), covering service areas with March 2015 and April 2015 project period start dates. 
    Contact for questions.


    Giving Back: 50 States for Good

    Application Deadline:  September 30, 2014

    Tom's of Maine will make 51 awards of $10,000 to organizations nationwide for grassroots community projects that support health for people or the environment.


    Verizon Foundation Grants

    Application Deadline:  October 10, 2014

    Grants of $5,000-$10,000 for projects that incorporate technology to improve healthcare and reduce health disparities for women, children, and seniors. Funds can also be used for domestic violence-related programs.


    Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children Program

    Application Deadline:  October 14, 2014

    Grants to support community-based child health projects that improve the health status of mothers, infants, children, and adolescents by increasing their access to health services.


    HIV Early Intervention Services Program Existing Geographic Areas

    Application Deadline:  October 15, 2014

    This competition is open to existing and new organizations proposing to provide Part C funded services in the service areas described in Appendix B of the program guidance. New organizations that seek to replace current grantees must demonstrate that they will serve the existing patients, target populations, scope of services, and service areas currently served by the grantee they intend to replace. Community Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics are eligible entities.

     USDA Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) Grants

    Application Deadline:  November 12, 2014

    Awards to provide financial and technical assistance to subrecipients to develop and strengthen their capacity to carry out housing, community facilities and community and economic development projects. Rural communities may be interested in applying for these grants to fund health infrastructure. Recipients must be non-profit organizations, low-income rural communities, or federally recognized tribes. Intermediary organizations are required to provide matching funds at least equal to the RCDI grant. More information about the program and how to apply is available on page 47427 of the August 13 Federal Register.

    Program Funding FY 2014 Grant Base Adjustments 
    HRSA began issuing FY 2014 base adjustments last week for health center grantees in accordance with program statute and the FY 2014 budget as enacted by Congress. Health Center grantees should see new Notice of Awards in EHB in the near future. To compute base adjustments, HRSA is using a base amount for all grantees, and providing additional amounts based on each cCenter's total patient population, uninsured patient population and Patient Centered Medical Home recognition status.


    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.


    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.

    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.


    BJ's Charitable Foundation

    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 
    Patient Centered Medical Home - Facility Improvement (PCMH-FI) Grant, Post-Award Technical Assistance Webinar - Monday, September 15, 2014, 2:00pm - 3:30pm, ET
    BPHC is hosting a post-award webinar for grantees to provide an overview of the award, project management, and program compliance requirements. Grantees are encouraged to submit questions in advance to Additional resources can be found on the PCHM-FI webpage.
    To participate in this session, use the following link: PCMH-FI webinar. Connect to the audio line using 1-888-469-2151; Participant Code: 4463737. 
    Clinical Quality 

    USPSTF Issues STI Statement

    The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has released a final recommendation statement and supporting evidence on behavioral counseling interventions to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Additionally, USPSTF also released a final recommendation statement on screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea. Fact sheets that explain the final recommendations in plain language will be available on the task force website in the upcoming days.


    New HHS Chief Presses Reset on Health Law, Plugs Savings and Quality

    A bit more than three months into her tenure as secretary of health and human services, Sylvia Mathews Burwell is moving to polish the image and improve implementation of the Affordable Care Act, an effort likely to determine whether she is seen as a success in the post. Nearly all the public attention on and criticism of the ACA - derided by its foes (and known affectionately by some of its advocates) as Obamacare - has focused one of its three pillars: expanding the number of Americans with access  to  health insurance.  Ms. Burwell increasingly will be calling attention to the other two: affordability and quality.  In part, she'll be highlighting favorable metrics, such as tallying savings recorded by Accountable Care Organizations (groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health-care providers join together to coordinate care to  Medicare patients).  In part, she'll be publicly trying to strengthen cooperation with private-sector groups, such as the Business Roundtable and the Bipartisan Policy Center, to  "engage people to make change," as she puts it.

     How are Your UDS Colorectal Screening Numbers?

    Now that individual health center data is publicly available on the HRSA Bureau of Primary Health Care website and payers are increasingly moving to pay for performance models, your UDS data is becoming increasingly important.  To help health centers improve colorectal screening rates, the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable has published a manual to support your efforts.   Steps for Increasing Colorectal Cancer Screening Rates: A Manual for Community Health Centers provides expert-endorsed recommendations and step-by-step instructions for processes that health centers can implement to increase colorectal cancer screening rates. 


    Community Resilience Cookbook Launched

    The  Health Federation of Philadelphia, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), has announced the launch of the Community Resilience Cookbook.  The Cookbook is an interactive, web-based tool featuring nine communities across the US and in Canada that  are raising awareness of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) research and implementing trauma-informed and resilience-building practices to prevent adversity and violence, promote healing, and build a culture of health.  The Cookbook is a companion to the proceedings from the first meeting of the National Collaborative on Adversity and Resilience (NCAR) which were released earlier this year.  

    Health Observances This Week


    September is National Cholesterol Education Month


    Too much cholesterol in the blood is one of the main risk factors for heart disease and stroke-two leading causes of death in the United States. One way to prevent these diseases is to detect high cholesterol and treat it when it is found.

    What is cholesterol?

    Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that your body needs. But when you have too much in your blood, it can build up on the walls of your arteries and form blockages. This can lead to heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

    There are two kinds of cholesterol: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). HDL is also called "good" cholesterol. LDL is called "bad" cholesterol. When we talk about high cholesterol, we are talking about "bad" LDL cholesterol.

    Seventy-one million American adults have high cholesterol, but only one-third of them have the condition under control. September is National Cholesterol Education Month-a good time to resolve to get your cholesterol screened.

    What role does screening play?

    Screening is the key to detecting high cholesterol. Because high cholesterol does not have symptoms, many people do not know that their cholesterol is too high. Your doctor can do a simple blood test to check your cholesterol level.

    The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends that adults aged 20 years or older have their cholesterol checked every 5 years.

    You may need to have your cholesterol checked more often if any of the following statements applies to you:

    • Your total cholesterol is 200 mg/dL or higher.
    • You are a man older than age 45 or a woman older than age 50.
    • Your HDL cholesterol is lower than 40 mg/dL.
    • You have other risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

    Although the number of people who said they were screened for cholesterol within the previous 5 years increased from 73% to 76% from 2005-2009, only a handful of states have met the 82% Healthy People 2020 objective, and disparities in getting screened persist.

    How can you prevent or treat high cholesterol?

    Make therapeutic lifestyle changes by

    • Eating a healthy diet. Avoid saturated fats and trans fats, which tend to raise cholesterol levels. Other types of fats, such as polyunsaturated fats, can actually lower blood cholesterol levels. Eating fiber also can help lower cholesterol.
    • Exercising regularly. Physical activity can help lower cholesterol. The Surgeon General recommends that adults engage in moderate-intensity exercise for 2 hours and 30 minutes every week.
    • Maintaining a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can raise your cholesterol levels. Losing weight can help lower your cholesterol.
    • Not smoking. If you smoke, quit as soon as possible.

    Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions and stay on your medications, if prescribed, to control your cholesterol.

    Are there clinical and community programs to help address high cholesterol?

    A variety of community and clinical activities address screening and treatment for high cholesterol:

    The Million Hearts® initiative is a national effort to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes in the United States by 2017, by bringing together communities, health systems, nonprofit organizations, federal agencies, and private sector partners. Million Hearts focuses on  Improving the "ABCS" of cardiovascular health-Aspirin when appropriate, Blood pressure control, Cholesterol management, and Smoking cessation; and Empowering Americans to make healthy choices such as preventing or quitting tobacco use and reducing salt (sodium) and trans fat consumption.

    All states and the District of Columbia are now funded to address heart disease and stroke prevention, with 32 receiving additional funding to enhance their program and reach more people. This includes increasing quality improvement efforts in health systems, such as using health information technology and team-based care as well as community-clinical linkage to support self-management outside of clinical settings, along with health extenders such as community pharmacists and community health workers.

    CDC's National Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention program supports states implementing evidence-based practices in community and clinical settings, specifically highlighting cholesterol control within communities.

    The National Cholesterol Education Program provides evidence-based resources and recommendations to health care providers, and new guidelines for cholesterol are in development.

    For more information about cholesterol and how you can prevent high cholesterol or keep it in check, see "Your Guide to Lowering Your Cholesterol with TLC" from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

    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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