NAO Update
Provided as a NAO member benefit
July 22, 2013

1. From the Executive Director's Desk
Senate Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2014
As you may recall, just under two weeks ago the Senate Appropriations Committee considered and passed its fiscal year (FY) 2014 appropriations bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (L-HHS). The bill includes a discretionary funding level of $165 billion, an increase of nearly $8 billion over the fiscal year 2013 pre-sequestration (enacted) levels.

The relatively higher funding level in the bill was made possible by the Senate's more generous budget allocation for the L-HHS bill. In comparison, even though the House has not considered its L-HHS bill, the funding allocation in the House for that measure is only $122 billion—26% lower than the Senate. This low allocation in the House makes it less likely that the House will produce an L-HHS bill, and will help set up the usual annual struggle to finalize this appropriations legislation.

Highlights of the Senate Labor-HHS, Education bill include:

    • $74.6 billion in discretionary spending for the Department of Health and Human Services, an increase of $4.8 billion over the FY 2013 level
    • $6.335 billion in discretionary spending for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an increase of $65 million over the FY 2013 enacted level

Of specific interest to NAO, the bill includes:
Area Health Education Centers

  • The Committee provides $30,025,000 for AHECs, which link university health science centers with community health service delivery systems to provide training sites for students, faculty, and practitioners. The program supports three types of projects: core grants to plan and implement programs; special initiative funding for schools that have previously received AHEC grants; and model programs to extend AHEC programs with 50 percent Federal funding. The Committee is pleased by HRSA's collaboration with SAMHSA to develop and replicate community health worker programs that integrate primary care and behavioral health. HRSA should include in the fiscal year 2015 budget justification a report on progress made in this initiative.
  • The Senate could debate this bill before the August recess; however, it is more likely that the measure will receive attention in September. At that point, Senate leadership will decide whether to bring the bill up for consideration or hold the committee-passed bill for negotiations with the House. Either way, there is likely to be at least a short-term continuing resolution to start the October 1 fiscal year.

NAO and the Partnership for Primary Care Workforce
On July 8, 2013, the Partnership for Primary Care Workforce (PPCW) hosted a briefing in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C. entitled "Primary Care: Addressing a Diverse Range of Healthcare Challenges." The briefing outlined the importance of the primary care workforce and how it plays a vital role in the complex health system by addressing the needs of a diverse range of challenges. The briefing featured how a strong primary care workforce promotes care coordination, strengthens care for patients in community-based settings, and advances health care for veterans and special populations. More than 50 congressional staff and other attendees participated in the briefing.

Among the presenters was Monica Mix, MD, a resident physician in the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Primary Care Residency Program; Nilesh Kalyanaraman, MD, chief medical officer, Health Care for the Homeless, Baltimore, MD; Michael Murphy, DO, primary care physician, Bill Hefner VA Medical Center, Salisbury, NC; and Luis Padilla, MD, medical director, Unity Health Center, Washington, D.C.

The speakers highlighted the perils of expected shortages, observing that the number of medical graduates soon will exceed the number of available residency training positions.

The AHEC program was highlighted during the briefing and in the issue briefs that were distributed to attendees. Commentary included how AHECs could accomplish the goals of primary care through their work in healthcare workforce recruitment, retention in rural underserved areas, and training of complex healthcare issues.

The Partnership for Primary Care Workforce is a coalition of professional, provider, and educational organizations of which NAO is a member. NAO participation in the PPCW effectively complements our national advocacy strategy and has helped NAO establish a number of valuable organizational relationships.

New NAO Website Homepage
I hope you all had a chance to check out the new NAO website homepage. I think it looks quite good. Mike Plumb, our communications consultant, did an excellent job of streamlining the content on the previous homepage and created a page that I think will be useful and accessible. Mike will be adding pictures to the rotation shortly, and I'll try to update my blog section 1-2 times per week; please take a look. I look forward to your feedback:

VA Mental Health Summits
"Meeting the mental health care needs of Veterans and their families is among one of the highest priorities for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). While VA continues to expand mental health resources to meet the needs of Veterans, truly Veteran-centric, recovery-oriented care requires active collaboration and coordination with partners in the community." You may recall a similar note in a recent Monday Update regarding the VA Mental Health Summits. The link here provides a good deal of information regarding summits in each of the states should you wish to participate.

Video Conferencing for NAO
The NAO Board has been discussing procuring NAO's own Adobe Connect system for conducting webinars and national and committee trainings. At the April 9, 2013 NAO Board meeting in Crystal City, board member Marty Schaller and Executive Director of the Northeastern WI Area Health Education Center generously offered to pay for the Adobe Connect system for NAO for one year. This is cost of approximately $400.

As we worked to implement the Adobe Connect system, we discovered a few administrative challenges:

  • A dedicated separate computer was required to run while an Adobe Connect webinar was being conducted
  • A dedicated staff person would have to manage the computer while webinars were conducted
  • A central administrative person would be required to manage the calendar of webinars

If you/your center have an interest and the capacity to mange the Adobe Connect system for the NAO Network for the next year, please let me know by Friday, July 26 end of day and I will work with you to implement the system.
In the event that we do not get respondents we will utilize the "Go-to-Meeting" system, which is self-managed.

Have a great week and stay cool and hydrated (from the blazingly hot Northeast)!

2. From A-TrACC
VMH Training Reports Needed ASAP!
Thanks to those who have sent their data and to those who have contacted us about when we can expect your reports. If we have not yet heard from you, please contact us and/or send your reports to ASAP. Not sure if your AHEC has outstanding reports? These spreadsheets list all trainings for which we still need data.
Click here for a list of trainings by date.
Click here for a list of trainings by state.
A-TrACC cannot accept reporting after September 29, 2013. If your training is in July, August or September, we must get reports as soon as you complete the follow up evaluation.

Still Climbing!
As of July 18th, reports received show that VMH CE training has reached 7,433 health professionals!! Keep up the fantastic work and sending your reports to The goal is in sight!


3. HHS Releases Updated List of Health Professional Shortage Areas
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released its updated list of designated primary medical care, mental health, and dental health professional shortage areas (HPSAs). As a substantial number of designation and withdrawal requests come from the Primary Care Office (PCO) in state health departments and are reviewed and updated as necessary annually by HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the list highlights provider shortages by demography, geography, and institution, identifying areas in which National Health Service Corps (NHSC) professionals may serve and entities that include clinical training sites in HPSAs may receive priority for HRSA residency training program grants. Please note that HPSAs are currently updated on an ongoing basis based on the identification of new areas, population groups, and facilities and sites that meet the eligibility criteria or that no longer meet eligibility criteria and/or are being replaced by another type of designation. As such, additional HPSAs may have been designated. These newly designated HPSAs will be included in the next publication and are currently included in the daily updates posted here. For further information regarding shortage designation, please view the HRSA website here. Frequently updated information on HPSAs is also available here.

4. Recommended Reading
A Healthcare News article features New Mexico's Pathways to Health Careers, Forward NM, and Charles Alfero, Director of Center for Health Innovation, Hidalgo Medical Services. Click here to see it.

5. Northwestern CT AHEC Requesting Proposals from AHECs Interested in Participating in the Youth Mental Health First Aid Corps
NWCTAHEC seeks AHECs to participate in the Youth Mental Health First Aid Corps by serving as the host site for a full-time AmeriCorps member. AmeriCorps members will be trained as Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructors and will implement Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings for a wide cross-section of community members who work with young people.

The Youth Mental Health First Aid Corps is made possible through an award from the Corporation for National and Community Service AmeriCorps National Direct.

Youth Mental Health First Aid is an evidence-based training program that helps individuals and communities respond appropriately to young people who may be experiencing a mental health issue. In the aftermath of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, President Obama and other national, state and local leaders are calling for the widespread implementation of Youth Mental Health First Aid as a strategy to improve access to mental healthcare services for young people suffering from mental illness.

The national network of AHECs is uniquely positioned to provide AmeriCorps members with the resources necessary to bring about positive sustainable change in a community's ability to improve access to mental health care. Building synergy between the AmeriCorps mission of mobilizing volunteers to create solutions to our nation's toughest challenges with the AHEC mission to improve access to health care for vulnerable populations will position AHEC as a national leader responding to pressing community healthcare issues.

Click here to download a copy of the Youth Mental Health First Aid Corps Request for Proposals.

6. Journal of the National AHEC Organization Call for Articles
"AHECs: Successfully Adapting to Meet the Nation's Healthcare Needs"
It's been 30 years since the Journal of the National AHEC Organization began documenting how AHECs have responded to meet the nation's evolving primary healthcare access needs through education, training, and other healthcare workforce initiatives. In this edition we continue this tradition by highlighting how AHECs are once again responding to changes in the fiscal, education, and healthcare environments.

The Editorial Board is looking for articles that address five important topics:

  • Interprofessional Education (IPE)
  • How does providing IPE differ from previous educational activities at your AHEC?
  • What challenges have you overcome and do you have a success story to share?
  • How has this affected health professions student training?
  • The Affordable Care Act
  • What role(s) will your AHEC play in its implementation?
  • Diversity in the Healthcare Workforce
    • How is the workforce changing in terms of demographics, economics, student loan debt burden, and other ways?
    • How do AHECs encourage more diversity in the healthcare workforce?
  • Social Entrepreneurship
    • What does social entrepreneurship mean in an AHEC context?
    • What role does a readiness assessment play for your AHEC in determining whether to pursue a social entrepreneurship strategy?
    • What challenges have you overcome and do you have a success story to share?
  • Social Media
  • What is social media in an AHEC context?
  • How is your AHEC using social media?
  • What is the future for AHEC's use of social media?

Articles on related topics, such as individual and institutional success stories relating to innovative education programs, strategic planning processes with educational partners, and effective evaluation solutions are welcomed.

Please submit drafts, photos, and accompanying materials to

Refer to the NAO website for Journal submission guidelines:

Submission Cover Sheet must be included with the article: www.nationalahec,org/documents/SUBMISSION%20COVER%20SHEET%2022610.pdf

1st Draft Article Submission is due September 15, 2013

7. Support for Breast Health Services
Avon Breast Health Outreach Program
The mission of the Avon Breast Health Outreach Program (BHOP) is to link medically underserved women to breast health education and screening services. Grants are available to community-based nonprofit organizations in the U.S., Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Avon BHOP supports non-medical expenses incurred by funded programs to link underserved women with free or low-cost breast cancer screening services and follow-up care. Approximately $5 million in grant funds will be awarded to around 100 organizations. The majority of the grants will range from $30,000 to $60,000, with an average of $45,000. To ensure that smaller community-based organizations receive funding, at least 40% of the grants will be awarded to organizations with operating budgets under $2,000,000. BHOP will provide at least one grant in every state and two grants in every state where there is an Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. The application deadline is August 23, 2013. Visit the BHOP website to download the request for appplications.

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.

©National AHEC Organization | 7044 S. 13th Street, Oak Creek, WI 53154 | 414-908-4953 x131|
Executive Director Rob Trachtenberg | 414-908-4953 |

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