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


Primary Intelligence

Centralized Credentialing Vendor Selected for NC Medicaid
NC Medicaid announced that a contract has been awarded to Wipro Infocrossing to serve as the Provider Data Contractor (PDC), as NC Medicaid transitions to Managed Care. Wipro Infocrossing, a National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) certified organization, will assist the North Carolina Medicaid Managed Care program to identify the credentialing status of providers contracting with Prepaid Health Plans (PHPs).  
BPHC SUD-MH Reporting
The first SUD-MH Tri-annual Progress Report will open for submission on January 1, 2019 in the Electronic Handbook (EHB) and is due on January 15, 2019. This report is for health centers receiving the FY 2018 Expanding Access to Quality Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Services (SUD-MH) award. Resources to help with reporting can be found here.
Integration of Behavioral and Physical Healthcare in Tailored Plans Webinar
Jan. 24, 11:00 a.m.
On Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., DHHS will hold a webinar to discuss how Tailored Plans will integrate behavioral and physical health to ensure whole-person care.
More information can be found at:
Partial government shutdown has no direct impact on health center funding or operations:  The partial shutdown of the Federal government that began at 12:01am on Saturday, December 22nd has no direct impact on health center funding or operations. This is because both HRSA and CMS -- the agencies that administer the Section 330, Medicaid, Medicare, and other programs that help support health centers – have already received funding for the full 2019 fiscal year, which ends on September 30, 2019.  The Departments affected by the shutdown include Transportation, Justice, Homeland Security, Commerce, State, Agriculture, Interior, Treasury and Housing and Urban Development, plus agencies like the EPA, IRS, and part of the FDA. 
HRSA Webinar: Using Health IT to Facilitate SBIRT Service Delivery in Health Centers
Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is an approach to the delivery of early intervention and treatment to people with substance use disorders and those at risk of developing these disorders.
To promote continuous quality improvement in SBIRT implementation, the Health Information Technology, Evaluation, and Quality Center (HITEQ), a HRSA-funded National Cooperative Agreement (NCA), will host a webinar on promising practices for the use of health IT to facilitate SBIRT workflow integration.
Thursday, January 17
3:00-4:00 p.m. ET
Register here
The discussion will focus on:
  • coding and billing for SBIRT services;
  • using health IT to enhance SBIRT screening, communication, data capture and documentation;
  • clinical decision support; and
  • information-sharing and reporting.
It will also feature the experiences and practices of health centers that are currently using health IT to facilitate SBIRT service delivery. For questions, please contact

NC 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 News

Thank you and farewell to Ann Absher, MPH, Health Director of Wilkes Community Health Center, who will be retiring on January 31, 2019, after over 45 years of Public Health Service. 

Welcome to their new CEO, Rachel Willard.


Outreach and Enrollment

Open Enrollment Six a Success in NC
CMS released final enrollment numbers for North Carolina. During OE6, 501,271 plan selections were made in the state. For comparison, there were 519,803 plan selections in NC during OE5. The enrollment numbers for OE6 represent less than a 4% decrease in enrollment compared with OE5! That is very encouraging, as many media outlets had reported large drop-offs in enrollment throughout the six-week Open Enrollment Period. The enrollment numbers show that North Carolina consumers want comprehensive health coverage. Big thanks to enrollment assisters throughout the state who played an important role in another successful Open Enrollment Period!
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 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 account. To protect the identity of beneficiaries, Medicare cards will no longer include social security numbers. Learn more about obtaining the new Medicare card.
ACA Remains Law of the Land Despite Texas v. Azar Decision
On December 14, Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional because its individual mandate penalty was zeroed out as part of the Tax Reform bill passed in 2017. Judge O’Connor’s ruling will be appealed - a process that could take many months. While the case works its way through the courts, the ACA remains in place, and key provisions are still in effect, including protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Consumers should continue to pay their monthly premiums and use their health insurance. Learn more about Texas v. Azar.



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

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 contact their county Department of Social Services (DSS) to apply. To qualify, a household must meet the following criteria:
  • Have at least one U.S. citizen or non-citizen who meets the eligibility criteria
  • Meet an income test
  • Have reserves at or below $2,250
  • Be responsible for its heating bills
LIEAP can help ease the financial burden some patients experience, and in turn, make it easier for them to purchase medications and manage their health conditions. Health centers can use this poster (available in English and Spanish) to inform patients and community members about LIEAP. Learn more about LIEAP.

Interested in Telehealth?
The North Carolina Rural Health Leadership Alliance (NCHRLA) is hosting a Regional Telehealth Summit-East in Wilmington North Carolina on January 18th. Check out the registration website to learn more. The free session will highlight experts in telehealth delivery spanning across issues such as broadband and technology, clinical outcomes, legal considerations and regulatory impacts, and innovations in telehealth.

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, and both of the following requirements are met:
  • The medical discussion or remote evaluation is for a condition not related to an FQHC service provided within the previous 7 days, and
  • The medical discussion or remote evaluation does not lead to an FQHC visit within the next 24 hours or at the soonest available appointment. 
Also effective January 1, 2019:
  • FQHCs can receive payment for 20 minutes or more of chronic care management or general behavioral health integration services when HCPCS code G0511 is billed alone or with another payable service. I hope you saw the new care management code for psychiatric care management (same link for info):
  • FQHCs can receive payment for psychiatric Collaborative Care Model (CoCM) services when 70 minutes or more of initial psychiatric CoCM services or 60 minutes or more of subsequent psychiatric CoCM services are furnished and G0512 is billed either alone or with other payable services on an FQHC claim.
For more information, see the CMS website here
Comments Requested on Healthy People 2030 Objectives
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is soliciting written comments on the proposed objectives for Healthy People 2030 (HP2030). This public comment period will give members of the public the opportunity to propose their own objectives. Deadline, January 17th.
2019 National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Programs Accepting Applications Until February 21
The NHSC Loan Repayment Program (NHSC LRP) offers licensed primary care clinicians in eligible disciplines the opportunity to receive loan repayment up to $50,000 in exchange for at least two years at an NHSC-approved site in a designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA).
More info in the 2019 Application and Program Guidance (NHSC LRP) (PDF - 550 KB).
*New in 2019*: Substance Use Disorder Program: To combat the nation’s opioid crisis, the Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program (SUD Workforce LRP) offers eligible clinicians up to $75,000 in student loan repayment in exchange for a three-year commitment to provide substance use disorder treatment services at NHSC-approved sites.
This program is available to more professionals, including pharmacists and registered nurses. For more information, refer to the fact sheet and 2019 Application and Program Guidance (NHSC SUD Workforce LRP) (PDF - 573 KB). Visit the Health Workforce Connector to see if your current employer is already approved which then makes you eligible to apply for loan repayment
Apply here.
National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW).  
January 22—27, 2019

NDAFW is a national health observance designed to equip schools and communities with the materials and tools they need to educate young people about the effects of drugs on their brain, body and behavior.
Year of Cessation
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) has designated 2019 as the Year of Cessation. From beginning to end, the Year of Cessation emphasizes efforts to help people who smoke quit. Each quarter will focus on different themes related to smoking cessation, withe the first quarter focused on increasing quit attempts amongst those who smoke. More information and additional resources can be found here.
Million Hearts
The National Association of County and City Health Officials announced a funding opportunity for local, state, tribal, and territorial public health departments, or their designee, to enhance efforts to prevent cardiovascular disease and implement Million Hearts® 2022 strategies in their community. CDC and NACCHO will provide tools and resources, optional technical assistance, and subject matter expertise. The application deadline is January 17th.
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.


Healthcare Headlines

How Can Transgender Southerners Get Better Healthcare?
A new report from the Campaign for Southern Equality and Western NC Community Health Services examines the specific barriers faced by transgender people who live in the South.
USDA: Food stamps will be funded through February
The Trump administration says benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, will be funded through February should the government shutdown continue.

FDA says most food inspections halted amid shutdown
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it has suspended all routine domestic food facility inspections amid the partial government shutdown. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told The Washington Post that he is putting together a plan to resume inspections of facilities that are deemed "high-risk."


Funding Opportunities

AmeriCorps VISTA Seeking Proposals for Community Projects
January 14 
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is a federal agency that provides grants and resources for civic engagement and service through two signature volunteer programs, Senior Corps and AmeriCorps.  Rural communities, Indian country and areas of concentrated poverty are among the priority populations for AmeriCorps VISTA, a federal anti-poverty program that provides short-term support for organizations developing long-term solutions.  Projects must be developed in accordance with four core principles:  1) an anti-poverty focus, 2) community empowerment, 3) sustainable solutions, and 4) capacity building.

FY 19 Rural Communities Opioid Response Program – Planning
HRSA/FORHP announced a second round of the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (Planning). The purpose of this program is to support treatment for and prevention of substance use disorder, including opioid use disorder, in rural communities.  In FY 18, HRSA made 95 awards and in FY 19, HRSA anticipates making approximately 120 awards.  The current Planning awardees can be found on the HRSA website.  Any domestic organization forming a consortium of four or more members in a rural community may be eligible to apply for funding.  More information on eligibility and requirements can be found in the Notice of Funding Opportunity.
Interested applicants may attend a live technical assistance webinar on Friday, December 7, 2018 from 2:00 to 3:00 PM EST.
For further details on how to access this webinar, please see page (ii) in the Notice of Funding Opportunity on
Applications are due on January 15, 2019, with a program start date of June 1, 2019. Please contact with additional questions. 
RWJF: Health and Climate Solutions
February 8
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is seeking proposals from public and non-profit entities for projects that improve community health while also addressing climate change adaptation or mitigation.  Communities vulnerable to effects of climate change can propose projects that focus on one or more of a range of factors that affect health—including, but not limited to: air quality, energy sources, transportation or mobility design, food and water systems, housing, and health systems.  Because rural economies depend on outdoor industries such as agriculture, timber, recreation, and sport, the 2018 National Climate Assessment predicts a decline in productivity and revenue for rural areas due to effects of severe climate change.
Rural Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence and Stalking Program
February 14
The Office on Violence Against Women at the U.S. Department of Justice will make 50 awards for a total investment of $35 million to enhance the safety of rural victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking and to support projects uniquely designed to address and prevent these crimes in rural areas.
Environmental Justice Small Grants Program
February 15
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will make 50 awards of up to $30,000 each to help underserved communities address local environmental and public health issues.  The grants support projects that engage, educate, and empower local residents – particularly in minority, low income, rural, tribal, indigenous, and homeless populations – in understanding environmental issues, building consensus, and developing strategies to address them. 

Advanced Nursing Education Nurse Practitioner Residency Program
March 4. 
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will make 20 awards for total funding of $20 million to eligible schools of nursing, nurse managed health clinics, academic health centers, state or local governments, and other private or public non-profit entities.  The purpose of the program is to prepare nurse practitioners for primary care practice, with a preference for Nurse Practitioner Residency programs that benefit rural or underserved populations. 

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. 
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.

The Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the opportunity to apply for funding under the Connecting Kids to Coverage HEALTHY KIDS 2019 Outreach and Enrollment Cooperative Agreement Program. The purpose of this program is to increase the participation of eligible, uninsured children in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Grants awarded under the cooperative agreement will fund outreach and enrollment strategies aimed at educating families about the availability of Medicaid and CHIP and directly assisting families with the application and renewal process.  For more information and to apply for funding, please visit 

SBIRT Program for Women of Reproductive Age Misusing Opioids in Rural Primary Care Settings
Opioid misuse by women during their reproductive years presents a unique opportunity for public health programs to intervene and not only reduce harms to young women, but also to unborn and newborn babies. There is a particular need for this focus in rural areas and to use approaches that meet the unique needs of women. The screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment services (SBIRT) is an evidence-based approach that is widely used in substance abuse care settings. However, it is not widely applied in women’s health primary care settings. This initiative calls for the development of an innovative gender-informed opioids programs in primary care settings for women who misuse opioids living in rural areas using the SBIRT approach and evaluate its outcomes.
Grantees will modify, implement and evaluate the SBIRT approach to take a rural-sensitive and approach that meet the unique needs of women. Adaptation of SBIRT may include rural specific access issues and identification of other critical linkages to services from multiple sectors including but not limited to legal assistance; law enforcement; mental health services; substance abuse treatments; and housing.
Entities should demonstrate an impactful relationship with rural communities serving women of childbearing age. Community Health Centers are encouraged to apply.

Summer Food Service Program


Workforce Development

New Tool! Measuring Health Center Staff Engagement
What does employee engagement look like at your health center? There is only one way to find out for sure, with an employee engagement survey. Staffpulse is a complete, easy-to-use and affordable online system designed specifically to assess health center staff satisfaction and opinions, which can help health centers reduce turnover.

STAR Center – Clinician Burnout Assessment Tool  

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!
Community Health Centers are a unique, growing area of the health care industry. Community Health Centers offer many dynamic career opportunities for dedicated individuals who want to make a difference in their communities. You will also 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

AgriSafe: Using Future Search to Bring Stakeholders Together
Wednesday, January 23 at 1:00 pm ET
In December 2018, the STAND (Stakeholder Team up for Action in New York Dairy) Workshop brought together diverse agricultural stakeholders to begin addressing the issue of toxic stress among farmers. Using Future Search methodologies, the group worked together to understand historical perspectives of the issue as well as current trends. The workshop concluded with the development of common ground goals for the future and action items supporting those goals. The AgriSafe Network will hold this one-hour webinar to discuss the Future Search method and process, and the outcomes of this workshop.  
Families USA Health Action Conference 2019
January 24-26, 2019
Washington, DC
Families USA Health Action Conference 2019 will bring together consumer activists and policymakers to inform, engage, and inspire America’s health care agenda. Attendees will have the opportunity to network with experts and health care professionals from across the country and assess the impact of their current advocacy strategies. Learn more about Health Action Conference 2019.
"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
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 Opening Soon!
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

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