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

ENROLLMENTS 
How are Enrollment efforts going at FQHCs? 
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. 

November 23, 2015
MACHC SPOTLIGHT
IMPORTANT....Registration is STILL OPEN!
MACHC's UDS & Operations/Leadership Accommodation Info
Hotel Accommodations: Attendees may call directly to the hotel to make their reservations by dialing 410-465-1500 or 1-888-833-8873. Or if you prefer you can make your reservations online at www.turfvalley.com and use group code C/L #27Z876.  

Incident Command System (ICS) 100 Graduates! We are proud to announce the following people have passed their ICS100 Training exam....CONGRATULATIONS
Tracy McDaniel, COO of Baltimore Medical Systems Inc. (BMS)
Rodney Matthews, Director of Facilities,BMS
Lisa White, Development and Fundraising Coordinator, BMS
Thomas Marshall, VP of Development and Marketing, BMS
Muhammad Mamman, Project and Development Manager, BMS
Kiaran Riggin, Executive Assistant,Owensville

MACHC HAPPENINGS

MACHC EVENTS
   
(1) Outreach & Enrollment Call 
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
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.  

Outreach & Enrollment Webinar Series Dates with Enroll America:
  1. December 4, 2015 1pm -2pm
    Latino Outreach & Engagement Webinar
  2. December 11, 2015 1pm -2pm
    Women & Youth Webinar 
  3. December 18, 2015 1pm -2pm
    Youth Engagement Webinar

(2) Registration is still OPEN!!!
Operations / Leadership Conference  
Dec 3rd, 2015;  8:00AM -5:00PM
Turf Valley Conference Center
2700 Turf Valley Road
EllicottMD 21042
The learning sessions promise to be informative and empowering for our membership, partners, and collaborators to learn from one another and leading experts in areas of:
Advanced Access, Payment Reform, Human Resources/Workforce Development, Operationalizing Fee Scales, Shared Services, Care Coordination Complexity Scale, Pathways of Communication for Referral, Making the Leap to Becoming ACO's, Maximizing Your Human Capital, Community Partnerships / Collaboration, Fostering Innovations in Your Clinic or Health Center, Leading with Laser Focus and Growing Your Health Centers Footprint Strategically.
Register HERE
Quarterly Conference Fees:
Operations/Leadership Conference
Member Price$ 175.00
Operations/Leadership Conference - Non Member Price$ 200.00
Operations/Leadership Conference and UDS Training Member Price$ 400.00
Operations/Leadership Conference and UDS Training Non- Member Price$ 450.00
Staff and Speakers$ 0.00

(3) Registration is still OPEN!!!
UDS Training
Dec 4th, 2015;  8:00AM
Turf Valley Conference Center
2700 Turf Valley Road
Ellicott, MD 21042
Register  HERE
UDS Training Fees:
MACHC Member Fee$ 250.00
Non-Member Fee$ 275.00
----------------------------------

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

  • OTHER EVENTS

  • (1) Delaware Faith-Based Summit: Inspiring Healthy Communities
    Thursday, December 3, 2015 10 AM - 3:30 PM Register Here
    1502 West 13th Street, Wilmington DE 19806 (Lunch will be served)
     A day long event to engage local leaders on healthcare issues in communities of faith. Please join to discuss topics including access to care, adherence to treatment and Medicare Part D. Registration is FREE, but space is limited.

    (2) 
    2015 National HIV Prevention Conference will be held on December 6-9, 2015 in Atlanta, GA,

    (3) Managing Ambulatory   Health Care I: Introductory Course for Clinicians in Community Health Centers
    Delray Beach, Florida
    January 11-18, 2016
    Apr 10 - 12, 2016
    Cambridge, MD 
    Type: Conference/Meeting
    Sponsoring organization: Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center

    Emergency Preparedness Events: 

    *Maryland FQHCs, please DO NOT forget to turn in your Emergency Preparedness Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) to Aneeqa Chowdhury (aneeqa@machc.com) NO LATER THAN COB Wednesday, November 15, 2015.

    MACHC's Incidence Command System 100 Training
    Those on MACHC's ICS100 Training on Tuesday, November 10th should have received the ICS Training materials and practice exam questions. Please send an email to Aneeqa Chowdhury aneeqa@machc.com to request materials if you have not received them and are interested. 
    The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has launched
    The Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange
    (TRACIE) which now allows health and emergency preparedness professionals access to the nation's most comprehensive system of resources designed to help communities better manage the health impacts of disasters.  TRACIE features resource materials, a help line, just-in-time suggestions, and tools to share information gleaned from real-life experiences in preparing for, responding to and recovering from disasters.To learn more about preparedness, response and recovery from the health impacts of disasters, visit the HHS public health and medical emergency website via clicking on the title above.
    .

    Save the Date:
    ASPR TRACIE Webinar on Strategic Development for Building Operational Healthcare Coalitions    Register Here

    Webinar on November 17, 2015, 2:00-3:00pm ET
    Healthcare Coalitions (HCCs) across the country have been tasked with supporting disaster response and recovery operations in their communities during and after events. For many HCCs, the transition from serving as a planning entity to an operational entity is challenging. ASPR TRACIE is hosting a series of webinars for 

    What we learned from Ebola
    It was the largest Ebola epidemic in history. It took thousands of lives. It was a wakeup call, and today we are better prepared because of it.
    In the year since Ebola spread through three West African countries and into the United States, we've taken a coordinated approach to be better prepared today for the threats of tomorrow. We implemented a screening process for travel from West Africa to the United States. We've strengthened our hospital system and have given U.S. hospitals the resources they need to care for someone who might have Ebola. Today, we're on the tail end of clinical trials for two vaccines and a treatment in West Africa. We learned that with good medical care Ebola is a survivable disease.

    Important Announcement for Maryland FQHCS
    Please get in touch with your Regional Coordinators if you have not already done so and be more active in your Regional Coalition. MACHC has reached out to you in order to make sure you know who your coordinators are and has planned MINI GRANTS as incentives to help with travel for the Coalition meetings.
    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 

    [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)

    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)

    Region V  Emergency Preparedness Coalition
    [Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George's and St. Mary's Counties]
    Casey Owens
    Office of Preparedness & Response
    Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
    300 W. Preston Street, Ste. 202
    Baltimore, MD  21201 
    casey.owens@maryland.gov


    Preparedness Resources 
    September is National Preparedness Month, a time for everyone to plan how to stay safe and communicate during the disasters that can affect your community. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) developed resources that can help you spread the word about preparedness in your community.
    , and public service announcements. 

    What to look forward to:
    MACHC has been working diligently to finalize this year's Emergency Preparedness Plan. The tentative goal for us is to 1.) increase participation at DHMH Regional Meetings (we are looking into mini grants to incentivize this effort further; we will keep you posted) 2.)  Gather the number of FQHCs that have existing MOUs and those who are currently working/partnering with a neighboring hospital/clinic (please email this information to Aneeqa Chowdhury at aneeqa@machc.com with the subject: EP MOU Status) and 3.) Conduct two Tabletop exercises and two Functional Exercises this year. The focus of our exercises this year will be mass care, ebola and pathogen illnesses. 
    Please remember to participate during Fall Regional Public Health and Medical Preparedness Conferences. The DHMH HPP Regional Preparedness Conferences are being held in October 2015. Please see below for schedule:
     
    Items on this year's agenda: Ebola "In Progress" Review; Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) Planning; Regional Updates; 3M Fit Testing and PPE Donning & Doffing Training
     
    Who should attend: acute care and specialty hospitals, DHMH state facilities, community health center/FQHCs, local health departments, regional healthcare coalition members (current and prospective)
     
    To register, visit the DHMH/OP&R Events Calendar:
     

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

    How Prepared Is Your Community for an Emergency? 

    Download the kit checklist: 

    Family communication and evacuation plan: 


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

    Past: ATTENTION MD FQHCS 
     
    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

     
    *** Look for the latest EP related updates RIGHT HERE!
    Policy, Advocacy and Legislation
    National News
    Medicare officials are considering a measure that would penalize doctors who order routine prostate-cancer screening tests for their patients, as part of a federal effort to define and reward quality in health-care services. The proposal, which hasn't been widely publicized, has prompted a flurry of last-minute comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, including more than 200 in the past two days, virtually all in opposition. The official comment period began Oct. 26 and ends Friday.

    Health Center Substance Abuse Warmline 
    Beginning December 1, 2015, the Clinician Consultation Center will offer free and confidential peer-to-peer telephone consultation, focusing on substance use evaluation and management for primary care clinicians in health centers. Special expertise in pharmacotherapy options for opioid use, addiction medicine-certified physicians, clinical pharmacists, and nurses are available by calling 1-855-300-3595, Monday through Friday, 10:00am - 6:00pm, ET. Voice mail is available 24 hours a day.

    Dr. Michael Reilly's lawyer gave his client strong advice after reviewing a lucrative employment contract that the North Broward Hospital District offered him 15 years ago. "I should throw this in the trash," Reilly, a now-retired orthopedic surgeon, recalls the attorney telling him. The contract, the lawyer said, had major problems, including that it violated the federal Stark law, which bars physicians from referring Medicare patients to hospitals, labs and other doctors that the physicians have financial relationships with unless they fall under certain circumstances. 

      
    Health Law's 2017 Enrollment Period, End Of Election Campaigns To Coincide
    The next sign-up season for 2017 health coverage under the Affordable Care Act will begin just as the 2016 election campaigns draw to a close, under draft rules released by the Obama administration on Friday afternoon. The open enrollment period for people buying insurance on their own for 2017 will start Nov. 1, 2016, and end Jan. 31, 2017, federal officials outlined in the draft rules. In earlier iterations of regulations, they had suggested starting as early as Oct. 1, before appearing to settle on the same dates they are using for this year's open enrollment period, which is now three weeks under way. 

    Although young people have been slow to sign up on their own [for insurance following the health law's passage], insurance plans have to cover dependent children through age 26, resulting in increased coverage- and a lot more young people who don't necessarily have to work in order to have access to health care. New research suggests that some of those young people are taking advantage of the newfound freedom, and are feeling pretty good about it. 
    Governor-elect John Bel Edwards called expanding Medicaid "among the highest priorities" of his new administration, though he said Sunday (Nov. 22) he may not be able to approve an expanded program on Day One. Edwards has said for months that he would accept the expansion of Medicaid, which requires executive approval, in the early days of his administration. But he said new questions have been raised about a funding mechanism the Legislature finished building in the spring. 

    Even though health problems forced Denise Scott to retire several years ago, she feels 'very blessed' because her medicine is still relatively inexpensive and a subsidy for low-income Medicare beneficiaries covers the full cost of her monthly drug plan premiums. But the subsidy is not going to stretch as far next year. That's because the premium for Scott's current plan will cost more than her federal subsidy. The 64-year-old from Cleveland is among the 2 million older or disabled Americans who will have to find new coverage that accepts the subsidy as full premium payment or else pay for the shortfall. 

    United States military operations in Afghanistan, now in their 15th year, are routinely described as America's longest war. For overseas combat, that is true. But nothing tops the domestic "war on drugs" that an American president declared more than four decades ago. The casualty rate has been exceedingly high. Nearly 44,000 Americans a year - 120 a day - now die of drug overdoses. Neither traffic accidents nor gun violence, each claiming 30,000-plus lives a year, causes so much ruination. The annual drug toll is six times the total of American deaths in all wars since Vietnam. 
    As the opioid epidemic has exploded in small towns and suburbs in recent years, officials have scrambled to put naloxone in the hands of drug users' families and friends, and to make it more widely available by equipping police officers with the drug. At the same time, thousands of lives are being saved by giving the antidote to drug users. More than 80% revived by "laypeople" were rescued by other users, most of them in the past few years, according to one national survey published in June. 
     
    What kind of care do you want at the end of your life? Stanford University researchers put that question to members of three major ethnic groups in the San Francisco Bay area and found little variation in their responses. "There is a common humanity - people want to live as long as they have good quality of life. When it is their time, they want to be consulted so they die in a way that they are respected, and they don't want their families burdened," said the study's lead author, Dr. V.J. Periyakoil, director of the Stanford Palliative Care Education and Training Program and associate director of palliative care services at the VA Palo Alto Health Care Center
    State News
    DELAWARE
    Being overweight or obese sharply increases a person's risk for cancer, according to the Division of Public Health (DPH) report, Cancer Incidence and Mortality in Delaware, 2007-2011. Research has found strong evidence for a linear association between Body Mass Index (BMI) and increased risk for developing uterine, gallbladder, kidney, cervical, and thyroid cancers, as well as leukemia. 
    The American Cancer Society's 1982 Cancer Prevention Study II found that all-site cancer mortality rates were 52 percent higher for males and 62 percent higher for females than the rates for their normal weight counterparts. 
    Dr. Karyl T. Rattay, DPH director, urges Delawareans to reduce their behavioral risk factors for cancer by not smoking or using tobacco, getting plenty of physical activity, eating healthily, maintaining a healthy weight, and limiting alcohol consumption. DPH also advises all Delawareans to have regular physician and dental visits to catch cancers early and to keep up with recommended cancer screenings. Visit HealthyDelaware.org for programs, services, and connections to local parks, gyms, and farmers markets.

    ADA awards DPH 'Health Champion Designation' for workplace wellness 
    The American Diabetes Association (ADA) awarded the Division of Public Health (DPH) a 'Health Champion Designation' for promoting workplace wellness. Delaware is the first state in the country to win the inaugural award. DPH accepted its recognition at the Nov. 4 Delaware 
    Leadership Summit on Diabetes in New Castle, DE. 
    The designation recognizes companies and organizations that inspire and encourage organizational well-being. DPH met criteria in three categories: nutrition and weight management, organizational well-being, and encouraging physical activity. DPH adopted an internal policy to guide staff in choosing healthy refreshments, and placed posters to encourage healthy activities, such as taking the stairs. DPH allows staff to wear 'active wear' clothing when they have no scheduled meetings with vendors or outside meetings - in exchange for at least 30 minutes of physical activity during the work day.

    MARYLAND
    MARYLAND HEALTH CONNECTION
    ENROLLMENT EVENTS WITH FREE IN-PERSON ASSISTANCE BEGIN THIS WEEKEND
    FREE HELP FROM CONNECTORS, BROKERS THROUGH THE REMAINING 80 DAYS OF OPEN ENROLLMENT
    BALTIMORE - There is plenty of free, in-person assistance for people seeking help enrolling in health coverage for 2016 through Maryland Health Connection.
    1. Consumers can get help by contacting one of the regionally located Connector Entities across the state. For a complete list of hours and locations, visit MarylandHealthConnection.gov/get-help-enrolling
    2. A directory of authorized insurance brokers who provide free help to enroll on Maryland's state-based health insurance marketplace can be found online at MarylandHealthConnection.gov/get-help-enrolling
    3. Beginning this Saturday, a slate of weekend enrollment events will be held throughout the open enrollment period, which ends Jan. 31. For a full list of events, visit MarylandHealthConnection.gov/enrollment-events/
    Enrollment must be completed by Dec. 15 for health or dental coverage to begin on Jan. 1, 2016. Enrollments completed Dec. 16 to Jan. 15 will begin coverage on Feb. 1, 2016. And enrollments completed Jan. 16 to Jan. 31 will have coverage beginning on March 1, 2016.
    "More than 1,500 trained experts are ready throughout the state to help Marylanders enroll," said Carolyn Quattrocki, executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. "They succeeded in helping tens of thousands of consumers this past year and are well equipped to help people sign up for the first time or renew for this 2016 enrollment."
    In 2015, nine in 10 Marylanders who enrolled through the state marketplace were eligible for federal subsidies or qualified for Medicaid. For example, individuals who have an annual income of less than $47,080 or a family of four whose household income is less than $97,000 may qualify for coverage with financial assistance that begins Jan. 1, 2016. So far this year, more than 60,000 Maryland households have received more than $190 million in tax credits - an average of more than $3,000 per family - to help reduce the cost of health coverage.

    Maryland Health Connection Enrollment Events
    Region Day Date Time Location (listed are those coming up)

    Saturday
    12/5/2015         10 am - 3 pm
    HEAT Center - 1201 Technology Drive,
    Aberdeen, MD 21001
    Western - Allegany County
    Saturday
    12/5/2015      10 am - 2 pm
    Western Maryland Health System,
    12500 Willowbrook Road, Cumberland, MD 21502
    Upper Shore - Cecil

    Monday
    12/7/2015
    6pm -8:30pm
    Cecil County Library - Elkton 301 Newark Road,
    Elkton, MD 21921
    Lower Shore - Worcester

    Saturday
    12/12/2015      10am - 2pm
    Ocean Pines Community Center, 235 Ocean Parkway, Berlin, MD 21811
    Central - Baltimore City

    Sunday
    12/13/2014     10 am - 2 pm
    Hyatt Regency Baltimore 300 Light St.,
    Baltimore, MD 21202
    Capital - Montgomery County
    Sunday
    12/13/2014
    10 am - 4 pm
    Executive Office Building Cafeteria-Terrace Level 101 Monroe St., Rockville, MD, 2 blocks from Metro
    Western - Carroll County

    Saturday
    1/9/2016        10 am - 2 pm
    TownMall of Westminster 400 North Center St., Westminster, MD 21157
    Central - Anne Arundel

    Saturday
    1/16/2015       10 am - 2 pm
    DoubleTree Annapolis
    210 Holiday Court,
    Annapolis, MD 21401
    Lower Shore - Somerset

    Saturday
    1/16/2016      10am-2pm
    Somerset County Civic Center
    11828 Crisfield Lane, Princess Anne, MD, 21853
    Lower Shore - Wicomico

    Saturday
    1/23/2016      10am-2pm
    Wicomico Youth and Civic Center, 500 Glen Ave., Salisbury, MD 21804
    Southern Region will have extended and Saturday hours throughout open enrollment.
    Finance & Business
    UnitedHealth Group, one of the nation's largest health insurance companies, stunned investors on Thursday morning when it significantly lowered its profit estimates, placing the blame for an expected loss of hundreds of millions of dollars on selling individual policies under the federal health care law. In light of the losses, the company warned that it was also weighing whether it would continue to offer individual coverage through the online exchanges for 2017.

    Pfizer has clinched a blockbuster merger with a fellow drug maker, one worth more than $150 billion, that can best be described in superlatives. When it is announced - most likely on Monday, people briefed on the matter said - the deal to buy Allergan, the maker of Botox, would be one of the biggest ever takeovers in the health care industry. And it would be the largest acquisition yet in a banner year for mergers

    The average annual retail cost of specialty drugs used to treat complex diseases such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis now exceeds the median U.S. household income, according to a report to be published Friday. The study of 115 specialty drugs found that a year's worth of prescriptions for a single drug retailed at $53,384 per year, on average, in 2013 -- more than the median U.S. household income, double the median income of Medicare beneficiaries, and more than three times as much as the average Social Security benefit in the same year. 

    The Obama administration began building a political case Friday for government actions to protect people against high pharmaceutical costs, saying millions of Americans were unable to afford lifesaving prescription drugs. "As costs go up, so does everyone's anxiety about their continued access to their prescription medicine," said Andrew M. Slavitt, the acting administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. He spoke at a daylong forum the administration held to solicit ideas from consumer advocates, doctors, drugmakers, insurers and employers. 
    The
    Latest News on ACA
    OUR WORK CONTINUES

    Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment Snapshot (Week 2: November 8 - November 14, 2015)
     
    The second week of Open Enrollment for Marketplace coverage saw millions more Americans exploring their health insurance options by calling the call center, attending enrollment events, or visiting HealthCare.gov or CuidadoDeSalud.gov.
     
    Similar to last year, each week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will release weekly Open Enrollment snapshots for theHealthCare.gov platform, which is used by the Federally-facilitated Marketplaces and State Partnership Marketplaces, as well as some State-based Marketplaces. These snapshots provide point-in-time estimates of weekly plan selections, call center activity and visits to HealthCare.gov orCuidadoDeSalud.gov. The final number of plan selections associated with enrollment activity to date could fluctuate as plan changes or cancellations occur, such as in response to life changes like starting a new job or getting married. In addition, the weekly snapshot only looks at new plan selections, active plan renewals and, starting at the end of December, auto-renewals and does not include the number of consumers who paid their premiums to effectuate their enrollment.
     
    Comparisons between this year and last year are difficult for a variety of reasons; including that the Thanksgiving holiday fell during the second week of last year's Open Enrollment period.
     
    HHS will produce more detailed reports that look at plan selections across the Federally-facilitated Marketplace and State-based Marketplaces later in the Open Enrollment period.


    Modern Healthcare: CMS May Impose Minimum Provider Network Standards For ACA Plans
    The CMS has proposed mandating minimum network standards for health plans sold on the federal insurance marketplace in 2017 as part of an effort to handle the broad shift toward narrow provider networks. The Affordable Care Act requires that all medical policies on the exchanges have enough in-network hospitals and doctors for members so that "all services will be accessible without unreasonable delay." In addition, ACA-compliant plan networks must update their provider directories monthly and include at least 30% of essential providers. 


    What You Don't Know About Your Obamacare Coverage 
    While President Barack Obama's health care law requires insurance companies to cover some over-the-counter medications and devices, a small catch may be causing some patients to forgo care or spend more money than needed: You have to get a doctor's prescription to avoid out-of-pocket costs. The Affordable Care Act requires that insurers cover 10 so-called essential health benefits, some of which can come with no copay, including methods of contraception and smoking cessation tools approved by the Food and Drug Administration, as well as breast pumps for new moms. ... But because some of these medications or devices are also available over the counter, whether or how health insurance plans can step in to cover their costs can be unclear. 
     


    MARYLAND HEALTH CONNECTION
    OPEN ENROLLMENT BEGINS NOV. 1
    DEC. 15 IS DEADLINE FOR JAN. 1 COVERAGE.
    ENROLLMENT PERIOD ENDS JAN. 31
     
    The third open enrollment for Maryland's state-based marketplace for health coverage begins Nov. 1 with a wide network of consumer assistance workers to help provide greater in-person help for consumers, a more mobile-friendly website and a streamlined application process.
     
    "Tens of thousands of people now have health coverage who didn't before without worry about pre-existing conditions," said Carolyn Quattrocki, executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. "And it's important to note that nine of every 10 people covered through MarylandHealthConnection.gov received some type of financial help to offset the cost of premiums."
     
    "We've talked to hundreds of consumers, stakeholders and medical and insurance professionals around the state since the last open enrollment," she said, "and with their input, we've made many improvements to the process for this third year of the marketplace. We're looking forward to another successful open enrollment."
     
    In 2015, more than 700,000 Marylanders enrolled through Maryland Health Connection in its second year, including 120,000 in private health insurance plans and more than 600,000 in Medicaid.
     
    Improvements and highlights for 2016 include:
     
    1.      In-person assistance: More than 1,500 trained experts are available across the state to provide free assistance in enrolling. A list of "connector entity" (regional consumer assistance) offices and hours can be found on MarylandHealthConnection.gov as well as searchable tools to locate participating brokers and navigators nearest you.
     
    2.      Enrollment fairs: A list of events featuring assisters ready to enroll consumers at major venues across the state can be found at MarylandHealthConnection.gov and will be publicized throughout open enrollment.
     
    3.      Financial support: Nine in 10 Marylanders qualified for financial help to help lower or even waive the cost of health coverage. Under the Affordable Care Act, Marylanders who are not eligible for qualifying health coverage, such as affordable employer-sponsored coverage or a government program such as Medicaid, may apply for an Advanced Premium Tax Credit, or APTC, to offset the cost of monthly insurance premiums. Individuals who have an annual income of less than $47,080 or a family of four whose household income is less than $97,000 may qualify for coverage with financial assistance that begins Jan. 1, 2016, for example. In 2015, more than 60,000 Maryland households have received more than $190 million in tax credits -- an average of more than $3,000 per family --to help reduce the cost of health coverage.
     
    4.      Website improvements, including a streamlined application, a more mobile-friendly website and more information resources. The site also features a star system to rate the quality of plans. The rating system was produced by the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange with the Maryland Health Care Commission and applies only to Maryland plans.
     
    5.      Simpler renewal: Most Marylanders who enrolled in a qualified health plan through Maryland Health Connection for 2015 coverage will be renewed automatically in the same plan or a similar plan if their plan has changed.  If they received a subsidy in 2015, in most cases if their income hasn't changed much they will receive a similar one in 2016. Even if they were enrolled this year, consumers may want to shop and compare plan prices since some have increased in price and others have decreased. They may save hundreds of dollars by doing so.
     
    6.      Small business coverage: The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) is open to businesses with 50 or fewer full-time-equivalent employees. The program offers a two-year tax credit to help offset costs for qualifying businesses and more coverage options to offer employees.
     
    7.      New dental plans: For 2016, Marylanders can enroll online in a dental-only plan or enroll in dental at the same time they enroll in a health plan. Maryland Health Connection offers family and child-only dental plans - 19 plans in all from six participating dental insurers.
     
    8.      Enhanced links to brokers: In a pilot program, select brokers will be linked directly through the call center in the Broker Assistance Transfer pilot program known as the "BATPhone." Brokers are the only consumer assistance workers who can recommend a specific plan to consumers based on individual needs.
     
    9.      Coverage is better than a penalty: For 2016, the federal tax penalty for lacking coverage is 2.5 percent of gross household income over the federal income tax filing threshold, or $695 per individual - whichever is greater. That is up from the 2015 penalty of 2 percent of gross household income over the tax filing threshold or $325 per individual. It makes sense to get coverage for your money instead of paying a penalty and not having any. The law provides certain exemptions, including for people below a certain income and those who are without coverage for fewer than three months. The penalty is designed to prompt healthier people to get coverage to keep premium levels sustainable as insurers are now forbidden from turning away applicants due to existing health problems. More people covered also reduces the shared cost of uncompensated care.
     
    10.  Don't miss the deadline(s): Coverage will begin on Jan. 1 for enrollments completed by Dec. 15, 2015.  Enrollments completed Dec. 16-Jan. 15 will have coverage beginning Feb. 1, 2016. Enrollments completed Jan. 16-Jan. 31, the last day of open enrollment, will have coverage beginning March 1, 2016. 


    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

    Upcoming MACHC Webinar Series on Outreach & Enrollment Efforts in partnership with Enroll American coming up this December! See the Events section for dates and details. SAVE THE DATE! Webinars to take place each Friday at 1 pm in December.

     

    How can you Ramp Up Outreach & Enrollment Efforts during this Crucial Time?!

    • Leverage Social Media to Get the Word out for Your Health Center:
    • Host Local Meetings with other community advocates and faith-based groups
    • BuildYour Grassroots OE Community Advocate Network
    • Use the Local Media to Tell Your Health Center Story (local newspapers!)

    ***Reminder***
    Join MACHC's next Outreach & Enrollment Call ON FRIDAY, December 2nd!  
    As the new enrollment season kicks off, there will be a significant increase in consumers pouring in for assistance. During this time, it remains vital for Outreach & Enrollment staff to attend the Outreach & Enrollment calls we host to share the latest on the trends, barriers and share best practices. Remember, this is the way we can all be aware of State affairs, assist more seamlessly and learn from each other. Have a representative from your FQHC present on the call if your schedule does not permit attendance. 

     
    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

    Funded! Now What? Webinar Archive 
    NACHC released this archived webinar focused on what Health Center Program grantees need to do to become operational within 120 days of receiving their Notice of Award using the "Funded! Now What?" publication as the guide. 

    Service Area Competition (SAC) Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA)
    for April 1, 2016 Starts - Applications in response to the FY 2016 SAC FOA (HRSA-16-008) for service areas with an April 1, 2016 project period start date are due in HRSA's Electronic Handbooks (EHB) by 5:00pm, ET on Tuesday, November 17, 2015. Technical assistance materials are available on the SAC Technical Assistance web site.

    Service Area Competition (SAC) Funding Opportunity Announcement May 1, 2016 Starts  PHC released the FY 2016 SAC funding opportunity announcement (HRSA-16-007) for service areas with a May 1, 2016, project period start date. 
    Applications are due to Grants.gov by 11:59pm, ET on Wednesday, December 2, 2015 and in HRSA's Electronic Handbooks (EHB) by 5:00pm, ET on Thursday, December 17, 2015. Technical assistance materials are available on the SAC technical assistance website.


    Fiscal Year 2016 MAERDAF Grant
     
    For FY16 the Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund (MAERDAF) Grant received $167,000 in funding.  During this grant cycle, the Rural Maryland Council received 53 applications with requests amounting to over $850,000.
     
    The MAERDAF Grant Review Board made full or partial grant awards to 16 organizations.  The Grant Review Board was created in statute and consists of Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Business and Economic Development, Housing and Community Development, Health and Mental Hygiene, and Natural Resources or their designees.
     
    Administered by the Rural Maryland Council, MAERDAF provides grants to rural-serving nonprofit organizations that promote statewide and regional planning, economic and community development, and agricultural and forestry education.  Also eligible are rural community colleges that support small and agricultural businesses through enhanced training and technical assistance.
     
    MAERDAF's goal is to increase the overall capacity of rural-serving nonprofit organizations and community colleges to meet a multitude of rural development challenges and to help them establish new public/private partnerships for leveraging non-state sources of funding.


    The National Council on Aging is accepting applications for qualified organizations and agencies to become BECs. BECs help low-income seniors and persons with disabilities find and enroll in all the benefits programs for which they are eligible, and create coordinated, community-wide systems of benefits access. Up to 8 grants of $100,000 each will be awarded; proposals are due on Friday, November 13, 2015. 

    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.

    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.


    Rural Health Funding Opportunities
     
    Walmart Foundation Community Grant Program
    Application deadline: Dec 31, 2015
    Grants to support the needs of local communities in the areas of hunger, nutrition, women's economic empowerment, career opportunities, and sustainability.

    Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grants to community collaborations and initiatives that have used shared data and information to increase their capacity for planning, implementing, and evaluating health improvement activities. These community collaborations would be part of a nationwide learning collaborative that would create a cadre of lessons learned and promising practices.

    Community Response Fund
    The Community Response Fund supports organizations, activities, and events that address access to needed oral healthcare 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.
    DEADLINE: ongoing basis
    ELIGABILITY: The DentaQuest Foundation makes grants to a variety of organizations that are engaged improving oral health. Grants are not made to individuals.
    CONTACT: Matthew Bond, Grants and Programs Manager: Matthew.Bond@DentaQuestFoundation.org 

    340B Peer-to-Peer Program
    The purpose of the 340B Peer-to-Peer Network is to connect 340B entities and stakeholders with high performing sites, called leading practice sites that have exemplary 340B pharmacy service offerings. These sites serve as guides for covered entities that are interested in improving patient care. This approach provides the opportunity for practice sites to reach their peers and strengthen the 340B program from inventory management to quality care initiatives.
    Sites that receive the status of a 340B Peer-to-Peer recognized site will be asked to dedicate two members of their team to share their expertise and leading practices - for a limited amount of time per month - with other safety-net organizations to help these organizations achieve results and establish sound business practices.
    FUNDING AVALIABLE: Peer-to-Peer annual stipends of $10,000/year
    ELIGABILITY: Applications must be submitted by a 340B entity listed on the Office of Pharmacy Affairs (OPA) 340B database as a participating 340B entity.
    Healthcare Connect Fund
    The Healthcare Connect Fund provides funding to healthcare providers for telecommunications and internet access services, as well as network equipment, at a flat discounted rate of 65%. Participants can apply as a member of the consortium or a stand-alone entity.
     
    FUNDING AVAILABLE: Participants will receive a flat rate discount of 65%. There is an annual spending cap of $400,000,000.
    ELIGIBLITY: Rural public or nonprofit healthcare providers (HCPs) are eligible. Consortia may be comprised of both rural and non-rural HCPs. All consortia must consist of more than 50% rural participation within three years of receipt of the first funding commitment obtained through the HCF Program. Connections to, and equipment located at, eligible off-site data centers and administrative offices are eligible for support.
    CONTACT: rhc-assist@usac.org

    USAC Rural Health Care Telecommunications Program
    Health care providers are permitted to apply to receive reduced rates for a variety of telecommunications services under the Rural Health Care Program. Health care providers may seek support for multiple telecommunications services of any bandwidth and for monthly Internet service charges.
     
    FUNDING AVALIABLE: The level of support depends on the HCP's location and the type of service chosen. Health Care Providers are permitted to apply to receive reduced rates for a variety of telecommunication services under the RHCD program. HCPs may seek support for multiple telecommunications services of any bandwidth.

    As a result of recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) action, health care participants may be eligible to receive a 25% discount on their monthly Internet service charges. These services are limited to the monthly Internet net access charge, monthly charges for web hosting and web addresses.
    ELIGIBILITY: Community health centers or health centers providing health care to migrants
    CONTACT: rhc-admin@universalservice.org

    Wells Fargo Corporate Giving Programs
    Wells Fargo supports nonprofit organizations that work on a community level in the areas of human services, arts and culture, community development, civic responsibility, education, environmental consciousness, and volunteerism.
    CONTACT: Ashley Williams -- Community Support Rep -- Wells Fargo
    ashley.l.williams@wellsfargo.com   

     
    Maryland Small Grants Program
    The Maryland Small Grants Program awards funding to nonprofit organizations that provide direct services to poor and vulnerable populations.
    FUNDING AVALIABLE: Award Ceiling: $50,000
    CONTACT: Amy Kleine, Program Director, Basic Human Needs
    410-654-8500, ext. 268
    Email: akleine@hjweinberg.org


    Accelerating Community-Centered Approaches in Health
    Accelerating Community-Centered Approaches in Health will support innovative population health programs and policies that work to improve health at the community level, including the use of new financial models to achieve cost effective solutions.
    CONTACT: Phone: 248.643.9630
     

    Commonwealth Fund Health Grants
    The Commonwealth Fund promotes a high performing healthcare system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society's most vulnerable, including people with low-incomes, the uninsured, minority Americans, young children, people with disabilities, and the elderly.
    The Fund supports independent research on healthcare issues and makes grants to improve healthcare practice and policy. The Commonwealth Fund actively seeks to support projects on innovative approaches to addressing problems within its areas of focus.
    CONTACT: Email: grants@cmwf.org
    Phone: 212.606.3800

    USDA Community Facilities Loan and Grant Program
    The USDA Community Facilities Loan and Grant Program provides loans, grants, and loan guarantees for essential community facilities in rural areas. Priority is given to healthcare, education, and public safety projects. Funds may be used to construct, enlarge, or improve facilities.
    AVALIABLE FUNDING: Amount varies. Grants are authorized on a graduated scale. Applicants located in small communities with low populations and low incomes will receive a higher percentage of grants.
    CONTACT: Bill McGowan, State Director
    1221 College Park Drive, Suite 200
    Dover, DE  19904
    Voice: (302) 857-3580 www.rd.usda.gov/de
    www.rd.usda.gov/md
    PCMH Corner 

    This web-based tool to assist practices transforming towards the delivery of more patient centered, high quality and efficient care delivery added four modules in 2014 directly linked to the standards of the NCQA Specialty Practice Recognition Program.

    Clinical Quality 
    The Affordable Care Act and Women 
    The Health Insurance Marketplace makes it easy and quick for women to get quality, affordable health insurance coverage. Since the launch of the Marketplace in January 2014, millions of American women gained access to health insurance coverage, many for the first time. The Affordable Care Act also extends more benefits and increases protections that help women access the full range of health coverage they need. View the following resources about women and the Affordable Care Act.
    Health Observances This Week


    The entire Mid-Atlantic Association of Community Health Centers (MACHC) Team wishes you and all your loved ones a very happy and safe Thanksgiving! May your hearts be full of love and bellies full of delectable delicacies.
      Thank YOU all for all that you do today and every day!
    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 |