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

Post OE3 Discussion
Join Rachel Linstead Goldsmith, Enroll America's Regional Manager and MACHC at the MACHC OE Call on Friday, March 4th for OE3 discussion! 
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. 

February 23, 2016
Reminder: P&I is just around the corner! Make sure to call Deitra Bell at MACHC to coordinate Hill Visits with us!

Outreach & Enrollment Call 
Friday, March 4, 2016
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.

(2) Policy & Issues (P&I) Forum is OPEN! March 16-20, 2016 in Washington, D.C.
Join MACHC and your FQHC colleagues from across the state and country to get the most up-to-date information and tools to stay ahead, competitive and ready for another year of health center advocacy.

Cultural Competency Conference (Pick one day) - Dover Downs, DE
Thursday, May 5th OR May 6th, 2016

MACHC Clinical Informatics/Quality/Finance Conference 
Thursday, June 16-17th, 2016


  • (1) Using Technology to Enhance Addiction Treatment
    Thursday, February 25 3-4:30pm EST REGISTER HERE
    Tele-behavioral health and other technology-based treatment and recovery supports can assist primary care safety net providers and addiction treatment providers in expanding their efforts, particularly in rural areas where workforce, resources and people are scarce. Join this webinar, co-hosted by the SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions and the American Telemedicine Association, to explore a variety of the latest technology-based interventions for delivery of addictions treatment and recovery services in safety-net settings. Bring your questions for provider and tele-health expert presenters and be ready to discuss challenges to implementation and the opportunities and key policy developments for using technology-based interventions in safety-net settings to expand workforce capacity.

    (2) Webinar Series:  Population Health Management
    and Health Systems Transformation
    to Insure Value Based Care 

    January 28-March 10, 2016
    NACHC, along with Shannon Nielson, VP of Consulting Services at Centerprise, Inc., is proud to present a five-part webinar series on Population Health Management and Health Systems Transformation to Ensure Value Based Care. The emphasis will be on helping PCAs and HCCNs understand the necessary components for success within Population Health Management at a state level as well as an introduction to how health centers approach these same concepts.  The focus of this webinar series is to partner with PCAs and Health Center Controlled Networks to operationalize the principles of health system transformation and integrated clinical networks to position health centers strongly in a managed care environment.

    Webinar 3 - Optimizing Care Coordination to Manage Risk
    Date/Time: Thursday, February 18th, 2016 | 12pm -1pm Eastern
    Register Now

    Webinar 4 - Health Center Case Studies
    Date/Time: Thursday, March 3rd, 2016 | 12pm -1pm Eastern
    Register Now

    Webinar 5 - Alternative Payment Models and Systems
    Date/Time:  Thursday, March 10th, 2016 | 12pm -1pm Eastern
    Register Now

    (3)  National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Virtual Job Fair for Indian Health Service and Tribal Health Clinic Sites- Tuesday, February 9, 2016, 6:45pm - 10:00pm, ET - The NHSC is hosting a job fair for IHS and Tribal sites to promote vacancies to primary health care providers interested in serving communities with limited access to health care. More here.

    Apr 10 - 12, 2016
    Cambridge, MD 
    Type: Conference/Meeting
    Sponsoring organization: Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center

    (5) Practice Operations Management, Level II(POM II) Training 
    April 20-21, 2016 | Charlotte, NC
    NACHC is pleased to present the Health Center Practice Operations Management Training - Level II (POM II). POM II offers health center Chief Operating Officers, Practice/Clinic and other managers, and Board Members an opportunity to learn and apply the critical management and leadership skills necessary to optimize performance. This training features a multidimensional approach to effective management and continuous improvement the areas in the health center: profitability, staffing, and patient workflow.

    (6) An In-Depth Look at FTCA Coverage for Health Centers.  Learn More
    Nashville, TN - May 4 & 5, 2016
    Philadelphia, PA - June 7 & 8, 2016
    Operating a health center within the confines of the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) has never been more challenging. The myriad requirements and involvement of various agencies coupled with increased accountability and responsibility can make providing health care services to your patients a risky proposition. This training provides information from trusted and experienced health center attorneys, Marty Bree, Molly Evans, and Matthew Freedus, who for years have provided advice and counsel on the day-to-day issues that arise around FTCA at health centers.
    Emergency Preparedness Events: 

    Zika Virus: Approaches to Managing the Epidemic
    Tuesday February 23, 2016 2:00 PM EST Click here for registration and speaker details
    The session will be facilitated virtually via the Blackboard Collaborate Application. 
    Please ensure that you are able to launch the application on your organization's server 
    by using the links below to download Blackboard, the instructions
    for installing, and the most recent version of Java (required to run application). 
    If you encounter any difficulty with the Blackboard platform, 
    please contact osupport team at 1-212-382-0699 ext. 243.

    NACHC has been closely monitoring developments with the Zika virus. Public health authorities and some individual health centers are reportedly fielding numerous queries from the public and media about the Zika virus and the threat it poses in the U.S.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) no local mosquito-borne Zika virus disease cases have been reported in the U.S., but there have been travel-associated cases.  It is expected that the number of Zika cases among travelers visiting or returning to the U.S. will likely increase.  To help health centers prepare and get the most up-to-date information possible, NACHC will host a TeleForum on Wednesday, Feb. 24th from 12N-1P EST. Representatives from CDC and health centers will share plans and resources.  Dial in: 1-877-229-8493; Use code 15035 to connect.

    Get to Know Your Regional Coordinators!
    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]
    Allegany County Health Department
    12501 Willowbrook Road
    Cumberland, MD  21502
    301-759-5238 (Office)
    443-934-2232 (Mobile)
    301-777-2069 (Fax)

    [Baltimore City; Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard Counties]
    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 

    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. 

    How Prepared Is Your Community for an Emergency? 

    Download the kit checklist: 

    Family communication and evacuation plan: 

    *** Look for the latest EP related updates RIGHT HERE!
    Policy, Advocacy and Legislation
    National News
    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) this week released a 
     to assist issuers in complying with the requirements in 45 CFR 156.235. Under that regulation, ECPs are defined as providers who serve predominantly low-income, medically underserved individuals.  
    We recently told you that HRSA had put the re-certification period on "indefinite" hold, but they announced last week that HRSA grantees will need to complete the re-certification process by March 9, 2016.  The health center's Authorizing Official should have received specific information directly from the Office of Pharmacy Affairs with details on how to complete the re-certification.   

    340B Policies and Procedures Important 
    The HRSA Office of Pharmaceutical Affairs (OPA) emphasizes the importance of health centers and other 340B covered entities establishing and following policies and procedures to guide decisions and actions promoting compliance with the 340B statute, guidance, and policy requirements

    Alarmed at an epidemic of drug overdose deaths, the National Governors Association decided over the weekend to devise treatment protocols to reduce the use of opioid painkillers. The guidelines are likely to include numerical limits on prescriptions, or other restrictions, governors said

    New Two-Part Webinar Series Engaging Consumers into Advocacy: Lessons from Health Care for the Homeless Programs" Register here. 
    Save the date for a new two-part webinar series on Wednesday February 24 and Wednesday April 6 at 3PM ET. Throughout the country Health Care for the Homeless programs are practicing innovative models to engage the homeless communities they serve into advocacy. From providing opportunities for consumers to learn from one another and initiate advocacy efforts, to involving them in legislative advocacy through testifying at local hearings and meeting directly with legislators, many HCHs have developed useful models and lessons learned for community and consumer engagement. Join NACHC and the National Health Care for the Homeless Council (NHCHC) for these opportunities to hear about the strategies HCH programs use to engage consumers and encourage their participation in advocacy. 

    *REMINDER* Medicare Part D Prescribers 
    As a reminder, all providers that prescribe medications for their patients covered by Medicare Part D must be enrolled in the Medicare program by June 1, 2016.  

    Hutchinson said the possibility of a recession also highlights the need for states to have more flexibility to manage their Medicaid budgets. A rise in the number of people on Medicaid can be an early warning sign of a recession, the economists said. Arkansas is among the GOP-led states that have expanded Medicaid under Obama's health care overall, accepting an infusion of federal dollars. Gov. Dan Malloy of Connecticut, the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, noted that some Republican governors took a firm stand against expanding Medicaid in their states, only to change their minds 
    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a draft Quality Measure Development Plan (MDP) to serve as a strategic framework for transition to the new Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and alternative payment models (APMs).  In 2019, CMS will apply payment adjustments to eligible professional (e.g. physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants) based on measures across four categories: quality, resource use, clinical practice improvement activities, and meaningful use of certified electronic health record technology.  The Measure Development Plan describes how CMS will work collaboratively with federal and state partners and private payers to create an aligned set of measures that reduces provider burden.  The plan also describes resources and activities that can contribute to the development of measures applicable to a wide variety of stakeholders. More information is available at: Request for Comments: New Quality Measures.  Comments are due March 1.
    State News
    When a few homes tested in New Castle showed higher-than-acceptable lead levels, it triggered a process that's still in progress. New Castle water employees in 2014 went to their stock of 20 homes scheduled for testing every three years, and three were discovered with elevated levels of lead. So they tested those again and the homes next door, but this time only one was found with high lead results.
    They're still monitoring for lead.
     was president, Celine Dion was at the top of the music charts and Michael Jordan announced his retirement from basketball.
    It was 1999 and Liberty Medical Center, New Children's Hospital and Church Hospital in Baltimore all shuttered their doors, blaming low occupancy, steep revenue declines and the challenge of competing as a small hospital.
    Sixteen years later, Laurel Regional Hospital is ending its status as a full-service hospital - a move that has triggered outrage and protest from politicians, union leaders and residents.
    "The whole situation has put a bad taste in people's mouths," said Laurel Mayor Craig A. Moe. "People are very frustrated. They are very concerned and don't know what is going on."
    Finance & Business
    Are You Prepared For New Obamacare Tax Forms?
    For tax year 2015, millions of Americans will be getting a new tax form related to health care reform measures. Will you know what to do with yours when it arrives? The Affordable Health Care Act, colloquially known as "Obamacare," mandated three new tax forms to be used as a kind of proof of insurance so taxpayers may avoid paying a penalty for failure to be covered.

    Are HSAs the New 401(k)? Money Managers Hope So
    An unexpected winner from rising health care costs? Wall Street. More Americans are setting aside money in health-savings accounts for medical bills that their company plans no longer cover. Money managers are eyeing this new pool of assets as an opportunity. HSAs are primarily offered by banks and act as checking account-like pools that preserve balances. As they grow, however, some savers are increasingly interested in investments beyond money market funds that could generate greater returns over time. This is a welcome opportunity for asset management firms at a time when they are seeing net 401(k) withdrawals for the first time. 

    And neither chamber includes any budget items related to expanding Medicaid, a long-sought goal of the governor that Republicans have steadfastly opposed. McAuliffe's spending plan assumed Virginia will expand Medicaid in the next two years, which his administration projects would save the state about $150 million in mental health, prisoner health, and indigent care costs. 

    CMS Proposes 1.35% Medicare Advantage Rate Hike For 2017
    The proposal is a major shift from last February, when initial benchmark rates were cut by an average of 0.95% before factoring in risk score trends. In addition to pay bumps, several major policies are embedded within the CMS' advance rate notice, including changes that will help insurers with many low-income seniors, known as dual-eligibles because they qualify for Medicare and Medicaid. The CMS included changes to the Medicare Advantage risk-adjustment model and quality ratings system that will, in essence, boost taxpayer funding for plans that enroll higher amounts of poor seniors. 

    Latest News on ACA

    Excluding Transport From Medicaid Affects Poorest Patients
    States that expand their Medicaid programs without covering non-emergency transportation for new enrollees could disadvantage the poorest patients, according to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The report looked at Indiana and Iowa, which have already expanded Medicaid without providing non-emergency transportation, and Arizona, which has sought permission from the Department of Health and Human Services to do so. 

    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
    Join MACHC's next Outreach & Enrollment Call ON FRIDAY, March 4, 2016!  We will have Rachel Linstead Goldsmith, Regional Manager of Enroll America help facilitate this excellent post OE3 Session.
    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. 
    What would you like to included as part of Maryland & Delaware's Outreach & Enrollment assistance from MACHC? Please send Aneeqa Chowdhury an email at aneeqa@machc.com.

    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

    Application Deadline:  March 31, 2016
    The Accountable Health Communities model, as authorized under section 3021 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), provides funding opportunities to community-based organizations, healthcare provider practices, hospitals and health systems, institutions of higher education, local government entities, tribal organizations and for-profit and non-profit local and national entities for the purpose of testing whether systematically identifying the health-related social needs of community-dwelling Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and addressing their identified needs impacts their total healthcare costs and their inpatient and outpatient utilization of health care services.

    Ongoing Accepted Applications

    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

    Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program - applications due February 25, 2016.  Licensed registered nurses who are employed full time in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) may be eligible to apply for up for payment of up to 60 percent of their nursing student loans in return for a two-year service obligation in a HPSA, and an additional 25 percent of their original loan balance for an optional third year.  Applicants should attend one of two Technical Assistance conference calls on January 28 from 2-4 pm ET and February 11 from 7-9 pm ET.  Dial in 1-888-790-3148 ; passcode 7775191. 

    Eligible applicants, which include FQHCs and RHCs, must be rural. This program will provide funding during federal fiscal years 2016-2019. Approximately $4,150,000 is expected to be available annually to fund up to 21 recipients.  Applicants may apply for up to $200,000 per year for a project period of three years. 

    Rural Health Research Center Cooperative Agreement - applications due March 14, 2016.  FORHP is funding up to seven Rural Health Research Centers to conduct policy-oriented health services research on rural issues and synthesize the issues into publically available policy briefs designed to be easily understood by a non-technical audience.  Applicants can take part in a technical assistance webinar on Wednesday January 27th from 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. EST. 

    Building Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Capacity - applications due March 22, 2016. Community-based, faith-based and tribal organizations are among those eligible to apply for funding intended to build national capacity for Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) recipients and engage People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH) to increase their access to health care.  Funded organizations will work with HRSA, CMS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to assess and disseminate best practices culturally appropriate methods for improving health outcomes of PLWH.  Interested applicants should attend a technical assistance webinar on Wednesday, January 27 from 3:00 - 4:00 pm ET; go to https://hrsa.connectsolutions.com/coag/ and enter as Guest. To join the audio, dial 888-603-9810  with participant passcode 1165029.  

    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

    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
    PCMH Corner 

    Four Benefits of PCMH:

    1. Better integration of clinical IT into practice workflow -- According to Meucci, pursuing PCMH certification creates an opportunity for providers to rethink their use of IT with the goal of maximizing its use in patient management. Some PCMH standards require providers to report how many patients are missing appointments, for example, which in turn forces them to rethink the process they're using to capture and make use of patient information.
    2. Happier patients . . . Really! -- Another part of the PCMH transformation involves measuring patient satisfaction, and for many providers one of the keys to increasing satisfaction, Meucci said, is expanding the access patients have both to their doctors and their own health information. Better use of IT enables providers to reduce scheduling barriers, provide post-visit summaries, and reduce wait times, all of which impact how patients perceive their physicians.
    3. Better formal decision making framework -- While not directly related to IT, it's not hard to see how better decision-making is likely to lead to more efficient and effective use of IT.  And, according to Meucci, a big part of PCMH transformation, particularly for multi-clinic organizations, involves the development of formal governance structures that constitute a forum for decision-making that helps organize and unify network practices
    4. Increased practice productivity -- So you wanted to do the right thing by improving patient care. And you wanted to help your bottom line by qualifying for applicable incentives. And along the way you ended up becoming more productive. Meucci acknowledged, the implementation of PCMH is hard, but the results of better IT integration and better care team utilization, once implemented, allow practices to see more patients, reduce wait times and deliver better care. He added that part of the productivity increase providers realize is related to, through more proactive patient outreach and management, keeping patients coming to primary care centers as opposed to waiting too long and ending up in the emergency room.  

    Clinical Quality 
    New Resources Help Clinicians and Patients Deal With Alcohol Use Disorder
    AHRQ today published two new resources to help primary care clinicians and their patients 
    make evidence-based decisions about which medications to use for treating alcohol use disorder (AUD), the medical diagnosis for problem drinking that causes mild to severe distress or harm. The new resources - a pair of research summaries designed to facilitate treatment discussions between clinicians and patients - will make it easier for primary care clinicians to work with their patients to make treatment decisions about medications used to treat AUD. Primary care providers are typically trained to refer patients with AUD for specialized treatment, and fewer than 10 percent of people treated for AUD receive medications currently. In the United States, more than 68 million people 18 years old or older suffer from AUD at some point in their lifetime, according to data released by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in August 2015. 
    Health Observances This Week


    Working to Advance Research on Preventing Mother-To-Child Transmission (MTCT) of HIV and Other InfectionsFor more than 30 years, a major goal of NICHD has been to reduce MTCT of HIV and other infections. Institute-supported research has identified practices and drug combinations that are very effective in preventing MTCT of HIV. As a result of this research, transmission rates in the United States have dropped to less than 1%.
    In many resource-poor regions, similar efforts have not been as successful. Outside of the United States, about 330,000 infants are infected with HIV during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most of these infections occur in sub-Saharan Africa.
    In addition, those who are HIV positive are at higher risk for other infections that can also pass from mother to child during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. These include hepatitis B virus (HBV) and tuberculosis (TB), among others. Among women who are HIV negative, other infections, such as cytomegalovirus (CMV), can pass from mother to child and can cause both short- and long-term health problems.
    Several NICHD projects aim to understand the underlying biology of these infections as a way to prevent them from occurring and from being transmitted from mother to child. Select a link below to learn more about these efforts:

    Continued Focus on Preventing MTCT of HIV
    For decades, NICHD-supported research has made major advances in understanding and preventing MTCT of HIV. This important work continues, with multiple efforts in sub-Saharan Africa.
    In November 2012, the NICHD joined the Department of State's Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator to award $7.5 million to researchers in seven African countries to improve efforts to prevent MTCT of HIV. The research will focus on:
    • Finding the best prevention methods
    • Increasing women's participation in prevention programs
    • Increasing HIV testing and education in male partners
    • Using "buddy systems" to help mothers practice safe feeding
    • Comparing faith-based and clinic-based prevention programs
    • Increasing the rates of early diagnosis of HIV in infants
    • Looking at the effect of prevention programs on mother and infant health
    The NICHD and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) are also supporting a study called Promoting Maternal-Infant Survival Everywhere, or PROMISE. This study aims to find the best way to reduce the risk of HIV transmission from mothers to children during pregnancy, birth, and while breastfeeding. PROMISE researchers will give an HIV drug cocktail to infected mothers and study how well it prevents infection in infants and preserves mothers' health. Read more at The "PROMISE" of Research.

    Focus on Other Infections
    The Institute's research addresses other infections that are more common among women with HIV or that can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. Some of these efforts include:
    • The NICHD's Maternal and Pediatric Infectious Disease Branch (MPIDB) and the CDC are supporting a study on preventing MTCT of HBV in Thailand, where all infants receive standard HBV immune globulin (HBIG) injections and HBV vaccine series beginning right after birth. Despite these standard treatments, 10% to 12% of infants born to HBV-infected mothers with high levels of the virus become infected. The researchers will study how well an experimental treatment given to pregnant women with high levels of HBV ("e-Antigen positive")-in addition to the standard infant HBIG injections and HBV vaccine series-prevents HBV infection in their infants. Read more about this grant atAntiviral Prophylaxis to Prevent Perinatal Transmission of HBV in Thailand.
    • A large study in South Africa, also supported through the MPIDB, will evaluate the impact of TB treatment on outcomes in HIV-positive pregnant women and their infants. The study will determine if TB treatment reduces HIV transmission and progression and improves pregnancy outcomes. The research will also examine how TB treatment affects the levels of HIV drugs in HIV-positive pregnant women. Read more about this project atImpact of TB on Outcome of HIV in Pregnant Women.
    • Two studies being conducted through the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units (MFMU) Network, which is funded by thePregnancy and Perinatology Branch (PPB), also aim to prevent and understand prenatal infections.
      • CMV is a common infection. Although it is usually harmless in healthy children and adults, it can cause serious disease in babies who are infected with CMV before birth (often called congenital CMV). About 1 of every 5 children born with congenital CMV will develop permanent health problems, such as hearing loss and developmental disabilities, from the infection. The Randomized Trial to Prevent Congenital CMV Infection will examine whether giving CMV hyperimmune globulin to women diagnosed with primary CMV before they are 24 weeks pregnant reduces congenital CMV in their infants.
      • MFMU Network researchers are also conducting a study to identify risk factors that are associated with MTCT of hepatitis C virus (HCV). HCV can cause liver problems, including chronic liver disease, cirrhosis of the liver (scarring) and increased risk of liver cancer. The Observational Study of Hepatitis C Virus in Pregnancy is currently enrolling participants.
    Ongoing research supported by the NICHD aims to reduce new pediatric infections in the United States as well as globally. Through its many projects and scientific advances, the Institute's goal is to enhance the health of children, adolescents, and women with infections such as HIV/AIDS, TB, CMV, HBV, and HCV so that they can lead healthier lives, free of many of the consequences of these infections.
    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 |