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 

February 9, 2015



(1) Transformational Call (*bi-weekly) 

February 10th, 2015;
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.


(2) Outreach and Enrollment Call (*bi-weekly) 

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) March 26-27, 2015
Turf Valley Conf. Ctr.

The Finance/IT Conference will be held at Turf Valley with some of the finance topics to include G-Coding, Productivity and Volume of Business, Knowing Internal and External Reporting Requirements and Understand HRSA"s Financial Requirements, IT topics could include,  Patient Portal - making the best of it for patients and meaningful use, Standardization of documentation, IT best practices for: (Support, Maintenance, Helpdesk), balance of in house vs contracted services (immediately availability, high touch, low touch, expertise, economies of scale), Sharing data beyond UDS - how to share and what to share (and their effectiveness)  and ICD 10 Training.


(4) June 19-20, 2015

(5) September 18, 2015 
Operations Leadership
Turf Valley Conf. Ctr.


Board of Directors Meetings:
(Third Friday @ 11:00 a.m.)

February 26-27, 2015
Board Retreat
Tidewater Inn

March 20, 2015
Face to face
11 am - 1pm

May 15, 2015
Face to face
11 am - 1pm

September 18-19, 2015
Board Retreat
Turf Valley



    NCQA, in collaboration with Partnership for Prevention and the National Chlamydia Coalition, has developed this three-part webinar series designed to provide participants with a guide to improve the quality of care and services using the chlamydia screening HEDIS measure. Experts will provide information on the specifics of the HEDIS measure and also share practical information to include resources and tools to address common barriers experienced using this measure. Each session will feature case studies presented by colleagues in the field. 

    I. Choose one or all of the following sessions: 

    Session 1- What's New with Chlamydia Screening?: Measure, Specifications and Performance
    February 19, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm EST | 

    Register for Webinar

    At the conclusion of session 1, you will learn: 

    • Provide an overview of current epidemiology of chlamydia screening and treatment recommendations
    • Describe chlamydia screening HEDIS specifications and national performance
    • Identify programs that include chlamydia screening as a core requirement, including accreditation and incentive programs

    II. Session 2- Quality Improvement: The Path to Improving Chlamydia Screening HEDIS Rates
    February 26, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm EST | 

    Register for Webinar

    At the conclusion of session 2, you will learn: 

    • Distinguish between quality assurance and quality improvement
    • Review the quality improvement cycle
    • Use quality improvement methods to identify common barriers to chlamydia screening at the plan, practice and patient level: provide incentives and motivators for addressing these barriers
    • Identify best practices that have successfully addressed barriers

    III. Session 3- Tools to Address Preserving Confidentiality, Providing Services to Adolescents and Talking with Parents
    March 4, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm EST | 

    Register for Webinar

    At the conclusion of session 3, you will be able to: 

    • Review laws and policies governing confidentiality of sensitive services
    • Discuss options for maintaining confidentiality with explanation of benefits and billing
    • Discuss specific tools for clinics and providers to become adolescent friendly
    • Provide examples of tools and tips for talking with parent
    • Identify educational materials and resources that health plans may use for patients, parents, and providers Faculty



    February 10-11, 2015 Register here

    2014 brought significant changes to the fiscal administration of the Health Center program with OMB's release of the "Supercircular" and HRSA's release of PINs 2013-01: Budgeting and Accounting for Health Centers and 2014-02: Sliding Fee Discount and Related Billing and Collections Program Requirements.  These new policies require health centers to make conforming changes to their policies and procedures in order to remain in compliance with all Federal requirements.

    In this live, hands-on training, Ted Waters and Marcie Zakheim will address the framework of these new policies and the steps health centers need to take to ensure that their policies and procedures remain in compliance with all Federal requirements. 


    (3) Medicare PPS ONE-DAY Implementation Trainings
    February 24, 2015

    February 25, 2015 - Baltimore, MD

    Early Bird Registration: $250 Early Bird Rate (on/before 2/10/15)
    Regular and On-site: $300 After 2/10/15 and On-Site
    Registration Cutoff (last day to register online): February 17, 2015

    Click here for the brochure.


    (4) 2015 NACHC Policy & Issues Forum

    Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, DC

    March 18-22, 2015

    March 18-22, 2015
    Day 1: 03-18-2015 8:00AM - 5:00PM   
    Day 2: 03-19-2015 8:00AM - 5:00PM   
    Day 3: 03-20-2015 8:00AM - 5:00PM   
    Day 4: 03-21-2015 8:00AM - 5:00PM    

    Emergency Preparedness Events: 


    MACHC implemented an active shooter drill at two of our member locations (Community Clinic Inc & Family Health Centers of Baltimore) last week. The drill tested the facilities' ability to follow their emergency and communications plan. All the participants were able to learn from the exercise and we will share all the best practices and resources with all of you in March during MACHC's EP Call. PLEASE LOOK OUT for the date.


    Influenza has been making steady rounds around the country. Are you ready? 

    Please find flu fact sheets to disperse within your health centers below.

    Flu Factsheets in english

    Flu Factsheets in spanish


    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





    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]

    Region IV is currently looking for a new Regional Coordinator

    Kent County Health Department

    A.F. Whitsitt Center

    300 Scheeler Road

    P.O. Box 229
    Chestertown, MD  21620

    410-778-4861 (Office)


    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. 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!
    Have you checked out the NEWMACHC website?
    The MACHC website now features Communifier (please email Junaed Siddiqui for login info or details at which allows our membership to access all meeting, conference and any related documents directly on our 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.


    Save the Date: NACHC TeleForum Launching the Next Phase of the Access is the Answer Advocacy Campaign, Thursday, February 19th at 2PM ET

    The clock is ticking for Congressional action to fix the Health Center funding cliff - with just over 200 days remaining before Health Center funding is slated to be reduced by 70%, the time to TAKE ACTION to advocate for your Health Center is NOW! Join NACHC Policy and Advocacy staff Thursday, February 19 that 2PM ET for the official launch of the third phase of the Access is the Answer campaign. Don't miss this important opportunity to learn what advocacy action steps you should take to help make the case for Congressional action to fix the Health Center Funding Cliff. The call is FREE, in fact we'll call you. Click here to sign-up to receive the call on Thursday, February 19th at 2PM ET, or join directly by dialing 1-877-229-8493 and entering PIN: 15035.


    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


    Policy, Advocacy and Legislation
    National News

    The President's FY2016 Budget Request Released

    President Obama released his FY2016 budget proposal this week. The proposal includes $2.7 billion per year for three years in mandatory funding for the Health Centers Program in addition to $1.5 billion in discretionary funding and reserve funding from the existing Health Center Fund. For additional details, see NACHC's statement on the budget request. For those interested in the President's budget request for other programs under HRSA, see the FY2016 HHS Budget in Brief. Release of the President's proposal marks the beginning of the budget debate.

    Upcoming Changes to Meaningful Use Reporting Requirements

    Last ThursdayCMS announced their intent to modify meaningful use requirements, including by shortening the 2015 EHR reporting period from one year to 90 days. Under the current reporting requirements, Community Health Centers are required to report for a full calendar year starting January 1st, 2015. In the last several months NACHC heard from Health Centers across the country that a shorter reporting period would be helpful in staying on the path to Meaningful Use, which is why NACHCjoined the coalition of organizations endorsing H.R. 270, the Flexibility in Health IT Reporting (Flex-IT) Act. This bipartisan legislation was introduced by Representatives Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and Ron Kind (D-WI), and would direct the Secretary of HHS to shorten the 2015 reporting period to 90 days. We are optimistic that this bill will no longer be necessary in light of CMS's announcement, but we will continue to monitor the issue closely until the change is finally implemented. The new policy would be finalized in a CMS rule to be released sometime this spring. 

    CMS Clarifies PQRS Questions for FQHCs

    Over the last several weeks, NACHC has heard from many Health Centers with questions about thePhysician Quality Reporting System letters that Health Center providers may have received inquiring about the impact on FQHCs. Last week CMS issued a clarification on how the PQRS penalties apply to Rural Health Clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers, noting that the penalty applies only to those services provided on the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and not to FQHC services. You can read the FAQ and more information on the Policy Shop blog. Please do not hesitate to contact NACHC should you have any further questions.

    UDS Reports Due February 15:  What Will Your Public Profile Say About Your Health Center?

    All Community Health Centers  are required to submit a Uniform Data Systems (UDS) report to the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) by February 15, 2015.
    Accuracy of the data is critical as the data helps HRSA to identify trends to establish or expand targeted programs, helps PACHC  advocate for and promote health centers and your work, and is used by HRSA to create a public online profile for every Community Health Center. To access HRSA's UDS webpage, click here.  To review your health center's profile or that of another health center, visit HRSA's Health Center Data website, click on either the Program Grantee or Look A-like link under Health Center Profiles on the left, choose Pennsylvania and then choose the health center from the list of all in the state.
    Open Enrollment Deadline Approaching 
    The deadline for Open Enrollment is February 15, 2015. Since Open Enrollment began on November 15, more than 7.1 million consumers selected a plan or were automatically re-enrolled through the platform. There are many resources available to help with enrollment efforts, including fact sheets, #GetCovered stories, and blog posts
    Last week, the Obama administration shared it expects to significantly raise the percentage of Medicare payments to doctors and other health providers that are tied to the quality of care delivered, continuing an effort to move away from a system that pays based on the volume of procedures and tests that performed on patients. The share of Medicare payments shifted to alternative spending models like accountable care organizations (ACOs) that reward coordinated care will rise from 20 percent of payments in 2014 to 30 percent in 2016, and by 2018, half of Medicare fee-for-service spending could be shifted to the new models for paying medical providers, according to new targets released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 

    New Study Compares Rate of Uninsured Patients Visiting Health Centers Before and After Expanding Medicaid

    A new study published in the Annals of Family Medicine discovered that Health Centers in states that expanded Medicaid in 2014 as part of the Affordable Care Act saw a 40% decrease in uninsured visits and a 36% increase in Medicaid-covered visits post-expansion. These findings suggest that the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act has successfully decreased the number of uninsured safety net patients

    App Helps Residents Pick Health Insurance

    Need help picking your health insurance plan?  You may find that there's an app for that. xTeros, a new free app, will help you to evaluate your health care spending so that you can identify the most appropriate coverage for you and your family.

     ACA Cuts Nation's Uninsured By 20 Million

    The Affordable Care Act will make a huge dent in the number of Americans without health insurance, according to the latest estimates from congressional researchers. This year, an estimated 36 million people under age 65 will be uninsured, down from an estimated 55 million absent the ACA, according to a Congressional Budget Office report released this week. The report also indicates that the number of uninsured will continue to fall in succeeding years, dropping to 31 million in 2016 and 30 million in 2017
    . The Commonwealth Fund's Biennial Health Insurance Survey
    also found sharp declines in uninsured rates for working-age Americans, with rates for young and low-income adults now at their lowest levels in 14 years. The number of people reporting that costs were a problem in accessing care also fell, as did the number of people with trouble paying medical bills.

    Surgeon General Vivek Murthy urges parents to vaccinate children against measles 

    Amid the ongoing debate over vaccines in the face of the current measles outbreak, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is urging parents to get their children vaccinated.  "I recognize that some of the concerns parents have about vaccinations come from a place of wanting to do the best to protect their children," he stated. But "I believe that on this topic, the science is very clear."
    State News

    The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announced today another flu fatality, bringing the total to 21 so far this season.  This is the largest number of flu fatalities in recent memory. 

    There are also now 1,998 lab-confirmed cases which exceed the total number of cases for any full flu season of the past decade (except for the H1N1 outbreak in 2009-2010).  All but two of the deceased are over age 65 (the other fatalities were in their early 50s) and all 21 had underlying medical conditions. DPH urges people to check in daily with their loved ones and neighbors if they are seniors or have medical conditions.  Over half of the flu deaths were in people who lived at home and likely received medical care too late.

    Each year, multiple flu strains will circulate.  This flu season, a mutated strain has impacted the effectiveness of the flu vaccine.  CDC initial evidence shows the 2014-15 flu vaccine's effectiveness is particularly low in protecting seniors who contract the mutated strain.

    Persons with emerging flu symptoms should call - not visit - their medical providers, who may be able to prescribe anti-viral medication.  Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue.

    DPH also recommends these actions to protect seniors and vulnerable populations, including the very young, pregnant women, and those who recently gave birth, and people with underlying medical conditions, such as lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, and individuals with weak immune systems:


    • If you begin to show symptoms of the flu, contact a medical provider immediately.
    • If you are receiving treatment in a long-term care facility or in-home care, ask if the staff is vaccinated against the flu and, if not, the staff person should wear a mask at all times.
    • Visits at home or in a facility should be limited if the visitor is under age 16, or has the flu or is at risk of exposure to the flu. The illness can be transmitted prior to someone showing symptoms.
    • If living with a senior and a family member contracts the flu, keep the two separate as much as possible and ensure everyone in the home follows sanitary precautions.
    • Wash hands frequently with soap or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers, especially after you cough, sneeze, or touch your face.
    • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and dispose of the tissue immediately. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your inner elbow. Droplets from a sneeze can travel up to six feet.
    • Stay home when sick and do not return to work or school until 24 hours after a fever is gone.
    • Ensure all your loved ones are vaccinated against the illness. Even if the amount of protection is reduced in one strain this year, the vaccination can help make the illness milder and prevent the illnesses due to the other strains circulating in the community. Vaccines are available from DPH clinics, physicians, pharmacies, and many grocery stores. 

    TO: Maryland Health Care For All! Supporters

    FROM: Vinny DeMarco


                We are thrilled that today we are launching a new radio ad featuring Orioles Superstar Adam Jones to help people enroll in affordable health care through the Affordable Care Act. You can check out the ad at .  The ad urges people to call 211 or go to to find out about their eligibility for health care coverage.  We will be announcing the ad at a press conference today with Adam Jones, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Attorney General Brian Frosh, Health Benefit Exchange Director Carolyn Quattrocki, Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen, and HealthCare Access Maryland Director Kathleen Westcoat.  We thank HCAM for hosting the event.


    Please help us spread the word! Feel free to send out the radio ad through your networks and please do all you can to urge people to call 211 or go to to find out about their eligibility for health care coverage.


                Together we will make sure that as many Marylanders as possible enroll in ACA health care prior to the February 15 open enrollment deadline.          

    ***MACHC has been a proud and constant sponsor of the 211 Campaign including this new Adam Jones ad.
    Finance & Business

    The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) and the HRSA Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) have developed the Practical Art of Health Center Finance (PAHCF) seminars to provide new health center financial and operational leaders with an orientation to financial management, accounting principles and terminology unique to health centers. Attendees at this two-day comprehensive seminar will be able to develop their knowledge of how to:

    • Understand the key elements of an efficiently operating health center
    • Understand cost-based reimbursement
    • Improve operations to maximize revenue
    • Utilize technology to manage information

    CMS Clarifies PQRS Questions for FQHCs

    Over the last several weeks, many health centers have inquired about the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) letters that providers may have received and the impact on Community Health Centers  and Rural Health Clinics. Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a clarification on how the PQRS penalties apply to FQHCs/RHCs, noting that the penalty applies only to those services provided on the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and not to FQHC services
    Latest News on ACA


    Coming Soon...Meaningful Use Reporting Changes?

    Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it intends to modify meaningful use requirements which will include shortening the 2015 EHR reporting period from one year to 90 days. Under the current reporting requirements, Community Health Centers  are required to report for a full calendar year starting January 1, 2015.  If this policy comes to pass, it will be published in the first half of 2015.  It will also be welcome as legislation seeking the same end would no longer be necessary

  System Update Means Correct APTC, CSR Calculation has performed a system update to correct an error for consumers that are at 100% of FPL and denied Medicaid or CHIP eligibility. Consumers who were not given advance premium tax credits (APTCs) or cost sharing reductions (CSRs) are now able to go back into the system, report a life change and receive their APTCs and CSR.


    ACA and Individual 2014 Tax Returns

    As you are aware, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Pay or Play mandate was delayed until 2015, but the individual mandate for individuals to have minimum essential coverage took effect in 2014. Employees are asking to have proof of coverage to comply with the individual mandate when filling out their taxes. The regulators have said that it is "as simple as checking the box," and to assist they have issued a user friendly chart that goes over the ACA and tax returns. With the Pay or Play delay, most employers will not be providing the Form 1095-b or Form 1095-c until next year. The new information reporting systems will be similar to the current Form W-2 reporting systems in that an information return (Form 1095-B or 1095-C) will be prepared for each applicable employee, and these returns will be filed with the IRS using a single transmittal form (Form 1094-B or 1094-C). 


    Weekly Enrollment Update 

    Since November 15, 2014, almost 7.3 million consumers either signed up for health insurance or were automatically reenrolled into their existing health coverage. Also, since November 2014, over 10.1 million consumers have been enrolled in either Medicaid or CHIP. This is a 17.5% increase in the average monthly enrollment for July through September of 2013, the months immediately preceding the first Marketplace open enrollment. To view the entire CMS Weekly Enrollment Update, click here . To view the entire Medicaid/CHIP Enrollment Update, click here .


    Assister Winter Webinar Schedule and Supplemental Webinars      
    Assister Webinar Schedule for January and February


                    Friday, February 13 at 2:00 pm EST

                    Friday, February 20 at 2:00 pm EST

                    Friday, February 27 at 2:00 pm EST


    Who Purchased Dental Coverage on the Exchanges?

    An issue brief  from the American Dental Association analyzes which consumers purchased stand alone dental plans in the 2014 federal exchange. Young adults from ages 26-34 were the most likely to buy dental plans, with nearly 27 percent of them purchasing plans. In contrast, less than 11 percent of seniors purchased dental plans on the exchange.

    Be sure to check out the dozens of oral health resources available in the State Refor(u)m library. You can also check out the chart on individual marketplace pediatric dental benefits for 2014.

    BPHC Helpline Update - The BPHC Helpline supports grantees and project officers with technical assistance about BPHC specific issues in HRSA's Electronic Handbooks (EHB). In an effort to enhance the effectiveness of the BPHC Helpline, the email address is being replaced with the BPHC web-form. You can still reach the BPHC Helpline at 1-877-974-BPHC (2742).

    HRSA grantees funded to provide O/E assistance  in FFM and SPM states have been included  in this pilot program.

    The pilot Resource Center currently serves as a dedicated, complementary service to the Marketplace Call Center and provides support to a subset of assisters-Navigators and Enrollment Assistance Program (EAP) assisters in the Federally Facilitated Marketplaces-with complex issues related to applications, eligibility determinations and redeterminations, and re-enrollment. 

    As HRSA O/E grantees in  FFM/SPM states you will be able to access the Resource Center beginning Friday, January 16, 2015.  To ensure the success of the program, please keep in mind the following:

    • You should continue to use your training, guidance issued by CMS, and the Marketplace Call Center as your first sources of support.
    • In the event that you are unable to resolve an issue through the tools provided during your training, guidance issued by CMS, or the Marketplace Call Center, you may contact the Resource Center for assistance. 
    • Please note that the AHRC is not able access consumer accounts. Although AHRC can provide some steps to help them resolve certain issues, they are not able to reset consumer passwords, unlock accounts and or assist with proof of identity. 

    You must identify yourself as a HRSA grantee in order to receive assistance from the Resource Center. You may leave a voicemail during times when the Resource Center is closed and an agent will respond to your call within one business day.

    Resource Center/AHRC Phone Number:               855-811-7299

    Resource Center/AHRC Hours of Operation:      Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 9:00 pm EST; Saturday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm EST

    Through your inquiries, CMS will have timely awareness of complex issues that consumers encountered in the enrollment process which will provide them the opportunity to share the issues and the remedies to those issues with all assisters-including the Federal Marketplace Call Center agents, Certified Application Counselors, Agents and Brokers, and States-Based Marketplaces-through guidance, trainings, and established communications such as assister list serves, newsletters, and webinars.

    CMS is very excited to have you participate in this pilot project and looks forward to being able to address your inquiries.   

    Transformational Team Talk & Outreach Upates

    A message from MHBE's Jody Hartzell

    On behalf of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange (MHBE), we thank you for your efforts to help Marylanders obtain health care coverage.  We would also like to thank you for your patience as we develop the training and tools to help you prepare for enrollment.


    If you are interested in becoming a Certified Application Counselor.  Your next step in preparing for your work will be to create an account in The Hub, Maryland Health Connection's Learning Management System (LMS), and complete the "MHC-Application Counselor Policy Training."


    If you have submitted your application to MHBE, please create an account in The Hub at the following website: .  Detailed instructions on how to create an account can be found in the attached job aid entitled "Application Counselor Step by Step Policy Guide". Once you have created an account, please allow 24 business hours from account creation to access the training. Once 24 business hours have passed, please follow the directions starting with Step Three in the attached job aid,  to access and complete the required training.  For individuals who have already created accounts and have accessed "The Hub", please follow the directions starting with Step Three, in the attached job aid, to access to complete the "MHC-Application Counselor Policy Training".   


    This training will serve a a prerequisite to become eligible to complete the MHC Application Counselor Final Exam.  You will be unable to register for the MHC-Application Counselor Final Exam if you have not completed the "MHC-Application Counselor Policy Training".  Also, you will not be allowed to sit for the the final exam if you are not registered for an exam session.  To register for a final exam session,  please follow the directions listed in the job aid entitled "CAC Final Exam Registration".  If you are experiencing difficulty completing the training and registering for the exam, please email 


    The final exam dates, times, and locations are as follow (please register for the correct exam session):



    First Attempt (EXAM ONE) Session




    Second Attempt (EXAM TWO) Sessions


    LOCATOR # 679

    Title: MHC-Permit/Certification Exam 

    Date: February 11th, 2015

    Time 9:30 am - 11:00 am

    Location: 901 Elkridge Landing Rd, 2nd Floor, Suite 200 Linthicum Heights, MD 21090

    Registration close date/time: 2/10/2015 @ 12:00 am


    Third Attempt (EXAM THREE) Sessions


    LOCATOR # 680

    Title: MHC-Permit/Certification Exam 

    Date: February 11th, 2015

    Time 9:30 am - 11:00 am

    Location: 901 Elkridge Landing Rd, 2nd Floor, Suite 200 Linthicum Heights, MD 21090

    Registration close date/time: 2/10/2015 @ 12:00 am


    LOCATOR # 681

    Title: MHC-Permit/Certification Exam 

    Date: February 18th, 2015

    Time 9:30 am - 11:00 am

    Location: 901 Elkridge Landing Rd, 2nd Floor, Suite 200 Linthicum Heights, MD 21090

    Registration close date/time: 2/17/2015 @ 12:00 am

    Documents from last month's ACSE Webinar:

    Upcoming PII request

    Connector Meeting talks about some upcoming enhancements to the HBX system 

    Plan Management talks of statistical information related to enrollment


    Some additional information that was shared in yesterday's Connector Entity meeting concerning Medicaid Renewals:

    Re-determinations for individuals who enrolled in Medicaid through the Maryland Health Connection during 2014 have begun.  Individuals who started on Medicaid Dec 2013 - March 2014, will be covered until March 31 2015.  If these individuals do not renew through Maryland Health Connection by March 31, 2015, their Medicaid coverage will be terminated.

    The FAQs are now live on both the DHMH and MHC sites.  There are also links in the photo carousels on the main landing pages for both sites that should be easy for consumers to find.  I've also attached the FAQs and renewals fact sheet, which are posted on both sites.  





    Outreach and Enrollment (O/E) Resource of the Week: Successful Practices in Rural O/E 

  • There are unique needs and strategies associated with outreach and enrollment in rural communities.  The resources below highlight successful practices, lessons learned, and important considerations when providing outreach and enrollment in rural America.  

  • ORHP Best Practices Guide in Rural Outreach and Enrollment

  • Successful Health Insurance Outreach, Education, and Enrollment Strategies for Rural Hospitals

  • Best Practices for Health Insurance Marketplace Outreach and Enrollment in Rural Areas

  • The Affordable Care Act: What it means for Rural America


    HRSA releases new  Outreach guide for Rural areas 

    Rural areas have unique needs for ensuring that consumers can enroll in health insurance. A new guide from HRSA outlines some best practices for assisters to use while working with rural populations. 


    Updated Medicaid Expansion Map 

    We've recently added some new information to our Medicaid Expansion Decisions map. As 2015 legislative sessions ramp up, we'll be tracking activity related to Medicaid expansion in the states. The map also reflects changes in governors' stances on expansion and any related new information about Medicaid expansion. 


    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

    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


    Grants & Funding Opportunities

     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.


    NIH Hypertensive Disparities Funding Opportunity Announcement

    Application Deadline:  letter of intent, January 13; full application, February 13, 2015
    Awards of up to $650,000 direct costs for a one-year period. The second phase is limited to $1,800,000 direct costs for each subsequent year (2 to 5). The purpose of the FOA is to compare alternative, evidence-based approaches to reduce inadequate control of hypertension among high risk populations, including racial/ethnic minority groups, patients with low socioeconomic status (SES), and individuals residing in rural geographical areas with an above average lifetime risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

    SAMHSA Primary and Behavioral Health Integration

    Application Deadline:  February 27, 2015

    Awards of up to $400,000 to establish projects for the provision of coordinated and integrated services through the co-location of primary and specialty care medical services in community-based behavioral health settings.  The goal is to improve the physical health status of adults with serious mental illnesses and those with co-occurring substance use disorders who have or are at risk for co-morbid primary care conditions and chronic diseases.

    Perinatal and Infant Oral Health Quality Improvement Expansion Grant Program
    Application Deadline: February 27, 2015

    This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) solicits applications for the Perinatal and Infant Oral Health Quality Improvement (PIOHQI) Expansion Grant Program, the second phase of the Perinatal and Infant Oral Health National Initiative. The goal of this grant program, as with this multi-phase initiative, is to reduce the prevalence of oral disease in both pregnant women and infants through improved access to quality oral health care. By targeting pregnant women and infants most at risk for disease, during times of increased health care access, the expected result is improved oral health and oral health care utilization of the mother and her child throughout their lifespan.

    NHSC Loan Repayment 

    Apply to the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program by March 30  Primary care medical, dental and mental/behavioral health clinicians can get $50,000 to repay their health profession student loans in exchange for a two-year commitment to work at an approved NHSC site in a high-need, underserved area. 

    Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Corner 

    Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute Pipeline to Proposal Awards - Tier One

    Letter of Intent (Required): December 23, 2014
    Application deadline: February 16, 2015
    Offers seed funding to patients, advocacy groups, clinicians, and others who are not usual candidates for research funding. Funds should be used to build the community and capacity necessary to develop and apply for a patient-centered comparative effectiveness research project
    Clinical Quality 

    BPHC Quality Improvement Assistance Webpage

    The Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) has released a new Quality Improvement Assistance webpage to provide QI resources and information for health centers. This page includes recordings of the technical assistance for grantees receiving fiscal year 2015 Quality Improvement Awards and A Journey to Quality: A Health Centers Experience.

    FDA Expands Approved Use of Rapid Flu Test to Include Physician Offices

    An FDA approved rapid molecular flu test that provides results in as little as 15 minutes using a nasal swab and can be performed in front of the patient is now available to physician offices, emergency rooms, health department clinics, and other health care facilities. The test - theAlere i Influenza A & B test - had previously only been approved for use in specialized laboratories. This was the first waiver granted by the FDA that allows a nucleic acid-based test to be used in a greater variety of health care settings. The PA Department of Health (DOH) estimates that 600,000 to 2.4 million Pennsylvanians get the flu each year, and between 120 and 2,000 people die from flu-related complications. To date, according to statistics from DOH, there have been 1,180 cases of the flu and four influenza-associated deaths in the state this season so far. 

    Health Observances This Week


    Recreational Therapy/Therapeutic Recreation Month


    Along with improving quality of life, therapeutic recreation also has many other benefits:

    1. To promote and enhance quality of life
    2. To offer activities that are meaningful to each client

    3. To enhance or maintain cognitive abilities
    4. To enhance or maintain physical abilities
    5. To promote emotional and psychosocial well-being
    6. To provide opportunity for socialization
    7. To offer opportunity for creative expression
    8. To offer opportunity for decision making, choice, and responsibility
    9. To offer opportunity for spiritual expression
    10. To offer solace and relaxation
    11. To provide opportunity for fun, pleasure, and enjoyment
    12. To offer opportunity to share common interests, cultures, and experiences
    13. To promote independence and decreased learned helplessness
    14. To provide opportunity to learn new skills, adapt old skills, and enjoy new leisure experiences


    Has your FQHC joined the National Branding Campaign?


    With more than 43 billion people  eligible to enroll in private insurance starting this October 1, FQHCs strive to create an identifiable unifying identity for themselves. This is where the National Branding Campaign for Our Health Centers comes into place. 

    The campaign is a national branding effort to strengthen recognition of our Health Centers as a unified and nationwide network of quality community-based primary care providers.  Initially created at the state level by the Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers (PACHC) and its membership, the National Association of Community Health Centers has expanded the campaign nationwide.


    The FQHC Brand Components  

    MACHC recently hosted a Branding Webinar for MD and DE Health Centers with CEO of PACHC, Cheri Reinhart and Event and Communications Coordinator, Kirsten Keyes, as guest speakers. If you missed the webinar and would like access, please click here.

    Mid-Atlantic Association of Community Health Centers | | |