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(Feb 12 2014)   Health Care Sector and HIT: HRSA Seeks Comments on “Rural Health Information Technology Workforce Program”; ONC Announces “Digital Privacy Notice Challenge” 
(Feb 7 2014)   Service to Veterans: VA Introduces New Online GI Bill Comparison Tool 
(Feb 6 2014)   Chicago Jobs Council Report on 'Illinois Works for the Future'; Other Initiatives to Integrate Workforce Development and Economic Development 
(Feb 5 2014)   Digital Learning Program Prepares Students for School, Careers and Life in the 21st Century 




Health Care Sector and HIT: HRSA Seeks Comments on “Rural Health Information Technology Workforce Program”; ONC Announces “Digital Privacy Notice Challenge”

The purpose of the Rural Health Information Technology (HIT) Workforce Program is to support formal rural health networks that focus on activities relating to the recruitment, education, training, and retention of HIT specialists. This program will also provide support to rural health networks that can leverage and enhance existing HIT training materials to develop formal training programs, which will provide instructional opportunities to current health care staff, local displaced workers, rural residents, veterans, and other potential students. These formal training programs will result in the development of a cadre of HIT workers who can help rural hospitals and clinics implement and maintain systems, such as electronic health records (EHR), telehealth, home monitoring, and mobile health technology; and meet EHR meaningful use standards.

For this program, performance measures were drafted to provide data useful to the program and to enable HRSA to provide aggregate program data required by Congress under the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993 (Pub. L. 103-62). These measures cover the principal topic areas of interest to the Office of Rural Health Policy, including: (a) Access to care; (b) the underinsured and uninsured; (c) workforce recruitment and retention; (d) sustainability; (e) health information technology; (f) network development; and (g) health related clinical measures.

The Health Resources and Services Administration announced on February 11 it is seeking comment on the supporting information collection for this Workforce Program. Click here for additional background and instructions for obtaining a copy of the collection and submitting comments. Comments are due by April 11, 2014.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule gives individuals a fundamental right to be informed of the privacy practices of health plans and health care providers, as well as to be informed of their privacy rights with respect to their personal health information. Health plans and covered health care providers are required to develop and distribute a notice that provides a clear, user friendly explanation of these rights and practices. In practice, however, many patients have found that these notices

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) recently collaborated with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to develop model notices of privacy practices (NPP) that clearly convey the required information to patients in an accessible format. These model notices can be customized by covered entities (doctors, hospitals and other health care providers covered by HIPAA who maintain patient data, health plans) and then printed for office display and distributed to patients.

The ONC now has announced the Digital Privacy Notice Challenge to leverage the consumer tested and preferred content and formats developed recently as part of the joint ONC/OCR model NPP project and provide an award to the creators of the best online versions of an NPP. Out-of-the-box thinking could be effectively applied to the challenge of creating an online NPP that patients would actually read and understand, helping to break down the barriers to patients taking greater control of their own health and health care. ONC hopes to bring a variety of creative minds to the task of developing a patient friendly resource, as well as enable users to interact with the proposed notices and identify the most effective approaches.

The submission period closes on April 7.

More …


Service to Veterans: VA Introduces New Online GI Bill Comparison Tool

The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched today an online GI Bill Comparison Tool to make it easier for Veterans, Servicemembers and dependents to calculate their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and learn more about VA’s approved colleges, universities and other education and training programs across the country.

The GI Bill Comparison Tool provides key information about college affordability and brings together information from more than 17 different online sources and three federal agencies, including the number of students receiving VA education benefits at each school.

The GI Bill Comparison Tool can be found at:


Chicago Jobs Council Report on 'Illinois Works for the Future'; Other Initiatives to Integrate Workforce Development and Economic Development

Chicago Jobs Council Report on "Illinois Works for the Future"; Other Initiatives to Integrate Workforce Development and Economic Development In 2007 the Chicago Jobs Council launched the Illinois Works for the Future (IWF) campaign to integrate workforce and economic development. The campaign is endorsed by more than 120 public and private partners across the state that are looking for innovative ways to deliver job skills training and workforce education in a way that benefits workers, business, and communities.

Please visit FEDCAP for a full January 2014 profile and progress report of the many programs and initiatives now underway under the wing of the Council.


Digital Learning Program Prepares Students for School, Careers and Life in the 21st Century

From our colleagues at the National Telecommunications and Information Agency:

Today (February 5) is Digital Learning Day, a nationwide celebration of the innovative use of technology in education to improve learning and prepare students to succeed in college and careers in the 21st century.

The Obama administration recognizes the critical importance of digital learning to our nation’s future. Just yesterday, the White House announced over $750 million in private-sector commitments to supply free software, devices, home wireless connectivity and professional development support for teachers. These pledges bring us an important step closer to achieving the President’s ConnectED goal to get ultra-fast Internet connections and educational technology into K-12 classrooms nationwide.

NTIA has already enabled major advances in connecting schools to broadband and building the foundation for digital learning both in the classroom and beyond. Through our Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), NTIA invested in roughly 230 projects nationwide to expand access to and use of broadband. Our network infrastructure projects are linking approximately 10,000 educational institutions to high-speed Internet. Our digital literacy training and broadband adoption programs are ensuring that teachers, students and parents have the skills and resources to take advantage of these high-speed connections. And our public computer center projects are providing Internet access to those who don’t have it at home.

Through these investments, NTIA has witnessed first-hand how technology can expand access to instructors, classes and curriculum materials for schools with limited resources; provide engaging online content and virtual teaching aids to supplement lesson plans and homework assignments; and serve as a platform to teach students the digital literacy skills that are so critical to success in today’s information-age economy.

One organization leading the way is CFY a non-profit that used BTOP funding to provide digital literacy training, digital learning assistance and computers for low-income middle school students and their families in high-poverty schools in New York City and Los Angeles.

Launched in 1999 in one South Bronx neighborhood, CFY today is a national model for digital learning. It offers workshops that teach students and parents how to use the Internet to access online educational resources that promote learning in subjects such as math and reading. The program also trains families on its own free digital learning platform,, which helps teachers, students and parents find thousands of carefully selected academic activities, videos and games from across the Web that are designed to make learning fun.

Families who complete the CFY training receive a refurbished computer loaded with educational software to take home, along with assistance in signing up for affordable broadband and access to 24/7 bilingual IT helpdesk support. These resources extend student learning past the school day, improve communication between parents and schools, and more fully engage parents in the learning process.

Teacher training is another important component of the CFY program. CFY coaches teachers on how to incorporate digital content – including the PowerMyLearning platform – into lesson plans and homework assignments. This helps enrich the curriculum for all students, and gives teachers valuable tools to customize instructional materials for kids at different learning levels. With online learning activities tagged by subject, grade, academic standards and other categories, CFY’s PowerMyLearning platform is now in use in more than 19,000 school communities nationwide.

Thanks to BTOP funding, the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications and the New York City Department of Education expanded the CFY program to 75 schools. The funding also enabled CFY to bring its program to 42 schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

NTIA is proud of our role in supporting CFY and other successful digital learning programs across the country. Others that have received BTOP funding include Tech Goes Home in Boston; Learn Ideas, Navigate Knowledge (LINK) in Miami; and Youth Policy Institute in Los Angeles. Like Digital Learning Day and the White House ConnectED initiative, all of these programs recognize the power of modern technology to transform education and open up new opportunities in school and in life for all American students.