NAO Update
Provided as a NAO member benefit
May 28, 2013

1. From the Executive Director's Desk
I hope you all had an enjoyable and relaxing Memorial Day Weekend! Below are a number of important items I'd like to share with you.

Washington, D.C. Update
On May 16, 2013, the HPNEC (Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition—of which NAO is a member) hosted a meeting with Dr. Jan Heinrich, Associate Administrator of the Bureau of Health Professions/HRSA. Below please find a brief summarization of her comments, which are important for us to take into account in formulating a future strategic direction for NAO:

Increasing primary care workforce:
-Teaching health centers and expanding residencies in community-based organizations
-Increase focus in primary care through scholarships for disadvantaged students and advanced nursing education traineeship program—targets diversity and gives almost full tuition

Fostering innovations in health professions training:
-New models of collaborative practice
-Examples: National Center for Interprofessional Practice & Education at University of Minnesota, Arizona University, and Arizona State
-Work on better measures and collection of data

Practice and education:
-Link them tighter together
-Report in the works on addressing this gap

Reducing health disparities and increasing workforce diversity:
-Cultural competency training and pipeline programs
-Focus on institutions that are successful
-Example: COE Nursing workforce diversity—community interested in this COE program and recognizes its importance

Enhance geriatric and elder care training/expertise

Improving data collection to inform stakeholders on health workforce issues:
-Area health resource file is a compendium of federal data sources to support health workforce analysis—about to be updated, but downloadable on the HRSA website

Performance measures:
-Conducting longitudinal evaluations of our programs to study how they contribute to the overall supply of the healthcare workforce
-Collect individual data and show impact/outcome—where individuals are practicing post completion of programs, develop an identifier to track students
-Veterans' initiatives program with DOD—Helping vets transition to civilian health centers and become physician assistants
-Recent White House forum on military credentialing and licensing
-AHEC program doing good work in training students on caring for these vulnerable populations (example: Oregon health sciences)

FY14 Federal Funding Update
The House Appropriations Committee approved its FY 2014 302(b) allocations on May 21, 2013 for the 12 annual spending bills. The plan follows the post-sequestration $967 billion spending cap. The Labor-HHS-Ed bill, which funds HRSA, would receive an allocation of $121.8 billion for FY 2014, an 18.6% cut below the FY 2013 post-sequester level (the largest reduction of any of the allocations). If the cut is applied across-the-board, it would result in a $1.1 billion cut to HRSA; however it is unclear at this time how the subcommittee would allocate the cuts. An amendment by Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY) to substitute the GOP's proposed allocation matching the Senate's budget plan and the president's request of $1.058 trillion was defeated by a party-line vote in the committee. Politico has a recap of the markup—it appears that members on both sides are doubtful of the prospect of moving forward with several of the bills that received significant reductions this year.

Community Health Funding Report
Many thanks to Becky Conditt, Director of the West Texas AHEC, for sharing this report with me regarding HRSA "Stepping Up Emphasis on Health Workforce." Please take a look by clicking here; it's a very interesting piece, as many of the key priorities described are highly aligned with work AHECs are doing regularly throughout the country. I'm eager to hear your thoughts.

Together Rx Program
I believe some of you have worked with Together Rx as a means of helping individuals and families obtain prescription medicine. Please see the note regarding a significant change from Together Rx:

Given the rapidly changing healthcare environment, including the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the Board of Together Rx Access has determined that individuals and families who need help obtaining their prescription medicines may be better served by the new health coverage options that will be available through the state and federal health insurance exchanges or expanded Medicaid programs in select states, or by individual company prescription assistance programs that provide medicines for free or at a savings to individuals who qualify.

The decision, therefore, has been made to end the Program at the end of the year. To ease the transition for current cardholders from savings with the Together Rx Access Program to other options, individuals will be able to continue to use their Together Rx Access Card at participating pharmacies until February 28, 2014. After that day, savings will no longer be available with your Together Rx Access Card.

We will also educate cardholders about other great prescription assistance resources, such as

We will begin communicating with all of our cardholders and website visitors in weeks to come. In the interim, since we have worked with your organization, I wanted to reach out to you as soon as possible to share the news.

What we would like to do is be able to provide you, in the near future, with content that you can use to inform your members/constituency about program completion (i.e., through your website, Update/newsletter or direct mail).

Role of Health-Law 'Navigators' Under Fire

Click here to see an interesting article regarding the role of Navigators for those of you who may be pursuing funding to develop a navigator program.

Congratulations to the Maine AHEC Network!
Congratulations to the Maine AHEC Network for their role in producing an award- winning documentary about the American Healthcare system. You can see the article from the Wicasset Newspaper by clicking here. The documentary, Escape Fire, tackles one of the most pressing issues of our time—what can be done to save our broken medical system? I have not seen the documentary yet, but it's on my to-do list.

Have a great week!

2. Special Edition of the Journal of the National AHEC Organization is Now Online!
Congratulations to the Editorial Board of the Journal of the National AHEC Organization on producing a special edition of the Journal that is dedicated to veterans, service members, and their families. This publication, called AHEC Project for the Behavioral Health of Veterans, Service Members, and Their Families, has just been released on the NAO website. Click here to see it. Rob Trachtenberg says, "Thank you, Joel Davidson, Robert Alpino, the editorial board, and all of the authors. You have worked hard to make this vital publication come to fruition. Also, thanks to the staff of Technical Enterprises, Inc., our management company, for helping us throughout the production process. The timely release of this publication couldn't be more appropriate, given the Memorial Day holiday that we have all recently enjoyed."

3. Sorry, No NAO Fall Meeting
Sorry, there will be no Fall Meeting in 2013 and no Spring Policy Days in 2014. Please stay tuned for details on the next time the NAO membership will be together, which will be in Charlotte, NC for the 2014 conference. The NAO leadership has been receiving inquiries about dates for the 2013 Fall Meeting from folks wondering about their fall travel plans and budgets.

4. From A-TrACC
Veterans Mental Health June/July Training Schedule
Click here for the current list of Veterans Mental Health CE programs scheduled. As of May 23, 5,312 health professionals have attended 134 trainings offered in 38 states by 89 different AHECs. What an amazing effort by the network! All participating AHECs that have not yet offered training should be listed here. If your AHEC is not listed, please contact A-TrACC ASAP (

5. Food-borne Illness and Vulnerable Populations Webinar Tuesday, June 4, 2013
3:00–4:00 pm (EDT). Click here for agenda and registration.

Audience: Physician assistants, nurse practitioners, dietitians, nutritionists, and other clinicians who work directly with vulnerable populations. Pre-registration helps us plan for the webinar but is not required. Be sure to check back for log-in information. Experts from CDC, USDA and FDA will provide important information for clinicians and staff about:

-Groups particularly at risk for food-borne illness, diagnosis, and testing

-The critical role of the astute physician

The webinar will coincide with the release of CDC's forthcoming Vital Signs report: Listeria, a Food-borne Pathogen Affecting Vulnerable Populations-Illnesses, Deaths, and Outbreaks—United States, 2009-2011. Webinar goals:

-Raise awareness about the chronic health and economic consequences of food-borne illness

-Highlight the food-borne risk of Listeria monocytogenes, especially among pregnant women, older adults, and others with weakened immune systems

-Establish clinical outreach partners to promote food safety to at-risk groups and highlight available educational materials

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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