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

Thank you for your participation and support during the hill visits. What next? 
Read the SGR Update under National News!
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. 

April 27, 2015
MACHC SPOTLIGHT
MACHC created a Funding Cliff


 

Send Your Thank Yous!

Last week,the Senate passed H.R. 2. Subsequently, it was signed into law as the Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. The law reserves $7.2 billion in mandatory funding for the Health Centers Program, as well as continued funding for the National Health Service Corps and Teaching Health Centers for two years.  The law also means access to care is now protected for the 28 million people CHCs are projected to serve by next year.  Your action and commitment to advocacy made this success happen for Health Centers and the patients they serve. We must say THANK YOU to the 92 U.S. Senators and 392 U.S Representatives that voted YES on H.R. 2 to support Health Centers. Email your Senator and/or Representative TODAY


 


 

MACHC Announces its Newly Launched Provider Credentialing Services (look under Shared Services Corner)

For a subscription cost, MACHC will provide initial and re-credentialing services to our members.

For more information please contact Bernadette Johnson at bernadette@machc.com

MACHC HAPPENINGS

MACHC EVENTS
*Please note that the MACHC conference day(s) for June and Board of Directors meeting dates have been changed. Changes reflected below. 
    
(1) Cultural Competency in Practice:
Using CLAS and Health Equity in your everyday Practice
April 30 or May 1, 2015
(April 30, 2015, 11:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. or
May 1, 2015 8:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.) Register here
(This workshop is being repeated, participants need only attend one day)
Dover Downs Conference Center, Dover, DE
 
This competency training will help you and your staff build awareness, knowledge, and skills through a variety of teaching methods including direct instruction, role playing, case studies, facilitated group discussions, and technology/media.
 
All healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, social workers, front office staff, facility managers, supervisors, etc., are encouraged to attend!
This free training will offer:
  • Better understanding of  your patient's culture and yours
  • Knowledge and skills for navigating the dynamics of difference
  • Strategies for healthcare organizations to foster greater engagement with clients and co-workers
  • Excellent networking opportunities
(2) Outreach & Enrollment Call 
Friday, May 1, 2014
1-866-740-1260 Access 4319483
Who: Outreach Staff
Discuss state updates, best practices, barriers/issues that need attention and provide any support and advocacy where needed.

(3) June 18-19, 2015
Clinical/Informatics
Maritime Conference Center- Lithicum, MD

(4) September 17-18, 2015 
Operations Leadership
Turf Valley Conf. Ctr., MD

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

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

April 17, 2015
Conference Call 
11 am - 1pm

June 18, 2015
Face to face
11 am - 1pm
Maritime Conference Center

September 17, 2015
Board Retreat
Turf Valley
  • OTHER EVENTS

  • (1) Hepatitis C Prevention Opportunities among People Who Inject Drugs Webinar - Tuesday, April 28, 2015, 1:00pm - 2:00pm, ET. Register Here.
     

    HHS's Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy (OHAIDP) is hosting this webinar to highlight opportunities for hepatitis C (HCV) prevention among people who inject drugs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that cases of acute HCV have increased by 75% from 2010 to 2012, indicating an increased need for HCV prevention information, tools and strategies.

     

    (2) 2015 NHSC Site Application Technical Assistance Webinar

    Thursday, April 30 from 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. ET
     
    Access link:

    https://hrsaseminar.adobeconnect.com/nhscsite2015

    Dial-in Number: 1-888-996-4919
    Passcode: 8392355
    * To participate in the webinar, you will need to use both the access link and the dial-in number.
    NHSC Site Application Technical Assistance Conference Call 

    Wednesday, May 13 from 12:00-2:00 p.m. ET

    Dial-in Number: 1-888-790-1868
    Passcode: 8788160

     

    "All about NHCW" Webinar in Spanish, April 30th at 3PM ET      Register Here

    National Health Center Week is just around the corner! Join NACHC on Thursday, April 30th at 3 PM ET

    for "All about National Health Center Week", a webinar to be conducted entirely in Spanish.
    Register for this webinar today to hear a wide range of ideas for how to celebrate the week, learn strategies to secure sponsorships for events, consider ways to engage their elected officials, and more! Email grassroots@nachc.com with any questions. If you would like to receive news and alerts in Spanish, click here to sign-up for NACHC's weekly Spanish-language advocacy newsletter, El Defensor Semanal. 

     

     

     

    (3) Medicare PPS ONE-DAY Implementation Trainings 

    The time is now to register for NACHC's One-day Medicare PPS Trainings!  Most health centers have already begun to transition to the new Medicare prospective payment system (PPS) rate mandated by the Affordable Care Act, for federally qualified health centers (FQHCs). According to these new requirements, FQHCs must transition to the new payment system by the end of their annual cost reporting period. For some of you that can be as early as May 1, 2015
    To make sure your health center is ready, join us and fellow colleagues in Kansas City, Missouri, May 5 & 6, 2015 for these one-day, intensive workshops to prepare health centers and look-alikes to implement the new Medicare PPS regulations. 

    Click here to register
     

    (4) The Urban Health Institute and the Johns Hopkins Centro SOL announce the
    Latino Health Conference
    "Land of Opportunity? Latino Immigrants and the Affordable Care Act (ACA)" on Tuesday, May 12, in Feinstone Hall. This day-long event will provide a dynamic forum for speakers and attendees to discuss challenges and opportunities associated with changes in the healthcare system and the rapid growth of the Latino community in Maryland. The conference will bring together scholars, policy experts, clinicians, and community advocates interested in improving access and quality of healthcare for Latino immigrants and their families.
    Please join us in a dynamic conversation with health policy experts, clinicians, community partners, public health officials, and academics. Our plenary speaker will be
    Dr. Benjamin D. Sommers of the Department of Health Policy & Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School. 
    Tuesday May 12, 8 a.m. to  5 p.m.
    Feinstone Hall, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 N. Wolfe St. Baltimore, MD 21224

    Register TODAY

    (5) Accountable Care Academy: Moving from Volume to Value and from Theoretical to Practical Application
    May 13 - 14, 2015
    Charlotte, North Carolina
    EARLY BIRD DEADLINE: April 29
    Online registration ends May 6
    NACHC is pleased to offer a new training designed to bring together the key leaders (CEO, CMO, CFO, COO, and CIO) of Health Centers, PCAs, and HCCNs to focus on the critical elements for successful participation in both informal and formal Accountable Care Organizations (managed care).

    (6) Reimbursement and Appropriate Diabetes Coding Training and Education Session
    Thursday, May 14, 2015 at 7:30 AM - Friday, May 15, 2015 at 4:00 PM (EDT)

    The Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control is providing a nationally recognized consultant to train and educate community based diabetes programs on Medicare and private coding and coverage guidelines for Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT), Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME), and Intensive Behavior Therapy for Obesity. Building skills for consultation on patient empowerment and motivational interviewing will also be provided. Register here.

     

    (7) Managing Ambulatory Health Care I (MAHC I): Introductory Course for Clinicians inCommunity Health Centers       
    June 15-18, 2015 - Portland, Oregon
    EARLY BIRD DEADLINE: June 1      Apply here.

    The Managing Ambulatory Health Care I (MAHC I) course is an exciting collaboration between the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) and Northwest Regional Primary Care Association (NWRPCA). 

    This four-day course goes beyond the basics of being a new clinical director in a FQHC. This course focuses on skills that are essential in the community health center environment. You will learn specific management skills that are essential in the community health center environment:

    • Financial management
    • The enhanced role of the medical director (dental, behavioral health, etc.)
    • Clinical operations
    • Productivity management
    • Performance compensation
    (8) Patient-Centered Medical Home Training "Completing the Journey to 2014 NCQA PCMH Recognition"  June 15-16, 2015

    The Sheraton Harrisburg/Hershey 
    Harrisburg, PA    Register Here.

    Contact Cheryl Bumgardner for more information


     

    (9) Save the Date for the Maryland Chronic Disease Conference

    On September 8-9, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland, DHMH will be hosting the Inaugural Chronic Disease Conference.  The Maryland Chronic Disease Conference aims to explore challenges and opportunities in public health as well as approaches to prevent and control chronic diseases and associated risk factors. The conference will identify best practices, examine existing barriers, and develop a roadmap for future programs in Maryland. The core focus of the Conference will be the four CDC Chronic Disease Domains-Epidemiology/Surveillance; Environmental Approaches; Health Care System Interventions and Community Programs Linked to Clinical Services.

    For more information please visit: Maryland Chronic Disease Conference 

    Emergency Preparedness Events: 

     

     

    MGT 433: Isolation and Quarantine for Rural Communities & PER 308: Rural Isolation and Quarantine for Public Health and Healthcare Professionals.  Register here

    MGT 433 (8am-12pm) is designed to provide small, rural and remote communities with the knowledge, skills and abilities to effectively plan for and respond to events that require isolation and/or quarantine of their populations. PER 308 (1-5pm) expands on the concepts presented in MGT 433. It consists of two customized training modules that are specifically tailored toward course participants from the public health and medical fields.

    Date: June 26, 2015

    Time: 8:00am - 12:00pm  AND  1:00 - 5:00pm

    Location: Eastern Shore Hospital Center, Cambridge, MD

    Registration deadline: June 12, 2015

     

    America's PrepareAthon! And National PrepareAthon! Day

    America's PrepareAthon! is an opportunity for individuals, organizations, and communities to prepare for specific hazards through drills, group discussions, and exercises.

    National PrepareAthon! Day is April 30, 2015. This year's observance will revolve around taking actions to prepare for these six specific hazards: Earthquake, Flood, Hurricane, Tornado, Wildfire, Winter Storm. 


     

    Domestic Preparedness: Coalition & Communication

    The National Institutes of Health has been saving the lives of patients diagnosed with Ebola virus. At the same time, Walter Reed Army Institute has been developing and testing a new Ebola vaccine. Montgomery County, Maryland, is home to these world-renowned facilities as well as a leading healthcare coalition that continually prepares for emerging public health threats.

    Created in response to the 11 September 2001 attacks and anthrax attacks later that year, the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) has increased hospital emergency preparedness nationwide. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response heavily promoted hospital coalitions as an integral part of community emergency preparedness across the nation, and there are now nearly 500 healthcare coalitions across the country. These coalitions play a critical role in preparing for and responding to public health crises. To read more, please click on the title.

     

    How Prepared Is Your Community for an Emergency? 

     

    Download the kit checklist: 

     

    Family communication and evacuation plan: 

     

     

    EMERGENCY RESPONSE SYMPOSIUM:  REGIONAL RESPONSE TO CRITICAL INCIDENTS IN THE 21st CENTURY

    DATE:   WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3, 2015

    TIME:  8:30 AM - REGISTRATION          9:00 AM TO 5:00 PM - WORKSHOP

    PLACE:   UNIVERSITIES AT SHADY GROVE CONFERENCE CENTER BUILDING II, 9630 GUDELSKY DRIVE, ROCKVILLE, MD 20850

    REGISTRATION DEADLINE: MAY 29, 2015

    Corrected Registration Phone#: 301-474-1485

    FOCUS:  COORDINATED MULTI-DISCIPLINARY, MULTI- JURISDICTIONAL RESPONSE TO CRITICAL, HIGH-IMPACT INCIDENTS.  THIS WILL INCLUDE LESSONS LEARNED FROM:

    *    BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING

    *    AURORA THEATER SHOOTINGS

    *    JOPLIN TORNADO

    RESPONSE LEADERS FROM THESE EVENTS WILL PROVIDE THEIR FIRST-HAND  IN-DEPTH  ANALYSIS. LOCAL LEADERS FROM EMERGENCY RESPONSE DISCIPLINES WILL LEARN

    TO APPLY THOSE LESSONS TO LOCAL STRATEGIES
      
    Fun New Emergency Preparedness Challenge YOU can take part in TODAY!
     MEMA is holding a pet preparedness challenge. See info below. If anyone would like to participate, you can send 
    Sara Luell (

     your pet preparedness picture and she will post to the OP&R Facebook and Twitter.

     

    ARE YOU AND YOUR PET READY FOR A CHALLENGE?

    Starting tomorrow, April 1st-May 8th, share a pet selfie with DHMH (HPP Program) of you and your pet taking action and preparing for any emergency. The action can be simple as;
    1. Downloading a Pet Preparedness App
    2. Building a Pet Emergency Supply Kit
    3. ID-ing your pet w/ a collar & tag (or consider micro chipping)
    4. Practicing your evacuation plan in the car or determining where you both would shelter-in-place.
    5. Creating a buddy-system with a relative or friend to help each other's pets if one of you is away from home during an emergency.

    Whatever your action is, Office of Preparedness & Response (OP&R) wants to see it! Once the action is complete, take a picture (or selfie) of your #petpared and share, tweet, or Instagram the picture to them (email provided above or use social media) and include the hashtag #Petpared to help spread the word. You will feature you/ your pet ON the OP&R Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram page.

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

     

    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]

    Kristin McMenamin

    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)

    410-778-4862 (Fax)

    kristin.mcmenamin@maryland.gov 

     

     

    Region V  Emergency Preparedness Coalition

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

    Vacant - To be filled

    Intermittent Coordinator: 

    L. Kay Webster, MPH

    Office of Preparedness & Response

    Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

    300 W. Preston Street, Ste. 202

    Baltimore, MD  21201 

     

    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.   
    , you will find the template for setting up a respiratory protection program in hospitals.  

    5. MACHC conducted two FQHCs with Planning for Onsite Drill/Exercise in February 5th & 6th, 2015. The follow up call with ALL MACHC member health centers and partners was held Thursday, March 12th. Due to the large file size of Active Shooter documents, an email to all attendees and FQHC POIs was sent out. Please alert Aneeqa Chowdhury (aneeqa@machc.com) if you have not received the link.

     
    *** Look for the latest EP related updates RIGHT HERE!
    Policy, Advocacy and Legislation
    National News
    The fight over ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion escalated Monday, as Texas's Republican governor backed a lawsuit from Florida against the Obama administration. ... The administration says some Florida hospital funding will not be extended in its current form past the June expiration date, arguing that the money should not go toward costs that would otherwise be covered by an expansion of Medicaid under ObamaCare. ... Aaron Albright, a spokesman for CMS, said the principles given to Florida apply in Texas and other states as well. "We will also use these principles in considering similar proposals in other states, but discussions with each state will also take into account state specific circumstances," he said. CMS communicated that message directly to Texas in a call on Thursday. 
    CMS Takes Tougher Medicaid Stance To Texas  
    Texas officials and the Obama administration are nearing a showdown over Medicaid expansion that threatens billions of dollars of federal funding that helps healthcare providers care for low-income Texans and improve the quality of care. Texas' five-year Medicaid waiver is on track to end in September 2016. Under the waiver, the state draws $6 billion a year that's split into two pools-one for uncompensated care and another (known as the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment, or DSRIP, program) to encourage providers to increase the quality and cost effectiveness of care by creating innovative programs. The CMS notified state health officials in a call last week that the agency intends to use the same principles outlined in a recent letter to Florida regarding the future of that state's assistance for treating low-income patients

    NHSC New Site application cycle

    The 2015 NHSC New Site application cycle is now open for eligible health care sites.  The application cycle will close on June 2, 2015, at 7:30 p.m. ET.  Interested sites are encouraged to read the 2015 NHSC Site Reference Guide for all program requirements.
    Eligible sites include health care facilities that provide outpatient, ambulatory and primary health care services (medical, dental, and behavioral) to populations residing in high-need urban and rural areas. Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) are the only eligible inpatient facilities and must be affiliated with an NHSC-approved outpatient clinic.

    Applicants are encouraged to participate in any of these upcoming events, which will offer application help and technical assistance to those applying to become an NHSC Site.

     

    2015 NHSC Site Application Technical Assistance Webinar

    Thursday, April 30 from 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. ET

    Access link: https://hrsaseminar.adobeconnect.com/nhscsite2015
    Dial-in Number: 1-888-996-4919
    Passcode: 8392355
    * To participate in the webinar, you will need to use both the access link and the dial-in number.

    NHSC Site Application Technical Assistance Conference Call  

    Wednesday, May 13 from 12:00-2:00 p.m. ET
    Dial-in Number: 1-888-790-1868
    Passcode: 8788160

    The biggest piece of health care legislation still to be decided by Congress this year could begin taking shape as soon as this week, when House lawmakers narrow down the list of provisions to be included in a bill aimed at spurring new medical treatments. The so-called 21st Century Cures initiative was introduced in draft form earlier this year by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., after dozens of roundtable discussions and hearings. The hefty document was essentially a compendium of any provision that an interest group requested that had any support in Congress 

    The Problem With Satisfied Patients
    When Department of Health and Human Services administrators decided to base 30 percent of hospitals' Medicare reimbursement on patient satisfaction survey scores, they likely figured that transparency and accountability would improve healthcare. However, in a misguided attempt to improve healthcare, some hospitals are focusing on making people happy, rather than making them well.

    Women should get a mammogram every two years starting at age 50 - and while routine screening brings little benefit in the 40s, beginning it that early should be a personal choice, a government task force said Monday. Also, there's not enough evidence to tell if new 3-D mammograms are the best option for routine screening, or if women with dense breasts need extra testing to find hidden tumors, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force concluded 


    New Genetic Tests for Breast Cancer Hold Promise

    A Silicon Valley start-up with some big-name backers is threatening to upend genetic screening for breast and ovarian cancer by offering a test on a sample of saliva that is so inexpensive that most women could get it. At the same time, the nation's two largest clinical laboratories, Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp, normally bitter rivals, are joining with French researchers to pool their data to better interpret mutations in the two main breast cancer risk genes, known as BRCA1 and BRCA2. Other companies and laboratories are being invited to join the effort, called BRCA Share. 
     

    Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) University

    FTCA University is an innovative new training organized by the FTCA Branch of HRSA's Bureau of Primary Health Care for Community Health Centers . It is a great opportunity for seasoned and new professionals to learn from experts, leaders, and government officials in the areas of FTCA and related subject matter.  Community Health Care Association of New York State (CHCANYS), NY's primary care association, is offering FTCA U May 14-15 in Tarrytown, NY.  Registration is $395 for NY FQHCs and Look-Alikes, $450 for health center registrants from other states. 

    CMS Announces Opportunity to Apply for Navigator Grants in Federally-facilitated and State Partnership Marketplaces 

    CMS released their Funding Opportunity Announcement on April 15th for navigator programs in states using either the Federally-Facilitated Marketplace or State-Partnership Marketplace. The letter of intent is due by June 3, 2015, and the due date for the electronic application is June 15, 2015. This year's FOA has extended the project period from 12 months to 36 months. This multi-year award will consist of 3 twelve-month budget periods. The award date is tentatively set for September 2, 2015. HHS expects to award up to $67 million during the first 12-month budget period and up to $201 million over the three-year project period.


    On April 10, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a new proposed rule for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs to align Stage 1 and Stage 2 objectives and measures with the long-term proposals for Stage 3.  The modifications would allow providers to focus more closely on the advanced use of certified EHR technology to support health information exchange and quality improvement. The proposed rule would streamline reporting requirements by:

    • Reducing the overall number of objectives to focus on advanced use of EHRs
    • Removing measures that have become redundant, duplicative or have reached widespread adoption
    • Realigning the reporting period beginning in 2015, so hospitals and critical access hospitals would participate on the calendar year instead of the fiscal year
    • Allowing a 90 day MU reporting period in 2015 (instead of one year) to accommodate the implementation of these proposed changes in 2015
    • Modifying patient action measures in Stage 2 objectives related to patient engagement

    A fact sheet about the NPRM is also available. The deadline for comments is 5:00 pm, June 15, 2015.  For more about meaningful use, visit the CMS EHR Incentive Programs website.

     

    The chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Thursday secured a commitment from Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell to work to address problems with electronic health records. At a Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., expressed concern about the amount of federal funding spent subsidizing the shift from paper to electronic records while doctors continue to resist, even in the face of penalties for non-participation, and express dissatisfaction with the systems. Alexander and Patty Murray of Washington, the top Democrat on the HELP panel, have formed a bipartisan working group to identify five or six problems with electronic health records that can be addressed administratively or legislatively. 

     

    As Florida lawmakers far away in the state capital struggle to break their stalemate over Medicaid expansion, Cynthia Louis sees the bus bench advertising "Obamacare" near her Miami home as a reminder of a broken promise: that the Affordable Care Act would help her get the medical care she needs to return to work.

    Louis, 57, has been unemployed since fall of 2013. Before then, the mother of three worked for Burger King for nearly 25 years, preparing and serving breakfast and lunch to Miami customers.

    State News
    DELAWARE

    Tax Special Enrollment Period to End April 30

    When filing their taxes this year, some individuals are finding out that they owe a penalty for going uninsured in 2014.  The Federal government announced that there will be a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) until April 30 for these individuals to enroll in 2015 coverage.  This SEP will allow individuals and families who owe the penalty one last chance to get covered for 2015 and minimize the additional fees they may owe next tax season.  One important note: taxpayers who owe the 2014 penalty still must pay it, even if they enroll in coverage through this SEP.  Consumers can find information about how to access in-person enrollment assistance at ChooseHealthDE.com

    We are well passed the fifth year anniversary of the day President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was supposed to give every American affordable and accessible health care, especially to those people who had pre-existing conditions and were either forced to pay extremely high premiums for insurance or were denied coverage. However the ACA only works, assuming your goal is not a government-payer health care system, if those of us who don't have health insurance buy into the system to help ensure less healthy individuals can keep their premiums down. 

     

    Three shot at Delaware university cookout 

    Three people were shot at a Delaware State University student cookout Saturday, resulting in a police search across the campus and nearby areas.

    The shooting was reported at about 8 p.m. at a school-sanctioned sorority and fraternity cookout event, university President Harry L. Williams said in a statement.

    MARYLAND

    At the beginning of this year's General Assembly session, the prognosis for quality, 

    What if the answer to reducing health costs of the most expensive patients stems from listening to the hunches of home care workers with little - if any - medical training?

    That's the premise tech startup Care at Hand Inc. used to predict and prevent an estimated $6.5 million in Medicare spending by reducing hospitalizations among aging patients in Massachusetts.

    Now, company officials are taking aim at Maryland, the only state to have a Medicare payment waiver to set its own rates. Officials at Care at Hand say its online survey system, which captures and analyzes observations from home care workers, will "disrupt" the way Maryland hospitals tackle readmission rates.

    Finance & Business
    Congress Starts Work On Slashing Trillions From Federal Budget  
    The two GOP budget resolutions envision deep spending cuts above $5 trillion over 10 years to get to a balanced budget. The president's budget proposal doesn't balance, boosts spending on education and infrastructure and is paid for with a $320 billion tax hike on the rich that will never get past a Republican Congress. Similarly, GOP plans envision repealing the Affordable Care Act, something the president is sure to veto. 

    Cardinal Health Inc. agreed to pay $26.8 million to settle U.S. accusations that the drug distributor inflated the prices for radiopharmaceutical drugs used to diagnose illnesses such as heart disease. Cardinal Health said that as part of the settlement, it didn't admit or deny any wrongdoing and that it doesn't believe it violated the law. According to the company, it voluntarily agreed to the settlement to avoid the costs and inherent unpredictability associated with litigation.
    The
    Latest News on ACA

    OUR WORK IS NOT OVER

    Agents and Brokers Are Important Resource for Those Who Need Help Getting Coverage

    Delawareans who need help getting health insurance might prefer to work with an agent or broker, licensed professionals who help consumers, employers, and Medicare beneficiaries make decisions about enrolling in coverage.

    For individuals, many agents and brokers can look for options both in and outside the federal Health Insurance Marketplace (HealthCare.gov). If you qualify for savings, make sure your agent or broker is certified to enroll you in a Marketplace plan, since premium tax credits and savings on out-of-pocket costs are available only through the Marketplace.

    Agents and brokers can help consumers compare the benefits of insurance plans, differences in provider networks, deductibles, co-payments, co-insurance, etc.  They can also help determine if a consumer might qualify for government assistance such as the types mentioned above or for state programs such as Medicaid. The agent, unlike government-affiliated enrollment assisters, can also recommend specific plans.
    "The goal of an agent is to educate consumers on the pros and cons of their choices, so they can make good decisions based on their needs," says Nick Moriello, president and CEO of Health Insurance Associates in Newark, who serves on the Insurance Agent Advisory Board to Delaware Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart.
    The job of an insurance agent doesn't stop once a consumer is enrolled, says Moriello, who holds leadership positions with NAIFA Delaware (National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors) and the National Association of Health Underwriters. "Agents and/or their staff remain attached to a consumer's health insurance policy as a point of contact for service.  If the consumer has questions with the plan, or if they need service on the plan, they can contact their agent for help." Agents are also available to review the consumer's coverage, usually annually, to make sure the plan continues to meet the consumer's needs.
    An agent's service is provided at no cost to the consumer, Moriello says. "Agents do not charge fees, the insurance companies do not charge a consumer extra to work with an agent, and the plans are the same exact price with or without an agent involved.  The insurance companies pay the agents a commission to do what they do."

    For a list of agents and brokers certified to sell Marketplace plans in Delaware, go to ChooseHealthDE.com and click on "I need help with the process."

    Policy Updates

          I.            Final Open Enrollment Updates

    As of February 22, 2015, the total number of Delaware consumers who had secured affordable health insurance coverage through the Marketplace reached 25,036. This includes both consumers that selected a plan for the first time and those who re-enrolled through HealthCare.gov. These numbers reflect the totals as of the end of the Open Enrollment Period for Year 2.

    Nationwide, 11.7 million consumers selected a plan or were re-enrolled through the HealthCare.gov platform during this same period. For more detailed information about the enrollment numbers from this Open Enrollment Period, click here.


          II.            Uninsured Numbers Drop Nationwide
    March 23, 2015, marked the fifth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. Since its inception, 16.4 million Americans have gained health insurance coverage. The Department of Health and Human Services released a report stating that 14.1 million uninsured adults have secured insurance coverage since the first open enrollment period began in October 2013, and a further 2.3 million young adults gained coverage between 2010 and October 2013 due to the provision that allowed them to stay on their parents' insurance until the age of 26. These numbers do not take into account the gains in coverage that were realized through expansion of the Medicaid program by many states and increases in employer-sponsored coverage. All together, these figures represent the biggest drop in the number of uninsured in 40 years.

    In Delaware, over 9,600 individuals have secured affordable health care coverage through the state's expansion of Medicaid.

        III.            Thank You from HHS
    On March 12, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell shared her thanks with the in-person assistance community, whose work was crucial to the mission of the Affordable Care Act - reducing the number of uninsured Americans and connecting Americans to care.

    We also would like to take the time to thank the Delaware assister community for their work throughout this Open Enrollment period. As stated above, 25,036 consumers now have health insurance through the Marketplace and 9,600 have secured Medicaid coverage. This impact on Delaware's uninsured population would not have been impossible without the outreach and enrollment efforts of the Guides and Navigators, Certified Application Counselors, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and agents and brokers in the community.

        IV.            Tax Penalty Scams and Resources for Consumers
    The Affordable Care Act has led to numerous tax-related changes for consumers with Qualified Health Plans (QHPs). If a consumer purchased a QHP he/she will need to obtain and complete a set of IRS forms in order to accurately report their health insurance status. These tax-related changes also impact consumers who have employer-sponsored health coverage, consumers, who obtained exemptions, and consumers who could not purchase health coverage on the Marketplace due to their immigration status.

    We strongly recommend that consumers seek out the assistance of a licensed tax preparer or tax preparation agency if they have any questions. Consumers are advised to use their discretion when seeking out tax preparation assistance from anyone else. However, consumers should contact the following agencies if they feel that they have been the victim of a tax penalty scam:

    • To report a suspected telephone tax scam, consumers can call the IRS at (800) 366-4484.
    • To report a suspected email scam, consumers can forward the message to phishing@irs.gov.
    • Consumers can also report any tax scams in person at the IRS's local walk-in offices in Wilmington, Dover or Georgetown or by calling the Delaware Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 220-5424.
    This information was shared in the News Journal and you can find the full article here.


     

    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 9:00 am-7:00 pm EST. 

    MACHC Conference Call Updates

    All Maryland CACs: 

    Due to unforeseen circumstances, Maryland Health Benefit Exchange's ACSE monthly meeting has been cancelled for Monday, April 27th. The call/meeting will meet next month on the fourth Monday of June.
    June 22, at 10am. 

     

    NEW Plan Selection Data Available By Zip Code

    Newly-released data from the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) allows viewers to browse consumer plan selections by zip code from November 15, 2014 through February 22, 2015. Assisters may find this interesting because it offers a look at plan selections on a local level. To view this new dataset, click here 


    Navigator Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Released

    Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a funding opportunity for organizations and individuals to operate as Navigators in Federally-facilitated Marketplaces (FFMs), including State Partnership Marketplaces (SPMs).  As they did have done over the past two years, and as they are doing now, Navigators will continue to assist consumers in various ways, including providing information about available coverage options through the Marketplace during open enrollment. 

    Navigators have been an important resource for the millions of Americans who enrolled in coverage over the past two years. This funding announcement ensures this important work will continue over the next three years in states with a FFM, including during Marketplace open enrollment periods. 

     

    Model Form 1095-A Now Available in Spanish

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released a Spanish translation of Form 1095-A and instructions for using the form. To view the instructions and model Form 1095-A in Spanish, click here ; you can also view this form along with other tax-related resources here. 

     

    A message from MHBE's Jody Hartzell

    Important message that was sent out to all applications for CAC's.

    Good Afternoon,

    We have scheduled MHC System training webinar sessions for Application Counselors. These sessions are scheduled and open for registration in The Hub for those who still need to complete this requirement or if you feel you need refresher training on the system.  The webinar sessions are scheduled under the MHC-Application Counselor ILT System Training Event listed in the HUB either on the active or completed tab on your transcript.

    If you have problems with accessing your Hub account, contact our training team at mhc.trainingsupport@maryland.gov.

     

    Title: MHC-Application Counselor ILT System Training

    Locator Number: 795

    Date: June 25th, 2015

    Time 10:30 am - 1: 30 pm

    Registration close date/time: 6/22/2015 @ 12:00 am

     

    Requirements for Webinar Completion:

     

    1.    You must attend the webinar session in their entirety. Participants who miss more
    than 15 minutes of the webinar, as captured by entry and exit times throughout
    the session, will not receive completion status for the training.  For example, if a participant enters the online meeting space after 9:15 am for a webinar start time of 9:00 am, he or she will not receive credit for the training. 

    Participants must participate in the webinar through the Webex Meeting space and by phone for audio. If you are on the phone the entire time, but not signed into the
    WebEx, you will not receive credit for the training.  For this reason, we encourage you to remain logged into the online event during scheduled breaks and Q&A sessions. 

     2.    You must log into the session on an individual computer with a complete and
    accurate last name, first name, and email address. When joining the session, 
    please enter the same name and email address you used when registering for the
    webinar on The Hub.

    Participants who share a computer to attend the webinar will not receive completion status for the training, because their names and email addresses will not be captured
    in the webinar attendance report. 

    3.    Only participants who completed the required prerequisites and registered for the webinar through The Hub, before the registration deadline date and time, and satisfied the attendance requirements listed above will receive credit for completing the webinar.
     
    4. Only registered participants will receive an email on how to access the webinar, to the email address that was used to register in The Hub, at least 24 hours before the
    start of the webinar. 

     

    Thank you,

    MHBE

     

    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.

    Grants & Funding Opportunities

    HRSA Health Infrastructure Investment Program Funding
    Application Deadline:  Grants.gov application package by April 21; EHB application by May 21
    HRSA expects to award approximately $150 million in Affordable Care Act funding for the alteration or renovation, expansion or construction of a facility, allowing health centers to provide increased capacity or additional primary and preventive care services. HRSA will hold a call on this announcement on March 24, 2015. For additional information, click here.

     

    UCLA/Johnson & Johnson Health Care Executive Program (HCEP)

    Application Deadline:  April 30, 2015

    This program is a unique opportunity for executives of community health centers and AIDS service organizations to participate in an intensive management training program at UCLA Anderson. This leadership and management development program sharpens leaders' skills so they can help their community-based organizations improve and expand care for the people they serve. The program also builds both executive and entrepreneurial management skills. The curriculum consists of practical tools, techniques and approaches to leadership and management relevant to organizations that are adapting to the major changes in health policy, financing and service integration. Participants also engage in a rigorous but relevant curriculum that provides the requisite skills, knowledge and abilities to successfully manage and lead change in their organizations and communities. To learn more about the program, please mark your calendar and register to participate in an online informational webinar scheduled for April 2, 2015 at 12:00 noon ET

    National Training and Technical Assistance Cooperative Agreements (NCA) Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) (HRSA-15-140) - HRSA released the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 NCA FOA (HRSA-15-140). Approximately $3 million will be available to support 3-4 awards to national organizations that will provide training and technical assistance to potential and existing Health Center Program grantees and look-alikes in the areas of oral health services, health information technology and data, and clinical workforce development.

    Applications are due to Grants.gov by Monday, June 1, 2015. This NCA funding opportunity is a Grants.gov only application.

    A technical assistance (TA) webinar will be held on Friday, April 10, 2015 at 2:00pm, ET. The details for this webinar and FOA TA resources are available on the NCA FOA TA website.

     

    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.


     

    National Training and Technical Assistance Cooperative Agreement (NCA) Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) (HRSA-15-140) - HRSA released Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 NCA FOA (HRSA-15-140)  which will provide approximately $3 million  to support 3-4 awards to national organizations that will provide training and technical assistance to potential and existing Health Center Program grantees and look-alikes. The organizations will provide training in the areas of oral health services, health information technology and data, and clinical workforce development.
    Applications are due to Grants.gov by Monday, June 1, 2015. This NCA funding opportunity is a Grants.gov only application.
     


     NHSC Scholarship Program Now Open 

    The 2015 National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholarship Program application cycle is now open and will close on May 7, 2015 at 7:30pm, ET. Refer to the "Upcoming TA and Training Sessions" section of this Digest for information on a related webinar.
    Eligibility for the program is open to all students who are committed to primary care and are U.S. citizens or nationals and are enrolled in a fully accredited training program for Physicians (MD or DO), Dentists, Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse-Midwives or Physician Assistants at a U.S. accredited school. Refer to the 2015 Application and Program Guidance for all of the program requirements.

     

    CY 2016 Requirements for FTCA Medical Malpractice Coverage for Health Centers- HRSA has issued Program Assistance Letter (PAL) 2015-03 to describe the process for Health Center Program grantees to submit initial and redeeming Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) deeming applications for Calendar Year (CY) 2016.
    Applications are due by Tuesday, May 26, 2015, 11:59pm, ET.


    Technical Assistance (TA) Webcasts will be held on April 2 (Risk Management) , April 8 (Credentialing), and April 9 (Professional Liability) from 2:00pm - 3:30pm, ET.
    View more information on this PAL and TA Webcasts

    Shared Services Corner 
    MACHC now offers  a myriad of Shared Services for member convenience. 
    Please check out the attached flier for additional details on the services  offered.
    Clinical Quality 
    Study Shows Significant Cost Savings in Preventing HIV Infection
    Preventing HIV infection in one 35-year-old high-risk person saves $229,800 in medical costs over a lifetime, according to an AHRQ-funded study. Researchers, including AHRQ's John A. Fleishman, Ph.D., estimated lifetime medical costs for people with and without HIV to determine the cost saved by preventing one HIV infection. The article and abstract "The Lifetime Medical Cost Savings from Preventing HIV in the United States," appeared online February 24 in the journal Medical Care. Although people who acquire HIV infection can be successfully treated and continue to live a near-normal life, this study demonstrates the significant value of preventing HIV infection, from both cost and quality-of-life perspectives.

    The Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ) has released its 2014 National Healthcare Quality & Disparities Report.  These reports to Congress highlight the importance of examining quality and disparities together to gain a complete picture of health care.  This report provides a comprehensive overview of the quality of health care received by the general U.S. population and disparities in care experienced by different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.  It is based on more than 250 measures of quality and disparities covering a broad array of health care services and settings.  You can also access AHRQ's chartbook on  
    Access to Health Care.

    Preventing HIV infection in one 35-year-old high-risk person saves $229,800 in medical costs over a lifetime, according to an AHRQ-funded study. Researchers, including AHRQ's John A. Fleishman, Ph.D., estimated lifetime medical costs for people with and without HIV to determine the cost saved by preventing one HIV infection. The article and abstract "The Lifetime Medical Cost Savings from Preventing HIV in the United States," appeared online February 24 in the journal Medical Care. Although people who acquire HIV infection can be successfully treated and continue to live a near-normal life, this study demonstrates the significant value of preventing HIV infection, from both cost and quality-of-life perspectives.


    What Health Centers Need to Know Resources - National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) has produced a fact sheet, toolkit, and webinar on the Veterans Choice Program (VCP). These resources provide a detailed overview of how health centers can become providers under the VCP.
    Health Observances This Week


     

     National Minority Health Month


     

    In accordance with this year's National Minority Health Month theme: 30 Years of Advancing Health Equity! The Heckler Report: A Force for Ending Health Disparities in America, CDC and HHS are commemorating federal efforts towards eliminating health disparities that were mobilized by the findings from the Heckler Report
    .


    The six recommendations outlined in the report serve as the cornerstone for much of CDC's health equity work today. These recommendations are:

    1. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) should launch an outreach campaign to disseminate health information and education materials and program strategies specifically designed for minority sectors of the population, including Blacks, Hispanics, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans.
       
    2. The Department should ensure that its materials, programs, and technical assistance for patient education are responsive to minority population needs,  especially those provided in specific health care service settings such as medical, community-based, school and worksite locations.
    3. The Department should continue to investigate, develop, and implement innovative models for delivery and financing of health services, based on current departmental authorizations.
       
    4. The Department should initiate discussions with minority and nonminority health professional organizations, academic institutions, State governments and health departments~ and other entities from the public and private sectors, to develop strategies to improve the availability and accessibility of health professionals to minority communities.
       
    5. The Department should conduct both intra-and interdepartmental reviews to identify and provide for collaboration between the various activities currently being supported within the Department and other elements of the Executive, Branch, respectively.
       
    6. DHHS should increase its involvement with State, local, and community agencies and organizations to encourage efforts specifically oriented toward meeting minority health needs.
       

    Building in part on the findings of the Heckler report and its recommendations, HHS released in 2011 an updated plan for federal initiatives aimed at reducing racial and ethnic health disparities through the HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

    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 | | aneeqa@machc.com |