, ,

Giving Days happening in May!

May is here, which means warmer weather is on its way, and school is almost out of session for summer break!  But it also marks the annual kickoff of a very important season of giving  – Nebraska’s Community Giving Days.  During specific days in the month, communities all around the state rally around hundreds of nonprofits to help raise money and awareness for their organizations.  The Giving Days is a 24-hour event where excitement and energy is generated around giving to local organizations.

However, choosing a nonprofit to give to can be intimidating.  Which one do you choose?  This year, we at HCAN would like for you to consider giving to any one of our Nebraska community health centers. In Nebraska, the community health centers served over 94,000 patients last year.  Nebraska’s community health centers ensure that all individuals have access to high-quality medical, dental, and behavioral health care, regardless of ability to pay.   Health centers are the safety net providers in the state, ensuring comprehensive, community-based, culturally appropriate healthcare in a compassionate and respectful environment.

Ninety percent of our patients are low income, and one out of every four uninsured individuals in our state receives care at a health center.  In fact, Nebraska has the second highest rate of uninsured patients across all health centers in the nation, with nearly 50% of our patients lacking health insurance.

When thinking of where you will be donating to this year, please consider giving a donation to any one of the community health centers in Nebraska.  Even the smallest gift can make a big difference to the patients we serve.  Your gift will directly help those vulnerable populations who would otherwise not have access to primary and preventative care.  For many patients, health centers may be the only source of health care services available in their community. You have a chance with your donation to make a powerful, yet critical difference in many lives.

During the month of May and the Giving Days to come, please take a moment to find your community’s Giving Day at http://www.nonprofitam.org/?page=GivingDays and choose one of Nebraska’ community health centers. Your donation is appreciated!

-Angela Lindstrom

Integrated Marketing Director

Health Center Association of Nebraska

DHHS announces change in contract recommendations for Heritage Health

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Medicaid and Long-Term Care today announced a change in its recommendation for one of the three managed care organizations previously announced to administer the upcoming Heritage Health program.

A limited re-evaluation completed for one component of the Request for Proposal responses has resulted in WellCare of Nebraska joining Nebraska Total Care (Centene) and United HealthCare Community Plan as the three managed care organizations selected to integrate physical and behavioral health care and pharmacy services for Medicaid recipients.  The original intent to contract was announced February 5.

WellCare of Nebraska replaces Aetna Better Health of Nebraska.  The other plans that had originally submitted bids were Arbor Health Plan and Meridian Health.

Calder Lynch, Director of the Division of Medicaid and Long-Term Care, said the corporate overview section was re-evaluated, in consultation with the Nebraska Department of Administrative Services, due to a scoring error isolated to that section.

Lynch said state law provides for a fair and competitive bidding process.  The Department of Administrative Services will execute final contracts with the chosen managed care organizations.  Once contracts are awarded, the health plans will undergo a thorough readiness review before they begin providing services to Medicaid recipients, with an expected start date of January 1, 2017.

Procurement materials are available for public review at http://das.nebraska.gov/materiel/purchasing/5151/5151.html.

For more information about Heritage Health, including procurement materials, a fact sheet, frequently asked questions, and the initial news release visit http://dhhs.ne.gov/heritagehealth.

STAR2 Center News: 2016 Recruitment and Retention Data Profile Launch

STAR² Center staff are excited to announce the release of of the updated health center recruitment and retention Data Profiles on Tuesday, March 22, 2016. The Data Profiles reflect the most up to date health center data and compare an individual health center’s data with national benchmarks in recruitment and retention. Profiles will be sent to health center CEOs and are meant to inform self assessment by health center workforce teams.

Help inform health centers about this free resource by including our brief informational blurbs about the Data Profile launch in your member communications.

Feel free to contact us for more information on the Data Profiles and be sure to check out our Featured Event section below for details on our informational webinar that will accompany the launch.

Collecting Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Data in Health Centers

On February 1, HRSA issued a Program Assistance Letter (PAL) detailing proposed changes to the Uniform Data System (UDS). Suggested changes to Tables 3A and 3B include reporting sexual orientation and gender identity (SO/GI) data. To help health centers prepare for collecting this data, the Education Center is planning a series of trainings and resources on how and why to collect SO/GI data. We are having a webinar on April 5 (see below) which will be archived and available for viewing on our website on-demand.

“Collecting Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Data in Electronic Health Records: Taking the Next Steps” is a brief designed for health centers to help understand why collecting SO/GI data is important to providing quality care to LGBT people, what questions to ask, and how to incorporate SO/GI questions into the EHR. View/download the brief [PDF].

For more information, visit our website’s Collecting Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Data Topic Page.

DEADLINE TODAY at Midnight! Providers must attest to 2015 EHR Incentive Program Requirements by March 11, 206 at 11:59pm EST

The attestation deadline for the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program is tomorrow.

Eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) participating in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program must attest using the Medicare & Medicaid EHR Incentive Program Registration and Attestation System no later than tomorrow, March 11, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Medicaid EHR Incentive Program participants should refer to their respective states for attestation information and deadlines. Certain Medicaid eligible professionals may use the Registration and Attestation System as an alternate attestation method to avoid the Medicare payment adjustment (80 FR 62900 through 62901).

To attest to the EHR Incentive Programs in 2015:

  • Eligible Professionals may select an EHR reporting period of any continuous 90 days from January 1, 2015 (the start of the 2015 calendar year) through December 31, 2015.
  • Eligible Hospitals/CAHs may select an EHR reporting period of any continuous 90 days from October 1, 2014 (the start of the federal fiscal year) through December 31, 2015.

Attestation Resources

For assistance with attestation, please review the following CMS resources:

For More Information

Visit the Registration and Attestation page on the CMS EHR Incentive Programs website.

For attestation questions, please contact the EHR Information Center Help Desk at (888) 734-6433/ TTY: (888) 734-6563 and select option 1. The hours of operation are Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. EST

CMS Region 7 Call on Accountable Health Communities on Tuesday, March 1 at 1pm CT (12noon MT)

On Tuesday, March 1st, at 1:00 pm, the Kansas City Regional Office will be holding a stakeholder call to discuss the recently announced Accountable Health Communities (AHC) Model. The AHC Model is intended to address the critical gap between clinical care and community services in the current healthcare delivery system. Unmet health-related social needs, such as food insecurity and inadequate or unstable housing, may increase the risk of developing chronic conditions, reduce individuals’ ability to manage these conditions, increase health care costs, and lead to avoidable health care utilization. The AHC model will test whether increased awareness of, and access to, services addressing health-related social needs will impact total health care costs and improve the health and quality of care for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries in targeted communities.

CMS will support up to 44 cooperative agreements as part of this model, with awards ranging from up to $1 million in Track 1 of the model, to up to $4.51 million in Track 3.

Eligible applicants are community-based organizations, health care practices, hospitals and health systems, institutions of higher education, local government entities, tribal organizations, and for-profit and not-for-profit local and national entities with the capacity to develop and maintain a referral network with clinical delivery sites and community service providers.  Applicants from all 50 states, U.S. Territories, and the District of Columbia may apply.

Attached, please find a Fact Sheet on the AHC Model. These calls will be for discussion only. As this is an open funding opportunity, we will not be able to answer questions directly over the phone. All questions, however, will be collected and sent to subject matter experts for response. For specific questions not answered in the Fact Sheet or the Funding Opportunity Announcement, you may also send an email to AccountableHealthCommunities@cms.hhs.gov.


What: CMS Region 7 Call on Accountable Health Communities

When: Tuesday, March 1, 2016 @ 1:00 pm Central Time

Call-in #: 1-877-267-1577 / Meeting Number: 999 517 656

URL: https://meetings.cms.gov/orion/joinmeeting.do?MeetingKey=999517656

RSVP Is Not Required

DEADLINE APPROACHING for 340B Re-Certification! Re-certify by March 9, 2016!

340B Recertification Deadline HRSA requires all 340B covered entities to annually recertify their program information in order to continue participation in the 340B Program.  To remain in the 340B Drug Pricing Program and continue purchasing covered outpatient drugs at discounted 340B prices, HRSA grantees must complete the annual 340B recertification by Wednesday, March 9, 2016.

Currently-certified entities have received their username and password necessary for recertification. Entity Authorizing Officials must log into the 340B database, update information as needed and attest to the entity’s compliance with 340B Program requirements.

For more information about the 340B program and to see a 340B Recertification webinar, visit HRSA’s Office of Pharmacy Affairs website. For questions or concerns related to recertification or any other 340B matters, contact ApexusAnswers@340Bpvp.com, 1-888-340-2787 or online at www.340Bpvp.com.

Members sought for state health care professional boards

The State Board of Health is seeking members to serve on several health care Boards. Professional boards are responsible for granting license privileges to health care providers. Terms are five years long and run through November 30, 2020, and then members would be eligible for reappointment to a five-year term. The following boards have vacancies:

Board of Advance Practice Registered Nurses: Clinical Nurse Specialist
Board of Alcohol and Drug Counseling: Alcohol & Drug Counselor Only, Public
Board of Audiology & Speech-Language Pathology: Public
Board of Cosmetology, Electrology, Esthetics, Nail Technology, and Body Art: Tanning Salon Owner, Public
Board of Funeral Directing and Embalming: Public
Board of Medical Nutrition Therapy: Public
Board of Mental Health Practice: Licensed Mental Health Practitioner
Board of Occupational Therapy: Public
Perfusion Committee: Perfusionist
Board of Psychology: Public (partial term)
Board of Registered Environmental Health Specialists: Public (partial term)

People interested in serving on a board can get an application by contacting the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health, Licensure Unit/RPQI, P.O. Box 95026, Lincoln, NE 68509-5026; by email at monica.gissler@nebraska.gov; or by phone at (402) 471-6515. Public member applicants must be at least 19 years old, be a Nebraska resident for at least one year, must not hold an active credential in a profession subject to the Uniform Credentialing Act, must not be or have been employed by a facility subject to the Health Care Facility Act, and must not be the parent, child, spouse or household member of a person currently regulated by the board to which the appointment is being made.

Application deadline is Jan. 11. Interviews will be conducted in Lincoln on Jan. 25.

PCOs seeking input on recruitment efforts, to inform changes in HPSA scoring

As you may know, HRSA is currently implementing significant changes to how HPSA scores are calculated, which will impact health centers’ ability to recruit and retain National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and other providers.  A group of State Primary Care Organizations (PCOs) is working closely with HRSA to provide input on these proposed changes, and as part of this process they are seeking information on several issues involved in the recruitment process, including timeframes, and the role of HPSAs and the NHSC.  To provide this input, please complete this brief survey: brief survey.

Several Final Rules Issued by the VA and CMS

Last week there were several final rules released of importance to health centers. The Department of Veterans Affairs released its final rule on the Veteran’s Choice Program, which finalizes many of the details of the program, allowing veterans to receive care at non-VA facilities, including health centers.   CMS released two final rules with comment period of note to health centers, the Final Rule with comment period on Methods for Assuring Access to Covered Medicaid Services and the CY 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule, which includes the final policy to allow health centers to bill for the Medicare Chronic Care Management fee starting January 1, 2016.  NACHC provided comment on both of these in the proposed comment periods and we are currently reviewing these rules for health center specific issues.   You can follow these and other regulations NACHC is are reviewing at www.nachc.org/regulatory.