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

Enrollment Period ends
 February 15, 2015!!!
Have news to share with us? Want to be featured on our next E-Digest? Want to read about something in particular? Please email us at aneeqa@machc.com. 

Let's Stay Connected
    
December 8, 2014
MACHC HAPPENINGS

MACHC EVENTS

NEW DATES:

Dates changed to accommodate for holidays and attendance of the maximum number of participants on call.

(2) Transformational Call (*bi-weekly) 

December 18th; 10 am - 11 am
1-866-740-1260 Access Code: 4319483

To get on call listserv, email aneeqa@machc.com

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.

 

(3) 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.


(4) Sliding Fee Scale Workshop 
by Feldesman Tucker's Marcie Zakheim
Monday January 5, 2015
Time: 10 am - 12 pm
AND
Federal Tort Claims Act Training by Feldesman Tucker's Martin Bree
Monday, January 5, 2015
Time: 12 pm - 2pm

With FTCA Application deadline in March, 2015 just around the corner, MACHC brings you a comprehensive FTCA Training for member health centers and partners. During the TA, Marty Bree from Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell, LLP, will respond to questions related to the FTCA Program including, but not limited to, what the program covers, deeming process, gap insurance, etc...

The participants will:       
*Understand the underlying legal foundation of the health center FTCA program
*Be able to identify the significant gaps in coverage and how to overcome them
*Learn the options available to respond to denial of coverage
Price: MACHC Members: FREE
MACHC Non-Members: $125
Owings Mills BECO Conference Center
10461 Mill Run Circle
Suite 110
Owings MillsMD 21117
  • OTHER EVENTS

  • (1) 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 atmhogan2@jhmi.edu

     

    (2) Federal Torts Claims Act (FTCA) Risk Management and Quality Improvement Webinar - Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 3:00pm - 4:00pm, ET and Thursday, December 11, 2014, 12:00pm - 1:00pm, ET.  

    The ECRI Institute, on behalf of HRSA, is hosting the "Journey to Quality: A Health Center's Experience" webinar on practical tips on minimizing risk and improving safety and quality in health centers and free clinics. This webinar will also highlight one health center's experience implementing risk management and quality improvement processes. 
    Register for Thursday, December 11th webinar

     

    (3) Health Centers Serving Residents of Public Housing Enrichment Webinar - Tuesday, December 16, 2014, 2:00pm - 3:00pm, ET.

    BPHC is hosting this webinar to provide an overview of housing authorities and strategies for improving collaboration between housing authorities and health centers. The webinar will also describe effective methods for recording patients who are residents of public housing.
    Connect to the audio line using 1-877-918-3033; Participant Code: 6755526

     

    (4) 2014 PCA & HCCN CONFERENCE REGISTRATION

    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

     

    (5) 2015 NACHC Policy & Issues Forum

    Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, DC

    March 18-22, 2015

     

    Emergency Preparedness Events: 

     

    SAVE THE DATE: Assisting two FQHCs with Planning for Onsite Drill/Exercise in February 5th & 6th, 2015. The FQHC sites are Community Clinic Inc in Silver Spring, MD (2/5/15) and Family Health Centers of Baltimore in Baltimore, MD (2/6/15) from 8 am - 1 pm.  

     

    FDA updates on saline drug shortage

    0.9% sodium chloride injection (normal saline), B. Braun Medical Inc. of Bethlehem, Pa., will temporarily distribute normal saline in the United States from its manufacturing facility in Germany. FDA is temporarily exercising its discretion regarding the distribution of B. Braun's saline product from Germany, in addition to Baxter's saline product from Spain and Fresenius Kabi's saline product from Norway, to help address this critical shortage, which poses a serious threat to patients.

    FDA inspected B. Braun's facility in Melsungen, Germany where its normal saline product is made to ensure the facility currently meets FDA standards. FDA asks that health care professionals contact B. Braun directly to obtain the product. 

    In addition to this source of normal saline as well as B.Braun's normal saline that is manufactured in the U.S. , FDA will continue working with Baxter Healthcare Corp., Fresenius Kabi USA, LLC., and Hospira Inc. while they continue distributing their respective saline products and  seek to restore their supply of normal saline for U.S. hospitals and health clinics.

    While the shipments described above continue to help reduce current disruptions, they will not resolve the current shortage of 0.9% sodium chloride injection.  Preventing drug shortages

    is a top priority for the FDA, and we are doing everything within our authority to alleviate this and other drug shortages.

     

    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.

     https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/15271?fromSearch=fromsearch&id=3564 

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    BPHC All-Programs Webcast Recording and Ebola Presentation

    The All Programs webcast recording is now available for viewing. The webcast provided updates to all BPHC programs (Grantees, Look-Alikes, Cooperative Agreement Partners - NCAs, PCAs, and BPHC Staff) on current BPHC activities and future plans for Fiscal Year 2015. The Ebola Presentation featured speakers from other federal agencies who presented on current Ebola response activities.

     

    Updated Health Care Resources for Suspected Cases of Ebola Virus Disease 

    HHS' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HRSA, and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) continue to work with other U.S. government agencies, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other domestic and international partners in an international response to the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The following Ebola resources, among others, are also available for use: 

     

  • Timeline of What's New 
  • Latest CDC Outbreak Information
  • Determining Risk of Ebola Transmission in Healthcare and Community Settings
  • Video & Slides: What you REALLY needs to Know about Ebola
  • Factsheet: Why Ebola is Not Likely to Become Airborne (pdf)
  • Top 10 Things You Really Need to Know about Ebola (pdf)
  • Audio Replays and Transcripts of Ebola past Calls and Webinars.
  • View all CDC Ebola updates and resources.
  • View all ASPR Ebola updates and resources
  •  

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     

    ATTENTION MD FQHCS 

     

    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)
    alison.robinson@maryland.gov 

     

    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)
    edward.johnson@maryland.gov

     

    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)

    aniket.telang@maryland.gov

     

    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

    301-883-7632(Office)

    443-462-0230 (Mobile)

    kamelah.jefferson@maryland.gov 

     

     

    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. SAVE THE DATE: Assisting two FQHCs with Planning for Onsite Drill/Exercise in February 5th & 6th, 2015. The FQHC sites are Community Clinic Inc in Silver Spring, MD (2/5/15) and Family Health Centers of Baltimore in Baltimore, MD (2/6/15) from 8 am - 1 pm. 
    N95 Masks POD (training) are in the horizon after the drill and release of After Action Report.

    6. Quality Improvement and Ebola webinar was Dec 2nd. How did you feel about it? Please send comments/suggestions to Judy Litchy-Hess.
     
    *** Look for the latest EP related updates RIGHT HERE!
    MACHC SPOTLIGHT

    Walnut Street Community Health Center

    collaborates with the Make a Difference Breast Cancer Screening Program in Washington County, funded by a grant from Susan G. Komen Maryland® and Avon Foundation for Women to provide breast exams and mammograms. Every month five women are transported from WSCHC to the imaging center and back to the Center. During their trip each receives a breast exam, mammogram and lunch, irrespective of their ability to pay. Prior to transport the women participate in a group to explore resistance to preventative screenings and the importance of these screenings. This collaboration has proven successful and has been well received by patients.

     

     

    Access is the Answer Phase Two Continues

    Health Center Advocates should begin reaching out to newly elected Members of Congress and continue strengthening relationships with current Members in the months to come. Take these three simple action steps as part of phase two of Access is the Answer to demonstrate to your Members the outpouring of support for Health Centers and to help secure a fix to the Health Center Funding Cliff: 

    1) Collect Local Support Letters from state and local elected officials and community partners.

    2) Place an editorial in a local media outlet regarding the cliff and its impact in your community.

    3) Meet with Members of Congress and educate new Members about Health Centers and the cliff.

    If you missed the national TeleForum launching Phase Two of Access is the Answer, check out the transcript and recording of the call. You can find more information on the Campaign for America's Health Centers website

     


    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 junaed@machc.com to be posted on our website.
    Policy, Advocacy and Legislation
    National News
    REMINDER: Please note that there are several critical administrative actions you must take to ensure your HRSA grant applications can be submitted successfully. First, your organization must have an active SAM.gov registration at the time of application submission. You can check your SAM.gov registration at any time. If you do not have an active SAM.gov registration, your application will not be accepted through Grants.gov. Second, you must have an active AOR (Authorized Organization Representative) in Grants.gov that is approved to submit an application. You can check to make sure you are an AOR at the Grants.gov website.  Lastly, your DUNS number remains an important part of your SAM.gov registration.  Your DUNS number is linked to the name of your organization and should be consistent in SAM.gov, on your grant application, and in EHB on your Notice of Award.  In accordance with HHS grants policy, without a current SAM.gov registration and a registered AOR, your application will not be accepted in Grants.gov.  For questions, please access the information found at Sam.gov and Grants.gov or contact the HRSA Contact Center at CallCenter@HRSA.gov, 1-877-464-4772. 
    Lame Duck on Deck; Appropriations Top Priority

    Congress returned to Washington Tuesday to begin wrapping up the year's business after breaking for Thanksgiving. The priority for all sides will be finding a resolution to the still-unfinished Fiscal Year 2015 appropriations process before December 11th when the current stopgap measure keeping government functioning is set to expire. House and Senate negotiators have been working to craft a so-called "omnibus" spending bill for FY15, which would determine the funding outlook for Health Centers and other priority programs for the remainder of FY15. Congress is still considering action on several longer-range items during the lame duck session, and NACHC and partners continue to press for action on the primary care funding cliff.

    HRSA Issues Revised Site Visit Guide to Include Requirements from New Policies

    Last week HRSA issued a revisedHealth Center Program Site Visit Guide, effective as of Monday. The new Guide incorporates revisions and clarifications that were initially included in Policy Information Notice (PIN) 2014-01: Health Center Program Governance and PIN 2014-02: Sliding Fee Discount and Related Billing and Collections Program Requirements. These changes impact several program requirements including required and additional services, sliding fee discounts, financial management and control policies, billing and collections, and board authority. For additional information on these revisions to the Guide.
    Recently HRSA issued Frequently Asked Questions to clarify certain aspects of PIN 2014-02: Sliding Fee Discount and Related Billing and Collections Program Requirements. Included in the FAQs are several important clarifications regarding the extent of board approval, eligibility assessment, the definitions of income and family size, and discounts on service-related supplies and materials. For additional information on these clarifications.

    New ICD-10 Resources Also Provide CME & CE

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released three new resources to help physician practices prepare for ICD-10. These resources also provide continuing medical education (CME) and continuing education (CE) credits to health care professionals who complete the learning modules, and anyone who takes them will earn a certificate of completion. You will need to create a free account to access these resources if this is your first time using Medscape.

    Capturing Social Determinants of Health in EHRs

    A report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) is now available on Capturing Social and Behavioral Domains and Measures in Electronic Health Records.  Determinants of health like physical activity levels and living conditions have traditionally been linked more towards public health than clinical practice.  However, linking this data into patient EHRs can provide crucial information about factors that influence health and effectiveness of treatment.  In the Phase 1 report, 17 domains were identified; this new Phase 2 report pinpoints 12 measures related to 11 of the initial domains and considers the implications of incorporating them into all EHRs
    More than 70 percent of people who currently have insurance through the health law's federal online marketplace could pay less for comparable coverage if they are willing to switch plans, officials said Thursday. With a Dec. 15 deadline looming for coverage that would begin Jan. 1, current policy holders should come back to healthcare.gov to see if they can get a better deal, the officials said. They'll find more plans available and nearly 8 in 10 current enrollees can find coverage for $100 or less a month, with subsidies covering the rest of the cost.

    Both Fitch and Moody's Investors Services say they expect a "stable" - neither positive nor negative - year ahead, thanks to a consistent but slow economic recovery. That outlook would improve if growth in tax revenues for state and local governments picks up speed, according to a pair of Moody's reports issued Wednesday. Those conclusions are largely in line with an analysis of state governments from Fitch ratings agency earlier this week, which found that states enjoy mostly stable ratings for the year ahead. There are some risks to the outlook, though: namely pressures from anti-tax sentiment, building expenses for programs such as Medicaid and overall economic volatility.  

    Less Mental Illness Among Southerners, Less Access To Treatment, Too  
    You'd expect the socially progressive states of the Northeast and Midwest to score well in a new state-by-state ranking of mental health services, and indeed, by some measures they do. When the advocacy group Mental Health America released the first-ever such rankings Wednesday, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, North Dakota, and Delaware received the highest overall scores when prevalence of mental illness is compared to access to care. Arizona, Mississippi, Nevada, Washington, and Louisiana received the lowest marks. 

    Andrea Borondy Kitt's husband Dan lived for a year and a half after his October 2011 lung cancer diagnosis. She's convinced, however, that he might have lived longer had Medicare paid for a low-dose CT scan of his lungs that could have caught his cancer in the early stages.

    Nine months before his diagnosis, Andrea read about this test, which had demonstrated encouraging rates of detecting early stage lung-cancers in long-time smokers. She wanted Dan to be screened. But her husband, a 40-year smoker who had quit eleven years earlier, wouldn't do it because Medicare didn't cover it.

    After strong pushback from ALS patients and lawmakers, the government has reversed a decision that could have blocked Medicare reimbursement for certain speech generation devices beginning Dec. 1.

    The decision announced Thursday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services means Medicare will continue a longstanding policy to cover most of the cost of devices that can be upgraded by patients at their own expense.

    Smooth sailing. The administration promises and outside experts expect that this year's open enrollment period on the health insurance marketplaces will be markedly less glitchy and balky than last. Consumers will begin to find out if that's true tomorrow when the marketplaces open for 2015 coverage.

    But even if enrollment goes smoothly this year, consumers shouldn't be complacent about reviewing their options online to sign up for or renew their coverage, say experts. The three-month sign-up window that closes Feb. 15 is half as long as last year's, and if consumers want coverage to begin Jan. 1 they need to sign up much earlier than that, by Dec. 15. So if you're planning to shop, get cracking.

    State News
    DELAWARE

    State officials say they don't yet know how enrollment is going this year in Delaware's health insurance exchange.

    The Delaware Health Care Commission received an update Thursday on the second year of implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

    But state health and social services officials say won't be able report any enrollment numbers until they get them from the federal government. They say they hope to see the first monthly federal report around later this month.

    State officials had hoped to enroll 35,000 of the estimated 90,000 uninsured residents in private insurance plans in the first year of Delaware's new health care exchange. The final enrollment was about 14,400, less than half of the state's goal but well above a federal government target of 8,000.

    MARYLAND

    Greater Baltimore Medical Center is there is no waiting room.

    Patients go directly to an exam room, where doctors, nurses and other staff are supposed to cycle in during a half-hour appointment. All supplies are on hand, as are electronic medical records, to ensure that people leave with any needed prescriptions or referrals to specialists.

    The design is patterned after one used by a Seattle medical system, which modeled it after Toyota's production system.

    The so-called "patient-centered medical home" concept aims to improve work flow, improve patient care and cut costs. The GBMC office on the Towson hospital's campus is among several in Maryland that are becoming medical homes.

    Finance & Business
    Discretionary spending including defense is capped at just under $1.014 trillion - a virtual freeze at current levels. And the two big off-budget increases - to fight Ebola and the Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria - are emergencies that Republicans can't afford to ignore. Ror example, the tentative $5.3 billion agreement on Ebola funding - covering foreign aid and health accounts - would give Obama much of his $6.2 billion request. And Republicans want all - if not more - of the extra money requested by the president since last June to plus-up overseas contingency funds for the Pentagon, now expected to receive about $64 billion in OCO dollars under the draft 2015 bill. 

    HRSA has posted an initial set of FAQs for PIN 2014-02: Sliding Fee Discount and Related Billing and Collections Program Requirements. FAQs will be added as necessary.

    The relatively straight path from the House GOP's closed-door discussion of their options Tuesday to next week's passage of a bipartisan spending bill would stand in contrast to the run-up to the October 2013 partial government shutdown. Last fall, the House and Senate lobbed bills between the chambers, as Republicans sought to strip funding for the 2010 health-care law and Democrats insisted on restoring it. 
    The
    Latest News on ACA
     
    OUR WORK IS NOT OVER

    Assisting Consumers with the FF-SHOP Marketplace
    For 2015, the FF-SHOP will be available for small employers with 1 to 50 full-time equivalent employees. There is a SHOP FTE calculator available as well as a SHOP Tax Credit Estimator for those small businesses who think they may qualify for the tax credit.

    New Personally Identifiable Information Guidance

    MAGI Presentation (NHeLP)
    Part I - How to total household income
    Part II - Household composition quick reference guide

    Grab Bag Question: Will consumers need to update their 2014 application or complete a 2015 application to re-enroll in coverage?
    See section IX of the assister newsletter.

    November 12 Highlights:

    How to Remove a Deceased Consumer from a Marketplace Account Guidance


     

    New HealthCare.gov Content for American Indian and Alaska Native Consumers
    In early November, HealthCare.gov updated their content to contain more information for American Indian and Alaska Natives (AI/AN). The content included a Q&A on both what income AI/AN should include in their marketplace applications as well as how AI/AN consumers can change marketplace plans.
     

     

      

    Updated Health Center Outreach and Enrollment Quarterly Progress Report (QPR) Resources 

    Health Center Outreach and Enrollment QPR updates for the 2015 enrollment period were highlighted in BPHC's FY 2015 QPR presentation. BPHC has also updated QPR Frequently Asked Questions. For additional assistance, please visit BPHC's Outreach and Enrollment webpage or email bphc-oe@hrsa.gov

     

    Marketplace Eligibility 201


    NEW Reminder: Marketplace Call Center and SHOP Call Center Hours
    • Health Insurance Marketplace Call Center: For customer service support, to start or finish an application, compare plans, enroll or ask a question.
      1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325).  Available 24/7. Closed Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
    • SHOP Call Center: For customer service support, including assisting employers and employees apply for and enroll in SHOP.
      1-800-706-7893 (TTY: 711).  Available M-F 9:00am-7:00pm ET.  From November 15, 2014 -December 31, 2014 open on weekends from 9:00am-5:00pm
    Transformational Team Talk & Outreach Upates

    Maryland--Call Center Note:

    Direct Line for Navigators and CAC to MHBE Call Center--Regarding the Call Center # 844-224-6762 It should be noted that: If you need customer assistance from the call center, CAC's should call this number.

      

    REMINDERS for your consumers:

    Dates to Know

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

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

    Starting Nov. 19: Enroll on your own online at MarylandHealthConnection.gov

    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 MarylandHealthConnection.gov 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.

    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 BPHCSAC@hrsa.gov for questions.


    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 bphc-oe@hrsa.gov 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 toCSF_Request@hrsa.gov 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 
    Supporting Patient Centered Medical Homes Through Data Feedback Reporting

     Webinar Series | Dec. 8-11 

    in collaboration with the Colorado Community Health Network (CCHN), Oregon Primary Care Association (OPCA), Maine Primary Care Association (MPCA) and the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health proudly presents a webinar series featuring health center organization efforts to plan, design and implement data feedback reports/ dashboards supportive of practice transformation in this current health care environment.

     

    Modeling the Way: Bridging Planning, Practice & Transformation
    Monday, Dec. 8 | 2-3 PM ET

    This webinar will equip executive leadership with tools and ideas on how to strategically plan, support the design and implementation of data feedback reports/dashboards to further support their organization's strategic areas of focus. The Maine Primary Care Association will discuss their efforts in modeling shared leadership between health centers, Health Center Controlled Networks and Primary Care Associations to implement data feedback reports/dashboards. Learn more here.


    *The content of this webinar is targeted for an executive leadership audience, though it is open to non-executive leadership to attend.


    Oregon's Approach to Care Transformation and Data Utilization

    Tuesday, Dec. 9 | 2-3 PM ET

    Oregon Primary Care Association will highlight two areas of focus in their State (the Data Transparency Project and the Alternative Payment and Care Model) bringing health centers together to achieve a common aim. This webinar will focus on the practice of collecting, sharing and utilizing data as part of an ongoing effort to transform care and improve outcomes. Learn more here.


    Wednesday, Dec. 10 | 2-3 PM ET

    Colorado Community Health Network's (CCHN) will share their efforts to utilize and understand data through a culture of transparency. This webinar will feature how CCHN engage staff, collaborate with other organizations, and drive quality improvement through data.  Learn more here.


    Thursday, Dec.11 | 2-3 PM ET

    Tying this series together, this webinar will engage State Primary Care Associations (Oregon PCA, Maine PCA and Colorado Community Health Network) in a panel discussion to share lessons learned from their efforts to support organizational strategies with data feedback reports; and, outline their priorities for measurement and feedback for the coming year. Learn more here.


    Questions or Comments? Please contact the NACHC Patient Centered Medical Home Institute at pcmhi@nachc.com. 
    Clinical Quality 

    New Data Show Hospital-Acquired Conditions Decline by 17 Percent Over Three-Year Period

    A new report announced today by HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell shows an estimated 50,000 fewer patients died in hospitals and approximately $12 billion in health care costs were saved as a result of a reduction in hospital-acquired conditions from 2010 to 2013. According to the report, preliminary estimates show that hospital patients experienced 1.3 million fewer hospital-acquired conditions from 2010 to 2013. This translates to a 17 percent decline in hospital-acquired conditions over the three-year period. While precise causality cannot be determined, the progress toward a safer health care system occurred during a period of concerted attention by hospitals throughout the country to reduce adverse events. The efforts were due in part to provisions of the Affordable Care Act such as Medicare payment incentives to improve the quality of care and the HHS Partnership for Patients initiative. Hospitals also have implemented a variety of tools and resources developed by AHRQ to help improve patient safety, such as the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program, the Re-Engineered Discharge Toolkit and TeamSTEPPs. 

     

    Guide to Evaluating Health Information Exchange Projects Helps Users Assess Impact on Health Care

    AHRQ's "Guide to Evaluating Health Information Exchange Projects" has been updated and redesigned to help those involved in health information exchange (HIE) projects assess an HIE project and create an evaluation plan. An HIE project evaluation can help an organization provide an assessment of the HIE project's impact on health care, guide data exchange processes and point to barriers or unanticipated consequences of implementing an HIE project. An evaluation can also help assess the longer term clinical and financial impacts of an HIE project and demonstrate return on investment. The guide for HIE projects has six sections to help users through the evaluation process.

    Journey to Quality: A Health Center's Experience Webinar

    ECRI Institute, on behalf of HRSA, will offer a free live webinar on December 9, 2014, 3:00 - 4:00 pm or December 11, 2014, Noon - 1:00 pm, on a health center's journey to quality.  Robust quality improvement programs are intended to advance patient care, ensure staff safety, increase patient and staff satisfaction, and improve the overall effectiveness of programs within an organization. Healthcare organizations benefit by making quality and safety everyone's responsibility and by focusing on continuous improvement.  Learn more by accessing the ECRI site. Register by clicking on the date and time preferred.

     

    NNOHA Quarterly Newsletter Now Available

    The National Network for Oral Health Access NNOHA Quarterly Newsletter is a health center resource for the latest in safety-net oral health.  You will find articles in the new issue on:

    • An analysis of 2013 health center oral health provider recruitment, retention, and job satisfaction survey results
    • Establishing dental treatment guidelines to help build patient-centered health homes
    • Will you be ready when the fluoridation rollback campaign comes to your community?
    • Member Spotlight:  Community Care, Inc. (Milwaukee, WI)
    Health Observances This Week


    December is National Influenza Vaccination Week

    National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is December 7 -13.  This national observance was established to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination throughout the holiday season and into the new year.  The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and its partners are reminding the public that even as the holiday season arrives, it is not too late to get flu vaccine.  Check out the CDC's NIV webpage for more information.

    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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