NAO Update
Provided as a NAO member benefit
February 12, 2013

1. From the Executive Director's Desk
Hill Visits with House Labor-HHS Subcommittee on Appropriations
I had a chance to meet with a number of the Members of the House Labor-HHS Subcommittee on Appropriations last week to discuss AHEC funding for the continuation of FY13 and for FY14. As we all know, and was confirmed during our meetings, there is a great deal that is still uncertain at present, namely:

  • On March 1: "Sequestration" could occur, which means significant cuts to the entire government might happen, unless Congress acts. If they don't act, then on March 1, $1.2 trillion in "sequestration" or across the board cuts will occur to virtually every federal program. While these cuts will vary in size, no discretionary programs are exempted.
  • The FY13 Budget, which is under a Continuing Resolution that expires on 3/27/13, will likely be continued for an undetermined period of time, though it could be through to the end of Federal Fiscal Year 2103.
  • The FY14 Budget still needs to be addressed and work on that won't start until the issues regarding Sequestration and the expiring Continuing Resolution are addressed.
  • The President's budget proposal still needs to be delivered to Congress. Originally, the budget for fiscal year 2014 had been scheduled for release on Feb. 4, 2013, though estimates place the FY14 release possibly as late as March.

As you can tell, there are many moving and uncertain parts to the funding process for the Federal Budget and for the AHEC Program for FY13 and FY14. The NAO Public Policy Leadership Team is hard at work monitoring the process and we will be in touch at the appropriate time regarding making calls to your Congressional Members in support of AHEC funding. Additionally, for those of you coming to Washington, D.C. for the April 9-12 NAO Spring Conference, the NAO Public Policy Leadership Team will have materials ready for you in advance of the conference.

In terms of my Hill visits last week, a few themes emerged that you may want to consider: 

  • There seems to be strong recognition of the need for our program, our work, and its impact nationally, though the budgetary and financial issues are the primary focus areas right now, and until some of those pieces are addressed, there is a little bit of inertia occurring.
  • The NAO/ATrACC Veteran's Mental Health initiative was very highly received and recognized as an extremely important national program—and which highlights the capacity and skill of our national network. If you have any interest in engaging in the Vet's MH initiative or wish to learn more, please contact the ATrACC Team: via phone at 414-369-5682 or e-mail at The Vet's MH Initiative is extremely important for the AHEC Program, NAO, and primarily and of course, for those who served in the Armed Services.
  • The following focus areas continue to be vitally important and were reinforced in dialogue with Health Legislative Aides:
    • Interdisciplinary Education and Interprofessional Practice
    • The increasing need for Community Health Workers and Navigators
    • Expansion of a diverse healthcare workforce
    • Linking Primary Care and Public Health
    • Implementation of ACA activities (though not supported in all states)

I look forward to hearing from you with any thoughts or questions you may have regarding the Federal Budgeting process and our efforts at securing AHEC Funding for the future.

Primary Health Care Access: 30 Million New Patients and 11 Months to Go: Who Will Provide Their Primary Care?
A congressional hearing, "Primary Health Care Access: 30 Million New Patients and 11 Months to Go: Who Will Provide Their Primary Care?," was held on January 29, 2013 by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee's Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging. The hearing focused on primary care shortages and geographic maldistributions that will be exacerbated by the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. This report, from Chairman Bernard Sanders (VT), Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, is terrific, and I urge you all to read it here. We did try to visit with Senator Sanders last week while in Washington, though we were unable to schedule an appointment. We will continue to follow up and seek to meet with him to reinforce the important role of the AHEC Program in addressing provider shortages.

Guiding Veterans 'Over the Hump' of PTSD
Here's an article from The Jambar, the student newspaper of the Youngstown State University in which Noreen Moderalli, Center director of the Eastern Ohio AHEC, is referenced in terms of a training her Center did regarding post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans returning from combat. It's a good, quick read.

Last week a link to information regarding the impact of the Affordable Care Act on rural America apparently did not work; my apologies. Here is another link to that same article that should work:

Help Wanted!
The job posting for the NAO Communications Consultant is here. Should you wish to apply or know someone who might be interested (please share widely) in this part-time position, please send (or have them send) a resume and brief cover letter to me ( expressing their interest in the position by February 26, 2013. The Communications Committee Co-Chairs and interested committee members and I will work together to identify qualified candidates and then undertake the interview process, with the hopes of having our Communications Consultant on board by early to mid-March 2013. I'm thrilled about this, and may thanks to the Communications Committee for all their hard work in helping to move this forward.

Have a great week (from under a ton of snow from Blizzard Nemo)!


2. The NAO Spring Conference April 9 - 12, 2013
The event will take place at the Sheraton Crystal City in Arlington, VA. Please watch your e-mail for registration and meeting agenda information. We look forward to seeing you at the conference.

3. Funding Opportunities
American Indian College Fund: Provides scholarships to American Indian and Alaska Native undergraduate Tribal College students. Deadline: May 31, 2013. For more information:

Health Professions Extern Program: Indian Health Service - Provides externship opportunities for Indian Health Service Scholarship recipients, as well as other health professions students. Deadline: March 1, 2013. For more information:

4. New VMH CE Toolkit Available Online!
Participating in the Veterans Mental Health Project? Have you looked at the NEW online toolkit yet? A-TrACC updated and reorganized the training materials from last year's Train-the-Trainer workshops and posted them on the website. These resources minimize the staff time and investment needed to offer these trainings, making it easier for AHECs of all sizes – even those with only 1 or 2 employees – to participate.

What is in the toolkit?

  • Guidelines and forms for collecting and reporting the registration & evaluation data required by this project
  • Program planning materials and resources
  • Learning objectives, agenda, slides, speaker notes and handouts for 1-hour and 4-hour trainings

The fully developed optional training curricula have been pre-approved by the Post-Graduate Institute for Medicine (PIM) for 1 and 4 hours credit respectively for physicians, nurses, social workers, marriage counselors, and family therapists.

Click here to check out the toolkit. Email with questions or feedback.

5. Next A-TrACC Webinars

Project Orientation – Veterans Mental Health Project
February 13
This orientation is for 1) All Centers new to the Project, 2) Centers with new staff and 3) Centers wanting a training refresher.

It will be presented in two segments:

  • 1:00 - 2:30 pm: Experience a 1-hour VMH Training Simulation Using the Toolkit Curriculum
  • BREAK (20 minutes)
  • 2:50 - 4:00 pm: Explore Toolkit Resources and Learn How to Meet the Project Evaluation & Reporting Requirements

To prepare for this learning experience, please download and complete the sample Participant Registration Form which will be discussed in the webinar. Also print the Participant Evaluation Form so you can complete it at the end of the 1-hour Training simulation. To access both click here.

The Suicidal Patient in Primary Care - Prevention Resources for Providers. Peggy West, PhD, MSW, Senior Advisor, Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) and Julie Goldstein Grumet, PhD, Director of Prevention and Practice, SPRC.
VMH Webinar 307T-A.
February 20, 2 - 3 pm Eastern. Register.

Mining HRSA Performance Measures
This 2-part webinar will help AHEC center staff recognize and use DATA THEY ALREADY COLLECT to evaluate program performance and communicate with stakeholders. With input from over 30 AHECers who participated in work groups in Nov/Dec/Jan, A-TrACC developed tools that identify key data elements, evaluation measurements, and communication strategies for HCPP, CBSE and CE/PES.

Session A: Using Performance Measure Data to Improve Evaluation & Stakeholder Communication
February 26, 3 – 4 pm EST. Register

Session B: Digging Deeper into the Data Nuggets
March 19, 3 – 4 pm EST. Register


Mission Statement: The National AHEC Organization supports and advances the AHEC Network to improve health by leading the nation in the recruitment, training and retention of a diverse health workforce for underserved communities.

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Executive Director Rob Trachtenberg | 414-908-4953 |

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