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
November 10, 2014



(1) Maryland Department on Aging Living Well Program - Diabetes 

November 12th, 12 PM- 1:30 PM
Pam Toomey, Master Trainer of Standford's Living Well Program, will explain how this evidence based, self-management workshop that is available in your community is available for your patients. This 6 week workshop is led by trained facilitators throughout Maryland and administered by the Maryland Department of Aging. This program teaches participants how to manage their chronic conditions like diabetes as well as improve their quality of life. Participants who partake in the program see improvements in exercise, cognitive symptom management, communication with physicians, health distress, fatigue and social limitations.
Click here to register


(2) Outreach Team Call (*biweekly)

To get on call listserv, email

Audience: MD and DE Outreach staff

Topic: Discuss State and FQHC updates, trends, best practices, obstacles and issues. These dicusssions are recorded for HRSA reports  These topics are included in MACHC's advocacy efforts on behalf of FQHCs. This call also entails discussing ongoing CHC advocacy campaigns for CHC participation.


(3) Transformational Call (*bi-weekly) 
November 18th; 10 am - 11 am
1-866-740-1260 Access Code: 4319483

To get on call listserv, email

Audience: MD and DE  Member FQHC Leadership

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


(4) 2014 Uniform Data System (UDS) Training

December 17th, 2014 8:00 AM -  4:30 PM

The Uniform Data System (UDS) in-person training is a full day program covering the preparation of the 2014 UDS Report.  The training addresses each of the report's tables, including a discussion of the changes that have been made and the definitions necessary to complete the Report. The UDS training is aimed at those who are responsible for gathering and reporting the data elements included in the UDS Report, as well as management and clinical staff who need to understand the definitions and concepts used.

Monday, January 5, 2015
Federal Tort Claims Act Training
brought to you by MACHC. This TA will be facilitated by Feldesman Tucker. 
Cost: There will be a nominal fee for non-members
At the Owings Mills, BECO Conference Center
Look out in this section for more info in the coming weeks!

  • (1)  
  • Eligibility and Enrollment Process for Families that Include Immigrants - Thursday, November 13, 2014
    2:00 pm-3:30 pm (Eastern), 11:00 am-12:30 (Pacific)
    This webinar will provide an overview of immigrant eligibility polices for health insurance affordability programs, take an in-depth look at the application process for families that include immigrants, and address unique complexities that arise when families that include immigrants apply for health coverage.

    (2) Emerging Technologies to Improve Glycemic Control among Persons with Diabetes: A Healthy People 2020 Spotlight on Health Webinar, Thursday, November 13, 2014, 12:00pm - 1:30pm, ET. HHS is hosting this webinar highlighting free evidence-based and emerging mobile technologies designed to improve glycemic control and the health of people with diabetes. Click here to register

    (3) Health Centers Serving Individuals and Families Experiencing Homelessness Enrichment Webinar, Tuesday, November 18, 2014, 2:00pm - 3:00pm, ET.
    This webinar will provide health centers with an overview of current health trends, and will address the needs of individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
    View the webinar the day of the session. Connect to the audio line using 1-888-946-9422; Participate Code: 2654950.

    (4) Social Determinants of Education Series
    November 19, 2015
    The Social Determinants of Education Seminar Series focuses on answering the question of what it would really take to improve education for all urban students. Come and join us on Wednesday, November 19th for the third seminar of the Social Determinants of Health Series. The seminar will be held at the Johns Hopkins University, School of Education, located at 2800 N. Charles Street Baltimore, MD 21218, Room 219 from 12:00- 1:30 pm. The guest speaker will be Leticia Smith-Evans, Interim Director, Education Practice NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc.RSVP:


    (5) HRSA's Electronic Handbook (EHB) Login Change 

    November 20, 2014 at 8:00pm, ET 

    External EHBs login credentials will change from an User ID to an email address. This update will make it easier for users to remember their usernames. All external EHB users should have received email correspondence with instructions to update User IDs to email addresses. Questions should be directed to the HRSA Contact Center at 1-877-464-4772.


    (6)  Free CDC Cervical Cancer Webinar

    Register Here

    Cervical cancer is preventable, but there are still women who develop and die from it every year.  Human papillomavirus (HPV) types associated with cervical cancer can be prevented through screening tests and HPV vaccination.  These measures are effective to prevent HPV infection and highlight the importance of clinicians taking action to establish evidence-based practices in screening and vaccination.  This November 20, 2014, 2:00 - 3:00 pm webinar will help clinicians learn about the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) HPV vaccination recommendations and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) cervical cancer screening recommendations.



    Registration is now open!

    How to register:

    2. Fill out a  paper Registration Form

    Questions regarding registration?

    Please contact Monica Gordon at 301-347-0400


    (8) 2015 NACHC Policy & Issues Forum

    Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, DC

    March 18-22, 2015


    Emergency Preparedness Events: 



    Question: On the Public Health and Healthcare Systems Emergency Planners Ebola Update conference call, there was a discussion regarding reimbursement for expenses incurred for Ebola.  Reimbursement is for devoted time to Ebola.  Discussion was directed to hospitals and Departments of Health.  Is there is any reimbursement for FQHC's/health centers because a few of our health centers have devoted much time, money and effort towards ebola training? Should this reimbursement come from the State or does it have to come out of the HPP Funds provided to the PCA?


    Answer: The reimbursement is not a sure thing at this time. This will only happen if there is a federally declared emergency which will activate the Stafford Act. We are just encouraging our partners to track expenses in the event that there is a  federally declared emergency due to Ebola response.  Please refer to the link below to learn more about the Stafford Act. 



    I.  Ebola Preparedness Update

    DHMH continues to collaborate closely with ASPR and CDC to assist Maryland hospitals and healthcare coalitions in preparing for potential Ebola virus disease (EVD) and similar threats. To access and download DHMH's weekly Ebola Virus Disease Situation Update, as well as additional information related to Ebola, log on to the Maryland Health Alert Network (HAN) website, click on the Documents tab, select the folder titled "Emerging Infectious Diseases", and select the "Ebola Virus" sub-folder.


    Healthcare partners are strongly encouraged to monitor the CDC's Ebola website frequently for access the most up-to-date information:



    DHMH Secretary's Directive and Order Regarding Ebola. (see attached)

    On October 8, 2014, DHMH Secretary Joshua M. Sharfstein issued a special directive and order regarding the reporting of Ebola case information and measures to prevent potential spread of the disease. The order contains provisions that are applicable to healthcare facilities, healthcare providers, local health departments and law enforcement. To review the full text of the Secretary's Directive and Order,


    Ebola Preparedness Assessment for Hospitals (survey).

    DHMH, OP&R is currently developing an online Ebola preparedness survey that will be disseminated to Maryland healthcare facilities. The responses that our healthcare partners provide to this survey will allow DHMH to better understand and evaluate the capabilities of Maryland's healthcare system to respond to Ebola. Additional information and a link to complete the survey will be distributed via email in the coming days.


    Checklists and Resources.

    It is important for healthcare providers, facilities, and coalitions to remain vigilant and take steps to be as prepared as possible to protect our communities from all emerging infectious diseases, including Ebola. In support of these efforts, ASPR and CDC have released guidance to assist healthcare system partners with Ebola preparedness.


    Checklist for Patients Being Evaluated for Ebola Virus Disease in the U.S. (hospitals): see attached


    Detailed Hospital Checklist for Ebola Preparedness: provides practical and specific suggestions to ensure your hospital is able to detect possible EVD cases, protect employees, and respond appropriately.

    Checklist for Healthcare Coalitions for Ebola Preparedness: highlights key areas for healthcare coalitions to review in preparing to care for patients possibly infected with the Ebola virus. The checklist provides practical and specific suggestions to ensure healthcare coalition members are able to detect possible Ebola cases, protect employees, and respond appropriately.



    Detailed Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Checklist for Ebola Preparedness: highlights key areas for EMS personnel to review in preparation for encountering and providing medical care to a person with Ebola.




    II.  Preparedness News

    Flu Season Begins: Time to Get Vaccinated!


    September 28, 2014, marked the official beginning of the 2014-2015 influenza surveillance season for Maryland and for the rest of the United States. Though no influenza cases have been confirmed yet in Maryland, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) reminds all Maryland residents that now is the time to get vaccinated against the flu.


    While it is expected that influenza activity will begin to increase in the coming weeks and months, it is important to remember that there are other respiratory viruses already circulating that might cause symptoms similar to those of influenza. "We know that Marylanders have been paying attention to respiratory viruses recently, including enterovirus D68," said DHMH Secretary Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein. "One respiratory virus that leads to hospitalizations and deaths every year in Maryland is influenza. Protect yourself and your family and friends by getting vaccinated."


    Influenza activity typically starts to increase in October. Stay up-to-date on influenza activity in Maryland by visiting for weekly updates. For more information about the seriousness of influenza and the benefits of vaccination, visit the following websites:






    Coming Soon: New Emergency Department at UMSMC-Chestertown


    On September 16, 2014, University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Chestertown held a ribbon-cutting ceremony and Community Open House to celebrate their new, $4.3 million Emergency Department. The renovation increased the size of the ED from roughly 4,500 square feet to nearly 8,000 square feet. Upgrades include an enclosed ambulance bay; a larger lobby and waiting room; a separate walk-in entrance that provides convenience for emergency patients and added security for the entire hospital; and private, specialized treatment rooms designated for behavioral health, pediatrics, trauma, and women's health.


    The new ED will serve 15,000 patients a year. UMSMC-Chestertown hopes to move into the 8,000 sq. ft., 18-bed space by the end of September.


    III.  Upcoming Training Opportunities   

    UASI Active Assailant Seminar 2014.

    The Baltimore Urban Area Security Initiative will be hosting a free one-day Active Assailant training seminar on November 20, 2014 at Goucher College in the Kraushaar Auditorium (8:00am - 3:30pm). This event will allow participants to hear about active assailant incidents from individuals who have experienced them first-hand. The seminar will cover pre-incident planning, response, recovery, and lessons learned. For additional details and registration instructions:




    MGT431: Pediatric Disaster Preparedness and Planning Course.  

    The Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management are pleased to announce the offering of MGT431: Pediatric Disaster Preparedness and Planning, which will be held January 12-13, 2015 at the Fairfax County Government Center. There is no cost to attend.


    MGT 431 is a two-day performance level course that focuses on 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. The course will be taught by the Texas Engineering and Extension Service (TEEX).


    The target audience includes: hospital staff and planners, public health, school administrators, American Red Cross, law enforcement, emergency management, fire service, military personnel, and others that deal with children on a daily basis.


    For additional information and registration instructions:


    Note: this course will fill up quickly. Those interested in attending should register as soon as possible at the address link provided.


    IV. Preparedness Resources

    Be Prepared: New OP&R Fact Sheets Available Online in Multiple Languages.

    DHMH/OP&R has released several new preparedness fact sheets. The following have been translated into Chinese, French, Haitian-Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese:


    -  Emergency Supply Kit Checklist

    -  Cold Weather Health Issues and Concerns

    -  Frostbite

    -  Driving Tips for Extreme Cold Weather

    -  Pandemic and Seasonal Flu: What You Need to Know to Be Prepared

    -  Ricin


    These new fact sheets (along with previously translated fact sheets on general emergency preparedness, extreme heat, and hurricanes/storms/floods) are available online at [To download, navigate to the site and click the desired language on the right sidebar.]



    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:






    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.

    6. Quality Improvement and Infectious Disease series of webinars TBA
    Please look for the latest EP related updates RIGHT HERE!

    HRSA awards $51.3 million in Affordable Care Act funding to health centers

    Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N., today announced $51.3 million in Affordable Care Act funding to support 210 health centers in 47 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico to establish or expand behavioral health services for nearly 440,000 people nationwide. Earlier this year, HHS awarded $54.5 million in Affordable Care Act funding for 223 other health centers to expand behavioral health services. Health centers will use these new funds to hire new mental health professionals, add mental health and substance use disorder health services, and employ integrated models of primary care.

    La Red Health Center (DE), Henrietta Johnson Medical Center (DE)and Family Health Centers of Baltimore (MD) on being award recipients!!!


    Outreach Luncheon Radisson Hotel at Cross Keys on Monday, December 8 , 2014, from 10:00a - 2:00p.

    The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has increased requirements not only for community health centers (CHC) but for health departments.  These requirements have resulted in a need for a greater level of partnership as needs have converged.  As a result, many health departments are reaching out to CHCs to find ways to lessen the burden for all and to investigate the best way to meet the goals in partnership.

    For example, the Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) will host decisions makers from the CHCs that serve the citizens of Baltimore City at its first planning meeting on Monday, December 8, at the Radisson Hotel at Cross Keys.  Representatives from the CHCs will meet with counterparts from the BCHD to discuss how to partner with the BCHD to address considerations that affect:

    • Clinical services;
    • Clinical protocols;
    • Budget issues; and,
    • Reporting to agencies that fund and/or certify the clinic, as well as, required reports to the Health Department.

    As part of the team, the BCHD invited the Federal Training Center Consortium, Atlantic Region (FTCCAR) to describe programs that support medical management, prevention services and quality assurance; the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; and, a representative from the Mid/Atlantic Association of Community Health Centers (MACHC). 

    This is a first step to developing a stronger partnership that will assist both the CHCs and the health departments as the ACA is more fully implemented.  If you are interested in learning more about this outreach, contact M. Terry Hogan at  


    Access is the Answer: 

    Campaign to Fix Health Center Funding Cliff

    This week, the national Modern Healthcare news service outlined the funding cliff facing Community Health Centers in the 2016 federal Fiscal Year.  The following article also highlights that NACHC will initiate an advocacy effort in the "lame duck session" following the election to urge Congress to take legislative action to circumvent the financial calamity facing health centers. Health centers should expect to begin outreach initiatives to our congressional delegation as early as October 27. If you haven't already, please join the Campaign for America's Health Centers for regular updates.

    Have you checked out the NEW MACHC website?

    ***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

    Do we really know which health metrics matter most? It's harder to define than you think

    During a recent panel presentation at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health, DC Department of Health Director Dr. Joxel Garcia called on audience members to shift their focus from "the absence of the negative" to an assessment of overall population health when working to improve health outcomes. 
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at least 500,000 people could benefit from the drug Truvada, which is used to prevent HIV. However, the drug is not being utilized due to a lack of awareness among patients and providers. Truvada, produced by Gilead Sciences, works by coating the cells of the immune system and then blocks the virus from taking hold in the body.  

    Some ObamaCare patients with high deductibles turning to community care centers

    Having opted for high-deductible, low premium health insurance plans, many individuals are turning to community health centers for health care services in hopes of keeping out-of-pocket expenses low.   

    Dr. Craig Spencer, the only confirmed Ebola patient in New York, has been upgraded to stable condition. He has been receiving treatments which worked on Ebola patients at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and at the Nebraska Medical Center

    HRSA Hosts Lobbying Presentation for Grantees

    This week HRSA held a webinar to discuss lobbying and aspects that HRSA grantees should be aware of for reporting and best practices.  The slides from the presentation are available.  One point that should be noted is that new lobbying rules are expected to be made available via a "super circular" on December 26 and will highlight any changes or prohibitions for HRSA grantees moving forward into 2015.

    Enroll America Launches Data on the Falling Uninsured Rate

    An October 29 New York Times article discusses new data released by Enroll America on changes in the  uninsured rate in the past year as well as how the organization is using its database and data methodology to identify the uninsured and help persuade them to sign up for health insurance coverage. The Enroll America database helps identify where outreach should be concentrated to make the most difference for consumers.

    Feds Approve Extension of Higher Medicaid Matching Funds

    Federal Medicaid officials will permanently pay 90 percent of the costs for technological upgrades to enrollment and eligibility systems, according to a recent letter from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The share of funding, which every state in the country has taken advantage of, had been expected to drop to 50 percent of states' costs on Jan. 1, 2016.

    The window-shopping period is beginning several days before the Nov. 15 official start of the sign-up period for people in the three dozen states that rely on the federal exchange to renew their coverage or buy insurance for the first time.

    An updated version of now includes a window-shopping tool that could help the website withstand new pressures, including millions of people returning in coming months for insurance, federal officials said Sunday. ... Supporters of the 2010 health law, bruised by the site's poor performance early on, have sought assurances that it will perform better this time around. Critics, including Republicans set to take control of the Senate in January, are likely to point to any flaws as proof of bigger problems with the law. 
    The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a new challenge to the Affordable Care Act, potentially imperiling President Obama's signature legislative achievement two years after it survived a different Supreme Court challenge by a single vote. The case concerns tax subsidies that currently help millions of people afford health insurance under the law. According to the challengers, those subsidies are being provided unlawfully in three dozen states that have decided not to run the marketplaces, known as exchanges, for insurance coverage
    Lilian Saldana turned down Obamacare coverage once, and she might do it again. With sign-ups set to resume Saturday, the 23-year-old Covina resident and her younger sister are hesitant to enroll because their parents are immigrants who are not citizens and therefore ineligible for benefits under the Affordable Care Act.

    With Republicans set to assume control of Congress for the first time in eight years, GOP leaders must decide which policies to push forward, and whether some bigger goals should be pushed to the side. Those taking the "don't govern" approach argue measures to give Obama "fast-track" trade authority, tackle patent "trolls" or to repeal the healthcare law's tax on certain medical devices are small-bore goals that should be swept aside in favor of more sweeping measures, such as repealing the individual mandate in ObamaCare. "Passing all of the Washington lobbyists' wish-list items is not going to get Republicans through 2016," said Matt Kibbe, president of the Tea-Party group FreedomWorks, which has frequently criticized GOP leaders. Kibbe urged leaders to tackle the individual mandate and reign in so-called "risk corridors" in the healthcare law that conservatives deride as bailouts for insurance companies. He also wants to see Congress vote on an alternative to the healthcare law, something Republicans failed to do this past election cycle. 

    State News

    Ex-director says resignation won't stop mental health reform

    Kevin Ann Huckshorn, who has steered reform of Delaware's mental-health reforms for almost six years, had a quick weekend meeting with some front-line workers to reassure them about the future of the state's services.

    Huckshorn resigned Oct. 31 from her job as head of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, citing an increased need to help her parents in Florida. A nationally recognized expert in mental health issues, she was recruited by Delaware officials in 2009 to help the state address problems at the Delaware Psychiatric Center and to expand and develop its community mental health system to comply with terms of a 2011 settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice.


    For a list of Choose Health DE Collateral Materials, please follow THIS LINK.


    Lost applications, frozen computer screens and hours spent waiting on hold for help - those consumer problems made up last year's narrative about Maryland's health insurance exchange, the online marketplace launched under the federal Affordable Care Act. Now, as state officials prepare to unveil a revamped exchange Sunday, they face a new set of challenges: They must eliminate technological problems that led the website to crash on its launch last year, restore consumer confidence in the system and - with Republicans poised to control Congress and the Maryland governor's seat - confront more questions about the future of Obamacare. 


    The Maryland health exchange debuts its new online marketplace this weekend, and officials say they expect it to run more smoothly this time. The revamped website comes at a cost, but tabulating the price tag to build and run both the old and new website isn't so easy.

    Finance & Business

    New Resource: Multi-Payer Payment Reform Toolkit

    It is an exciting time for multi-payer payment reform, as states move to support new care delivery models facilitated by payment approaches that encourage coordinated and integrated health delivery systems.  This toolkit captures ideas and expertise from leading states and national experts to help equip others with the knowledge and tools needed to advance multi-payer payment and delivery system reform. The toolkit is organized by topic and includes a variety of resources including NASHP webinar recordings and slides, State Refor(u)m blog posts and discussion threads, and links to relevant resources. 
    Check out the toolkit to help your state and partners tackle critical issues in implementing multi-payer payment reforms!

    IRS Announces FSA, 401K Limit Increases

    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced the inflation-adjusted contribution limit for health flexible spending accounts (FSAs) will go up by $50, to $2,550.The annual limit for dependent care FSAs or dependent care assistance plans (DCAPs) will remain at $5,000 for qualifying individuals and those who are married and file a joint return, and will remain at $2,500 for those who are married and file separate returns. The IRS has also altered the long-standing "use it or lose it" rule, allowing employers to offer a carryover of up to $500 in unused health FSA funds to the following year or to continue a grace period option giving employees a two-and-a-half month extension to spend remaining FSA funds. FSAs cannot have both a carryover and a grace period option.Regarding 401K contributions, the IRS has announced that employees may put up to $18,000 into their 401(k) plans in 2015, with a higher total contribution limit (employer plus employee) of $53,000.  For those ages 50 over, an increased "catch-up" contribution limit will mean $6,000 in allowable employee contributions.

    Join NACHC for FREE 340B Webinars

    Health centers participating in the 340B Program must ensure program integrity and maintain accurate records documenting compliance with all 340B Program requirements. NACHC is offering a two-part 340B Drug Pricing webinar series to help health centers meet these requirements: 
    Latest News on ACA


    NACHC NEWS: Outreach & Enrollment

    The Open Enrollment period to enroll in coverage for 2015 begins on November 15, 2014, and health centers that did not originally receive FY13 Outreach and Enrollment (O&E) supplemental funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)recently got some good news.

    HRSA awarded supplemental funding for outreach and enrollment (O&E) work to 91 health centers in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The awards went to health centers that were newly funded in FY 2013 or FY 2014 and to health centers that had not previously received HRSA O&E supplemental funds.

    These O&E funds will help health centers that were not funded previously to provide outreach to uninsured patients and communities and to enroll eligible patients and service area residents into affordable health insurance coverage through Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the state and federal health insurance exchanges.

    Enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP is year-round, but enrollment in insurance coverage through the exchanges is only possible between November 15, 2014 and February 15, 2014, notwithstanding any potential life changes that would qualify an individual in a special enrollment period

    For more information, refer to HRSA's webpage on health center O&E Assistance.


    CMS Posts 2015 Paper Application Forms

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has posted the revised forms for 2015 Marketplace coverage.  All consumers applying for 2015 coverage should use the updated 2015 application, as it captures all of the information needed for the Marketplace to make an accurate eligibility determination.  Remember, the Marketplace prefers to receive online or phone applications because of the system's ability to give real-time eligibility determinations, but will accept paper applications when necessary.  The forms are posted to the website and include individual and family short forms, instructions in English, Spanish, large print, and more.


    Outreach and Enrollment Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Update -BPHC has provided clarification for health centers that are considering working with agents or brokers to further enhance the health center's Outreach and Enrollment efforts. For more information, see FAQs 13 and 14.



    In preparation for the Open Enrollment Period beginning November 15, 2014 for the 2015 plan year, CMS updated the Navigator, non-Navigator assistance personnel, and certified application counselor (CAC) training curriculum for the Federally-facilitated Marketplaces, including State Partnership Marketplaces. CMS released the English version of the Assister Training on September 4, 2014. 

    The Assister training curriculum is now available in Spanish, in addition to English, at the Medicare Learning Network® (MLN) Health Insurance Marketplace Learning Management System at

    Please refer to the CMS Enrollment Assister Bulletin: 2014-01 released August 15, 2014 on the CCIIO website for additional guidance regarding training, certification, and recertification for Navigators, certified application counselors (CACs), and non-Navigator assistance personnel in the Federally-facilitated Marketplaces. 


    Health Insurance Marketplace Four Key Dates You Should Know -Are you ready for the next Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment Period? Open Enrollment is the time when anyone can apply for a new Marketplace plan, keep a current plan, or pick a new plan. Here are four dates everyone should know:

    November 15, 2014 - Marketplace open Enrollment Begins 
    December 1, 2014 - Deadline: Enroll for January 1, 2015 Coverage 
    January 1, 2015 - 2015 Coverage Begins
    February 15, 2015 - Last Day to Enroll for 2015 Coverage

    Get covered in 2015: What you need to know



    On November 15th, millions of Americans will return to to find a new health insurance plan or re-enroll in their current plan.


    Here are 3 things you can do right now to get ready:

    We want to make sure every single American who needs good, affordable health insurance knows how to get it.

    Take a look, mark your calendar, and spread the word!

    The Team  


    Transformational Team Talk & Outreach Upates

    MHBE -ACSE Monthly Meeting 

    Here are the list of resources that you may have missed from the webinar:

    1. List of CACs who need a second or third test

    2. ACSE Marketing Strategies

    3. List of Enrollment Fairs

    4. Connector Entity Contact Information (by county)

    5. Plan Services 

    6. 2015 Open Enrollment Plan

    Message from your Maryland Health Benefit Connection

    It's almost spooky to think how close we are to open enrollment!

    We are excited for Kickoff Week, with anonymous browsing starting Nov. 9 and enrollment starting Nov. 15.

    Thank you for completing the online and classroom training to those who did. We are continuing to prepare for go-live.

    If you need support, please use the following tools:

    1) Click here to access useful tools to help you understand the new Maryland Health Connection online application.

    • Repository of helpful training materials, past newsletters, and additional reference materials
    • We'll update with new resources on an ongoing basis
    • Bookmark this site on your web browser!

    2) It's not too late to sign up for online training!

    Online training is available here so you can familiarize yourself with the new system.

    If you are having any difficulty accessing the training or have questions, please email


    REMINDERS for your consumers:

    Dates to Know

    Starting Nov. 9: Compare plans and prices at the all-new

    Starting Nov. 15: Get in-person help enrolling. Look for details soon.

    Starting Nov. 19: Enroll on your own online at

    Dec. 18:  Deadline to apply for financial help with your plan that starts Jan 1. Create a new account and application by Dec. 18 or any financial help you received in 2014 will end, and your coverage will continue at the new, full price. Learn more here.

    (Enrolled in Medicaid? You'll be contacted to renew.)

    Feb. 15: Open enrollment ends for 2015


    5 Steps to Stay Covered

    1) Review: Plans change, people change. Review your coverage and look for a letter from your plan about how your benefits and costs may change next year.

    2) Update: Starting Nov. 19, go to and create a new account and application (even if you had one in 2014). Make sure your household income and other information are up-to-date for next year.

    3) Compare: Compare your current plan with other plans that are available in your area.

    4) Choose: Select the health plan that best fits your budget and health needs.

    5) Enroll: Make sure to apply and choose your plan by Dec. 18 to have any financial help you qualify for start Jan. 1.

    Then be sure to pay your insurance company's bill by the first day of the month you have coverage.




    Maryland Health Connection Update

    for LHD and LDSS Caseworkers, Call Center representatives and Connector Entities

    Effective October 18, 2014, in preparation for the new open enrollment period, the current HIX will not process new Medicaid/ MCHP applications or changes. PLEASE follow the INTERIM procedures listed below:     

    October 18th  - November 18th

    • If a new Medicaid/MCHP application or eligibility change is added to the HIX after October 17th, the system will still show a Medicaid or MCHP determination, but it WILL NOT be sent to MMIS and the enrollment will never be completed.

    o   Call Center and Connector Entities must submit New Medicaid/MCHP applications via SAIL at  LHD and LDSS caseworkers will continue to process all applications in CARES. 

    o   If a navigator or call center representative does not have access to CARES and a customer is requesting a status update on their SAIL application, they should be referred to the DHR Constituent Services hotline: 1-800-332-6347.

    Beginning November 18th

    •          All new MAGI Medicaid/MCHP applications must be submitted via the new Maryland Health Connection (HBX). 
    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.

    A 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. 


    National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Students to Service Application Cycle Closes on November 13, 2014 at 7:30pm, ET -NHSC Students to Service Loan Repayment Program is open to medical students (MD and DO) in their final year of school. Medical students can receive an award of up to $120,000 (tax-free) towards their qualifying educational loans.  

    USDA Funding to Promote Healthy Eating Choices

    Application Deadline:  December 15, 2014

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), through its National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), is making up to $31.5 million in funding available to help participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) more easily afford healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. The Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program, a new Farm Bill program, brings together stakeholders from distinct parts of the food system and fosters understanding of how they might improve the nutrition and health status of SNAP households. Under FINI, applicants may propose relatively small pilot projects, multi-year community-based projects, or larger-scale multi-year projects. Funded projects will test community based strategies that could contribute to our understanding of how best to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants through incentives at the point of purchase, supported by effective and efficient benefit redemption technologies, that would inform future efforts. 

    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.


    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.

    The next NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program (LRP) Application Cycle is expected to open in January 2015. To expedite the application review process, potential applicants and facility administrators are encouraged to have the eligibility of their current facility location reviewed for participation in the NURSE Corps LRP Eligible NURSE Corps sites or Critical Shortage Facilities (CSFs) are defined as a health care facility located in, designated as, or serving a mental health or primary medical care Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA).

    Potential applicants and facility administrators may submit their facility information beginning November 6 through December 2, 2014. Notification of facility eligibility will be confirmed by December 31, 2014 via email.

    When submitting a health care facility to the NURSE Corps LRP for consideration, please provide the following information:

    1. Name of the facility and its specific location (i.e., satellite facility cannot use main facility address)
    2. Full mailing address of the facility  including street address, City, State, and Zip code 
      (Do not use P.O. Box)
    3. Facility profit status; Refer to pages 8-9 of the 2014 NURSE Corps LRP APG for a complete list of eligible facilities.

    If you have any questions about this process, you may contact our Customer Care Center at 1-800-221-9393 Monday through Friday (except Federal holidays), 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.

    Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Corner 
    PCMH Resources

    Supporting PCMHs through Data Feedback Free Webinar Series

    Save the date(s) as the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) in collaboration with the Colorado Community Health Network, Oregon Primary Care Association, Maine Primary Care Association and the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health offer a webinar series featuring health center organization efforts to strategically plan, design and implement data feedback reports/dashboards supportive of practice transformation implementation. Dates of the webinars are December 8, 9, 10 from 2:00 - 3:00 pm.  Registration information will be available soon.  For questions, contact the NACHC Patient-Centered Medical Home Institute at 


    The Safety Net Medical Home Initiative

    The focus of this initiative is to develop a replicable and sustainable implementation model for medical home transformation in safety net practices. Listed are links to key articles, tools, and resources on patient-centered care, medical home and quality improvement topics. Register for the Medical Home Digest, a quarterly newsletter on updated issues and tools specific to the safety net populations. The November 2012 issue is devoted to vulnerable populations.


    Paying for the Medical Home: Payment Models to Support Patient-Centered Medical Home Transformation in the Safety Net

     Safety Net Medical Home Initiative. Bailit M, Phillips K, Long A.  Bailit Health Purchasing and Qualis Health, Seattle, WA: October 2010. This publication provides an introduction to a series of policy briefs focused on payment reform opportunities to support and sustain the medical home.


    Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative PCMH Resources

    The Patient Centered Medical Home Purchaser Guide developed by the Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative (PCPCC) provides insightful overviews of the patient centered medical home including supplemental resources such as detailed case studies, descriptions of pilot programs, and a draft request for information (RFI) and contract language for employers/purchasers to use with their health plans.

    Clinical Quality 
    The National Center for Health in Public Housing (NCHPH) website offers recordings and slides of webinars that they have offered.  Some of the webinars you will find are on intimate partner violence, understanding Hepatitis C, and health literacy in the immigrant population, just to name a few.  Although some of their website is directed toward their Public House grantees, other information is more broadly applicable.  Public House Grantees you can obtain some valuable resources for use in your own health centers.
    Study Finds Evidence Lacking on Psychological Harms for Five Screening Guidelines
    An AHRQ-funded study and abstract in the August issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine revealed that only a small number of studies have addressed the psychological harms of selected screening services. According to the study, more evidence exists on the physical harms of screening services compared with psychological harms, which can include anxiety, distress and reduced quality of life. A team led by researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, examined the literature assessing psychological harms of screening services reviewed by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force for the following five conditions: prostate and lung cancers, abdominal aortic aneurysm, osteoporosis and carotid artery stenosis. Among the available evidence, only one-third of the studies on psychological harm used both a longitudinal design and included condition-specific measures, which provide the best level of evidence on psychological harm. The authors called on clinicians and guideline panels to use a wider consideration of screening harms in research design. The study is titled, "The Psychological Harms of Screening: the Evidence We Have Versus the Evidence We Need." 


    National Quality Strategy Priorities in Action Features School-Based Health Centers in Connecticut

    The latest edition of the National Quality Strategy Priorities in Action features the Connecticut Association of School Based Health Centers, an advocacy and networking organization committed to increasing access to quality health care for children and adolescents in Connecticut schools. The state's 88 school-based health centers (SBHCs) provide physical, mental and oral health services to more than 44,000 students in 22 Connecticut communities each year and have become a key part of Connecticut's comprehensive coordinated care system for children and adolescents. In the case of children and adolescents insured by Medicaid, each visit to an SBHC saves an estimated $35 in Medicaid costs per child per year. The program's efforts align with National Quality Strategy priorities by promoting the delivery of person- and family-centered care in schools with the most effective prevention and treatment practices for obesity. The SBHCs work with communities to promote wide use of best practices to enable healthy living and make quality care affordable. The National Quality Strategy, first published in March 2011, was mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. 

    Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers News Again

    Certified community behavioral health centers are back as a topic of discussion again. To learn more plan on attending an upcoming listening session on Wednesday, November 12, 2014, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET.  The call will be about criteria development for the Demonstration Program to Improve Community Mental Health Services (Section 223 of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014).   Section 223 seeks to create certified community behavioral health clinics. The clinics will focus on improving outcomes by increasing access to community-based behavioral health care, expanding the availability and array of services, and improving the quality of care delivered to people with mental and/or substance use disorders. Registration for the listening session is required.  Learn more about Section 223

    A new version of the AHRQ Quality Indicators™ Toolkit for Hospitals is available to help acute-care facilities improve inpatient quality performance. The free toolkit offers hospitals the opportunity to:
    • Improve performance on two sets of AHRQ Quality Indicators, 18 Patient-Safety Indicators and 28 Inpatient Quality Indicators.
    • Measure hospital quality using available inpatient data to assess the quality of care, identify areas that need improvement and track performance over time.
    • Take advantage of "best practices" for 14 Patient-Safety Indicators, including information to determine where gaps exist and suggestions for hospitals regarding improvement, process steps and additional resources.

    Users can also approach quality improvement work from various levels of readiness. Facilities can select any of the 33 tools available to meet their specific hospital quality needs. The tools are designed for multiple audiences, including senior leaders, analysts and multidisciplinary improvement teams.

    Health Observances This Week

    Lung Cancer Awareness Month

    November is officially Lung Cancer Awareness Month. This all started as Lung Cancer Awareness Day way back in 1995. As the lung cancer community and the lung cancer movement grew, the awareness activities increased and grew into Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

    During the month, many people throughout the country and the world come together for the lung cancer community. Events are held. Articles are written. Facebook statuses are updated. Videos are created and spread online. Proclamations are issued.

    It is important to remember, that these are all important things that can happen throughout the entire year, not just in November.        

    Here are some ways you can help:

    • Shine a Light on Lung Cancer: The largest coordinated awareness event for lung cancer takes place every November. This year, we anticipate 125 events in three continents!
    • Team Lung Love: Our endurance training team includes lung cancer survivors, loved ones and others who run, walk, bike, swim, you name it! for lung cancer.
    • Attend or host an event in your area: Find a lung cancer event in your area or get the tools you need to host one!
    • Use social media to spread messages: Use these sample posts on your Facebook and Twitter to make a difference! 
    • Send a letter to your local newspaper: Find a sample letter to the editor that you can customize to share your story and raise awareness in your community!
    • Secure a Proclamation: Your Governor can officially declare November, Lung Cancer Awareness Month in your state. It is a very simple process that can bring added attention to lung cancer. Contact Kay Cofrancesco,, for more information.
    • Faces of Lung Cancer: Submit a picture of you or your loved one for this online gallery that shows the true face of the disease.

    Thank you for your efforts to help raise awareness of lung cancer!

    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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