According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. This February, recognizing American Heart Month is even more important due to the impact of coronavirus on heart health, including potential harmful effects on the heart and vascular system. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have delayed or avoided going to a provider for regular screenings and avoided hospitals for possible heart attacks and strokes. 

Health centers and other organizations can reinforce the importance of heart health by promoting and educating the public on the importance of a healthy lifestyle, including smoking cessation, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling blood sugar and cholesterol, treating high blood pressure, and getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week. And, of course, regular visits with their primary care provider. Health centers received the CHAD marketing toolkit for heart health awareness earlier this week. To be added to the list, contact Kayla Hanson.

The first Friday of every February is National Wear Red Day! Encourage everyone in your organization to wear red this Friday, February 4. Learn more at Go Red for Women | The American Heart Association’s signature women’s initiative. Even remote teams can get in on the fun! Pictured below is the CHAD team on National Wear Red Day 2021.
Heart Health Resources
Health Centers in the News
South Dakota Urban Indian Health talked to KELO about expanding its MAT program.
KELO interviewed the chief dental officer for Horizon Health Care about Medicaid reimbursement rates for dental care.
CHAD Welcomes Back Kyle Mertens
Please join CHAD in welcoming BACK Kyle Mertens as the health information and data analytics program manager. Kyle originally joined CHAD in September 2019, and after a brief hiatus last fall, has rejoined the CHAD team. Kyle is responsible for managing the Great Plains Health Data Network. He assists the eleven participating health centers in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming to improve access to care, enhance the quality of care, and achieve cost efficiencies through redesigning practices.

Kyle has been working in health care IT focusing on interfaces and interoperability for over twenty years. He has degrees in software development from Dakota State University and management from the University of Sioux Falls. Originally from Kennebec, SD, Kyle has made Sioux Falls his home since 1999.
South Dakota Legislative Update
The South Dakota Legislature is on the third week of the 2022 Legislative Session. January 27 was the deadline for unlimited bill introduction. Currently, 445 bills and resolutions have been introduced, with the possibility of 100 or more bills to come. At least seven bills deal with vaccines or vaccination status, most specific to COVID-19 though HB 1179would apply to any vaccination requirement. CHAD will monitor bills of interest to the health center community. The current bill list can be found here.
COVID-19 Vaccine Updates
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a second COVID-19 vaccine on Monday. The vaccine known as the Moderna will be marketed as Spikevax for the prevention of COVID-19 in individuals 18 years of age and older. The Moderna vaccine was previously only approved under an emergency use authorization. More information can be found here.

Novavax announced Monday that it has formally submitted a request for the FDA to authorize its coronavirus vaccine for emergency use in the United States individuals 18 years of age and older. More information can be found here.

On Tuesday, Pfizer-BioNTech filed for an emergency-use authorization for a two-dose vaccine series for children six months to five years old. Multiple media outlets have reported that the two-dose series didn’t boost a sufficient immune response, and Pfizer-BioNTech is trialing a three-dose series. By reviewing the two-dose series data now, the data for a third dose can simply be added when it becomes available. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has a meeting scheduled for this week.

Federal Loan Repayment Program Deadline TODAY
Today, February 3, at 6:30 pm CT/ 5:30 pm MT, is the deadline for community health center providers to apply to the National Health Service Corps for up to $100,000 in student loan forgiveness. At this point, the number of applications submitted to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is far short of the amount of funding available. Unless there is a dramatic increase in applications in the next few days, HRSA could be forced to return a large amount of the funds to the US Treasury – even after funding every application. 

As a reminder, the following types of providers (and more) are eligible for federal loan repayment if they work at a health center and have outstanding student loans: doctors, nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants, certified nurse midwives, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, licensed professional counselors, dentists, dental hygienists, substance abuse disorder counselors, pharmacists, and registered nurses.
Surprise Medical Billing
With the No Surprise Act taking effect on January 1, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) want to inform consumers of their protection. They have created resources to educate consumers to prevent unlawful medical debt collection and surprise medical bills. HHS released a video outlining the five things to know about the No Surprises Act. CFPB released a bulletin reminding debt collectors and credit bureaus of their legal obligations in light of the No Surprises Act, which protects consumers from certain unexpected medical bills. Companies that attempt to collect on medical bills the No Surprises Act prohibits or furnishes information to credit bureaus about invalid debts may face significant legal liability under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
Community Health Worker Training Program Updates
Health centers across South Dakota are in the process of hiring and onboarding new community health workers (CHW). CHAD will continue to provide updates about upcoming CHW training program cohorts, in addition to our broader technical assistance with program design and implementation. Please reach out to Eugene Giago, Shannon Bacon, or Lindsey Karlson with any questions.

Lake Area Technical Institute
This institute offers a self-paced CHW training which will start on March 7. The hard deadline to complete the entire training is June 17. Contact Heidi Wirtjes
with student name and health center to enroll.
MN West Community and Technical College
This college course is a nine-month program with 10-12 hours of study per week. The curriculum consists of five courses, a final presentation, and an internship. Each course will be open for about seven weeks, with the first course beginning on March 8. Final presentations will occur the week of December 11, and internships will run from July 5 – December 15. Email Roxanne Hayenga with student name and health center to enroll. Students must apply and be accepted at Minnesota West Community and Technical College (MWCTC) in order to enroll in the CHW course.

MWCTC also started an independent study cohort in January. They plan to begin a cohort every eight weeks, allowing students to join even after the course has started. There is currently one spot remaining in the cohort that started January 10, which would require the student to catch up by May.
Prescription for Play Kits Available for Primary Care Providers
Since the new Prescription for Play portal launched last month, more than 120,000 free LEGO® DUPLO® brick kits and educational materials have been ordered through the portal by pediatric health care providers across the country. Primary care providers deliver the Prescription for Play program during routine well-child visits of 18 – 36-month-old patients to encourage their caregivers to consider play as fundamental for holistic child development.

Play with young children is more important than ever during this latest COVID-19 surge, and the Weitzman Institute has partnered with Prescription for Play to support this program. Health centers can learn more about the Prescription for Play program and request kits at
GP11 Network News
Telehealth and the Impact of Community Health Workers

The rapid expansion of telehealth services to access health care during the COVID19 pandemic raised concerns about widening health equity gaps among populations at risk. Presented by Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Northeast Telehealth Resource Center, this 4-part webinar series will address these concerns by identifying barriers and by highlighting sustainable models that have reduced inequalities and improved health outcomes. Presenters will describe the role of telehealth and what staffing, programmatic, and process changes have been implemented to increase access to health care, and social services. The series’ goal is to highlight sustainable models of telehealth and best practices to increase access to health care and reduce health disparities. For more resources and tools about telehealth, visit

Tuesday, February 8

11:00 am CT/ 10:00 am MT
Register here.

Telehealth Office Hours: Performing a Telehealth Risk Assessment

The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) offers monthly telehealth office hours for health centers, primary care associations, and HCCN staff who have questions or want to share information about telehealth-related policy and operational activities. In addition to updates and Q&A, each session will focus on a specific topic of concern. This session will focus on performing a telehealth risk assessment.

Thursday, February 10
1:00 pm CT/ 12:00 pm MT

Register here
Join the CHAD Team!
CHAD is seeking a self-motivated, detail-oriented, and innovative individual to serve as the training and education coordinator. This is a full-time remote position with an ideal candidate having a physical location in ND or SD.

This position is responsible for coordinating and managing all in-person and virtual CHAD events, trainings, and workshops, from planning the logistics to the report out of the evaluation results and everything in between. Strong attention to detail and extensive organizational skills are needed. This role requires computer skills and experience with virtual platforms such as Zoom, GoToWebinar, and SurveyMonkey to assist in running breakout rooms, online surveys, tracking Q&As, and providing technical assistance to create a positive experience for our members and attendees. Visit the CHAD job board for a full job description and to apply.
Webinars & Meetings
Find these and other events on the CHAD website.

Disaster Mental Health Care Support for Health Center Personnel

Health center staff play a pivotal role in the health and wellbeing of the individuals and communities they serve. To be effective in this important role, they must prioritize maintaining their own mental health. This 60-minute webinar, presented by Connect Consulting, will explore current research and trends in mental health in this uniquely stressful time. Attendees will discuss barriers to access help and make suggestions for overcoming them. The presenter will share creative ideas for creating workplaces and cultures where staff feel valued and supported. Local resources will be provided for staff and administrators. The intended audience for this presentation includes people in emergency preparedness, leadership roles, operations, quality improvement, and behavioral health.

Thursday, February 10
9:30 am CT/ 8:30 am MT
Register here.

Connecting Kids Medicaid and CHIP Webinar

The COVID-19 public health emergency caused many parents and caregivers to delay important routine care for their children, including regular dental check-ups. Access to regular dental care can help prevent chronic diseases like tooth decay and reduce the risk of other oral health issues that may negatively affect physical and social development. By enrolling eligible children in Medicaid and CHIP, kids and teens up to age 19 can access routine dental services, including check-ups, x-rays, fluoride treatments, dental sealants, fillings, and more.

Join the webinar during National Children’s Dental Health Month. It will feature new data on oral health trends among children, best practices to get families enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP to access dental health care, and new campaign resources available on for organizations to use in their outreach and encourage the use of benefits.

Tuesday, February 15
1:00-2:30 pm CT/ 12:00-1:30 pm MT
Register here.

Register Today: CHAMPS 2022 Spanish Language Trainings for Health Care Professionals

Each year, CHAMPS offers intensive, conversational, and medical Spanish language training (SLT) for clinicians at Region VIII health centers, who must immediately use the new language skills with Spanish-speaking patients. This year, CHAMPS is offering four trainings throughout April, all currently open and accepting registrants. The traditional four-day medical Spanish language course for beginner and intermediate speakers will be held on April 14-15 and April 21-22. Visit the CHAMPS Upcoming Live Distance Learning Events webpage to register or learn more.

Other SLTs offered this year are:
Save the Dates: CHAMPS CORE Competencies for Health Center Supervisors and Managers Training

CHAMPS will host the CORE Competencies for Health Center Supervisors and Managers training on Wednesday mornings, from April 27-May 25. This online intensive is aimed at newer supervisors and managers. It will offer intensive, hands-on, and immediately applicable skill-building to successfully navigate management and supervisory roles in the fast-paced and challenging health center environment. Registration is anticipated to open very soon. Watch for updates on the CHAMPS Leadership Learning Opportunities webpage.
CHAD Network Team Meetings

Thursday, February 3 at 12:00 pm CT/ 11:00 am MT – Clinical Quality Network Team
Tuesday, February 8 at 2:00 pm CT/ 1:00 pm MT – Communications and Marketing Network Team
Tuesday, February 22 at 1:00 pm CT/ 12:00 pm MT – Outreach & Enrollment Network Team
Tuesday, January 25 at 3:00 pm CT/ 2:00 pm MT – CFO & Finance Manager Roundtable

This account is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1,499,709.00 with 0 percent financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit

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