NAO Update
Provided as a NAO member benefit
November 18, 2013

1. From the Executive Director's Washington, D.C. Office (aka Terminal C, Gate 31, Reagan National Airport)

Health Affairs Meeting
Last week I was pleased to attend--in Washington, D.C.--the Health Affairs-sponsored meeting "Redesigning the Health Care Workforce," which was a health policy briefing with Health Affairs and Academic Medicine. The half-day meeting featured an opening address by Princeton University health economist Uwe Reinhardt and a variety of panel discussions looking at health workforce policy in the US, the structure and challenges of the current medical education system, and new models of care, especially as it relates to vulnerable and underserved populations. The day concluded with remarks from Representatives Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) and Aaron Schock (R-IL). The briefing was quite informative and stimulated much discussion, and I encourage you all to read the November edition of Health Affairs. There is much to chew on in that issue, and I'd like to see if we can create a dialogue around some of the challenges and recommendations that are discussed in the issue. There may be some implications regarding health professions' student training, the role of the health care team, and an enhanced emphasis on diversity and mental health for our network of AHECs. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and creating an opportunity for dialogue.

Policy & Advocacy Update
We had a new face join us on last week's Policy call to assist with NAO's policy initiatives. Kristina Fjeld-Sparks, director of the NH AHEC Program Office at Dartmouth University, will be working closely with NAO's State Advocacy Leaders. Welcome, Kristina!

Legislative/Appropriations Update
Congress achieved a resolution to extend the debt ceiling to February 7, 2014 and keep the government funded until January 15, 2014. Congress is moving in a forward direction, which will fund the government for a few more months. Both the House and Senate will need to negotiate in terms of their budget number and then draft up all appropriations bills prior to the 15th of January. This means they will need to work over the holidays.

The Budget Control Committee will be issuing recommendations for moving forward for FY 14 and sequestration. A Budget Committee Conference will take place around December 13th where there will be an effort to reconcile differences between the House and Senate Appropriations budgets. The House and Senate are currently discussing options such as limitations and caps for appropriations bills that were already passed, including a revised Senate LHHS bill or a House LHHS bill. There are many outcomes that could occur so HMCW will continue to monitor progress and make an impact/make the AHEC voice heard.

Watch for an Action Alert to come out shortly to weigh in with the budget conference committee. Additionally, there is interest in canceling/opposing sequestration from both sides. If sequestration is done away with, there will be some relief on non-defense domestic discretionary spending, which means there may be some relief for the AHEC program.

Advocacy Activities

Congressional Visits with NAO Leadership
NAO Board Chair John Blossom and I will make a number of Congressional visits, along with immediate past-president Mary Mitchell and Andy Fosmire, who will join as they can. Nine visits have already been scheduled, and state advocacy leaders have begun "tilling the ground" for this week's visits by sharing information about the AHEC program and the great things happening at their centers.

NAO Strategic Planning Meeting This Week!
Stay tuned for a summary of our strategic planning meeting this week. I'm looking forward to seeing nearly all our board members, most of the committee chairs, and the A-TrACC Team this week as we embark on the next phase of identifying strategic priorities. I'm looking forward to a robust, invigorating and productive meeting.

Congratulations to Susan Stewart! The Board of Directors of Western Maryland AHEC Center is pleased to announce that Executive Director Susan Stewart was presented the Outstanding Rural Health Achievement Award during Maryland's Rural Action Assembly in Aberdeen on October 17. Washington County Health Officer Earl Stoner presented Stewart the award. In nominating Stewart, local health care stakeholders described her as the "embodiment of innovative, committed energy for rural health care, professional education, and the needs of the underserved."

Have a great week!

2. From A-TrACC
RFP Issued – Submission Deadline is Dec. 3
A-TrACC has issued a request for contract proposals (RFP) to identify a contractor to determine appropriate topics and courses for enhancing training curricula related to educating health professionals about the Health Insurance Marketplace. The contractor will develop curricula and collateral material as necessary and incorporate existing resources where appropriate. For more information, contact Click here to see details.

3. Online Call for Presentations
The Conference Planning Committee for the National AHEC Organization (NAO) 2014 Conference invites you to submit a proposal for a concurrent session or poster presentation for the conference scheduled for July 7 – 11, 2014 in Charlotte, NC.

The conference theme for 2014 is AHEC: Driving Access to Quality Healthcare through INNOVATION, IMPLEMENTATION & IMPACT. The goals of the conference are: 1) to provide practical skills and information to implement or improve AHEC-sponsored programs; 2) to enhance the professional development of AHEC directors, staff and board members; and 3) to enable participants to develop new approaches that advance the AHEC mission.

Proposals are to be submitted online this year. Please read all of the directions carefully to ensure that all submission requirements are met.

Please click on the following link to access the online submission system:

Note: The due date for final submissions is Monday, January 20, 2014.

4. NAO Awards Committee Seeks Your Input
The NAO Awards Committee invites you to join us in our mission to recognize projects and individuals that epitomize the AHEC spirit of excellence. At the upcoming national conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, the committee will present awards in four major categories:

  • AHEC Center Awards for Excellence
  • Eugene S. Mayer Program of Excellence Award
  • Red Koelling Award for Service to AHEC
  • Andy Nichols Award for Social Justice

The process of identifying and selecting recipients is beginning. The Awards Committee co-chairs and past NAO presidents Mary Mitchell and Mary Sienkiewicz welcome your participation. We would like representation from all regions and individuals from centers and programs.

Mary Mitchell
Manhattan-Staten Island AHEC

Mary Sienkiewicz
New York State AHEC System

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 |

To submit an item, please click here. Deadline: Thursdays, noon CST.

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