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In this issue:
Primary Intelligence
Member News
Outreach and Enrollment
Advocacy
NC Tracks
State Updates
Federal Updates
Healthcare Headlines
Workforce Development
Funding Opportunities
Group Purchasing
Events and Training





 

Primary Intelligence

TriWest Healthcare Alliance Now Nationwide Administrator of Veteran’s Choice Program
Review this letter to learn more and become a network provider for veterans in your community. https://vapccc.triwest.com/PCCCWeb/index.html#/provider-home
 
BPHC All-Programs Broadcast
Tuesday, January 29, 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET, Join the webcast the day of the session

Community Health Grant RFA
Deadline to Receive Applications: February 1, 2019
These grant funds, supported through the North Carolina General Assembly, are for assuring access to primary and preventive care to meet the health needs of our state’s most vulnerable populations. Strengthening the safety net through increased levels of collaboration and integration of services and organizations to more effectively meet the needs of those served is also an important purpose of this grant. The Community Health Grant RFA will look for cooperation and collaboration among county and regional partners as part of the application process. 
Primary care safety net organizations who care for underserved and medically indigent patients in the state are eligible to apply for this funding to pay for patient care through encounter-based reimbursement (Track A) or through reimbursement for eligible expenses (Track B). Telehealth services and equipment are eligible expenses in both tracks. Applicants must select ONE track.
Click here to learn more.

 

Member And NCCHCA News


Lincoln Community Health Center celebrated a kick-off of their new CenteringParenting Program with partners, staff, and community members this week. CenteringParenting brings 6-8 moms, partners, support people and their same-age infants together in community with their healthcare providers and other parents who are experiencing similar things at the same time. CenteringParenting fosters a safe and supportive environment to ask questions and creates lifelong bonds between families. Lincoln’s program will start enrolling patients in April.
Photos: Dr. Oveta McIntosh-Vick welcomes participants to the kick-off meeting; Lincoln’s CenteringParenting implementation team demonstrates a group session.
 
NCCHCA Awarded Mental Health First Aid Training Funding
Last week, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) announced that NCCHCA was awarded a grant to host an 8-hour Mental Health First Aid Training for 25-35 participants. More information about a date and registration forthcoming.

 

Outreach and Enrollment

SEP Opportunity for Marketplace Consumers Affected by Winter Storm
CMS announced a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for Marketplace consumers who were unable to enroll in a health plan by the Open Enrollment deadline due to the winter storm that occurred in December. Cases will be considered on an individual basis, and consumers are encouraged to apply for the SEP as soon as possible. Consumers who would like help with this process can schedule an appointment for free, in-person assistance by calling 1-855-733-3711 or by visiting ncnavigator.net. Learn more about the Winter Storm SEP opportunity.
 
New Medicare Cards Mailed to Beneficiaries
New Medicare cards have been mailed to beneficiaries in North Carolina. If a beneficiary has not received their new card, they should call 1-800-MEDICARE or log-in to their MyMedicare.gov account. To protect the identity of beneficiaries, Medicare cards will no longer include social security numbers. Learn more about obtaining the new Medicare card.


 

Advocacy

Join us for Primary Care Safety Net Day at the NCGA!  February 20, 2019
Register Here
We’ll have a webinar to prepare those attending for the day.
Please register for Prep for Safety Net Day at the NCGA on Feb 13, 2019 10:00 AM EST at:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3540386056173657602
How to talk to your legislator, review of our legislative priorities (Closing the coverage gap) and logistics.

 
NACHC’s Policy & Issues Forum
March 27-30, 2019
Committee Meetings: March 30-31, 2019
Marriott Wardman Park, Washington, D.C.

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN!
Please note that you can attend Capitol Hill Visit Day (March 28, 2019) whether or not you are registered for the conference.

Apply Now for the 2019 Health Policy Fellows Program
The Geiger Gibson Health Policy Fellows Program is designed to enable mid-level and senior health center, PCA, and HCCN staff to develop a deeper understanding of health policy and advocacy, and acquire key health policy analysis skills of value to their own organization's policy advocacy efforts. Over a series of web-based sessions culminating in a three-day residential session in Washington, DC, the Fellows Program will provide rising leaders in the health center movement with an immersive experience in federal health policy and policymaking, and will assist participants to develop basic health policy analysis competencies that will enable them to develop positions and engage in advocacy. Participants will be instructed by senior NACHC staff, faculty at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, Washington DC health policy experts, Geiger Gibson Distinguished Visitors, and congressional and agency staff.  Apply now for the 2019 cohorts: April 15-17, 2019 (apply now, limited spots remaining) or October 21-23, 2019 (applications due by March 15, 2019).


NC Tracks

Is It Time for Your Re-verification Application? 
It's already been five years since the implementation of NCTracks, which means there are many providers who will need to complete re-verification over the next few months. If you haven't received a re-verification notification in your Message Center Inbox yet, you may be seeing it soon. To find your re-verification date, go to the NC Division of Medical Assistance (DMA)'s list of the providers who are due for re-verification in 2018 under 'Recredentialing' on the DMA Provider Enrollment webpage
 
Be sure to check your email and NCTracks Provider Portal for reminders on useful resources and tips for completing your application. To learn more, visit the Re-verification/Re-credentialing FAQs page today.

NCTracks Provider Announcement and Newsletters
Join NCTracks’ Email List

 

State Updates

DON’T FORGET! Attest as an Advanced Medical Home Tier 3 Provider by January 31st!
If you want to be included on the list of Advanced Medical Home Tier 3 providers that NC Medicaid gives to managed care companies for their contracting, January 31st is the last day to ensure you are included on that list. AMH Tier 3 providers will receive payments to provide care management to their Medicaid patients or to coordinate and contract with external entities to do so. We believe most FQHCs are very well positioned to play this role. Please note, DHHS states “Completing the Tier 3 attestation signifies that the practice expects to be ready with Tier 3 capabilities by Managed Care go-live in November 2019. However, should the practice need to change that designation to Tier 2 later, it may do so at any time without penalty.”
  • Info on how to attest as an AMH Tier 3 in NC Tracks: https://www.nctracks.nc.gov/content/public/providers/provider-user-guides-and-training/provider-training.html
  • Frequently asked questions about the AMH program: https://files.nc.gov/ncdma/documents/Providers/Programs_Services/amh/AMH_FAQs_12.21.18.pdf
 
NC Medicaid Now Covering Adult Optical Services. As of January 1, 2019, NC Medicaid reinstated adult Medicaid beneficiary coverage for optical services including eye exams, prescription eye glasses and medically necessary contact lenses. Read more here: https://files.nc.gov/ncdma/updateltr-290.pdf .
 
Save the dates: NCCHCA Medicaid Managed Care Contracting Training Series. Webinar series for primary care safety net provider organizations only. (Registration fee required.) Register here for all three sessions:
  • February 15, 10:00am-11:30am: Essential Contract Terms and Protections, Adam Falcone, Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidel, LLC
  • February 21, 2:00pm-3:30pm: Current NC Environment & Preparing Your Health Center for Contracting (Guest Speaker: Mari Kaptain-Dahlen, Siouxland Health Center, Iowa)
  • Feb 26, 9:00-10:30am: Clinically Integrated Networks, Advanced Medical Home, and Value-Based Payment in Contracting
 
February Food and Nutrition Benefits to Be Issued Early Because of Federal Shutdown
Because of the federal shutdown, the U.S. Department of Agriculture instructed states to issue February’s Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) benefits by Sunday, Jan. 20. Benefits would normally be available to families between the 3rd and 21st of February. "We are working closely with county departments of social services and our federal partners to ensure participants and retailers have little to no interruption of FNS services due to the shutdown," said Tara Myers, NCDHHS Deputy Secretary for Human Services. FNS is a federal food assistance program that provides low-income families with funds to purchase food needed for a nutritional, adequate diet. Once February’s FNS funds are distributed, they will be available for use. However, participants should be aware that since there will be no FNS benefits issued in the month of February, they should plan accordingly.

Low Income Energy Assistance Program
North Carolina’s Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) helps eligible households pay their heating bills by issuing a one-time payment to the household’s heating vendor. Households can apply for assistance from now until March 31, 2019, or until funds are exhausted. Interested households should complete an application and return it to their county Department of Social Services (DSS).

 

Federal Updates

New FQHC Medicare Payment for Virtual Communication Services (and Update to Care Management Payments)
Effective January 1, 2019, FQHCs can receive payment ($13.69) for virtual communication services (VCS) when at least 5 minutes of technology-based communication or remote evaluation services are furnished by an FQHC practitioner to a patient who has had an FQHC billable visit within the previous year. 
Updates to Medicare chronic care management and psychiatric Collaborative Care Model also were made effective January 1, 2019. For more information about these billable services, see the CMS website here.
 
Pain Management
The Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force released their draft report entitled Pain Management Best Practices: Updates, Gaps, Inconsistencies, and Recommendations. The Task Force was created by the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2016 with the goal of identifying, revising, and developing a strategy for disseminating information about best practices for pain management (including chronic and acute pain) and includes representatives from federal agencies and non-federal stakeholders. The draft report is open for a 90-day public comment period. More information on submitting comments can be found here.
 
Brain Health
The American College of Preventive Medicine has developed a course on brain health, which will educate physicians and health care professionals about the benefits of blood pressure control and other modifiable risk factors as a possible mechanism for reducing the risk of future impaired brain health and cognitive decline. Physicians can obtain 1.0 CME/MOC for completing this course.
 
Hospital Charge Transparency
All Hospitals Must Make Standard Charges Public – Effective January 1.  CMS released responses to Frequently Asked Questions regarding the policy that hospitals must establish, update, and make public a list of their standard charges for all items and services, effective January 1, 2019.  This policy applies to all hospitals operating in the U.S., including critical access hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and inpatient psychiatric facilities.  The charges must be provided in a machine-readable format that can be easily imported/read into a computer system (e.g., XML, CSV). A PDF does not satisfy this definition.  The policy was finalized in the 2019 Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) rule published on August 2, 2018.
 
New FTCA Site Visit Protocol
FTCA-deemed health centers are already familiar with FTCA site visits. Now we have streamlined the process into one document, the FTCA Site Visit Protocol, to help you find the information you need.

 

Healthcare Headlines

State
Mental Health Providers Struggle with Disparities in the System
Patients aren’t the only ones affected by how insurers often treat medical and behavioral health issues differently—providers are also struggling to get by.
 
National
Stuck and Stressed: The Health Costs of Traffic
The physical and psychological toll of brutal commutes can be considerable.

‘I’m trying not to die right now’: Why opioid-addicted patients are still searching for help
Access and accountability are still huge barriers in the growing treatment industry.

Burnout Among Doctors Is A Public Health Crisis, Report Says
Jha and his fellow authors say “professional burnout” is typically manifested by three main symptoms: emotional exhaustion; a sense of depersonalization and disconnection from work; and feeling a lack of efficiency at work..

 

Funding Opportunities

New Access Points Funding Opportunity Now Available (HRSA-19-080)
$50 million in New Access Points (NAP) funding for the delivery of primary health care services for underserved and vulnerable populations will be awarded to approximately 75 awards in September. Organizations can apply for up to $650,000 per year and the deadline is Tuesday, March 12. For more information, read the Notice of Funding Opportunity and visit the NAP technical assistance webpage.
 
NIH/NIDA: Mobile Technologies for Substance-Use Treatment  – Letters of Intent February 19.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) seek grant applications from small business concerns (SBCs) to develop and test a prototype mobile/tablet technology-based application that primary care providers (PCPs) may use to deliver timely and tailored feedback to patients following up on interventions for risky substance use. The feedback delivered should make sure patients engage in appropriate self-monitoring and self-management skills in adherence to treatment plans. Last year, a report commissioned by the Appalachian Regional Commission identified mobile technology as one way to overcome barriers to recovery treatment in rural areas. 

Two Loan Repayment Programs for National Health Service Corps – February 21. The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) provides financial assistance to health care professionals in exchange for a commitment to work at approved sites in rural and underserved areas. Application cycles are currently open for two NHSC programs: The Loan Repayment Program awards up to $50,000 toward student loans in exchange for a two-year commitment. The Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program provides up to $75,000 in exchange for a three-year commitment and expands eligibility to health care professionals and sites delivering substance use disorder treatment services.

Youth Health Equity Fellowship – February 22. Higher learning students, recent graduates and emerging health professionals with 1-5 years of experience may be eligible to apply for this opportunity offered by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH).  The Youth Health Equity Model of Practice was launched by OMH to provide hands on, “in the field” learning opportunities for 10 weeks over the summer through short-term, project-based placements in diverse organizations or institutions that promote health equity and/or addresses health disparities.  The goals of the fellowship and its targets align with the HHS strategic plan to eliminate health disparities for minorities as well as rural and underserved communities. 

NIH: Small Business Innovations for Health Disparities – Letters of Intent March 1.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) invites small business concerns (SBCs) in the United States to conduct innovative research supporting development of a product, tool, technology, process or service for commercialization with the aim of eliminating disparities in socioeconomically disadvantaged populations, underserved rural populations, and sexual and gender minority populations or improving health in racial/ethnic minority populations. Technologies to address the unique health burdens experienced by health disparity populations in urban and underserved rural areas are of particular interest, including technologies to support healthy eating and active living, access and utilization of important governmental services and new scientific information and technologies that can help improve their quality of life; decrease food insecurity and decrease childhood obesity rates.  Deadline for application is April 1. 

Rural Residency Planning and Development Program 
March 4
 
A collaboration between HRSA’s Bureau of Health Workforce and the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, this program will help expand the health workforce in rural areas by developing new physician residency programs in family medicine, internal medicine, and psychiatry.  An estimated 28 awards will be made for residency programs at hospitals, medical schools and community-based-ambulatory settings in rural areas.  Consortia of urban and rural partnerships also may be eligible.  Awardees will receive technical assistance from the Rural Residency Planning and Development – Technical Assistance Center, which was awarded via cooperative agreement in September 2018. 
Veteran Nurses in Primary Care Training Program
March 8 
Accredited schools of nursing and health facilities, separately or in partnership, are eligible for a total investment of $4.5 million to recruit and train nursing students and current registered nurses to practice in community-based primary care teams.  The program, which is administered through the Health Resources and Services Administration, expands on a current investment specifically targeting nursing students who are veterans committed to working in medically underserved communities.

AMAF Community Health Grants for Diabetes/Hypertension
March 8 
The American Medical Association Foundation (AMAF) will support innovative programs targeting the prevention and reduction of type 2 diabetes and hypertension, two conditions with higher prevalence in rural areas. Community-based organizations serving vulnerable and underserved populations may be eligible for awards up to $60,000, renewable for three years.

Increasing Access to HIV Primary Health Care Services
March 22
Rural communities may request funding preference for this $4 million investment through HRSA’s Ryan White/HIV AIDS Program.  Twenty-six awards will go to public and non-profit private entities, including faith-based and community-based organizations.  Tribes and tribal organizations are also eligible to apply.  Funding is intended to support one short-term activity that can be completed within the one-year period of performance.  Supported activities include care efforts such as HIV case finding and treatment adherence, and infrastructure development such as for electronic health records and management information systems.

 

Workforce Development

STAR² CENTER SELF-PACED COURSES
The STAR² Center has added new interactive self-paced online courses to our growing catalogue of resources and training opportunities for health center workforce teams looking to enhance their recruitment and retention efforts. Take some time today to  set up your learner account and review our new "Administrative Strategies for Increasing Retention" course.  Click here to view a brief overview of how to access and register to complete these courses and be sure to reach out to Mariah Blake with any questions.

Become a Vital part of North Carolina’s Safety Net!
You can find postings for careers within the North Carolina Community Health Center Association (NCCHCA) whose mission is to promote and support patient-governed community health care organizations and the populations they serve. Visit our website to see open positions and to post opportunities.

 

NCCHCA Group Purchasing Organization


The NCCHCA Group Purchasing Organization provides a shared savings model for NC Community Health Centers. NCCHCA members may participate at no cost and can save a significant amount of money on items, such as medical/dental supplies and equipment. Thank you to our current partners: LabCorp, Toshiba Business Solutions, and Community Health Ventures (VIP). Contact Chris Shank for more information.
 

Events and Training

Rural Residency Programs – Accreditation and Financing
January 28 
The Rural Residency Planning and Development Technical Assistance Center at RuralGME.org was funded by HRSA to support potential Rural Residency Planning and Development applicants and future grantees by sharing resources regarding graduate medical education (GME) and training for medical practice in rural areas.  The second session will review common costs and expenses and identify revenue sources for a sustainable residency program.

Infection Prevention and Control and Your Health Center (HRSA/ Joint Commission)
January 30, 2019.
1:00pm – 2:30pm CST
This webinar will review key steps for a compliant infection control program, including conducting an infection control risk assessment that is relevant to the services, geographic location and populations served and providing a hierarchical approach to infection control related standards that will ensure success.
Click here to register

 
"Making N.C. Count" Statewide Convening for 2020 Census Preparation 
Thursday, January 31, 2019
8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Networking Reception: 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
NCSU McKimmon Conference And Training Center, NC State University
Register here.
 
2019 Convergence Telehealth Summit
Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center
March 31 - April 2, 2019
Williamsburg Lodge
Williamsburg, VA
http://matrcsummit.org/
 
Save the Date: 2019 NCCHCA Clinical Conference on Quality and Chronic Disease
April 11-12, 2019
Chapel Hill, NC
The Clinical Conference on Quality & Chronic Disease is a professional training opportunity providing continuing education at a low cost. Nationally recognized health care experts share knowledge with safety-net providers on cutting-edge trends and quality improvement methods.
Registration OPEN!
 
Register here. Save the Date: Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) University
May 15-16, 2019
Asheville, NC
Hosted by the North Carolina Community Health Center Association and presented by the Health Resources and Service Administration, the Federal Tort Claims Act University (FTCAU) is an innovative training offered to members of the health center community. FTCAU provides a great opportunity for seasoned quality and risk management professionals and new professionals to learn from experts, leaders, and government officials about FTCA, healthcare quality and risk management, and related subjects. Over the course of two days, attendees will participate in interactive presentations and exercises that are specially geared toward health center grantees. 
Who should attend?
  • Quality Improvement Coordinators
  • Risk Managers
  • Board Members
Registration Info coming in February 2019!
 
Save the Date: 2019 NCCHCA Primary Care Conference
June 26-28, 2019  (**NEW DATES)
Renaissance Asheville Hotel
31 Woodfin Street
Asheville, NC 28801
Registration Opening Soon!
 
10th Biennial Childhood Obesity Conference
July 15th - 18th
Anaheim, CA
Click here for more information
 


Find More Conference and Training Opportunities on the NCCHCA Calendar


 
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