August 7-13 is National Health Center Week, and health centers in North Dakota and South Dakota have many exciting activities and promotions planned to showcase their centers, recognize their staff, and engage their communities. The Dakotas’ federally qualified health centers will be rolling out the red carpet to thank their patients and the communities they serve and highlight the important contributions health centers make to the health care system in both urban and rural communities.

This year, we’ve embraced the theme, “I love my health center.” As part of our strategic plan at CHAD, we’ve been looking for more opportunities to tell the story of health centers and highlight the different attributes that make them so special. We know that the best people to share this message is everyone! We mailed toolkits to each health center location with desk banners and handouts describing different health center services like primary care, behavioral health, dental care, transportation, translation, and school-based health care. We hope these tools add another layer to your patient and community education materials.

Select partner organizations also received a few t-shirts with the “I love my health center” message. We’re asking those organizations and their staff to join the Health Center Week celebration on social media with photos sharing their own reasons why they love their local health center. I know the CHAD staff and health center leadership will also join in the fun. Check out my photo below!

With 66 delivery sites in 52 communities across the Dakotas, you are sure to find a health center near you where you can stop during National Health Center Week and learn more about what your local health center can do for you. This is a great opportunity to meet the providers and ask questions about health center programs and services. It is also a great opportunity for health centers to recognize their outstanding staff for all they do and to give back to the communities they call home.

To find a community health center near you, click here for a map of delivery sites in both North Dakota and South Dakota. For more information about health centers in the Dakotas and their plans for National Health Center Week, visit their websites by clicking here.

Health Centers in the News
Community Health Service Inc. participated in the 45th annual downtown street fair via KVRR.
Monkeypox Update
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently tracking an outbreak of monkeypox that has spread across several countries that don’t normally report monkeypox, including the United States. As of July 19, the total confirmed cases in the US are 2,108, with one confirmed case in South Dakota. Access the 2022 US map and case count here. The CDC strongly encourages health care providers in the US to be alert for patients with rash illnesses consistent with monkeypox.

Monkeypox (MPV/MPX/MPXV) is a zoonotic orthopoxvirus (OPX) first discovered in 1958. It can be prevented by vaccinations developed to prevent smallpox. MPV is endemic to certain countries in Western and Central Africa and is usually spread through contact with wild rodents. The 2022 global outbreak has involved human-to-human spread exclusively through:
  • direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids;
  • respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact or intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex;
  • touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids; or,
  • pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.

Monkeypox can spread from when symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts two to four weeks. People who do not have monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others.

Providers who want to test patients for monkeypox or have any questions regarding testing for monkeypox should contact their state epidemiologist teams. In North Dakota contact Disease Control at 701-328-2378 or 800-472-2180, and in South Dakota contact Epidemiology at 605-773-3737.

The risk to health care workers contracting MPV from patients during the medical encounter is low. Health care workers should still exercise caution when testing and caring for patients who have or may have MPV. Recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) includes eye protection, gloves, gowns, and N95 masks. Please consult CDC guidance on additional steps to prevent MPV transmission. Health care workers exposed to MPV will be assessed for exposure level during case investigation and contacted by the health department for guidance on monitoring and post-exposure prophylaxis.

So far in the US, no deaths have been directly related to monkeypox. Vaccines are available to prevent monkeypox in persons 18 years and older for post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). The two vaccines licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are JYNNEOS (also known as Imvanex) and ACAM2000. In the US, there is currently a limited supply of JYNNEOS, although more are expected in the coming weeks and months. Because of the slight risk of myocarditis with these vaccines, they CAN NOT be administered with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.
The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) has opened enrollment for health care providers who want to receive the JYNNEOS™ vaccine when available. Health care providers must complete the entire online enrollment survey. Providers should complete the JYNNEOS™ online enrollment survey by Friday, July 29. Late submissions will be accepted; however, they may not be immediately prioritized for vaccine allocations. Doses will be allocated based on availability.

This NDDoH “Lunch and Learn” series covers the US and worldwide MPV situational updates, laboratory collection, case investigation, contact tracing, and details about vaccines and treatment.

Additional Resources
JYNNEOS storage and handling guidance
Monkeypox vaccine readiness checklist
Monkeypox virus FAQ for providers
Monkeypox – SD Dept. of Health

Register Now for the Annual Immunize South Dakota Conference: Bridge the Gap on August 2
Register today for the annual statewide Immunize South Dakota conference on August 2 in Sioux Falls. This annual event brings together health care professionals and passionate vaccine advocates to network and learn about the latest vaccine trends and developments.

This conference is perfectly timed to Bridge the Gap between knowledge and action, action and access, and access and trust. The expert line-up features local and national speakers tackling misinformation, vaccine hesitancy, and vaccine advocacy.

  • World-renowned scientific communicator Dr. Katelyn Jetelina will discuss why it is important to be aware of how we talk about vaccines to the public. Based on her experience with her popular viral blog, Your Local Epidemiologist, she will explain how to translate vaccine science for an easier understanding for the community.
  • Dr. Paul Carson uses his knowledge and experience of over two decades to discuss vaccine hesitancy’s historical and psychological roots, recognizing that it has been present for two centuries. He will list the cognitive processes and biases contributing to vaccine hesitancy and review how providers can help regain public trust.
  • As a former registered nurse with a passion for politics, Becky Christensen founded SAFE Communities to strengthen public health and save lives. She will give an overview of 2022 proposed anti-vaccine legislation and address why pro-vaccine advocacy is so important.

Hope in the Heartland: Closing the Health Care Gap Debuts in August
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) invites everyone to a free screening of the short documentary, Hope in the Heartland: Closing the Health Care Gap, at three locations during August.   

The ACS CAN-produced film showcases three stories of hardworking South Dakotans who have experienced tremendous barriers to health care and would benefit from Medicaid expansion. The film is a powerful piece that asks viewers to think about how access to health care is critical to the well-being of our family, friends, and neighbors. Seating is limited for the film screenings and pre-event receptions in Sioux Falls, Rapid City, and Aberdeen. Reserve a free ticket here. For more information, please contact
Dakotans for Health Joins South Dakotans Decide Healthcare Effort to Expand Medicaid in November
Last week, South Dakotans Decide Healthcare, a broad coalition of patient advocates, nurses, health care providers, farmers, faith leaders, educators, and more, announced Dakotans for Health as a formal member of the coalition. After withdrawing Initiated Measure 28, Dakotans for Health will engage their extensive grassroots network to support the passage of Amendment D in November.

Zach Marcus, campaign manager for South Dakotans Decide Healthcare, said the campaign is grateful for the work Dakotans for Health has done and will continue to do to expand Medicaid coverage. “Medicaid expansion is a great deal for South Dakota. We will bring hundreds of millions of dollars back home and make more than 40,000 of our friends and neighbors newly eligible for affordable health care. I’m grateful that Dakotans for Health will be a major partner in ensuring this critical Amendment passes in November.”

Telling the Health Center Story July 28
Join CHAD for an educational and inspirational introduction to community health centers. Participants will gain a foundational knowledge of health centers, including defining features, essential services, and populations served. This interactive presentation will provide a context of the greater health center movement and legacy and locations, features, and impact of health centers here in the Dakotas. Attendees will be asked to consider how they will help share the story of their particular health center moving forward.

To be held on Thursday, July 28 at 12:00 pm CT/ 11:00 am MT, this virtual presentation is designed for all health center staff and will be of particular interest to those not yet familiar with the broader community health center movement and key features of health centers. Supervisors should encourage their staff to attend. It will also be great for board members and patients who might be health center advocates. Register here.
Members-Only Data Book Presentation August 4
Join CHAD and the Great Plains Health Data Network (GPHDN) for a comprehensive overview of the 2021 Data Books. The CHAD team has prepared these books for member health centers and the GPHDN using the most current Uniform Data System (UDS) data. These publications were created for use within the CHAD and GPHDN networks and are not publicly shared.

This members-only presentation will walk attendees through the contents and layout of the 2021 CHAD and GPHDN Data Books. Presenters will provide an overview of the data and graphs demonstrating trends and comparisons in patient demographics, payor mixes, clinical measures, financial measures, provider productivity, and economic impact. The session will wrap up with a glance at individual health center data snapshots. This meeting will provide an excellent opportunity for members to ask questions and share the background story behind the data. This one-hour presentation will be held on
Thursday, August 4, at 3:00 pm CT/ 2:00 pm MT. The CHAD and GPHDN Data Books will be shared with participants prior to the training. Contact Melissa Craig at CHAD for the link to register or with any questions.
Best Practices for Food Insecurity Screening & Intervention in Medical Settings August 16
Food insecurity is a significant public health problem. People in food-insecure households are likelier to report poorer health and have higher risks for chronic diseases like obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. Food insecurity negatively affects children’s health and development and increases the risk for iron-deficient anemia, acute infection, chronic illness, hospitalization, and developmental and mental health problems.

This one-hour virtual training, presented by CHAD and the Great Plains Food Bank, will cover best practices in health care settings implementing food insecurity screening and interventions. Screening for food insecurity is an evidence-based way to support patients facing food insecurity in clinical situations, especially in environments where a significant percentage of the patient population has been identified as low-income. Screening can be quick and incorporated as a standardized protocol into existing patient intake procedures.

This presentation is recommended for organizations with a newly launched screening protocol, new staff, or if it has been over 12 months since beginning a screening policy. Health care settings currently screening for food insecurity or interested in screening for food insecurity, particularly those partnering with a food bank to address food insecurity during a medical visit, will also find this information valuable. Register here.
Grant and Funding Opportunities
ARPA Emergency Rural Health Care Grants Due August 10
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) still has funds available in the America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) emergency rural health care grants from the COVID-19 crisis. Applications are due by August 10.

The grants target equipment that is a justified need because of the ongoing COVID pandemic. Grants will start at $25,000 and max out around $200,000 due to the remaining funds. Grant funds are limited to an applicable percentage of eligible project costs (up to 75%) based on population and the median household income of the population served. Eligible applicants include public bodies, community-based nonprofits, and federally recognized tribes. Facilities and projects supported through this grant must be located in rural areas with populations of 20,000 or fewer and primarily serve rural areas.

Previous grants funded various items that help health care institutions with ongoing COVID needs, including ambulances, ambulance equipment, HVAC (air quality improvement), refrigeration for vaccines, lab equipment, ventilators, and imaging equipment.

Potential applicants can direct questions to Nikki Gronli, USDA state director, and an expert on staff will look into the eligibility and walk them through the process.

Vaccine Storage and Handling Equipment Funding Available in North Dakota
On May 10, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that digital data loggers (DDL) are now required in COVID-19 vaccine storage units and during transport. After October 1, COVID-19 vaccines will no longer be provided to providers without a DDL.

To ensure the need for a DDL does not affect a provider’s ability to offer immunizations, the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) is announcing the availability of funding for vaccine storage and handling equipment. This one-time funding is available to health care providers unable to purchase vaccine storage and handling equipment using their own funds. Partners already receiving funding for the purchase of storage equipment are not eligible for reimbursement under this program. Allowable purchases made on or after May 18 will be reimbursed up to $5,000 per individual facility location (i.e., clinic A and clinic B could individually request reimbursement even if the same company owns both).

To be reimbursed, all storage and handling equipment must follow the CDC’s storage and handling recommendations. Providers must receive pre-approval from the NDDoH before they submit a reimbursement request. Facilities should seek that prior approval using this short survey by September 15. Contact the NDDoH Division of Immunization at 701-328-3386 or with questions.

Colorectal Cancer Screening Grant Due August 1
Exact Sciences seeks proposals from federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) to increase colorectal cancer screening, increase colorectal cancer screening access, and ensure pathways to affordable follow-up colonoscopies after positive tests. The opportunity offers three funding tiers: awards of $25,000, $50,000, and $75,000. The grant duration is 18 months.

Interested parties who would like to receive instructions to apply should complete this form. Full instructions will be sent via email to the address provided. Read the full RFP here . Funding applications are due on August 1.

2022 Healthy HometownSM Community Awards Due August 12
The 2022 Healthy HometownSM Community Awards are accepting applications. Any community in South Dakota that has completed at least four tactics from the Healthy Hometown Tactics Reference Guide is eligible to apply. The tactics must have been completed between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022, and either be a new or enhanced project or policy. The winning community or communities will receive a cash gift to put back into their community health improvement efforts. Interested parties are encouraged to look at the tactics reference guide and seek input from other community members or organizations who may have implemented a tactic from the list.

Please share with any communities that you work with that may be interested in applying. Several communities not working with Healthy Hometown have won in the past. The application and tactic reference guide can be found here. Applications must be received by Friday, August 12, by 5:00 pm CT/ 4:00 pm MT.

2022 CHAMPS Awards: Nominations Due July 25

CHAMPS is now accepting nominations for the 2022 CHAMPS Awards in administrative leadership, board leadership, clinical leadership, legislative leadership, advocacy of the underserved, and the Stanley J. Brasher Legacy Award. These awards, presented by CHAMPS, are to recognize and honor staff and board members of Region VIII health centers and related organizations for their exceptional contributions to the health center community.

The criteria for nominations are:
  • Nominees must be affiliated with a current CHAMPS organizational member, except for nominees for the Outstanding Legislative Leadership Award;
  • Nominating organizations may submit only one award nomination per individual candidate, and each candidate may be nominated in only one category; and,
  • Nominations must be submitted by Monday, July 25.

Visit the CHAMPS Awards webpage for additional details about the 2022 CHAMPS Awards as they become available, as well as for highlights of 2021 CHAMPS awardees and lists of awardees from prior years.

GP11 Network News
Great Plains Health Data Network Receives Additional Funding
The Great Plains Health Data Network (GPHDN) was established in 2019, consisting of 11 participating health centers (PHCs) across North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. The GPHDN is funded by the health center controlled networks (HCCN) funding opportunity provided by the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA). The first project period ends on July 31.

GPHDN received its notice of award (NOA) which establishes the period of performance from August 1, 2022 through July 31, 2025 and provides $540,817.00 for the first year. Additional funding will be requested through a non-competing continuation annually during the period of performance. The GPHDN will use the funding to support PHCs in leveraging health information technology (HIT) and data to deliver high-quality, culturally competent, equitable, and comprehensive primary health care. The specific focus for this performance period will be to improve clinical quality, patient-centered care, and provider and staff well-being. Through this funding, the GPHDN will continue to support PHCs to meet the HRSA requirements and the mission and strategic goals of the GPHDN.

Great Plains Health Data Network Conducts Site Visits
GPHDN staff traveled to Wyoming this month to conduct onsite meetings and tours as part of the data strategy project focused on identifying data priorities for the participating health centers (PHCs). This project is offered to all PHCs within the GPHDN. During these site visits, staff can participate in different community events and conduct site tours at the PHC clinics.

During the HealthWorks data strategy onsite in Cheyenne, Wyoming, GPHDN staff could join the HealthWorks team participating in the statewide day of giving. HealthWorks offered free blood pressure checks and information on its community health center services. HealthWorks has purchased a van to increase its outreach efforts and provide more accessible services to the community.

In the group photo from left to right: front row Tracy Woodhouse Brosius, CEO, Heidi Hargraves, RN, diabetes educator, and Krystal Aria, community coordinator. Back row left to right: Becky Wahl and Jennifer Saueressig.

GPHDN staff also visited Crossroads Healthcare Clinic. Crossroads has a close team with a provider, registered nurse, medical assistant, and care coordinator. They are actively screening for social determinants of health and identifying those patients in need of transportation. The care coordinator has a designated vehicle to provide transportation for patients and ensure they can make it to the clinic to receive the care they need.
It was great to see the innovative ways community health centers are using to meet patients where they are at.
Webinars & Meetings
Find these and other events on the CHAD website.
North Dakota Child Care Action Alliance Listening Session
Child care is a critical component of a thriving economy. Access to affordable child care is essential for parents to return to the workforce and maintain quality employment. However, many communities across North Dakota lack accessible and affordable child care to meet working families’ demands, and many child care workers earn wages just above the poverty level.

Join the North Dakota Child Care Action Alliance for a virtual listening session to hear the stories of families and workers impacted by the lack of accessible, affordable, and quality child care in ND. In partnership with ND Voices Network, advocates and organizations from across the state are joining forces to seek real solutions that address the state’s child care crisis.

Monday, July 25
6:00-7:30 pm CT/ 5:00-6:30 pm MT
Registration is required. Register here.
Comms Crash Course: Using Social Media for Public Health Communications
Social media has proven critical for disseminating accurate and timely information during the COVID-19 pandemic. From social media basics to digital campaigns, public health communicators can leverage today’s technology to engage with their audiences more effectively than ever before. This session by the Public Health Communications Collaborative will share fundamental social media strategies and best practices to address public health communications challenges. From inclusive and accessible language to image and graphic use to channel-specific strategies, this webinar will combine actionable tips and tactics from communications experts on digital and social media in public health.

Tuesday, July 26
1:00 pm CT/ 12:00 pm MT
Register here.
Documentation, Billing, and Coding Webinar Series Continues July 29 on Behavioral Health
CHAD is pleased to welcome Shellie Sulzberger, co-founder of Coding and Compliance Initiatives, Inc., back to the Dakotas for a webinar series focused on documentation, billing, and coding. In the next billing and coding training series presentation, Ms. Sulzberger will focus on behavioral health coding and documentation. She will begin with a review of providers qualified for Medicare reimbursement. Attendees will also discuss medical necessity, initial diagnostic evaluation, treatment plans, and psychotherapy for behavioral health care. The session will end with a discussion of signs and symptoms options for ICD-10 coding.

Friday, July 29
11:00 am CT/ 10:00 am MT
Register here.
Badlands Symposium for Tobacco Use Disorder Treatment
Quitting tobacco is one of the most important things people can do to improve their health. Every health care touchpoint is an opportunity. At this in-person event in Dickinson, ND, participants will learn to utilize pharmacists during tobacco and nicotine treatment because of their new prescriptive authority of cessation medications and incorporate tobacco and nicotine dependence treatment into overall treatment for substance use disorder and other behavioral health conditions. Speakers will discuss treatment options for youth vaping and describe the threat to North Dakota’s Smoke-Free Air Law and how policies affect normalcy and rates of use. 2.0 free credits and hors d’oeuvres provided by Tobacco Free North Dakota.

Monday, August 22
4:30 – 7:00 pm MT
Register here.
CHAD Network Team Meetings
Tuesday, July 26 at 1:00 pm CT/ 12:00 pm MT – Outreach & Enrollment Network Team
Tuesday, July 26 at 3:00 pm CT/ 2:00 pm MT – CFO & Finance Manager Roundtable
Thursday, August 4 at 12:00 pm CT/ 11:00 am MT – Clinical Quality Network Team
Monday, August 8 at 1:00 pm CT/ 12:00 pm MT – Operational Excellence/ Compliance Workgroup
Tuesday, August 9 at 2:00 pm CT/ 1:00 pm MT – Communications and Marketing Network Team

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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