NAO UPDATE | Provided as a Member Benefit September 13th, 2018

Reporting to You from the Interim CEO

Greetings NAO Colleagues,

Welcome to the second week of our current HRSA funded grant. This is big as most of us are kicking off our AHEC Scholars Programs this year. After a year of planning, I am hopeful that everyone's program is off to a great start. I am looking forward to hearing about the awesome work in this area. Also, please note that your Supplemental Funding Request are due to HRSA by 9-30-18.

Partner Highlight:

This week, I had a chance to follow-up with Dr. Heather Klusaritz, Co-Director of the National Center for Integrated Health (NCIBH) who exhibited at our recent NAO Conference. You may have talked to NCIBH faculty and staff at the NAO conference. NCIBH is an innovation hub that test, develops and disseminates best practices to improve the quality, accessibility and effectiveness of treatment for behavioral health and substance use disorders in primary care.

In our conversation, Dr. Klusaritz mentioned to me the library of evidence based resources and I invite you to check out their website, where you can find resources that you may want to utilize with your AHEC Scholars Programs and also with the Supplemental AHEC Grant funding opportunity. Also if you are developing resources, please share them and lastly, please sign up for the newsletter.

Colleagues, please note that I was in a meeting last week and learned that HRSA has been invited to submit a chapter for a forthcoming book entitled Health Literacy in clinical practice and public health. I agreed to capture data from our constituents across the country. Please complete the qualtrics survey by Wednesday, September 19, so that we can highlight some of the very important work in our AHEC Programs and Centers in this area.

Weekly meetings:

NAO Public Policy meeting: Monday, September 10, 2018, 12:00 PM
NAO Board of Directors meeting: Thursday, September 13, 2018, 2:00 PM EST

Lastly, please note that our thoughts are with those Programs and Centers that are in the path of Hurricane Florence. As of Monday, the National Hurricane Center noted that Florence has been upgraded for the second time and is now a Category 4 hurricane. Florence has maximum sustained winds of 130 mph and is expected to continue growing as it heads toward the US East Coast.

Please know that your NAO family is thinking of those in the path of this very dangerous Hurricane, particularly our East Coast communities. As you prepare for Hurricane Florence expected to strike hard later this week, please feel free to reach out to your NAO colleagues.

We are here for you!

Onward and Forward!


Jacqueline R. Wynn, MPH
Interim CEO

National Training Center

'Rural' remains a buzz word for CDC
Our CDC Project Officer continues to stress that educating providers in rural areas is a priority with the recent release of the NIS-Teen data that indicates adolescents in rural areas are less likely to be vaccinated against HPV cancers! And NAO remains steadfast in its position to reach these professionals! But there's still much work to do. Join us for our Year 5 Kick-off to learn how we plan to address the rural vs. urban gap. Our focus for Year 5 will be on training rural providers in regions with low HPV vaccination rates. There will be opportunities for more AHECs to receive funding! Don't miss out! Register Now for the Kick-off set for 3 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Sept. 26.

Archived webinars accessible, organized!
We've recently reorganized all of our archived training on one page: You'll find the webinar title, speaker, original recorded date and a list of topics that the webinar covers. By clicking on the title, participants may register and view. Missed a webinar? It's listed on this page! Send all of the health professionals in your area to this one page. Continuing education credit has expired however a certificate of completion is available upon request. State entities will receive information on participants (including the data needed for the HRSA report) each month.

How to overcome vaccine hesitancy through motivational interviewing = next webinar
How much of a problem is vaccine hesitancy? It’s complicated and there’s no easy solution! Find out how motivational interviewing can improve response to vaccination in our next webinar, “Evidence-Based Communication Strategies for Improving Child and Adolescent Vaccine Uptake,” set for 2 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Sept. 19. Please promote to health professionals and health professions students in your AHEC region by using this registration link:

This webinar fits the practice transformation HRSA core topic. What a great way to fulfill a HRSA requirement while also providing relevant hot-topic education to students. We can share information with you on who attended from your state!

ACR'S Small Group Provider Sessions on Lupus:  Suwannee River's perspective

Suwanee River participated in the ACR's Small Group Provider Sessions on Lupus project for the first time this year. Here they share their thoughts on the benefits Small Group sessions offer providers in rural areas.

"Our professional education department hosts numerous live and online conferences throughout the state, as well as acts as a CE/CME provider. Despite our vast experience holding educational sessions, the small group setting for this training was unlike many of our other conferences. The Small Group session provided an opportunity for more meaningful interaction between the attendees and the speakers, which was appreciated by the participants. The rheumatologist had conversations with the attendees instead of just doing a lecture, and the person living with lupus who shared her experiences left a great impact on the importance of providers making these connections to improve patient care. Our rural providers now have a rheumatologist with whom they've developed a relationship. This will be helpful should they encounter a patient they suspect may suffer from lupus in the future. Those deep connections are vital to rural providers and helps work towards providing better care for patients in underserved communities."

Suwannee River was one of 8 AHECs to hold a Small Group Provider Session on Lupus this year. If you are interested in participating in the next project year, please watch for the funding announcement in October.

NAO Committee Corner:
Membership Updates & Opportunities

#NewSocialMediaSubCommittee – join us!
A subcommittee is being sought to develop and implement a social media plan for NAO. If you would like to be part of a team of approximately six members to contribute to a greater social media presence for NAO, please email Paula Overfelt, President, at or Trisha Thompson at

Will You Help to Improve the NAO Membership Experience?
The NAO Membership Committee is seeking new members to help us reach our goals for this next year. All membership types can participate in this committee. Will you be a part of strengthening our organization and improving NAO benefits and services? This year we will be working on engaging members and developing a Mentor Program.

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday, September 25th, 12:30p PST, 1:30p MST, 2:30p CST, and 3:30p EST.
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:
Or Telephone: Dial: +1 415 762 9988 (US Toll) or +1 646 568 7788 (US Toll)
Meeting ID: 3034818686

Those interested should email or call 303-923-3734.

Will You Help to Develop the ALL NEW Mentor Program?
The NAO Membership Committee is excited to begin the development of a mentorship program and is seeking participants for a short-term, ad-hoc sub-committee. Please join us as we plan out this new program for members.

Our first meeting will be on Wednesday September 26th, 9:00a PST, 10:00a MST, 11:00a CST, and 12:00p EST.
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:
Or Telephone: Dial: +1 415 762 9988 (US Toll) or +1 646 568 7788 (US Toll)
Meeting ID: 3034818686

Those interested should email or call 303-923-3734.

Legislative Update

Washington Update

Both houses of Congress are back in session this week and are anxious to finish off as many Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 appropriations bills as possible before the new fiscal year begins on October 1st. The productive efforts of House and Senate appropriators were overshadowed this week though by the raucous Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings on Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanagh, and by more White House drama.

Budget & Appropriations

House and Senate appropriators are working through an ambitious agenda to finalize as many as nine of the twelve annual appropriations bills before the end of the current fiscal year (September 30th). While it is expected that this effort may extend into the first few weeks of October the goal is to have the majority of spending bills completed before the November mid-term election. Both chambers have appointed conferees on the three minibus measures that together contain the nine appropriations bills and conference negotiations are ongoing. Not finishing the bills before the election creates great uncertainty for the agencies and would put pending funding increases in jeopardy.

Minibus 1: (HR 5895): Contains the Military Construction-VA, Energy-Water and Legislative
Branch appropriations

Minibus 2: (HR 6157): Contains the Defense and Labor- Health and Human Services appropriations

Minibus 3: (HR 6147): Contains the Interior & Environment; Financial Services; Agriculture-FDA; and
Transportation-HUD appropriations

The appropriations bills for State & Foreign Ops, Homeland Security, and Commerce are lagging behind and likely to be dealt with after the election.

Key to finishing off any number of the appropriations bills is how Congress will negotiate an agreement with the White House on Mexico border wall funding (which is contained in the Homeland Security bill) and how conferees on the funding measures deal with controversial poison pill policy riders, which are not germane to appropriations, but have been attached to several of the House spending bills. The Senate has managed to keep divisive riders out of its bills and conferees will decide how to proceed on these topics as ongoing negotiations progress.

Health Reform

An analysis from The Associated Press and Avalere Health found evidence Affordable Care Act (ACA) markets are stabilizing, with greater consumer choice expected for the 2019 plan year and more moderate premium increases. Average premium increases across 47 states and Washington, D.C., will be 3.6%, according to the report, far less than the average increase of 30% seen for the 2018 plan year, while 11 states are expected to see premiums drop, and in 19 states insurers will expand their ACA presence or new insurers will enter the market. AP Coverage

Patient organizations weighed in on legislation introduced in the US Senate, S. 3388, that would codify some patient protections initiated as a result of the ACA, but include some very significant loopholes that would allow insurers to not cover the care that patients need most and would allow insurers to charge higher premiums based on factors like age, gender, and occupation. A copy of the statement made by the patient-based organizations can be found here.

Opioid Legislation

The Senate released a draft of its long-anticipated comprehensive opioid package. The Senate proposal serves as a counterpart to the opioid legislation previously passed by the House of Representatives, H.R. 6. The Senate package includes a variety of provisions that seek to supplement research at NIH, augment public health activities at CDC, and improve drug oversight and development through FDA.

The package also includes policy changes for health professionals to facilitate increased service delivery to affected communities, and new initiatives related to prescribing guidelines and state-based prescription drug monitoring programs. Expectations are that the Senate bill will be passed quickly and that the House and Senate will then move to conference to craft a final, compromise measure. Here is the section-by-section summary of the Senate opioid bill.

Thank you for viewing. As always, we will work diligently to keep you informed.

Legislative update provided by Dale Dirks from Health and Medicine Counsel of Washington

Job Opportunities

Please remember to check out the Employment section of the NAO website for current job listings.

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Email Contact: Denise Harris

National AHEC Organization
7044 S. 13th St.
Oak Creek, WI 53154