Ed Sessions, Keynote Speakers, The Latest on the CHI

CHI ProgramThe final program has gone to the printer and the Community Health Institute (CHI) & Expo is just around the corner! The national conference of health center leaders takes place in sunny San Diego.  This year’s theme, America’s Health Centers: Adding Value to the Healthcare Equation, emphasizes  health centers’ continued efforts to sustain and deliver on their successful track record while navigating an ever evolving healthcare environment.

The conference will be full of education sessions, that include a range of topics, such as clinical, management, and policy.  There are also opportunities to network with peers, hear from experts, and  learn the latest update from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Also, on the agenda will be Peer-to-Peer Networking Sessions. These 90 minute education sessions are designed to be interactive, small-group learning experiences where participants can exchange ideas and network on issues that are relevant to health centers. We are also bringing back the T3  (Timely Twenty-Minute Tips) sessions. These 20 minute trainings present quick and easy tips, ideas, and best practices that health centers can learn today to implement tomorrow.

Attendees will also get to hear from Keynote Speaker Thomas Tighe, Direct Relief President and CEO. Under his stewardship,  Direct Relief has provided cash grants of more than $35 million and furnished more than $2 .2 billion essential medicines, equipment, and supplies to support health services for low-income people in 88 developing countries and in all 50 state.  Direct Relief, which operates the largest nonprofit charitable medicines program,  has been a lifeline for health centers battered by natural disasters, such as hurricanes, deadline tornados and wildfires, providing them with grants,  medical supplies and other assistance.

Also speaking during a general session at the CHI will be Peter V. Long, Ph.D., President and CEO of Blue Shield of California Foundation. Dr. Long has served in leadership roles at both the Kaiser Family Foundation and The California Endowment and has an extensive background in health policy working on issues affecting underserved communities at the state, national, and global levels.

And of course there is always the opportunity to win great prizes at the CHI. This year attendees can again enjoy a good game of “NACHCopoly” while networking with colleagues and exhibitors at the CHI Expo. Another way to win is to join the online conversation using the #NACHCchi14 hashtag. The more times you Tweet the better your chances to win an American Express gift card. You can also win by playing the UHC Solutions sponsored “Snap and Post” contest. Look for the magician photo cutout at the CHI reception, snap a photo with a friend and tweet it using the #NACHCchi14 hashtag.

Stay tuned for more information on the CHI! Haven’t registered yet? Register today! 

This Week in Community Health

What the Funding Cliff Means for Health Centers

Blogger Elizabeth Levy writes, “Diverting funds from Community Health Centers and local health departments takes money from prevention and will lead to more people having to rely on costly emergency services.”

For Better Treatment, Doctors and Patients Share the Decisions (NPR)

A new initiative at Mass General in Boston is focusing on making risk more understandable to patients in order to better involve them in the shared decision making.

Innovation in the Safety Net: Integrating Community Health Centers Through Accountable Care (The Commonwealth Fund)

According to a national survey, 28 percent of accountable care organizations (ACOs) have teamed up with Community Health Centers, an indication that these safety-net providers are viewed by ACOs as valuable partners. ACOs with Community Health Centers have greater experience implementing  reforms like care management programs, public reporting, and risk‐sharing, which may prove helpful in meeting ACOs’ goals of improving quality, cost performance, and population health.

The Wealth Gap is Growing, But Poor Women See One Improvement: Healthier Newborns (Washington Post)

Improved access to care is a factor in low-income pregnant women giving birth to healthier babies. According to the Post: “While other economic and health disparities have widened, giving way to huge national debates about inequality, pregnant women at the lowest rung of the nation’s economic ladder are bucking that trend. They have narrowed the gap with wealthier women in the health of their babies.”

ACA Creates Residencies for Doctors in South Florida Health Centers (Miami Herald)

The ACA established training grants for primary-care physicians to address the shortage of doctors nationwide. “The money given to CHI is part of a package of $83.4 million in grants nationwide to train new primary-care doctors in the coming year under the Teaching Health Center Program, which expands residency training for medical students in community-based settings. CHI and other organizations must apply for the grants every year.”

Loss of Funding Could Close Michigan Community Health Centers (Public News Service)

Nationally and statewide, community health centers are peering over the edge of a funding cliff, despite more than 700,000 Michiganders annually using their services.

NACHC Introduces New Outreach and Enrollment Webinar Series

A new, free webinar series—“Sign me up!” Navigating the Outreach and Enrollment Landscape—will focus on what we learned from the first open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act, what to expect and prepare for in the next round of open enrollment, and the latest news, updates and information on the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Kaiser Family Foundation Presents ACA Enrollment Efforts Web Briefing

At 1 p.m. ET on Monday, July 28, 2014, the Kaiser Family Foundation will hold an interactive web briefing to examine the experiences and lessons of four states — Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky, and Washington.  Each state established state-based Marketplaces, expanded their Medicaid programs, and successfully enrolled eligible individuals into Medicaid and Marketplace coverage under the ACA.

National Health Center Week (NHCW)

NHCW is less than 3 Weeks Away! Enter your picture or video into the #NHCW2014 contests to show the world how your health center is a local engine for a healthier community!

Community Health Institute and Expo

Early bird registration for the NACHC Community Health Institute (CHI) and Expo ends next week (July 31, 2014). Register today! Not sure if you should attend? Check out the video below to learn more about the CHI.

“Sign Me Up!” NACHC introduces new Outreach and Enrollment webinar series

Open enrollment is just around the corner and Community Health Centers continue to be on the forefront of educating the uninsured about their options and signing them up for coverage. Following last year’s enrollment period, NACHC and its partners have worked with health center staff on the ground to explore lessons learned, best practices and strategies to assist with outreach and enrollment (O&E).

Picture1A new, free webinar series—“Sign me up!” Navigating the Outreach and Enrollment Landscape—will focus on what we learned from the first open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act, what to expect and prepare for in the next round of open enrollment, and the latest news, updates and information on the Health Insurance Marketplace. Participants will hear from speakers who are O&E staff from both expansion and non-expansion states, and other federal officials.

The first webinar in the series is “Connecting Kids and Teens with Free and Low-cost Coverage” and will be held on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 from 1:00-2:00 PM EST. Children and teens can enroll in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) all year round and this webinar will showcase the creative and innovative outreach efforts and strategies currently being deployed to get kids and teens signed up. Webinar attendees will also hear about leveraging the back-to-school season to reach their local community, as well as learn about free materials and resources available to help with outreach.

Featured speakers

Donna Cohen Ross
Director of Enrollment Initiatives and Stakeholder Engagement
Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services

Colleen McCauley, RN, BSN, MPH
Health Policy Director
Public Citizens for Children and Youth

Liz Tansey
CHC Outreach and Enrollment Training Coordinator
Covering Kids and Families Project at the Colorado Community Health Network

Click here to register. Stay tuned to our blog and follow the #navigateOE on Twitter to hear more about future webinars in this series.

This week in health care

HHS Announces Funds to Better Integrate HIV Services into Health Centers:

This week Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced the availability of $11 million to support the integration of high quality HIV services into primary care in Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland and New York. The integration of HIV services into primary care settings is seen as a critical step in meeting the goals of the National HIV/AIDS strategy.

National Health Center Week is Quickly Approaching and the Gathering Steam (#NHCW2014)

Governors Rick Snyder (Michigan), Pat McCrory (North Carolina), Pat Quinn (Illinois) and Rick Perry (Texas) have all issued  National Health Center Week proclamations. Get the word out to your community by obtaining a proclamation for NHCW from your local or state elected officials with this proclamation template.

NHCW events continue to pour in to Health Center Week website. If your health center is celebrating with an event, let us know by submitting it here.

Don’t forget there are also tools—social media, materials, media toolkit and more—your health center can use to promote NHCW.

Lost Funding Could Shutter 80 TN Community Health Clinics

United Neighborhood Health Services CEO Mary Bufwack spoke to Public News Service about the impact the health center funding cliff would have on her health center in Nashville, Tennessee.

CVS Caremark and IBM Announced NACHC Partnership to Provide Community Health Centers with Technology Solutions to Enhance Patient Engagement

The “Technology Solutions for Smarter Health” grants will be awarded to Community Health Centers nationwide in need of advanced technology to help people get on a path to better health. The grants will enhance technology infrastructure and help centers more easily communicate and share health information with patients through secure electronic messaging. The advanced technology will also provide patients with the ability to view, download and transmit their health information online.

Groups Under Health Act Are Said to Aid Millions

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey ACA enrollment assistance programs helped 10.6 million people with their health insurance options during open enrollment. The survey also found that states with their own exchanges or that were working towards their own exchanges received more funding and helped twice as many people as those who opted not to run their own exchange.

New Challenge for Obamacare: Enrollees who don’t understand their insurance plans

New health coverage enrollees are having trouble understanding their new coverage and this could be barrier to the success of the ACA. According the Washington Post: “Health insurance, with its jargon and complicated fee structure, has long been confusing for many consumers, but experts say the literacy gap poses an especially big problem now.”

Funding Cliff Gathers Steam in the News

Funding-cliff[1]Health center advocates have been talking about the funding cliff for some time, now the media is starting to pay attention.  The health center funding cliff is what happens after 2015, when funding from the Affordable Care Act expires, just as the demand ramps up for primary care.

“Access problems could intensify in September 2015,” writes Jed Graham in a feature recently published in Investors Business Daily.  “The 2015 funding cliff would leave health centers unable to sustain current caseloads, sharply damaging primary-care access for the insured and uninsured alike and potentially leading to more costly increases in specialty, emergency and inpatient care.”  Graham also cites the recent report on the funding cliff by researchers at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health.  You can find that report by visiting this link.

That same report was also mentioned in a recent blog post by  Nonprofit Quarterly writer Ruth McCambridge, who observes, “that if this funding is not continued, and if more states do not expand Medicaid, the number of patients cared for by health centers could by 2020 fall by more than 25 percent. If, on the other hand, funding is renewed and all states expand Medicaid, the numbers of patients served by health centers will rise from the 25.6 million that is expected this year to 36.5 million in 2020—a 42 percent increase.”

Health center leaders are also taking pen in hand to write about the issue. Anita Monoian, Former NACHC Board Chair and the President and CEO of Yakima Neighborhood Health Services described the impact a funding cliff would have on her health center in an op-ed published in the Yakima Herald Republic.

She writes, “The impact would be disastrous. Our clinic, like others here in the Valley and across the state, would be forced to cut back services and staff. Programs focused on growing the supply of primary care providers also would be hurt.”

In the coming week, we predict more headlines about this critical issue.  So stay tuned!