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August 4, 2014

1. From the Executive Director's Office
Summer is flying by! I can't believe my kids go back to school in four weeks. Just a reminder that I'll be away starting August 12th and will be back in the office on August 25th, though I will have occasional access to email. I hope you all are enjoying what feels like a fast summer!

NAO Charlotte Conference Feedback
I continue to receive very positive feedback from the 2014 NAO Charlotte Conference, and I'd like to share a few of the great comments from some of the attendees. It really was a fantastic conference and it was such a pleasure to see so many AHECers. These quotes are reflective of the many verbal comments I received as well:

"I had not attended an NAO conference since Denver for various reasons, and am very happy to have had the opportunity to be in Charlotte. I joked to my colleagues this morning that I didn't see much of the lovely city of Charlotte because I could never seem to find any pockets of conference time that I was willing to give up in order to go exploring! Kudos to the many folks who worked hard to bring us excellent workshops and valuable resources plus comfortable accommodations and plain old fun. And the food! I felt as though I was on a cruise ship at times."

"Congratulations on the best NAO conference ever!~Awesome job!!

"Many of Indiana's AHECs were inspired by a number of the great sessions at NAO"

"We wanted to congratulate you and your planning team on an outstanding NAO Conference in Charlotte. The conference clearly reflected the theme with well thought out and excellent keynote speakers and sessions that were forward thinking, innovative and practical - where successful strategies and impactful programs were shared with the participants."

"Tuesdays with Trachtenberg"
We had an excellent discussion last week on the "Tuesdays with Trachtenberg" call. Five AHECers discussed a wide variety of topics including the 2014 Fall Conference, for which planning is underway, and the 2015 Spring Meeting, which is under consideration and may have a very different flavor than past conferences (Teaser: think Business Summit/Entrepreneurship Meeting). As is now customary, the FY15 and FY16 Federal Funding cycles were discussed as well.

There WILL NOT be calls on Tuesday 8/12 and Tuesday 8/19. We will pick up the calls again on 8/26.

Next call Tuesday 8/26/14: 12:30-1:30 EST: Dial in at 1-424-203-8400, Passcode: 245171#.

Have a great week!

2.From A-TrACC

Coverage 2 Care Webinar
The next Health Insurance Marketplace open enrollment is only a few months away! Dr. Pamela Roshell, Regional Director of Region 4 of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will discuss lessons learned from the first open enrollment period and what to expect from the next one in a webinar Thursday, Aug. 21, at 2 p.m. Eastern. She will also provide new resources to educate health professionals and consumers as part of the Coverage to Care Initiative. Register Now!

Marketplace Materials
Did you know that the AHEC Marketplace Project curriculum includes a PowerPoint slide show, glossary of terms and acronyms, state resource sheets and a CE self-study guide? Wow! Want to get your hands on these materials? Contact to participate in this project to train health professionals and staff on the Health Insurance Marketplace. You can earn $1,500 just for training 50 health professionals and/or staff! Review the Curriculum Roll-out training to get a closer look and see how AHECs can use these materials.

3. Dear Colleague,
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has released a new fact sheet, Quality Improvement in Primary Care: External Supports for Practices. This fact sheet, developed by Mathematica Policy Research under a contract with AHRQ, describes the importance of quality improvement (QI) in primary care and the supports available to help primary care practices engage in ongoing and productive QI efforts. We thought that the information in the fact sheet might be useful to those who provide QI and practice transformation support to practices as they communicate the services they offer to practices and potential funders.

As your work demonstrates every day, engaging primary care practices in QI activities is essential to improving the health of the population, enhancing patient experiences and outcomes, and reducing the cost of care. In an effort to create a high-value health care system in the United States, many providers, insurers, delivery systems, and quality improvement organizations are focused on improving the performance and safety of primary care. A systematic focus on

QI and safety is one critical element of the patient-centered medical home, a prominent approach to redesigning primary care.

This fact sheet provides information and resources on four categories of external supports, which can be used alone or in combination, to assist practices: data feedback and benchmarking; practice facilitation (or coaching); expert consultation (also called peer-to-peer mentoring); and shared learning (or learning collaboratives). The fact sheet builds upon two previous decisionmaker briefs about building QI capacity and describes examples from the AHRQ Infrastructure for Maintaining Primary Care Transformation (IMPaCT) initiative, which awarded four cooperative grants to support state-level QI efforts.

Additional resources related to primary care transformation and the patient-centered medical home are available from AHRQ at and

We hope these resources will be useful to you and the practices with which you work.

With best regards,
Janice Genevro

4. Breaking the Code: ICD-9-Clinical Modification Diagnosis Coding for Traumatic Brain Injury
Date/Time: Aug. 14, 2014; 1-2:30 p.m. (EDT)

The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) reports an increase in unspecified (i.e., where the specific cause is not known) traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in Defense Department numbers worldwide over the past two quarters. All TBIs are to be documented or classified to a code from ICD-9-Clinical Modification (CM). Proper coding provides a detailed picture of a patient population. It also contributes to quality outcomes and standards of care, permits correct reimbursements for clinical services and helps anticipate demand for future services. Accurate TBI coding is essential for these reasons.

Medical coding professionals consider TBI coding to be "specialty" coding. While all certified coders can code TBIs, most lack experience and clinical knowledge to code TBIs without guidance from coding specialists and clinical colleagues. Special rules apply to coding brain injuries in the Defense Department. Appendix G of the Military Health System Coding Guidance: Professional Services and Specialty Coding Guidelines Version 3.6 contains rules that apply to coding brain injuries for both deployed and non-deployed settings. These rules take precedence over any other coding guidance. This webinar will examine these special rules to simplify the TBI coding process.

At the conclusion of this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Discuss definitions, medical terms and basic brain anatomy specific to TBI
  • Articulate the importance of correct documentation for TBI and correct ICD-9-CM coding and compliance
  • Analyze initial and subsequent TBI encounter documentation and validate and/or identify appropriate ICD-9-CM codes

Amy Waller, CPC, CPMA, CPCO
American Health Information Management Association approved ICD-10-CM/PCS Trainer/Ambassador
Senior ICD-10 Trainer
Team: Dynamics Research Corporation/Standard Technology, INC.
Arlington, Va./Bethesda, Md.

Sherray L. Holland, PA-C
TBI Clinical Educator, Education Division
Contract support to DVBIC

Continuing Education
Continuing education credit is available from Duke Medicine. You must register on or before Aug. 14, 2014, at 3 p.m. (EDT) to qualify for the receipt of continuing education credit.

To qualify for receipt of continuing education credit for applicable webinars, eligible participants must create a profile in the Duke Medicine Learning Management System and register for the event on, or before, the event registration deadline. Complete responses to all pre-registration questions are required to be eligible to receive credit for attending this event. Review guidance on creating a user account and event registration in the Duke Medicine Learning Management System site. DCoE's awarding of continuing education credit is limited in scope to health care providers who actively provide psychological health and traumatic brain injury care to U.S. active-duty service members, reservists, National Guardsmen, military veterans and/or their families.

For additional details, please visit

Sign up for the webinar at

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.

Vision: Our vision is that the AHEC network is the national leader in developing a highly competent and diverse health care workforce for underserved populations.

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Executive Director Rob Trachtenberg | 414-908-4953 |

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