1. From the Executive Director's Desk
On Tuesday March 5, 2013, the House Appropriations Committee's Labor-Health and Human Services-Education (L-HHS) Subcommittee met to hear testimony from the nation's public
health and research organizations. The major theme of the hearing was the newly enacted sequester cuts and their affect on the activities of these agencies, especially since
the FY 2013 appropriations process is still ongoing and the President's FY 2014 budget request has not yet been submitted. The sequester causes each program under their
supervision to be cut by approximately 5%, with very little administrative flexibility. Agency leaders also had to answer for the Secretary's request to tap individual programs
at HHS for up to 3.2% each, when the law only authorizes her to tap 1%. Members, led by Rep. Simpson, were insistent that no increase in this authority was necessary. The
hearing also highlighted sequestration's impact on health services, including a 2% cut to all doctors, health plans, and hospitals. No specific AHEC questions were asked,
even though they were submitted. We will work with the offices to get those questions submitted for the record and provide more information to you all once we know more.
Administration agency heads witnesses included:
- Mary Wakefield, administrator, Health Resources and Services Administration
- Francis S. Collins, director, National Institutes of Health
- Tom Frieden, director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Carolyn M. Clancy, director, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
- Patrick Conway, director, Center for Clinical Standards and Quality, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
House Continuing Resolution FY2013
House Appropriations Chairman Rogers released the text of its version of the FY 2013 continuing resolutionon Tuesday, March 5, 2013. The bill funds the government at the Budget Control Act's FY 2013 $1.047 trillion cap. However, funding within the bill would
still be subject to cuts under sequestration–bringing the total down to $982 billion. The CR includes a full-year Defense Appropriations bill, as well as a full-year
Military Construction/Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill. The bill provides level funding for most everything else, including the Labor-HHS bill, not including sequestration
cuts. No word yet on when the Senate will release its version. Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski has publicly expressed interest in developing an omnibus that would
include the 12 individual spending bills instead of a CR. We will monitor this as well and provide you with updates as we get them.
Back to Washington, D.C.
I'll be in Washington, D.C. again this week. I will be meeting with members of the Senate Labor-HHS Subcommittee on Appropriations to discuss AHEC Funding for FY13 (CR) and
AHEC Funding for FY14 and will be a guest in the evening at a private dinner hosted by Dr. Louis Sullivan of the Sullivan Alliance. Dr. Sullivan served as the Secretary of
the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President
George H. W. Bush and founded the Morehouse
School of Medicine. Discussion at the dinner will focus on strategies to improve the nation's health, particularly minorities and the undeserved. I'll provide an update
of the meeting next week.
Outcome Messaging: Stakeholder Communication Collection
Check out this new resource on the NAO website by clicking here. AHECs are sharing tools they use for communicating program outputs and outcomes to stakeholders. To submit your examples, e-mail Rob Trachtenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Stakeholder Communication Collection is located in the website Resource Center, found under “Resources.”
Fiscal Year 2013 Appropriations Update
Congress is trying to move forward with enacting a funding bill for the entire federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year (FY). The current continuing resolution
expires on March 27 and Congress must pass a bill to keep the government operating beyond that date.
On Wednesday, March 6 the House of Representatives passed H.R. 933, which provides for a continuing resolution for most appropriations bills (such as L-HHS and Agriculture)
for the rest of the fiscal year, while inserting finalized FY 2013 appropriations bills for: 1) Defense and 2) Military Construction-VA. The entire bill is reduced by the 5.1%
sequestration cut, plus a negligible .098% reduction to keep it under the mandated budget cap.
The L-HHS section of H.R. 933 has very few anomalies and essentially provides funding for all programs such as NIH, CDC, HRSA, SAMHSA, and OMH (and other Public Health
Service agencies) at the same level of funding as FY 2012, minus the 5.1% reduction caused by sequestration. Instructions in the bill provide relatively little flexibility for
an agency to shift money away from a program that was funded in FY 2012. That, coupled with the administration's view that sequestration cuts should be applied across-the-board,
should reduce the incidence of wholesale changes in the funding of current programs.
The Senate is expected to take up its effort to provide funding for the remainder of the fiscal year soon. It is not completely clear how it will proceed. The Senate may
consider the House-passed measure, or craft its own bill for debate and passage and then work out the differences in their bill with the recently-passed House version.
Also, it has been reported in recent days that the president has reached out to rank and file members of both parties in the House and Senate in an effort to move forward
a discussion on a greater budget deal that could provide an alternative to sequestration. They are meeting this week and we will keep you posted on that effort.
NAO Communications Consultant
I received a few resumes in response to the newly developed NAO Communications Consultant position. Working with the NAO Communications Committee, I hope to conduct interviews
this week or early next, and then name the individual who will be working part-time to advance NAO's communication's strategy. As soon as there is any new information, I will
let you all know.
Have a great week! Only 4 weeks until the NAO Spring Conference; looking forward to seeing YOU there!
2. Hurry! Register Now for the NAO Spring Conference April 9-12, 2013
The event will take place at the Sheraton Crystal City in Arlington, VA. Please click here to get registration details and to register. We look forward to seeing you at the conference!
3. National AHEC Week March 18-22, 2013
There are many ways you can celebrate National AHEC Week! Click here for several ideas.
3. From ATRACC
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 B: Digging Deeper into the Data Nuggets led by Amy Dunkak, Executive Director, Northeast Oregon AHEC, and Lori Millner, Ph.D., Executive Director,
Texas AHEC East DFW Region.
March 19, 3 – 4 pm EST. Register
VMH Webinar 309T-A. AHECS & Health Centers: Working Together to Improve the Health of Underserved Communities and Vulnerable Populations – Caring for
Veterans and their Families. Donald L. Weaver, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, NACHC, and Andrew Behrman, President & CEO, Florida Association CHCs, will present this
webinar. They will discuss
- the community-based structure of the family of health centers covered under Section 330 of the PHS Act;
- resources for identifying health centers in your AHEC service region;
- potential opportunities for AHEC/primary care associations/health center collaboration in general;
- steps you can take to collaborate with health centers and PCAs to improve the health of veterans and their families, and
- specific examples from AHEC/PCA/CHC collaborations in Florida on the AHEC Veterans Mental Health Project continuing education initiative.
March 28, 3 to 4 pm EST. Register
4. Opportunities and Trainings by Other NAO Partners
Webinar: Fostering and Expanding Peer Support Services for Service Members, Veterans, and their Families (SMVH) Wednesday, March 27, 2013; 1:00–2:30 p.m. (EST)
Peer support has been recognized as an important strategy in supporting the behavioral health needs of SMVF. Individuals with experience provide a bridge to services and help
ease SMVF transition to their communities. Peers with military experience and experience with recovery from trauma, mental health, or addiction issues offer valuable knowledge
and skills to assist others. This support can be provided through a variety of established peer models. Many states have already begun to bring their peer initiatives together
across systems and now stakeholders must assess how best to work together. Coordinated systems of peer support services for SMVF can succeed with collaboration and consensus.
This webinar will include discussions related to best practice resources and tools, how communities can build on commonalities, and the many roles peers play. The presentation
will be followed by a question and answer session. To register in advance of the event,
please click here. If you have any questions about your registration, please contact Michelle Cleary, Project Associate, at email@example.com.
This thermometer shows how we are doing in reaching our goal of providing CE to 10,000 health professionals by September.