NAO Update
Provided as a NAO member benefit
September 03, 2013

1. From the Executive Director's Desk

I hope you all had a relaxing and enjoyable Labor Day holiday. Now it really feels like summer is over, which, for me, is just fine; fall is easily my favorite season. There is a good deal of information in today's Monday Update; please read carefully.

Fiscal Year 2014 Appropriations Outlook
With great thanks from our Washington, D.C. representatives, below is a summary of the FY 2014 Appropriations outlook:

The current fiscal year (FY), 2013, saw the first round of sequester cuts reduce funding for medical research, public health, training, and education programs by roughly 5% below the FY 2012 level, while also reaping a toll on mandatory programs, such as a 2% cut to Medicare. With FY 2014 starting on October 1, lawmakers have made little progress on a federal funding and deficit reduction strategy. Only a handful of the 12 annual appropriations bills have seen serious consideration by either chamber. When weighing the remaining workload against the limited legislative days available to complete the job before October 1, it seems inevitable that Congress will need to pass a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to prevent a government shutdown. Such action will likely fund federal programs approximately at their post-sequestration FY 2013 levels for at least a couple of months in FY 2014.

While a short-term CR in effect buys additional time for Congress and the Administration to complete work on FY 2014 appropriations, there is no guarantee that an agreement will be reached on the annual appropriations bills. The allocations used by the House and Senate to craft their respective funding measures are substantially different. The House is basing its bills on a post-sequestration baseline level, and the Senate is considering its bills under the assumption sequestration will be cancelled and additional funding will be available to provide increases to many health and education programs. If Congress fails to cancel or replace sequestration, then non-defense discretionary programs will face another cut of approximately 2% below the fiscal year 2013 post-sequestration level.

A complicating factor in this process includes the need to raise the federal debt ceiling at some point in time this fall, and threats by conservative factions to use this debate as a strategy to de-fund or repeal the President's health reform law. Uncertainty currently characterizes the FY 2014 funding picture with options ranging from noteworthy funding increases to compounding existing cuts for most programs. The FY 2014 picture will clarify as the start of the next fiscal year and the approaching end of the congressional session force lawmakers' hands. We will continue to keep you advised as this process moves forward.

Needless to say, it is essential that AHECs continue their advocacy and outreach to Congressional Members regularly. Sharing individual AHEC stories that, woven together to show a pattern in outcomes, can be effective. Additionally, highlighting hard data on AHEC's involvement in building the primary care workforce (i.e., there is X amount of primary care doctors in rural underserved areas, and through AHEC programs X% of students started a career in primary care medicine) can be effective as well. Thank you for your continuing advocacy and outreach efforts! I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

NAO Fall 2013 Strategic Planning Meeting
Planning has begun in earnest for the NAO Board of Directors & Committee Co-Chairs Strategic Planning Meeting this November at the Sheraton Crystal City in Arlington, VA. While the agenda is not yet complete, the meeting will allow the board, the committee co-chairs, and me to spend a good deal of dedicated time assessing the current strategic plan and considering the future direction of NAO. We will work to identify the next set of organizational priorities within the context of the current health care and fiscal environment as well as develop organizational focus points for the longer term. I'm very pleased with how the meeting agenda process is unfolding, and I'll be sure to share more once it's finalized. Please let me know if you have any comments or questions.

NAO 2014 Charlotte, NC Conference
Update & Correction: The dates for NAIO 2014 conference are July 7-11, 2014 (NOT 7/6/14-7/11/13) and Gloria Pressley McGruder is a program chair of the Conference Planning Committee and not one of the Committee Co-Chairs. I look forward to seeing you there!

NAO Website
As you are likely aware, the NAO website has undergone some significant enhancements lately: a new home page, some new pictures, it's more easily navigated, old documents have been removed, and I now have a blog. I'm very interested to hear your feedback regarding the changes and improvements we've made to the website. Is it working for you? Is there anything missing? Please let me know your thoughts; thanks!

Have a great week!


2. From A-TrACC
Webinar 316T-A. Performance Measures 2014: A-TrACC 2013/14 Field Guide Suggestions. This webinar is highly recommended for all grantee staff who collect data and implement programs. The A-TrACC team will present and discuss the A-TrACC Field Guide, which has been revised to support data collection for the 2014 HRSA performance measure reports.

Wednesday, September 11, 3 to 4 pm Eastern: Register

The Goal is in Sight!
As of August 21, reports received show that VMH CE training has reached 9,375 health professionals!! Keep up the fantastic work and sending your reports. If you have trainings in September, please send your reports to as soon as you complete the follow-up evaluation so we can include that data in our year-end reporting.

3. Reminder: Journal of the National AHEC Organization Seeks 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:

  1. 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?
  2. The Affordable Care Act
    • What role(s) will your AHEC play in its implementation?
  3. 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?
  4. 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?
  5. 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. Deadline: September 15, 2013 (1st Draft Article Submission)

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 |

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

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