Monday, November 30, 2009

New from Minot State University in North Dakota

Nov. 30, 2009 Campus Announcements


Lecture explores history of migrant workers in North Dakota tonight

Jim Norris, professor of history at North Dakota State University, will examine the Mexican-migrant worker experience in North Dakota at a Northwest Art Center lecture this evening (Nov. 30) in Aleshire Theater, 7 p.m. An informal reception will follow the program.

The introduction of the sugar beet industry on the Northern Plains after World War I created a demand for migrant workers, most of whom were Mexican people from south Texas, to cultivate this new crop. The work was arduous, requiring long days in often-adverse conditions. Mexican workers also harvested potatoes and shocked wheat. Norris’s presentation will examine a number of topics concerning these workers — why they chose to come to North Dakota, why they kept coming back and why some chose to make the state their permanent home.

Professor Norris received his doctorate from Tulane University with a specialty in Mexican history. He came to the state in 1997 and soon became interested in the history of the Mexican-American population of North Dakota and Minnesota. He has written several articles and a book on the history of Mexican migrant workers in the region.

For questions, contact 858-3264 or

--Avis Veikley, director of the Northwest Art Center

PCDC presents Roger Looyenga Tuesday

The Prairie Community Development Center will present Roger Looyenga and "Take the Stairs: Leadership Lessons Learned from a Lifetime of Service with Auto-Owners Insurance Company" Tuesday (Dec. 1). This professional aspirations seminar will be in Aleshire Theater, 9:30-11 a.m.

Looyenga, a 1968 Minot State University alumnus, is the director of Auto-Owners Insurance Company. He served as past chief executive officer and chairperson from 2004 to 2008.

This seminar is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

For questions, contact 858-3110 or

--Amanda Bibow, administrative assistant to the dean of the College of Business

General Information

Call for 2010-11 small grant proposals

Faculty: Pending funding for the 2010-11 academic year, funds for small grants will be available at the start of the academic year, July 1, 2010. Small-grant proposal submissions are electronically only. Word and PDF files are acceptable, and files may be sent via e-mail attachment to no later than by February 26, 2010.


For questions, contact 858-3066 or

--Mikhail Bobylev, chair of the Faculty Development and Research Committee and
assistant professor of chemistry

‘Angel tree’ for DVCC displayed at MSU home basketball games
At Minot State University home basketball games on Dec. 4, 5, 12, and 17, an “Angel Tree” will stand at the end of the Beaver bench. Once again, the MSU Student Athlete Advisory Committee is teaming up with the Domestic Violence Crisis Center to provide gifts for those in need this Christmas.

Paper angel tags, listing the recipient’s age and gender, decorate the tree. Contributors remove one or more tags from the tree, purchase the item listed on the tag’s back and return the gift item unwrapped or in a gift bag to the Minot State University Department of Athletics. For additional information, contact the athletic department at 858-3041.
--Johnna Lewis, SAAC advisor and head volleyball coach

MSU in the News

(To inform the MSU community of Minot State items in the media, the Office of Public Information will provide links to items.)

The KMSU Auction will be Thursday (Dec. 3).

Reminder: Check the campus calendar on the MSU home page for additional events at


Public Information Campus Announcements Archives:



Eduation Commission of the States and Early Learning

Early Learning
Preparing for the 2010 session? Will early learning be on the agenda?

Searching for ideas on legislation to enhance school readiness and K-3 instruction in your state?
Want to know what other states are doing to improve the quality of and access to early learning programs?
Looking for research on what defines school readiness, what is needed to create high-quality teaching and learning environments, and what kind of preparation teachers need to support student achievement?
Look no further than the Education Commission of the States! ECS staff can answer your questions (often immediately, but if not, typically within 24 hours). ECS also can direct you to:

Trends in state activity on specific areas of early learning
Best practices among the states
Information on what the research says (or doesn't say!)
50-state baseline information on a variety of early learning indicators.
Let ECS help you as you prepare for the 2010 legislative session. Contact ECS Early Learning Program Director Mimi Howard at 303.299.3662 or

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mobile Learning in Higher Education


A Major / Major > New > Must-Read > Open Access > Book !


Jan Herrington, Anthony Herrington, Jessica Mantei, Ian Olney and Brian Ferry (editors), _New Technologies, New Pedagogies: Mobile learning In Higher Education_, Faculty of Education, University of Wollongong, 2009, 138p. ISBN: 978-1-74128-169-9


While mobile technologies such as mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and digital music players (mp3 players) have permeated popular culture, they have not found widespread acceptance as pedagogical tools in higher education.

The purpose of this e-book is to explore the use of mobile devices in learning in higher education, and to provide examples of good pedagogy. We are sure that the rich variety of examples of mobile learning found in this book will provide the reader with the inspiration to teach their own subjects and courses in ways that employ mobile devices in authentic and creative ways. This book is made up of a collection of double blind peer-reviewed chapters written by participants in the project New technologies, new pedagogies: Using mobile technologies to develop new ways of teaching and learning.

The book begins with an introductory chapter that describes the overall project, its aims and methods. The second chapter describes the professional development process that was used for the teacher participants involved in the project. This is followed by 10 chapters, each describing a mobile learning pedagogy that was employed in the context of a subject area within a Faculty of Education. The final chapter presents guidelines or design principles for the use of mobile learning in higher education learning environments.

We wish to acknowledge the support provided for the project on which this book is based by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council, an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. This research was also funded by generous support from the Office of Teaching and Learning at the University of Wollongong. Jan Herrington, Anthony Herrington, Jessica Mantei, Ian Olney & Brian Ferry, April 2009

Table of Contents

1 - Introduction: Using mobile technologies to develop new ways of teaching and learning / Jan Herrington, Anthony Herrington, Jessica Mantei, Ian Olney and Brian Ferry

2 - Professional development: Faculty development for new technologies: Putting mobile learning in the hands of the teachers / Geraldine Lefoe, Ian Olney, Rob Wright and Anthony Herrington

3 - Adult education: Using a smartphone to create digital teaching episodes as resources in adult education / Anthony Herrington

4 - Early childhood education: Digital story telling using iPods / Ian Olney, Jan Herrington and Irina Verenikina

5 - Environmental education: Using mobile phones to enhance teacher learning in environmental education / Brian Ferry

6 - Information technology education: Incorporating mobile technologies within constructivist-based curriculum resources / Anthony Herrington

7 - Language and literacy education: Using iPods to capture professional dialogue between early career teachers to enrich reflective practice / Jessica Mantei and Lisa Kervin

8 - Mathematics education: Role of mobile digital technology in fostering the construction of pedagogical and content knowledge of mathematics / Mohan Chinnappan

9 - Physical education: Using iPods to enhance the teaching of games in physical education / Greg Forrest

10 - Reflective practice: Collaborative gathering, evaluating and communicating ‘wisdom’ using iPods / Lisa Kervin and Jessica Mantei

11 - Science education: Using mobile phone cameras to capture images for slowmations: Student-generated science animations / Garry Hoban

12 - Visual arts education: Art on the move: Mobility – a way of life / Ian Brown

13 - Design principles: Design principles for mobile learning / Anthony Herrington, Jan Herrington and Jessica Mantei

Full Text OF Entire Book And Individual Chapters Available From

[ ]

!!! Thanks To / M-learning EOI en Onda Madrid / For The HeadsUp !!!




Gerry McKiernan

Associate Professor

Science and Technology Librarian

Iowa State University Library

Ames IA 50011

There Is No Answer, Only Solutions / Olde Irish Saying

The Future Is Already Here, It's Just Not Evenly Distributed

Attributed To William Gibson, SciFi Author / Coined 'Cyberspace

!!! Thanks To / M-learning EOI en Onda Madrid / For The HeadsUp !!!

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at

MarketPlace for Ideas 2010 in Fargo, North Dakota



Contact: Marilyn K. Kipp (888-384-8410)

Marketplace of Ideas Announces Plans for 2010

“Connecting Great IDEAS and Great PEOPLE”

Fargo, ND (November 24, 2009) – Shirley Dykshoorn, President of Marketplace of Ideas/ Marketplace for Kids, Inc. announced today that Marketplace of Ideas will be held in Fargo in 2010. Marketplace of Ideas is North Dakota’s largest and longest-running entrepreneurial and economic development showcase and forum.

“We are very excited to be invited to Fargo. The City of Fargo and the FargoDome have extended an invitation, and we have accepted,” Shirley Dykshoorn said.

The name has changed from Marketplace for Entrepreneurs to Marketplace of Ideas, however the mission remains the same -- working to cultivate and grow entrepreneurs and entrepreneur-ial communities by providing education, support, mentorship, solutions, and networking.

“Planning is already underway for Marketplace 2010. The Showcase and Forum will be held on September 27-28 at the FargoDome. Marketplace will offer an array of training workshops and exhibits designed to help people develop and grow their business. Opportunities for networking, hands-on learning, and one-on-one consultations with assistance providers will be available,” Dykshoorn said.

Marketplace of Ideas will also be hosting two contest opportunities – the Marketplace Invention Showcase and Contest, and the Marketplace FoodWorks Showcase and Contest.

For the sixth year, the Marketplace Invention Showcase and Contest will offer inventors an opportunity to showcase their invention, conduct market research, and compete for prize money. There will be an adult category, as well as categories for youth age 14-18; and youth age 13 and under. Winners of the 2009 Invention Contest include: Robert Lee Heitkamp, Mantador, ND; Colleen J. Reinke, Bismarck, ND; Doug C. Mickelson, Horace, ND; Adam P. Schreiner, Hunter, ND; Johan B. Eslinger, Bismarck, ND; Benjamin J. Longlet, Arthur, ND; and MacKenzie Melby, Watford City, ND.

The Marketplace FoodWorks Showcase and Contest will be a new feature, offering contestants an opportunity to showcase new food and beverage products, compete for prize money, and conduct market research.

Earlier this year Marketplace of Ideas was held in Bismarck, ND, and was a tremendous success drawing visitors from across North Dakota, Minnesota, and the region.

As programming is developed, updated information will be available online at Marketplace values the ideas of past participants and others that are interested in entrepreneurship and starting their own business. Individuals with ideas, or other questions, are encouraged to contact Marilyn K. Kipp, the Executive Director of Marketplace of Ideas at or 888-384-8410.

# # #

Saturday, November 28, 2009

US Education Review


November 27, 2009

...a bi-weekly update on U.S. Department of Education activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community and other stakeholders



On a “special edition” of the Department’s “Education News Parents Can Use” broadcast (December 15, 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET), Secretary Duncan will host a national town hall meeting with students to discuss what is working and what needs improvement in the nation’s schools. Following President Obama’s remarks at Wakefield High School almost three month ago (, the Secretary will also explore how America’s young people are responding to the President’s challenge to take responsibility for their learning and achievement. The Secretary will take comments and questions from students in a studio audience and via telephone and email. To contribute to the discussion, students and other viewers may call the show during the live broadcast, at 1-888-493-9382, or submit comments at FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO

Also: The broadcast will feature an update on the Department’s “I Am What I Learn” video contest for students. Since September 21, students have submitted over 600 video entries explaining why education is important to their future. These submissions came from students with diverse ethnic, economic, and social backgrounds, and the content ranged from music videos to short skits. The common theme in all of these videos is that education is the key to success. The Department’s Office of Communications and Outreach (OCO) carefully reviewed the submissions and narrowed them down to 10 finalists, available at Voting to determine the three winning videos runs through December 4. The three winners will each earn a $1,000 prize. The submissions inspired two friends of the Department -- Shane Battier of the Houston Rockets and Myron Rolle, who deferred the NFL draft to pursue a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University -- to share their stories on the role education plays in their own lives. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO



On November 23, President Obama launched a new campaign, Educate to Innovate, designed to improve the participation and performance of America’s students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The effort builds on the President’s pledge to use his position to encourage students to study and consider careers in the STEM fields -- upon which America’s future depends -- and elevate those students from the middle to the top of the pack, worldwide. At the kick-off event, the President announced five public-private partnerships that have committed to helping unleash the power of media, interactive games, hands-on learning, and community volunteers to reach millions of students over the next four years:

· Discovery Communication’s “Be the Future” Campaign (

· Sesame Street’s Early STEM Literacy Initiative (

· Time Warner Cable’s “Connect a Million Minds” Campaign (

· National Lab Day (

· National STEM Game Design Competitions (

The President also announced a commitment by leaders such as Sally Ride (the first female astronaut), Craig Barrett (former chairman, Intel), Ursula Burns (CEO, Xerox), Glenn Britt (CEO, Time Warner Cable), and Antonio Perez (CEO, Eastman Kodak), to increase the impact of private sector and philanthropic support for STEM education, and an annual science fair held at the White House, showcasing the student winners of national competitions in such areas as science, technology, and robotics. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO

Note: Secretary Duncan and John Holdren, Policy Director for the White House Office of Science and Technology, answered questions about Educate to Innovate online. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO



The Department will host two Technical Assistance Planning Workshops for Race to the Top applicants to review technical and logistical aspects of the grant competition. At the workshops, staff will go through criteria, requirements, and priorities and answer questions about the program. The first workshop will be in Denver on December 3 (register by November 30). The second workshop will be in the Baltimore-Washington area on December 10 (register by December 4). Both will cover the same content, so it is recommended applicants attend whichever one of the workshops is most convenient. For those who are unable attend in person, the Department will supply a conference call number for the December 10 workshop. Also, transcripts of both the workshops will be posted online. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO

Also: The Department has released Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for the Race to the Top Fund, which will be continuously updated based on the comments received via, as well as two PowerPoint presentations: one, an overview, the other, a guide to understanding the application itself. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO



Last week, Secretary Duncan met with a group of rural superintendents from nine states to listen and learn about their needs and to discuss ways that the Department can be a better partner in helping to find solutions to their education challenges. “Rural schools have unique challenges and benefits, and we value the input of rural school leaders as we work together to improve education for all children,” he explained. “Nearly every state has rural schools, which frequently lack resources, have trouble attracting teachers, and serve students living in areas with high concentrations of poverty. At the same time, we know that all children can learn with the appropriate support. We must learn from and replicate the examples of success in small rural schools.” The meeting was part of the Administration’s ongoing effort to solicit input on how to strengthen rural America. This summer, the Secretary visited Alaska and North Carolina on the White House’s Rural Tour and rural schools in Arizona, Montana, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming on his Listening and Learning Tour. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO

Also: “Why Rural Matters 2009,” from the Rural School and Community Trust, is the fifth in a series of biennial reports analyzing the contexts and conditions of rural education in each of the 50 states and calling attention to the need, for policymakers, to address rural education issues in their respective states. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO



The Department is developing a new National Educational Technology Plan to provide a vision for how information and communication technologies can help transform American education. The plan will provide a set of concrete goals that can inform state and local educational technology plans, as well as inspire research, development, and innovation. A preliminary plan is expected in early 2010. Meanwhile, the development team is looking for insights from the field to help understand how to improve education through the innovative use of technology. Submissions will be accepted until November 30. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO

Note: Karen Cator, the former Director of Education Leadership and Advocacy at Apple Computer, is the new Director of the Department’s Office of Educational Technology.



· A new Department video ( tells the story of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s (ARRA) impact on the school districts of Clark County, Nevada, and Memphis, Tennessee.

· On November 13, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Reverend Al Sharpton joined the Secretary in Baltimore -- the latest stop on their tour of several cities -- to expose challenges, highlight reforms, and rally support for greater transparency and accountability in all schools. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO

· Just two days later, the group discussed their national tour on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO

· The Secretary recently addressed the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s Annual Conference. “This is a unique moment in time when early learning is no longer an afterthought but has come into its own and is recognized as the first and most critical stage in human development,” he said. “We have a special opportunity to build a bigger, better, coordinated system of early care and education. It is time to transform early learning from a system of uneven quality and access into a system that truly and consistently prepares children for success in school and in life. And, it is time to learn from the success of high-quality programs, even as we take on the challenge of raising the bar for early learning programs in the 21st century.” FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO

· “National Survey of Student Engagement: 2009 Results” (, from Indiana University's Center for Postsecondary Research, summarizes the views of 360,000 first-year and senior students at 617 four-year colleges and universities on five benchmarks: (1) level of academic challenge, (2) active and collaborative learning, (3) student-faculty interaction, (4) enriching education experiences, and (5) supportive campus environment.

· “Open Doors 2009” (, published annually by the Institute of International Education, reports on Americans studying abroad and international students in the U.S.

· In preparation for reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the Department’s Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) is hosting a series of community conversations. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO

· In a recent Gallup poll ( , the U.S. Department of Education was the runner-up -- second to the U.S. military -- in a survey that asked respondents to name the “government agency that is the most important to the future of the U.S.”



“Yes, improving education in math and science is about producing engineers, researchers, scientists, and innovators who are going to help transform our economy and our lives for the better. But, it’s also about something more. It’s about expanding opportunity for all Americans in a world where an education is the key to success. It’s about an informed citizenry -- in an era where many of the problems we face as a nation are, at root, scientific problems. And, it’s about the power of science to not only unlock new discoveries but also to unlock, in the minds of our youngest people, a sense of promise, a sense that with some hard work -- with effort -- they have the potential to achieve extraordinary things.”

-- President Barack Obama (11/23/09), announcing the Educate to Innovate campaign



On December 8, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. at the Department’s headquarters (400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C.), the Department will host the final education stakeholder forum on reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), focused on “college-ready graduates.” TO REGISTER, PLEASE GO TO (Note: Anyone unable to attend is invited to send comments to

On December 15, the Department will hold its next web conference designed to assist grantees and subgrantees in managing ARRA grants. The topic is equitable participation provisions for private school students. Remember, previous conferences are archived for review. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO

On December 17, in the next of a series, the What Works Clearinghouse will host a webinar concerning the recommendations of its “Using Student Achievement Data to Support Instructional Decision-Making” practice guide. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO


Please feel free to contact the Office of Communications and Outreach with any questions:

Director, Intergovernmental Affairs -- Stacey Jordan, (202) 401-0026,

Program Analyst -- Adam Honeysett, (202) 401-3003,

To be added or removed from distribution, or submit comments (we welcome your feedback!),

contact Adam Honeysett. Or, visit

This newsletter contains hypertext links to information created and maintained by other public and private organizations. These links are provided for the user’s convenience. The U.S. Department of Education does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this outside information. Furthermore, the inclusion of links is not intended to reflect their importance, nor is it intended to endorse any views expressed, or products or services offered, on these sites, or the organizations sponsoring the sites.

Friday, November 27, 2009

North Dakota Workforce Committee to Meet on December 1

Tentative Agenda
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Multipurpose Room, Workforce Safety and Insurance
1600 East Century Avenue
Bismarck, North Dakota
9:00 a.m. Call to order
Roll call
Consideration of the minutes of the October 7, 2009, meeting
9:05 a.m. Presentation by the Legislative Council staff regarding the 2008 Workforce Congress
and workforce-related legislation considered by the Legislative Assembly in 2009
9:20 a.m. Presentation by a representative of the Tax Commissioner regarding the angel fund
investment tax credit and the seed capital investment tax credit
9:50 a.m. Break
10:00 a.m. Videoconference presentation by Ms. Julie Magee, Wyoming Department of Education,
regarding the Wyoming Hathaway scholarship program
11:00 a.m. Presentation by Dr. Marsha Krotseng, Vice Chancellor for Strategic Planning, North
Dakota University System, regarding the workforce training quadrant program, including
business plans and private sector support and challenges and opportunities
12:00 noon Luncheon recess
1:15 p.m. Videoconference presentation by Mr. Dan Berglund, President and CEO, State Science
and Technology Institute, regarding technology-based economic development
2:30 p.m. Presentation by Ms. Julie Kuennen, Executive Director, Incubator for Developing
Entrepreneurial Activity (IDEA) Center, regarding the IDEA Center
3:00 p.m. Presentation by Mr. Bill Wocken, City Administrator, city of Bismarck, regarding the
Great Plains Applied Energy Research Center
3:30 p.m. Comments by interested persons
3:45 p.m. Committee discussion and staff directives
4:00 p.m. Adjourn
Committee Members
Senators Tony S. Grindberg (Chairman), Tim Flakoll, Ray Holmberg, Karen K. Krebsbach, Dave
Nething, Larry J. Robinson, Mac Schneider, Tom Seymour, Ryan M. Taylor
Representatives Donald L. Clark, Eliot Glassheim, Nancy Johnson, Lee Kaldor, Lisa Meier, Corey
Mock, Lee Myxter, Michael R. Nathe, Ken Svedjan, Clark Williams
Staff Contact: Jennifer S. N. Clark, Counsel

Thursday, November 26, 2009

North Dakota License Plate Law from the Legislative Council

North Dakota Century Code Section 39-04-11 requires two number plates to be displayed on motor vehicles—one on the front and one on the rear, unless otherwise specifically provided. An example of “otherwise specifically provided” is NDCC Section 39-04-10.4, relating to antique vehicle (at least 40 years old) plates, which requires only one number plate to be displayed.


Jay E. Buringrud

B: 701.328.2916

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

North Dakota Legislative Council - Budget Section Meeting in Bismarck, North Dakota

Senator Ray Holmberg, Chairman, has called a meeting of the BUDGET SECTION.
Date: Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Place: Senate Chamber, State Capitol, Bismarck
Agenda: Presentations by representatives of the Office of Management and Budget regarding the
status of the general fund, irregularities in the fiscal practices of the state, the American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funding, and a request to use funds from the capital
improvements preliminary planning revolving fund; by a representative of Job Service North
Dakota regarding the use of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funds
available to the state; by the Legislative Council staff of the 2009 North Dakota Finance Facts
pocket brochure; by representatives of the State Board of Higher Education regarding
requests for Budget Section authorization to change or expand campus improvements
pursuant to North Dakota Century Code Section 48-01.2-25 and to accept campus
improvements pursuant to Section 15-10-12.1; by a representative of the Department of
Human Services on the status of the Medicaid management information system and the cost
of change orders; by a representative of the Public Service Commission regarding the status
of the metrology program transition from a public to a private service; by a representative of
the Highway Patrol regarding the status of implementation of the commercial vehicle
information systems and networks; by a representative of the Department of Emergency
Services regarding emergency disaster relief grants awarded to political subdivisions; by a
representative of the Tobacco Prevention and Control Executive Committee regarding the
implementation of the comprehensive tobacco prevention and control plan; consideration of
state agency requests that have been authorized by the Emergency Commission and require
Budget Section approval; consideration of an Agriculture Commissioner request for approval
to lease additional office space; and distribution of a report regarding the status of the
Veterans' Home construction project
Special Note: Anyone who plans to attend the meeting and needs assistance because of a disability
should contact the Legislative Council staff as soon as possible.
Committee Members: Senators Ray Holmberg, Bill Bowman, Randel Christmann, Tom Fischer,
Tony S. Grindberg, Ralph L. Kilzer, Karen K. Krebsbach, Elroy N. Lindaas, Tim Mathern,
Carolyn Nelson, David O'Connell, Larry J. Robinson, Tom Seymour, Bob Stenehjem, Rich
Wardner, John Warner; Representatives Larry Bellew, Rick Berg, Merle Boucher, Al Carlson,
Jeff Delzer, Mark A. Dosch, Mary Ekstrom, Eliot Glassheim, Kathy Hawken, Lee Kaldor, Keith
Kempenich, James Kerzman, Matthew M. Klein, Gary Kreidt, Joe Kroeber, Bob Martinson,
Ralph Metcalf, Shirley Meyer, David Monson, Jon Nelson, Kenton Onstad, Chet Pollert, Bob
Skarphol, Ken Svedjan, Blair Thoreson, Don Vigesaa, Francis J. Wald, Alon C. Wieland, Clark
Staff Contacts: Sheila M. Sandness, Fiscal Analyst
Allen H. Knudson, Legislative Budget Analyst and Auditor
Any member unable to attend this meeting is asked to notify this office as soon as possible.
Jim W. Smith

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New from Minot State University in Minot, North Dakota

Nov. 24, 2009 Campus Announcements


Xcel transferring power in Swain

Starting tomorrow (Nov. 25) at 8 a.m., Xcel Energy will transfer Swain Hall from temporary power to permanent power. We should not experience any outage because they are supposed to route around Swain. For questions, call 858-3210

--Roger E. Kluck, director of facilities

Beavers take on University of Montana-Western Wednesday

Before you take in some turkey, family and football this Thanksgiving; join us Wednesday night (Nov. 25) at 7 p.m. as the MSU men's basketball team takes on the University of Montana-Western.

--Rick Heit, social networking specialist

Nursing invites campus to Scholarship Day

The Minot State University Department of Nursing would like to extend an invitation on Dec. 11 for the campus to share their Scholarship Day and open house. Scholarship Day will host research projects developed by the Theory and Research class; poster presentations featuring first-semester students and faculty; papers exploring a topic which integrates: maternal newborn, mental health and pediatric populations; and a tour of the new simulation center. The event will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the research presentation on ” Prevalence of sleep deprivation among nursing students,” followed by the poster and paper presentations and tour of the simulation center from 10 a.m. to noon. Refreshments provided. For questions, contact 858-4305 or

--Rita Meyer, instructor of nursing

Watson performs Friday

If you are in town on Friday (Nov. 27), come see the Christmas Tree lighting downtown, then go to Main Street Books and hear Rick Watson, instructor of humanities, and his partner in crime, Josh Barns, perform Watson's soon to be released CD, "North Of Bethlehem," live at 7p.m. For questions, contact 858-3016 or

--Rick Watson, instructor of humanities

General Information

Advanced Study Grants awarded

The Administrative Council of Minot State University, through the Office of Academic and Institutional Projects, has awarded the following faculty grants for advanced coursework in the 2009-2010 academic year:

Rodney Hair, Rural Crime and Justice Center
Cari Olson, Office of Academic and Institutional Projects
Audra Myerchin, communication arts/broadcasting
Jolina Miller, Center for Extended Learning
Patrick Sheldon, art
John Morrow, foreign language
Frank Mosley, accounting/finance
Orlene Schroeder, communication disorders
Mark Timbrook, Center for Extended Learning/Office of Instructional Technology
Janet Green, North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities

The Administrative Council awarded a total of $26,840.00 this year. These awards are available on a competitive basis to all faculty and staff who wish to apply. They are announced in the annual call for proposals in October.

Congratulations to all the recipients! For questions, contact 858-3323 or
--Cari Olson, academic and institutional projects coordinator

Fall bulletin available

To learn what is happening at the MSU Bookstore, review 2009_Bkst_fall_bulletin_W10[1].pdf

Reminder: Check the campus calendar on the MSU home page for additional events at


Public Information Campus Announcements Archives:



Thoughts About Your Facebook

Get more tips like this and learn about the full range of social media marketing platforms, tool, techniques, and strategies from Dan Zarrella's book "The Social Media Marketing Book," published by O'Reilly.

If I could give you only one piece of Facebook marketing advice, it would be: People have profiles. Brands have pages.

Social networking profiles represent people. From your Facebook profile, you declare personal relationships, grow your network by manually accepting friend requests, and discover other people in your network to add as friends. Your Facebook profile includes facts about you including your favorite movies, what schools you went to, and your favorite quotes.

Your brand isn't a person. It doesn't have a favorite quote or book. You can't friend a brand, and it certainly can't friend you back. Brands don't have friends. Brands have fans. Fans have discussions about your brands, share news about them, and share information about your brands with others.

Facebook: The Favorite Social Network of Businesses'

A new study of 3,000 businesses showed that 83% of respondents named Facebook as their favorite social network to engage with customers. However, marketing on Facebook hasn't always been so easy for brands. When Facebook first began to catch on with businesses, it experienced a gold rush of brands who joined solely to social media market. Just like nearly every other social network, the relationship between people and brands got a little messy. Remember, people you're trying to reach have probably been using Facebook more often and for longer than you have. Unless your approach is pitch perfect you may end up doing more harm than good.

Profiles are for People. At this point in Facebook's community's development, you do not want to keep a profile if you are a brand. Keeping a brand profile is a surefire way to come across as totally out-of-touch. And worse, even if you were to pull off a successful corporate profile, Facebook has been known to suspend profiles for "too much marketing activity."

Groups are for People. Groups really aren't suitable for a serious marketing effort. They originally were created as a place for like-minded people to communicate outside of their immediate network and never were intended for brand use. There is very little time and energy required to make one and consequently, users do not value them as much as pages. How many I-lost-my-cellphone-so-I-need-all-your-numbers-again groups have you been invited to?

Pages are for Brands. After setting up a page for your brand on Facebook, use applications to pull in content from your blog and Twitter account (you do have those too right?) to keep your page full of fresh, frequently updated information. Resist the urge to turn your page into a watered-down version of your website. Include some offers, media or conversation on Facebook that does not appear anywhere else. Retail brands like Victoria's Secret are especially talented at this. I recommend viewing their Victoria's Secret Pink Facebook page and see how their brand interacts with fans.

So, what if you have a profile page or a group set up for your brand already? In some cases, businesses who've launched a successful profile or group prior to Facebook pages can contact Facebook to have them migrate their contacts to their new Facebook page. This is definitely something you consider if you've got a lot of group members or friends that you don't want to lose when you transfer your brand to your new page.

Check out Dan Zarrella's new book for more great ideas on the best ways to leverage Facebook and other social platforms in your business.

Sneak Peek: The Social Media Marketing Book Teaser Trailer

Video: How to Use Social Media to Attract More Customers

North Dakota Tourism is Fantastic



November 23, 2009

Don Canton (701) 328-2200

Sara Otte Coleman, Tourism Director (701)328-2525


BISMARCK, N.D. – Recently released studies show North Dakota outpacing the nation in tourism growth. The studies include research by IHS Global Insight, Longwoods International, Statistics Canada, the U.S. Travel Association, and North Dakota State University.

The IHS Global Insight study, commissioned by North Dakota Tourism, indicates North Dakota’s core tourism grew by 10.7 percent from calendar year 2006 to calendar year 2008, compared to national growth of 8.1 percent during the same timeframe. Core tourism includes the primary industries of accommodations, entertainment, retail, dining and transportation.

“North Dakota’s tourism industry, which has shown solid growth over the years, is a strong contributor to our state’s positive economic climate,” said Gov. John Hoeven.

Other highlights from the Global Insight study include:

· Approximately $760 million in wages and salaries were generated by travel and tourism in 2008.

· 31,208 jobs were created by travel and tourism economic activity, accounting for 8.5 percent of total employment in the state.

· 67 percent of travelers are non-residents.

The IHS Global Insight study is the most recent of several studies North Dakota utilizes that shows North Dakota Tourism is on the right track, according to Shane Goettle, commissioner of the North Dakota Department of Commerce. “The Tourism Division routinely conducts research to determine the effectiveness of our marketing strategies,” said Goettle. “These studies consistently show North Dakota’s tourism industry is growing. Our research-driven strategy is the core of our success.”

Due to the diversity of the industry, it is important to use several methods to measure and cross check the impact of tourism.

Canadian travel increases

Additionally, a report from Statistics Canada, summarized for North Dakota by Longwoods International, demonstrates the impact Canadian visitors have on North Dakota. Statistics Canada shows Canadian travel to North Dakota was up 32.1 percent, yielding 1.5 million trips for the timeframe of 2006 to 2008, within the same period Canadian expenditures grew 86 percent, totaling $273 million in 2008.

· Another indicator of Canadian travel to North Dakota is border crossing numbers. From 2006 to 2008, crossings increased 16 percent.

· The North Dakota Tax Department confirms the growth of Canadian travel, with increases of over 400 percent in sales tax refunds to Canadians.

Other studies demonstrating North Dakota’s tourism growth include:

· NDSU, which reports contributors to the state’s economic base, uses like methodology to compare five industries within ND.

o 2007 key finding: Tourism is one of North Dakota’s largest economic contributors, generating $3.96 billion in non-resident expenditures. To put that into context, revenues generated by the oil industry in 2007 were $3.35 billion.

· U.S. Travel Industry Association uses like methodology across all states to measure traveler spending.

o 2007 key finding: North Dakota outpaced the nation in tourism growth (2006 to 2007), posting a 9.4 percent increase versus 6.1 percent for the nation.

· Longwoods International’s domestic visitor studies use visitor surveys to measure domestic activity.

o 2008 key findings: A 19 percent increase in spending by domestic overnight visitors; 75 percent of ND trips are for leisure.

“It’s an industry best practice to use an array of studies and methodologies to measure our state’s tourism health. Every one of our numbers points to growth in our state’s tourism industry,” said Sara Otte Coleman, director of the North Dakota Tourism Division. “This shows our affordable messaging and close-to-home advertising strategy is well attuned to the times and trends, and as you can see, we’re seeing the success of our strategy in the measurements.”

North Dakota Tourism’s marketing is centered around the Legendary branding strategy, launched eight years ago. The marketing focuses on the state’s rich culture and heritage set against a backdrop of scenic beauty with fun things to see and do. The target market is the Upper Midwest, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Montana, and South Dakota, as well as Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Canada.

All of these statistics can be found on North Dakota Tourism’s Web site

North Dakota received two legendary designations in 2008 – most affordable (AAA) and friendliest (Cambridge University).


Monday, November 23, 2009

Bismarck Mandan Development Association - North Dakota Cities

BMDA Highlights - 11/20/09

Contract vendors/suppliers - The BMDA is currently working with an out-of-state manufacturer interested in contracting with local vendors and suppliers for manufacturing services such as injection molding, metal casting, metal stamping and general machining. If you are such a vendor or supplier or know of one who may be interested, please contact Brian at the BMDA office ASAP at or (701) 222-5530.

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BMDA annual elections - The BMDA has begun the process of mailing notices of the annual elections which will take place at the Annual Meeting to be held on February 17, 2010. The three-year board terms for approximately one-third of the board members will expire at that time. The notices being sent out by the BMDA will advise those board members whose terms expire that their terms are ending and asking them if they are interested in running for another three-year term. At the same time, the general membership is being advised of the upcoming elections and the opportunity for any five certified members to nominate candidates for possible election to the board. All of the possible nominations by certified board members must be submitted to the BMDA office no later than December 11, 2009. The Nominating Committee, chaired by Jeff Ubl, BMDA Secretary, will then take the responses from the board members whose terms will expire on February 17, 2010 and any nominations from the general membership and develop a list of candidates for election at the Annual Meeting.

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Wall Street Journal articles on Congressional healthcare discussion - The November 19th Wall Street Journal had a series of articles on the expected showdown for the Senate Health Bill. Read the full WSJ story here if you are interested in following this critical discussion affecting everyone’s future healthcare. Stay involved and stay informed.

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Bismarck Waste Management Committee - Russ Staiger was recently asked to serve on the Bismarck Waste Management Committee. This committee will be responsible for considering the development of a Master Plan for the Bismarck Waste Management Program. This Master Plan will look for greater efficiencies in Bismarck’s waste management process.

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Recovery Zone Facility Bonds - Brian Ritter and Russ Staiger recently had a chance to meet with Jaclin Wike who is an attorney with the law firm of Cook, Wegner & Wike. The purpose of the meeting was for Ms. Wike to explain to Brian and Russ how the Recovery Zone Facility bonds might be used to fund various economic development projects. Recently, the Morton County Commission approved the use the Recovery Zone Facility Bonds and the Burleigh County Commission denied their use. Brian and Russ were trying to determine how these particular bonds might be used to help finance value added ag processing projects which the BMDA has been working with. If used right, these bonds would appear to be another financing tool to help finance qualified economic development projects.

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MSNBC Adversity Index - The Adversity Index is a joint project from and Moody's in which economic data from each of the 384 metro areas in the United States, including Bismarck-Mandan, is analyzed. The most recent update contends that one in four metro areas are in what the Index classifies as "recovery." However, Bismarck-Mandan is one of those metropolitan areas that has been classified by the Index as in "recovery" long before this most recent update and further analysis of the Bismarck-Mandan and North Dakota-specific data reveals positive economic data.

The Adversity Index can be found here. For more detailed information on Bismarck-Mandan, click on the State of North Dakota in the Index's map and then click on "Bismarck."

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Commission reports - This week, the BMDA made regularly scheduled presentations to both the Burleigh County Commission and the Mandan City Commission. These presentations are scheduled throughout the year with all four commissions the BMDA serves in order to keep them apprised of our efforts. The presentations provide an overview of BMDA’s current activities and ongoing projects.

Also addressed at the Mandan City Commission meeting was BMDA’s 2010 Mandan Work Plan, which lays out the scope of work for the upcoming year. This includes

Maintain communications between the City and BMDA
Continue work to identify potential retail and industrial land
Continuation of the BMDA’s attraction and marketing program
Continuation of BMDA’s Business Retention & Expansion program to include a visitation schedule of 25 primary sector businesses and 50 retail and service sector businesses
Assistance to the community to implement the Mandan Tomorrow strategic plan

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

North Dakota Legislative Employee Benefits Committee

Minutes of the
Monday, October 26, 2009
Harvest Room, State Capitol
Bismarck, North Dakota
Representative Bette B. Grande, Chairman, called
the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m.
Members present: Representatives Bette B.
Grande, David Drovdal, Ralph Metcalf, Lisa Wolf;
Senators Ray Holmberg, Ralph L. Kilzer, Carolyn
Members absent: Representative Francis J.
Wald; Senator Karen K. Krebsbach
Others present: See Appendix A
Chairman Grande recognized committee counsel.
Committee counsel said the August 6, 2009,
committee minutes should be revised. He said the
second full paragraph on page 2 which states
"Mr. Cochrane said the State Investment Board was
also impacted by the Bernard Madoff financial
scandal. He said the State Investment Board has
written down $40 million and recovered $23 million to
date" should be revised to read "Mr. Cochrane said
the State Investment Board was also impacted by the
financial scandal. He said the State Investment Board
has written down 40 percent of the WG Trading
portion of the assets and recovered $23 million to date
from Westridge."
It was moved by Senator Holmberg, seconded
by Senator Nelson, and carried on a voice vote to
approve the August 6, 2009, minutes as corrected.
At the request of Chairman Grande, committee
counsel distributed a copy of the October 2009 Your
Vested Interest newsletter published by the State
Investment Board. A copy of the newsletter is on file
in the Legislative Council office.
Chairman Grande recognized Mr. Steve Cochrane,
Executive Director/Investment Director, Retirement
and Investment Office. A copy of Mr. Cochrane's
PowerPoint presentation is attached as Appendix B.
He said the State Investment Board was involved in a
financial fraud this past year but it was not the
Bernard Madoff situation. He said the Bernard Madoff
financial scandal was targeted at individuals. He said
the situation that affected the State Investment Board
involved WG Trading Investors, L.P./Westridge
Capital Management. He said this investment had
been in place for 10 years and had always performed
very consistently. He said there were no particular
indications of wrongdoing and Callan Associates--the
board's investment consultant--performed two due
diligence reviews. He said $23 million, the portion of
the assets with Westridge Capital Management, was
recovered immediately. He said there was
$136 million placed with WG Trading Investors, L.P.,
and the board has taken a 40 percent write-down on
these assets totaling approximately $54 million. He
said approximately 35 entities were invested with
WG Trading Investors, L.P., of which 7 were limited
partners. He said the State Investment Board was a
limited partner and the fraud took place with
investments held by noteholders rather than the
limited partners. Thus, he said, the State Investment
Board believes it should be treated as a separate
class and is moving forward accordingly.
Mr. Cochrane said the State Investment Board has
$4.2 billion under management, of which $2.9 billion is
pension trust money. He said $1.1 billion is insurance
trust funds, of which 95 percent is the Workforce
Safety and Insurance fund. He said for fiscal year
2009, the Teachers' Fund for Retirement was down
27.33 percent and the Public Employees Retirement
System fund was down 24.42 percent. If there is
good news, he said, it is that on the pension side it
appears that approximately 82 percent of the total loss
is unrealized. For Workforce Safety and Insurance,
he said, the unrealized loss is approximately
95 percent. He said the fiscal year return for the
pension trust through October 21, 2009, is
14.59 percent.
Chairman Grande recognized Mr. Chris Conradi,
Enrolled Actuary and Senior Consultant, Gabriel
Roeder Smith & Company, Dallas, Texas, who
presented the July 1, 2009, actuarial valuation of the
Teachers' Fund for Retirement (Appendix C). A copy
of the actuarial valuation is on file in the Legislative
Council office. He said an actuarial valuation of the
Teachers' Fund for Retirement is prepared every year
as of July 1 using member data, financial data, benefit
and contribution provisions, actuarial assumptions,
and methods. He said the purposes of the actuarial
valuation are to measure the actuarial liabilities of the
fund; determine the adequacy of current statutory
contributions; provide other information for reporting,
such as Governmental Accounting Standards Board
Statement No. 25 and financial reporting for the
Employee Benefits Programs 2 October 26, 2009
Comprehensive Annual Financial Report; to explain
changes in actuarial conditions; track changes over
time; and to warn about possible future problems and
issues. He noted the Legislative Assembly had
enacted legislation in 2009 affecting the Teachers'
Fund for Retirement. He said the Legislative
Assembly established a supplemental retiree benefit
payment consisting of a one-time supplemental
payment to be paid in December 2009. He said this
payment will be calculated using a formula of
$20 times the years of service plus $15 times the
years retired for the beneficiary. He said the payment
is limited to the greater of 10 percent of the
beneficiary's annual annuity or $750. He said
members are eligible for the supplemental payment if
they retired before January 1, 2009, and are still in
payment on the distribution date. Also, he said, the
Legislative Assembly increased the employer
contribution rate from 8.25 percent to 8.75 percent
effective July 1, 2010. He said the increase in the
employer contribution rate is set to sunset back to
7.75 percent when the Teachers' Fund for Retirement
is 90 percent funded.
Mr. Conradi said the number of active members
increased by 146 from 9,561 to 9,707. He said the
increase is due to implementation of full-day
kindergarten. He said payroll for active members
increased 5.3 percent from $417.7 million to
$440 million. He said payroll has increased an
average of 3.4 percent per year over the last 10 years.
Average pay for active members increased
3.8 percent, he said, from $43,684 to $45,327.
However, he said, the increase in average salary can
be misleading because higher paid teachers who
retire are replaced by new teachers, and there was a
5.8 percent average increase for continuing members.
He said the average age for active members is
44.5 compared to 44.6 last year and to 44.0 ten years
ago. The average years of service for active
members is 14.3, he said, which compares to
14.4 last year and to 14.4 ten years ago. He said the
number of annuitants increased by 149, from 6,317 to
6,466, an increase of 2.4 percent. Over the last
10 years, he said, the number of retirees has grown
an average of 3.5 percent per year. He said the
average annual retiree benefit is $18,162, and there
are 1.5 active members for each retiree.
Concerning assets, Mr. Conradi said the return on
market in fiscal year 2009 was -27 percent. He said
that as far as Gabriel Roeder Smith & Company can
tell, this is the worst market return in the fund's history.
He said a return this bad is expected to occur just
once a century, based on most capital market
assumption sets. He said the -27 percent return is
made worse because it follows a -7 percent return for
fiscal year 2008. He said the fund assumes assets
will earn 8 percent per year net of expenses. Thus,
he said, the shortfall is really -35 percent or
-27% - 8% = -35%. He noted the average return for
the last 10 years was 2.0 percent and the 20-year
average return was 6.6 percent, which is below the
8.0 percent assumed rate of return. In dollar terms,
the shortfall was $632 million, he said.
Mr. Conradi said the fair market value of assets
decreased from $1.846 million on June 30, 2008, to
$1.310 million on June 30, 2009, or $536 million. He
said contributions total $74.4 million and distributions
total $118 million. Therefore, he said, the fund has a
net external cashflow, contributions less benefits and
refunds, of -$43.7 million or -3.3 percent of market
value of assets at the end of the year. Although this
has not been a problem in the past, he said,
projections show the negative net external cashflow
increasing in the future. If this occurs, he said, it may
require adjustments to asset allocation to meet benefit
payments with the fund required to hold more fixed
income or cash assets resulting in lower expected
Mr. Conradi said all actuarial calculations are
based on the actuarial value of the assets and not
market value. He said the actuarial value reflects
20 percent of the difference between last year's
expected return on market and the actual return. He
said the actuarial value of the fund is now $1.9 million
versus $1.909 million last year. He said the actuarial
return was 1.7 percent in fiscal year 2009 compared
to a -27 percent on the market value of assets. He
said the actuarial value is 145 percent of fair market
value compared to 103 percent last year. However,
he said, there are $590.6 million in deferred losses,
which are not yet recognized.
Concerning the actuarial results, Mr. Conradi said
the unfunded actuarial accrued liability increased from
$421.2 million to $545.6 million. He said the funded
ratio, actuarial assets divided by actuarial accrued
liability, decreased from 81.9 percent to 77.7 percent.
He noted the funded ratio using market value is
53.5 percent, down from 79.2 percent. He said the
unfunded actuarial accrued liability is 124 percent of
covered payroll compared to 100.8 percent last year.
He said the negative margin or shortfall declined from
-.99 percent to -2.53 percent, or 8.25 percent, the
statutory contribution rate, - 10.78 percent, the
actuarial required contribution, = -2.53 percent. He
said the funding period based on an employer
contribution rate of 8.25 percent is infinite, and the
5.74 percent amortization payment is insufficient. He
noted the ending period would be infinite even if the
8.75 percent contribution rate was used.
Mr. Conradi said Gabriel Roeder Smith &
Company has prepared projections based on seven
possible investment returns for fiscal year 2010, from
a -24 percent to a +24 percent. He said the
projections assume an 8 percent annual return for
fiscal year 2011 and each year thereafter. He said the
projections assume there will be no noninvestment
actuarial gains or losses, a .5 percent annual
decrease in the number of active members, an
8.75 percent employer contribution rate effective in
fiscal year 2011 and each year thereafter, and no
other benefit or contribution changes. Based on these
assumptions, he said, the projection shows that the
Employee Benefits Programs 3 October 26, 2009
fund would run out of money in 15 to 35 years. Only
with a 24 percent return for fiscal year 2010 will the
trust have assets remaining after 30 years, he said.
He said the 8.75 percent employer contribution rate
never sunsets, the margin never becomes positive,
the unfunded actuarial accrued liability continues to
grow in the future, and funded ratios all reach or are
headed to 0 percent. In order to return to an
82 percent funded ratio by the year 2039, he said, the
fund would need to achieve a 58 percent return in
fiscal year 2010 followed by a constant 8 percent
return thereafter; 17.25 percent for each of the next
five years, followed by a constant 8 percent return
thereafter; or a 10.75 percent return for every year
from fiscal year 2010 through fiscal year 2039. With
no recovery and no other changes, he said, to achieve
an 82 percent funded ratio in 2039, the employer
contribution rate would need to increase to
18.25 percent on July 1, 2011. If nothing is done, he
said, the projected benefits in fiscal year 2035 will cost
$341 million and require an employer contribution rate
of almost 28 percent just to pay that year's benefits.
He said North Dakota is not unique in that markets
have had this kind of effect on almost all public sector
retirement plans, plans across the country are
struggling with what to do, and actions available
depend on the legal environment in each state.
Concerning what other states are doing, he said,
most states are doing or considering forming task
forces or pension commissions, increasing employer
contributions, looking for other revenue sources,
cutting workforces, reducing benefits, increasing
retirement ages, creating new tiers with lower
benefits, making significant asset allocation changes,
establishing longer amortization periods, and
changing to an asset valuation method.
In response to a question from Representative
Drovdal, Mr. Conradi said the Teachers' Fund for
Retirement does not contain any automatic cost-ofliving
adjustment or increase provisions.
In response to a question from Senator Kilzer,
Mr. Conradi said most state teacher retirement plans
are a defined benefit plan with a retirement formula
based on a multiplier. He said the average multiplier
is 2 percent, the same as North Dakota's Teachers'
Fund for Retirement.
Chairman Grande recognized Ms. Fay Kopp,
Deputy Executive Director, Retirement and
Investment Office. She distributed a schedule of
North Dakota school districts not covered by Social
Security (Appendix D), a memorandum concerning
the $14.5 million transfer from the general fund to the
Teachers' Fund for Retirement in 1977 (Appendix E),
and a history of Teachers' Fund for Retirement
retirement plan changes (Appendix F). She said that
as of June 30, 2009, there are 14 North Dakota school
districts not covered by Social Security with
172 teachers not covered by Social Security. She
said in 1977 the Legislative Assembly transferred
$14.5 million from the general fund to the Teachers'
Fund for Retirement to offset the increasing unfunded
liability and decreasing solvency of the fund caused
by a series of benefit increases that were given to
members without funding the cost.
Chairman Grande recognized Mr. Brad Ramirez,
FSA, MAAA, FCA, EA, Consulting Actuary, The Segal
Company, San Francisco, California. He presented
the results of the July 1, 2009, actuarial valuation of
the Public Employees Retirement System
(Appendix G). A copy of the actuarial valuation is on
file in the Legislative Council office. He said the
purposes of the actuarial valuation are to report the
plan's assets, estimate the plan's liabilities, determine
the recommended contribution for 2009, provide
information for annual financial statements, and
identify emerging trends. To conduct the actuarial
valuation, he said, actuaries gather data as of the
valuation date, project a benefit for each member for
each possible benefit, apply assumptions about
economics and people, apply assumptions to benefits
to determine a total liability and assign liabilities to
service, and apply the funding policy to determine the
recommended contribution. Concerning 2008-09, he
said, there was a significant drop in assets in the
fourth quarter of 2008. He said changes to
contribution rates and funded ratios were dampened
by smoothing methods, but the drop in assets still had
a significant effect.
Concerning the July 1, 2009, valuation results,
Mr. Ramirez said, the market value of the combined
assets for the Public Employees Retirement System
and the Highway Patrolmen's retirement system was
$1.361 billion as compared to $1.817 billion the year
before. He said the combined actuarial value of
assets for the Public Employees Retirement System
and the Highway Patrolmen's retirement system was
$1.667 billion as compared to $1.661 billion last year.
He said the total actuarial value of assets was
122.5 percent of market value of assets on July 1,
2009. He said significant unrecognized losses will be
recognized in subsequent valuations and yield
increases in required contributions, unless offset by
future gains.
Concerning membership, Mr. Ramirez said, the
number of active employees in the main system
increased by 3 percent to 19,686, the judges'
retirement system remained stable at 47 members,
there was a 12 percent decrease in National Guard
members, a 6 percent increase in law enforcement
with prior service members, stable membership in the
law enforcement without prior service plan, and a
3 percent overall increase to 19,943 members. He
said there are 6,416 pensions in force for the main
system, 22 for the judges' retirement system, 7 for the
National Guard retirement system, 16 for the law
enforcement with prior service system, and 0 for the
law enforcement without prior service plan. He said
the average monthly benefit for the combined system
is $891.
Concerning financial information for the Public
Employees Retirement System, Mr. Ramirez said, the
market value of assets decreased from $1.761 billion
Employee Benefits Programs 4 October 26, 2009
to $1.320 billion, the actuarial value of assets
increased from $1.610 billion to $1.617 billion, and the
ratio of actuarial value to market value is
122.5 percent.
Mr. Ramirez said the contribution margin for the
main system is -3.62 percent, 4.04 percent for the
judges' retirement system, 2.79 percent for the
National Guard retirement system, -.80 percent for the
law enforcement with prior main service system, and
-.40 for the law enforcement without prior main service
system. He said the funded ratio for the main system
is 85 percent, 111 percent for the judges' retirement
system, 112 percent for the National Guard retirement
system, 70 percent for the law enforcement with prior
service system, and 62 percent for the law
enforcement without prior service system.
In response to a question from Representative
Wolf, Mr. Sparb Collins, Executive Director, Public
Employees Retirement System, said contributions are
split between the employer and the employee with the
employer paying 4.12 percent and the employee
paying 4.0 percent. For some employers, such as the
state, he said, the employer "picks up" the employee
contribution in lieu of a salary increase.
In response to a question from Senator Nelson,
Mr. Collins said the members of the National Guard
retirement system are security officers and firefighters
not subject to deployment, and thus, the membership
in the system is relatively stable.
Concerning the Highway Patrolmen's retirement
system, Mr. Ramirez said, the number of actives
increased from 130 to 133, an increase of 2.3 percent.
He said the number of pensioners and beneficiaries
also increased from 105 to 109, an increase of
3.8 percent. He said the average monthly benefit for
the Highway Patrolmen's retirement system is $2,542.
He said the market value of assets of the Highway
Patrolmen's retirement system decreased from
$55.6 million to $41 million. He said the actuarial
value of assets decreased from $50.8 million to
$50.2 million. The ratio of actuarial value to market
value, he said, is 123 percent, a difference of
$9.2 million. He said the valuation results for the
Highway Patrolmen's retirement system show a
contribution margin of -2.03 percent of payroll. He
said the Highway Patrolmen's retirement system is
87 percent funded. He said the contribution margin
for the retiree health insurance credit fund is
.14 percent.
In conclusion, Mr. Ramirez said, the asset
smoothing and amortization method employed by the
Public Employees Retirement System has dampened
the effects of last year's losses as intended. However,
he said, significant asset losses will be recognized
over the next five years, potentially leading to
increased contribution requirements. He said
potential risks to the system include a continued aging
of the population, unforeseen demographic shocks,
and a change in asset return environment. He
recommended the board consider projections and
studies to help quantify these risks and make changes
to the system, if appropriate. Also, he said, the asset
valuation method should be reviewed.
Mr. Ramirez also reviewed projections for the
Public Employees Retirement System (Appendix H).
Based upon a market return for each year after fiscal
year 2010 of 8 percent, he said, if the market return
for fiscal year 2010 is 24 percent the available margin
on June 30, 2010, will be -4.43 percent declining to
-7.18 percent on June 30, 2014. If the market return
for fiscal year 2010 is 16 percent, he said, the margin
on June 30, 2010, will be -4.63 percent declining to
-8.21 percent on June 30, 2014. If the market return
for fiscal year 2010 is 8 percent, he said, the June 30,
2010, margin will be -4.83 percent declining to
-9.24 percent on June 30, 2014. If the market return
for fiscal year 2010 is 0 percent, he said, the margin
on June 30, 2010, will be -5.03 percent declining to
-10.26 percent on June 30, 2014. He also calculated
available margins based upon a market return for
fiscal year 2010 of -8 percent, -16 percent, and
-24 percent. He said if the market return after fiscal
year 2010 is always 9.3 percent, the projected
margins for 2010 through 2014 are always negative.
Chairman Grande recognized Mr. Aaron Webb,
Assistant Attorney General, Attorney General's office.
He discussed constitutional implications of reducing
benefits or increasing contributions for existing
members of public employee retirement plans
(Appendix I). He said the legality of benefit structure
changes is an evolving area of law, and the two
questions asked are whether member contribution
levels may be increased and whether member
benefits may be decreased. In essence, he said, the
questions ask whether the state of North Dakota
would have the authority or power to unilaterally
change the benefit structures contained within the
current law to the disadvantage of any Public
Employees Retirement System or Teachers' Fund for
Retirement member or what legal entitlement a Public
Employees Retirement System or Teachers' Fund for
Retirement member has to the terms of his or her
pension. He said courts review constitutional
provisions, existing retirement statutes and rules, prior
case law, policy grounds, plans, and a combination of
these factors in determining legal entitlement to
pensions. He said there are three main entitlements
theories, which may be categorized as the gratuity
theory, qualification or trigger theory, and contracts
theory. Under the gratuity theory, he said, pensions
are a gift; legislative modification or elimination of the
retirement benefit structures can be made without
regard to the employee's interest in those benefits.
Under the qualification theory or trigger theory, he
said, public employees vest for the purposes of
protection under the contracts clause once specific
requirements are met for that member to secure a
pension benefit under the retirement statutes. Up to
that point, he said, the member has no protection.
Under the contracts theory, he said, retirement
benefits are considered earned compensation
contracted for at the time of employment, the terms of
Employee Benefits Programs 5 October 26, 2009
which are either completely protected or only subject
to modification under limited circumstances. He said
the legal landscape has evolved from the gratuity
theory of the early 20th century to a minority contracts
approach in the 1960s to a majority contracts
approach under current law. He said the trend is
moving toward more protection for the employee. He
said there is only one and at most two states that still
follow the gratuity theory. He said several states
follow the qualification theory, and the majority follow
the contracts approach. In summary, he said, if the
Legislative Assembly does not make changes
modifying existing benefit structures to the members'
detriment, such as increases to the contribution levels
of active members or reductions to member benefits,
no constitutional challenge would occur. He said this
is the most defensive position for the state. However,
he said, if the Legislative Assembly makes a decision
to modify existing benefit structures to the members'
detriment, depending on the level of change and
membership subject to the change, the action could
trigger a constitutional challenge whereby a court
would need to make a decision based on modern law.
He said this would be a potential risk for the state. He
said it is clear that the Legislative Assembly can make
changes for new or future hires and that retirees are
absolutely protected even under the old theories.
However, he said, the risk would increase as the
Legislative Assembly made changes to nonvested
employees, vested employees, or vested employees
eligible to retire.
No further business appearing, Chairman Grande
adjourned the meeting at 1:15 p.m.
Jeffrey N. Nelson
Committee Counsel

The Droid Wireless Phone is Available

Verizon Droid Is The Real Deal
TOP100 Share206by Michael Arrington on October 18, 2009
Verizon and Motorola finally lifted the curtain on their new Droid Android phone yesterday. Make no mistake, this is Android’s flagship product, and the first phone that will pose a significant threat to Apple’s iPhone. And it will be available very soon, possibly as early as the end of this month.

MobileCrunch has been tracking the phone, which has also been called the Tao or Sholes, for some time. Just about anyone who has come in contact with the phone can’t stop talking about it. And from what we hear, they have good reason.

The phone is a three-way effort between Motorola, Verizon and Google. It looks a lot like the iPhone, and may even be as thin or thinner than the iPhone 3GS. It also has two key advantages over the iPhone – a slide out physical keyboard, and use of the Verizon network.

Unlike previous Android phones, the Droid is rumored to be powered by the TI OMAP3430, the same core that the iPhone and Palm Pre use, and which significantly outperforms Qualcomm 528MHz ARM11 based Android phones that exist today (Engadget has a great overview article on mobile CPUs).

Droid will also be running v.2.0 of Android, with a significantly upgraded user interface.

The Droid poses a different and more significant challenge to the iPhone than any other phone to date. The Palm Pre could have been that challenger, but it lacked the Verizon network, and users were unimpressed with the hardware. According to people who’ve handled the device, the Droid is the most sophisticated mobile device to hit the market to date from a hardware standpoint. When you combine that with the Verizon network, you’ve got something that is most definitely a challenger to the Jesus phone.

And the scary thing for Apple is, it may only be a few months before something even better than the Droid comes out. With the flood of Android devices that are hitting the market, a few are bound to be hits. No wonder Google CEO Eric Schmidt is so bullish on Android right now. Things are about to get very, very interesting.

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CrunchBase Information
Company: Motorola

The Motorola Droid is an Android-based smartphone by Motorola to be initially distributed by Verizon Wireless in the United States. Features of the phone include Wi-Fi networking, a 5-megapixel low light capable digital camera, a standard 3.5 mm… Learn More
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North Dakota Oil News

New Members – Thanks to the new Petroleum Council members Bison Engineering, Inc., Corval Group, Inc. and supporting member Prudential Financial Services.

Health Department Urges Well Registration for Air Quality - Recently, areas in Wyoming and Colorado that are associated with oil and gas production have been found to be in violation of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. The emissions from the oil and gas production facilities are a significant part of the cause of the nonattainment in those states. In North Dakota, we are seeing a significant increase in oil and gas activity. At this time, the increase in activity is not expected to significantly affect the air quality, as long as each company is maintaining compliance at well sites. The North Dakota Department of Health wants to remind the oil and gas industry of the importance of compliance. Requirements for production facilities are listed under Chapter 33-15-20 of the North Dakota Air Pollution Control Rules. The owner or operator of any oil or gas well production facility must submit an oil and gas well registration form and an analysis of any gas produced from the well within 90 days of the completion or recompletion of the well. This registration form can be found at the North Dakota Department of Health website at The Department has updated the registration form to include an estimate of volatile organic compound emissions for each oil and gas production facility. We appreciate the efforts taken by the oil and gas industry to achieve compliance and maintain air quality. Any questions regarding the above information may be addressed to the North Dakota Department of Health, Division of Air Quality. You may contact Todd Peterson, Air Quality Division, at (701) 328-5188.

Bakken VOC Task Force – The Petroleum Council is forming a VOC Task Force for Bakken operators to exchange technology ideas for capturing vapors from storage tanks. The Task Force will meet throughout the winter and hold an Industry/Agency Technology Exchange Meeting in Bismarck on March 23, 2010 (details on the meeting will be provided at a later date). Bakken operators are invited to join the Task Force and the next meeting date is January 12 at 9:00 a.m. in Denver at the Whiting Oil & Gas office. Bakken operators wanting to join the Task Force can contact the Petroleum Council or the Task Force Chairman, Brent Miller, Operations Manager for Whiting Oil & Gas at 303-390-4246.

State Land Sale Sets Record – The November 3 State Land Sale brought in a record $71.6 million. The average acre went for $1,214 for almost 59,000 acres of land in 12 counties. In Mountrail County, about 9,600 acres were leased for an average of $3,605 an acre. Records were broken in both the statewide per-acre average and the total dollars raised.
ND State Land Commissioner Position Open РThe State of North Dakota has an opening for the Commissioner of University and School Lands. Interested applicants must apply by submitting a completed State of North Dakota Application for Employment form (SFN 10950), a letter of application, and a resum̩ including three professional references to: Kate O'Neill, Human Resource Management Services, 600 E Blvd. Ave. Dept 113, Bismarck ND 58505-0120. Application materials can also be emailed to, and must be received by 5:00 p.m. CST on December 15, 2009 to be considered. Application forms are available at any North Dakota Job Service location, Human Resource Management Services located on the 14th floor of the ND State Capitol building, or on the web at
Gardner Walkup Latest Keynote Speaker for the 2010 WBPC – Gardner Walkup, Jr., IHS CERA Vice President, has been added to the list of keynote speakers who have committed to speak at the 2010 Williston Basin Petroleum Conference. He will be joining North Dakota Governor John Hoeven, Clarence Cazalot, CEO of Marathon Oil Company, and Jim Volker, CEO of Whiting Oil & Gas. The Conference will be held May 2-4, 2010 in Bismarck. Exhibit reservations, sponsorships, and hotel rooms will be available January 13, 2010.

Denver Social -- Mark Your Calendar – The Petroleum Council Board of Directors will be hosting its annual “Denver Social” in Denver, CO, Tuesday, March 16, 2010. All members and non-members with oil and gas interests in North Dakota are invited to attend. More information will be provided as the date approaches.

McKenzie County Recorder Offers E-Recording Service – E-Recording is the process of recording documents electronically using a web-based service. McKenzie County has partnered with Simplifile, a leader in electronic document filing and recording services. This service will accelerate document recording, increase office productivity, and actually increase the security of the documents being filed.

It is important that real estate, mineral and real property documents get recorded quickly, especially in the oil producing counties. E-Recording will provide quicker notice to the public of interest and business transactions. Documents can be received, recorded and returned all in one day. Electronic recording will alleviate the problems associated with rejected documents for such things as a shortage of recording fees, as an ACH deposit account is set up as part of Simplifile’s service -- the additional money will always be available. The submitter also signs a statement of assurance with Simplifile and the County that all documents being submitted by E-Recording meet all the NDCC requirements. A document cannot be E-Recorded that would not be accepted as if sent through the mail or come over the counter in the courthouse. E-Recording is a new option for submitters. It will not replace any of the current ways of submitting documents through the mail, courier service, or across the counter. It only offers a new way to do business. McKenzie County, Cass County, and Burleigh County all accept E-Recordings at this time. More counties will be moving forward in the near future. If you have questions, contact Ann Johnsrud, McKenzie County Recorder at

Petroleum Council Hires Communications Manager – Kelly Jo Wald has joined the Petroleum Council as the Communications Manager. She is a native of Wishek, ND and a graduate of the University of Mary in Bismarck with a degree in business communications. Kelly has a background in the energy industry as a former communications staff intern at Basin Electric Power Cooperative. She brings with her experience in industry writing, web site content development, graphic design and photography. Welcome, Kelly Jo!

PCOR Annual Meeting - The 2009 EERC’s Plains CO2 Reduction Partnership’s (PCOR) Annual Meeting and Workshops will be held at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis Riverfront in St. Louis, Missouri, December 1–3, 2009, the Hyatt is just steps away from the famous Gateway Arch and Busch Stadium. For more information about the hotel, click here.

“Remember Charlie” Safety Presentations – More than 1,000 people attended the “Remember Charlie” safety presentations this week in Minot, Williston, Dickinson, and Bismarck. Through the Oil Can! program, the Petroleum Council partnered with Workforce, Safety, and Insurance, TrainND, Marathon Oil Company, Minot Area Safety Association, Southwest Area Safety Association, Williston Area Safety Association, Hess Corporation, and Williston Area Economic Development to sponsor the seminars. Thank you to the sponsors, and specifically Workforce Safety and Insurance, who made these seminars possible with a safety grant.

For more information on any of these issues or to be removed from the mailing list, contact the North Dakota Petroleum Council at
(701) 223-6380,, or see

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Medicare Update

Hello Everyone,

Please enjoy the information contained in this edition of Frontier Focus. Please be sure to share it with your members, colleagues, providers and office billing staff. Thank you for your continued efforts to broadcast Medicare information to the providers in Region VIII.

Table of Contents

1. New from the Medicare Learning Network®

2. Covered Document Review Date for the Round 1 Rebid of the DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program Is Coming Soon!

3. Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) Program Updates

4. Physician Fee Schedule - 2010 Annual Participation Enrollment Program Extension

5. Nursing Home Five-Star Quality Rating System – November News

6. HHS Employs New Tougher Standards In Calculation Of Improper Medicare Payment Rates For 2009

7. Mini-Poster about Flu Vaccines for Medicare Beneficiaries

8. H1N1 Outreach

9. Your November Flu Message

10. Extra Help for Medicare Beneficiaries Paying for Prescription Drugs


1. New from the Medicare Learning Network®

The Cancer Screenings brochure, which provides information about Medicare coverage of screening mammographies, screening pap tests, screening pelvic exams, and colorectal and prostate cancer screenings, is now available in print format. To place your order for the print version, select "MLN Product Ordering Page" in the "Related Links Inside CMS" Section on the Medicare Learning Network homepage at

You can also view the downloadable version at the following address:

For more products related to Medicare-covered preventive services, please visit our preventive services educational products website at:

The Smoking and Tobacco-Use Cessation Counseling Services brochure, which provides information about Medicare coverage of smoking and tobacco-use cessation services, is now available in print format. To place your order for the print version, select "MLN Product Ordering Page" in the "Related Links Inside CMS" Section on the Medicare Learning Network homepage at

You can also view the downloadable version at the following address:

For more products related to Medicare-covered preventive services, please visit our preventive services educational products website at:

# # # # #

Recently Released MLN Matters Articles of Particular Interest

MM6690 – Update to Medicare Deductible, Coinsurance, and Premium Rates for 2010

SE0929 – 2010 Annual Participation Enrollment Program Extension


2. Covered Document Review Date for the Round 1 Rebid of the DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program Is Coming Soon!

Reminder: If you are a supplier bidding in the Round 1 Rebid of the Medicare Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) Competitive Bidding Program, you must submit your hardcopy financial documentation by November 21, 2009 in order to be eligible to be notified if you have any missing documents.

The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA) established the covered document review process to give suppliers the opportunity to be notified of missing required financial documents. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) urges all bidders to take advantage of this new process. Under the covered document review process, we will notify suppliers that submit their hardcopy financial documents by the Covered Document Review Date (CDRD) of any missing financial documents. The CDRD for the Round 1 Rebid is November 21, 2009 - financial documents must be postmarked by 11:59 p.m. on November 21, 2009 to qualify for the covered document review process.

The new covered document review process only determines if there are any missing financial documents. It does not indicate if the documents are acceptable, accurate or meet applicable requirements. Suppliers that submit financial documents by the CDRD will be notified of any missing financial documents within 45 days of the CDRD. Suppliers will be required to submit only the indicated missing financial document(s) within 10 business days of the notification. Only those suppliers that submit financial documents by the CDRD will receive notice from CMS of any missing documents. Bidders that submit their hardcopy financial documents after the CDRD will not be notified of any missing documents. Bidders may not change bid amounts or submit revised versions of previously submitted documents after the bid window closes. We encourage bidders to review the CDRD fact sheet available on the Competitive Bidding Implementation Contractor (CBIC) website.

Here are some important things to remember when submitting your hardcopy documents:

· Review the RFB instructions carefully to be sure that your documents comply with all requirements. The RFB instructions contain complete instructions for compiling and submitting your documents.

· Put your bidder number on every page of every document. We need your bidder number to match your hardcopy documents with your electronic bid. You will get your bidder number when you complete Form A in DBidS, the on-line bidding system.

· Submit all required hardcopy documents in one package.

· Submit financial documents for the most recent year end prior to the date on which the bid is submitted. The financial statements must be for the same accounting period as the tax returns. For example, if your tax return extract is for a fiscal year, then your financial statements must be for the same fiscal year. Please note that CMS is in the process of updating its instructional materials to emphasize that all financial documents must be for the same accounting period (calendar or fiscal).

The Round 1 Rebid competitive bidding areas (CBAs), product categories, DBidS information, bidder charts, educational materials, and complete RFB instructions can be found on the CBIC web site, Suppliers should review this information prior to submitting their bid(s). CMS will send important bidding updates via e-mail, so all suppliers interested in bidding are urged to sign up for E-mail Updates on the home page of the CBIC website. If you have any questions about the bidding process, please contact the CBIC Customer Service Center at 1-877-577-5331.


3. Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) Program Updates

Suggestions for Potential 2011 Physician Quality Reporting Initiative

Quality Measures and/or Measures Groups

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is now accepting quality measure suggestions for consideration for possible inclusion in the proposed set of quality measures for use in the 2011 Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI).

Interested parties have an additional opportunity to submit measure suggestions for the 2011 PQRI program beyond the request for 2011 measure suggestions included in the Calendar Year (CY) 2010 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) proposed rule published in the Federal Register (74 FR 33587) on July 13, 2009. Interested parties who have already submitted measure suggestions in response to the request for 2011 PQRI measures included in the CY 2010 PFS proposed rule do not need to re-submit their measure suggestions.

To learn more about the 2011 PQRI Call for Measures, visit the CMS Quality Measures Management Information System (QMIS) website at on the CMS website.

All suggestions must be received by CMS no later than 5:00 p.m. EST December 16, 2009.

Please note: Suggesting individual measures or measures for a new or existing measures group does not guarantee that the measure(s) will be included in the proposed or final sets of measures of any proposed or final rules that address the 2011 PQRI. CMS will determine what individual measures and measures group(s) to include in the proposed set of quality measures, and after a period of public comment, the agency will make the final determination with regard to the final set of quality measures for the 2011 PQRI.

# # # # #

2009 Physician Quality Reporting Initiative

National Provider Call with Question & Answer Session

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Provider Communications Group will host a national provider conference call on the 2009 Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI). This toll-free call will take place from 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., EST, on Thursday, December 10, 2009.

The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA) made the PQRI program permanent, but only authorized incentive payments through 2010. Eligible professionals who meet the criteria for satisfactory submission of quality measures data for services furnished during the reporting period, January 1, 2009 - December 31, 2009, will earn an incentive payment of 2.0 percent of their total allowed charges for Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) covered professional services furnished during that same period. The 2009 PQRI consists of 153 quality measures and 7 measures groups.

The topics covered on this national provider call will include:

· Alternate feedback report request process;

· Update on incentive payments and feedback reports;

· Results from the 2008 PQRI and 2007 PQRI re-run; and

· Measures issues identified in 2008 PQRI.

Following the presentation, the lines will be opened to allow participants to ask questions of CMS PQRI subject matter experts.

Educational products are available on the PQRI dedicated web page located at, , on the CMS website, in the Educational Resources section, as well as educational products are available on the e-prescribing dedicated web page located at on the CMS website. Feel free to download the resources prior to the call so that you may ask questions of the CMS presenters.

Conference call details:

Date: December 10, 2009

Conference Title: Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) - National Provider Call

Time: 1:30 p.m. EST

In order to receive the call-in information, you must register for the call. It is important to note that if you are planning to sit in with a group, only one person needs to register to receive the call-in data. This registration is solely to reserve a phone line, NOT to allow participation.

Registration will close at 1:30 p.m. EST on December 9, 2009, or when available space has been filled. No exceptions will be made, so please be sure to register prior to this time.

1. To register for the call participants need to go to:

2. Fill in all required data.

3. Verify your time zone is displayed correctly the drop down box.

4. Click "Register".

5. You will be taken to the “Thank you for registering” page and will receive a confirmation email shortly thereafter. Note: Please print and save this page, in the event that your server blocks the confirmation emails. If you do not receive the confirmation email, please check your spam/junk mail filter as it may have been directed there.

For those of who will be unable to attend, a transcript of the call will be available at least one week after the call at on the CMS website.

If you require services for the hearing impaired please send an email to:


4. Physician Fee Schedule - 2010 Annual Participation Enrollment Program Extension

2010 Annual Participation Enrollment Program Extension

Due to recent revisions that were made to the 2010 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has extended the 2010 Annual Participation Enrollment Program end date from December 31, 2009, to January 31, 2010 – therefore, the enrollment period now runs from November 13, 2009, through January 31, 2010.

The effective date for any Participation status change during the extension, however, remains January 1, 2010; and will be in force for the entire year.

Contractors will accept and process any Participation elections or withdrawals, made during the extended enrollment period that are received or post-marked on or before January 31, 2010.

Note: This is an extension of the annual participation enrollment period dates in CR 6637 (Transmittal 1832 -- Calendar Year (CY) 2010 Participation Enrollment and Medicare Participating Physicians and Suppliers Directory (MEDPARD) Procedures), dated October 16, 2009.

The Participation Agreement (CMS-Form 460) is available on the CD-ROM that is sent out annually by your Medicare contractor during the Annual Participation Enrollment period. Your contractor will also make the Participation Agreement available to you by placing it on their Web sites with Participation enrollment (and termination) instructions.


5. Nursing Home Five-Star Quality Rating System – November News

1. The Five-Star provider preview reports will be available no later than Thursday, November 19, 2009. Providers can access the report from the Minimum Data Set (MDS) State Welcome pages available at the State servers for submission of Minimum Data Set data.

Provider Preview access information:

· Visit the MDS State Welcome page available on the State servers where you submit MDS data to review your results.

· To access these reports, select the Certification and Survey Provider Enhanced Reports (CASPER) Reporting link located at the bottom of the login page.

· Once in the CASPER Reporting system,

i. Click on the 'Folders' button and access the Five-Star Report in your 'st LTC facid' folder,

ii. Where st is the 2-digit postal code of the state in which your facility is located, and

iii. Facid is the state assigned facid of your facility.

2. is available to address any questions and concerns about the November data. The helpline will reopen in January 2010.

3. Nursing Home Compare will update with November’s Five-Star data on Wednesday, November 25, 2009.

4. Please visit for the latest Five-Star Quality Rating system information.


6. HHS Employs New Tougher Standards In Calculation Of Improper Medicare Payment Rates For 2009

Part of Administration-Wide Strategy to Eliminate Errors and Prevent Waste and Fraud

As part of the Obama Administration’s goal of reducing waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) significantly revised and improved its calculations of Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) error rates in 2009, reflecting a more complete accounting of Medicare’s improper payments than in past years. These improvements will provide CMS with more complete information about errors so that the Agency can better target improper payments.

“The Obama Administration is committed to strengthening and improving the Medicare and Medicaid systems and doing everything we can to be responsible and vigilant stewards of these programs that millions of Americans rely upon,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “From the very start of the Administration, the President has directed all the agencies across government to use honest budgeting and to take the hardest, most detailed look possible at what was happening with taxpayer dollars inside our agencies and inside critical programs. This year, we made the call to stop calculating our error rate in fee-for-service Medicare the way that the previous Administration did and to start using a more rigorous method in calculating this rate in keeping with our mandate to root out errors and fraud. “

The Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) improper payment rates are issued annually as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Agency Financial Report.

While improper payment rates are not necessarily an indicator of fraud in Medicare or any other federal health care program, they do provide HHS, CMS, and its partners who are responsible for the oversight of Medicare and Medicaid funds a more complete assessment of how many errors need to be fixed.

“If we aren’t honest about the problem, there is no way we can get to a solution. Through a more stringent review of Medicare claims, we’ve been able to establish a more complete accounting of errors, enabling CMS to take more actionable steps to further reduce the error rate and identify abusive or potentially fraudulent actions before they become problems,” said Sebelius. “This change in calculating the error rate is just one part of our larger Administration-wide effort to reduce waste, fraud and abuse in health care. In addition to the establishment of HEAT, the joint task force that was established earlier this year with the Department of Justice, we’ve taken aggressive steps at HHS and CMS to improve our oversight of the Medicare trust funds and the taxpayer dollars that pay for the health care of millions of older and vulnerable Americans.”

“As we move forward in our review of the Medicare and Medicaid error rate data, we expect to be able to determine if there are specific trends that can better help us identify weaknesses in our programs or systems,” said Acting CMS Administrator Charlene Frizzera. “We hope to be able to use data available through the use of new electronic health record reporting that can help in the design of new and innovative approaches to finding emerging trends and vulnerabilities in high risk areas such as durable medical equipment and home health.”

Sebelius and Frizzera also pointed out the HHS and the CMS would invest more time and resources into working with providers to eliminate errors through increased and improved training and education outreach.

“It’s important that we continue to work closely with doctors, hospitals and other health care providers to make sure they understand and follow the more comprehensive fee-for-service requirements,” said Frizzera. “We are committed to working closely with them to reduce the rate of improper payments.”

Press Release available at:


7. Mini-Poster about Flu Vaccines for Medicare Beneficiaries

CMS would appreciate your help communicating with the public, especially seniors and vulnerable populations, that Medicare and Medicaid cover both the seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccines. Seniors are encouraged to get their seasonal flu vaccine as soon as possible. The vaccine that protects against the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus (sometimes called swine flu) is a separate vaccine and is available now. The first available doses of this vaccine should be given to those at highest risk of infection and complications such as children, pregnant women, health care workers and younger adults with certain medical conditions. There is some evidence that people 65 and older are less likely than younger people to be infected with the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus.

Please share this bilingual mini-poster with your colleagues and encourage them to post it in places where Medicare patients will see and understand the need for their seasonal flu shot and that they can get the H1N1 vaccine once the high risk groups are vaccinated.

We encourage Medicare practitioners to refer patients to if they need more information about the seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccines. Information for practitioners, mass immunizers and others who want to bill Medicare for the flu vaccines can be obtained at The Immunizers Q & A Guide in the download section also includes a list of regional CMS contacts on page 55 that would be helpful if you want to organize a large scale immunization clinic for seniors.


8. H1N1 Outreach

Dear Provider Partners,

The Department of Health and Human Services thanks you for your work in communities across the country. As this year’s flu season continues, we want to provide you with up-to-date information about the new 2009 H1N1 virus, and also give you some easy-to-read information with the hope that it will reach people who need it the most.

Below is an email template that includes important resources to help protect families and communities from H1N1. Participation in this outreach effort is voluntary.


Flu activity is already higher than what is seen during the peak of many regular flu seasons. Almost all of the flu viruses identified this season so far are 2009 H1N1.
All states have placed orders for the 2009 H1N1 vaccine, and more orders are expected daily. Vaccine is arriving in thousands of places across the country. Because the vaccine distribution system varies by state, the vaccine situation on the ground may differ from community to community.
The 2009 H1N1 vaccine is taking longer to produce than manufacturers initially expected. Scientists, doctors, and manufacturers are working around the clock to produce this vaccine safely, effectively, and as quickly as the science allows. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through state and local health departments, will continue to make the vaccine available as soon as it comes off the production line.
Clinical trials conducted by the National Institutes of Health and the vaccine manufacturers have shown that the new H1N1 vaccine is both safe and effective.
In the past, flu pandemics have been characterized by multiple waves. Scientists and doctors recommend H1N1 vaccination even if flu activity slows, as it could resume later in the season.

Please feel free to share any general feedback you receive for additional information and materials. Again, dissemination of this information is voluntary.

Thank you.


Dear Friend:

You’ve probably been hearing a lot this year about the H1N1 flu. And you may have questions. You may have even had the flu, or know a friend or neighbor who has been sick. This email features some tools suggested by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help you prevent the flu, know what to do if you get sick, and find a place to get vaccinated.

People recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to receive the vaccine as soon possible include: health care workers; pregnant women; people ages 25 through 64 with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes; anyone from 6 months through 24 years of age; and people living with or caring for infants under 6 months old. is a one-stop resource with the latest updates on the H1N1 flu. On this site, you can find information on How to Prevent and Treat the Flu, Flu Essentials and Why the H1N1 Vaccine is Safe and Recommended by Health Experts. To look up where to get vaccinated in your state, visit the Vaccine Locator. This information is updated regularly as more doses are shipped each week.

An additional resource is the CDC hotline, 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636), which offers services in English and Spanish, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Heard a rumor? Visit Myths & Facts to run a fact check.

Please forward this email to your family, friends, co-workers and networks today. Let’s work together to help keep our communities safe and healthy.


9. Your November Flu Message

Flu Season is upon us! CMS encourages providers to begin taking advantage of each office visit to encourage your patients with Medicare to get seasonal flu shots. Flu shots are their best defense against combating flu this season. And don’t forget—health care workers also need to protect themselves.

Medicare provides coverage of the flu vaccine without any out-of-pocket costs to the Medicare patient as a part B benefit. No deductible or copayment/coinsurance applies. Note that influenza vaccine is NOT a Part D covered Drug.

For more information about Medicare’s coverage of the seasonal influenza vaccine and its administration, as well as related educational resources for health care professionals, please go to on the CMS website.

For information on Medicare policies related to H1N1 influenza, please go to on the CMS website.


10. Extra Help for Medicare Beneficiaries Paying for Prescription Drugs

Do You Know Someone Who Is Having Trouble Paying For Prescription Drugs? Medicare Can Help!

· If an individual has limited income and resources, they may qualify for extra help from Medicare. This can mean big savings on prescription drug costs.

· Encourage people with Medicare to file for Extra Help online: or by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 to apply over the phone.

· State Health Insurance Information Program (SHIP) offices can assist with the application. Find contact information for a local SHIP Counselor at or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE.


Lucretia James

Division for Medicare Health Plans Operations
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Region VIII
1600 Broadway, Suite 700
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 844-1568