2021 January

Thoughts on Self-Care in the New Year

Karen Lehman, President/CEO of MHS

by Karen Lehman, President/CEO of MHS

The new year provides us with a symbolic opportunity to re-set how we care for ourselves and others. It’s a time to develop new resolutions for the year and consider changes we want to make. This year in particular, in the midst of a pandemic, there is a heavy physical and psychological burden that this situation has over us. There are so many ramifications of living in and with an ongoing pandemic.

In an effort to be careful, my world has narrowed greatly. Reducing personal interactions, eliminating travel, keeping mostly to my home and office, my sense of community is no longer the same as it used to be. I feel so much loss in the personal connectedness that I have taken for granted. I wonder when and how we will be able to advance to a new sense of normal?

I am also struggling with the changing season. In “normal times,” the coming of winter would not impact me as it has this year. As the daylight has shortened, bringing with it more hours of darkness, and the weather has turned damp and cold, it adds an additional layer of gloom to this not so optimistic outlook on life.

Clearly, it’s not healthy to live in a prolonged state of loss and anxiety. I can’t change what is going on with the pandemic and the changing seasons, but I do have control over what I choose to do with my time and priorities. I don’t like to feel hopeless, yet know that just saying “pull yourself together” doesn’t automatically make things better!

Facing these personally challenging times, I did some research and have tried some new habits. I pulled together a list of things that are working for me — some things that I’ve been doing for a long time and needed to re-boot, and other practices that are new. I hope this list may be helpful to you as well.

  1. Acknowledge and name how you feel. Write your thoughts and feelings in a journal. Be honest with yourself. Make it a daily practice to write your feelings.
  2. Take time each day to thank God for the gifts and blessings God has given you. Expressing daily gratefulness, either in your journal or verbally in prayer, is a way to remind yourself of all the good that exists in your life.
  3. Spend time daily in prayer and meditation. This can be done by journaling, writing your own prayers, reading prayers, and/or just sitting quietly. Read from an inspiring book, listen to meditative music, light a candle and surround yourself with comforting things as you take time to be quiet.
  4. Keep a list of all the things you need to do. Without a physical list, I feel overwhelmed and anxious. Prioritize the list and set reasonable deadlines, complete tasks that are easy and quick and schedule time for larger tasks. Mark off what is completed. Update the list to remind yourself of your achievements.
  5. Be consistent about sleep, exercise and eating. This may take compromise & negotiation with loved ones, especially if their schedule is different than yours. Healthy eating, regular exercise and sleep have a significant and positive impact on your outlook on life and well-being.
  6. Find someone to share your thoughts and feelings with. This is a trusted relationship with someone that can support you. Seek professional help if needed, through EAP programs or your pastor – someone that can support you.
  7. Find daily joy! Do something that is fun and brings you joy each day. Eliminate or minimize negative and sad input, especially before going to bed!

In closing, I share an excerpt from Joyce Rupp’s book, Little Pieces of Light. “The questions of darkness can gift us with a willingness to live with insecurity and to find deeper joy in the things of life we so easily assume will always be there for us. In a sense, the darkness forces us inward. We can try to sit the darkness out, or withdraw into ourselves, or get completely absorbed in life’s constant pressure of activities. A much more healthy and growthful option is to be open to the darkness that is present, listen to it, hear what it has to say, rather than trying to just survive with it or attempt to boot it out the door as quickly as possible.”

2021 January

MHS Innovation Grant

Are you looking for a resource to fund a new and innovative program to enhance the mission of your organization? MHS is pleased to announce the launch of the first annual MHS Innovation Grant.

In August 2020, the MHS Board of Directors approved the launch of this grant program, making restricted endowment funds available for distribution to MHS member organizations.

The application window is Monday, January 11 through Monday, February 15. Applications may be accessed on the MHS website (

A total of $3,500 will be awarded to one or more MHS member organizations. Awardees will be announced during the closing session of Mennonite Health Assembly on Thursday, March 11th.

More information is available at our Innovation Grant FAQ page, or if you’re ready to apply, apply here.

Grant criteria:

  1. Limit of one application per MHS member organization.
  2. Fund new innovations that will enhance your organization’s mission. Efforts with the greatest impact on your mission will be given preference. 
  3. Used for small projects, pilot projects, new programs and opportunities for learning or educational development.
  4. Funds may not to be used to cover employee salary or benefits, capital improvements and endowments.
  5. Efforts that support diversity, equity and inclusion will be given preference.
  6. Efforts that demonstrate alignment with and/or support of Anabaptist faith and values will be given preference.
  7. Applicant agrees to provide an impact report on the project and use of grant funds, if awarded, prior to December 31, 2021.
  8. Applicant agrees to allow MHS to provide information about the grant to your organization on the MHS website and MHS marketing materials at MHS’ discretion.
  9. Application must be fully completed and all supporting documents provided by the close of the application window in order to be considered by the grant committee.

Grant applications will be reviewed and grantees selected by the MHS Grant and Scholarship Committee. Committee members are: Larry Guengerich, Landis Communities; Maribel Ramirez Hinojosa, MHS Board Member; Clare Krabill, MHS and committee chair; Karen Lehman, MHS; Kristin Thim, Living Branches; and Donald Tyson, MHS Board Member.

Questions regarding the grant not answered on the FAQ page may be directed to

2021 January

Manage Your Energy for Better Outcomes

“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest,’”

Matthew 11:28, NLT
Clare Krabill, Chief Operating Officer for MHS

The past year has been jam packed with challenges and change. If you are like many people you have learned about your ability to adapt and to innovate under pressure. Even with that, you likely suspect there are many challenges and more change ahead. How do you continue to squeeze continual high productivity and creativity into your day in what has become the COVID-19 marathon? Where do you find the energy?

With those questions in mind, consider this: imagine how your days, and the outcome of your work, might change if you offered yourself the freedom to consider the management of your energy at least on equal footing, if not more, than time management? Sure, there can be expectations to have the busiest schedule. There are bragging rights to going the longest without a vacation. There is an undeniable pressure that has come from this long pandemic and the stressors it has placed on you, your loved ones, and your organization. 

Alternatively, there is considerable research that energy management leads to higher productivity, creativity and positive influence on others. This energy feeds positive organizational outcomes. (Look to this scholarly article, “Energy Management of People in Organizations”, from the Journal of Business and Psychology if you would like to read more.) Perhaps a focus on maintaining and increasing energy, rather than filling your time, can be your new how to do more with less in 2021!

Consider these exercises:

  • Reflect or journal on the portions of your job and personal life that energize you and drain you. How can you re-arrange your schedule to maintain or improve your energy throughout your day?
  • Do an energy inventory with your peers. Are there portions of your work that can be shifted with others to balance your team’s energy? Your energy suck may well be another colleague’s energy powerhouse. At the very least, identifying those items that take more personal energy can be an opportunity for your colleagues to encourage and support you and one another.
  • Reflect or journal about the responsibilities you are carrying that belong to God. Intentionally enter into prayer with God as you journey to release them. Where is God leading you and providing you opportunity to use your skills and resources? Focus there. Consider sharing these with an accountability partner.
  • Ask yourself, whom do you need to forgive, including yourself? Offer grace and mercy to yourself and others while practicing healthy boundaries. Sometimes this isn’t so easy. Keep doing it. Holding a grudge takes a lot of energy.  
  • What team building exercises can you implement in 2021? These can be as simple as reading a leadership development book together or more complex activities like a team DiSC profile and discussion. A team that knows, accepts, and supports one another is a great energy builder.

One of the nice things about energy management is that there are many aspects of it that don’t take your time. Practice energy management this year and shift your focus to get more out of the time you give.

2021 January

Book Review

Caste: The Origins of our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkerson

by Karen Lehman, MHS president/CEO

It is not often that I can read a nonfiction book in the same page-turning way that I read a good book of fiction.  Sharing stories and providing short provocative narratives makes this book easy to read and hard to put down.

Isabel Wilkerson makes a provocative case for an American caste system, demonstrating similarities to the caste systems in India and Nazi Germany, that places Black people at the lowest, rank in our society.  She provides extensive research and examples.

What we term racism is essentially a caste system that has been in place since the earliest history of this country, and which continues to be maintained today by our spoken and unspoken social order, laws, rules, marginalization and violence. 

This book is filled with American history; shocking and deeply upsetting to read at times, but absolutely critical to know and understand.  This book is required reading for anyone who truly wants to understand white privilege and power as it has played out through history, and how this has shaped the America that we live in today.

2021 January

2020 Members Meeting

The annual MHS Members Meeting was hosted virtually by MHS staff on Wednesday, December 16, 2020. Karen Lehman provided updates on MHS members who are retiring and welcomed new CEO’s as well. A financial report was provided by Alisa Miller as well as an update on MHS Consulting. Clare Krabill provided updates on new MHS programs and services launched in 2020 as well as a high-level report from the MHS Member Demographics and Diversity Survey. MHS Members spent time in small groups discussing their priorities and suggestions for how MHS can support their organizations. The meeting concluded with closing remarks from Karen Lehman and Valerie Rempel, MHS Board Chair.

MHS Member CEO’s, Executive Directors and Board Chairs engaged in small group discussion around their organizations’ priorities. The feedback will be utilized by MHS staff to develop programs and services in 2021. A recording of the meeting can be found here and a report of the member priority feedback can be found here.

2021 January

COVID-19 CARES Act: Funding, Reporting and Compliance Requirements

Mueller Prost, a CPS vendor partner, is supporting organizations as they navigate the CARES Act. Tiffany Karlin, Partner, Consulting Services and Director of Healthcare for Mueller Prost, provides the following insights and guidance.

2020 brought monumental shifts in how we live our lives, operate our organizations, and protect ourselves and loved ones.   In response to the rise of the COVID Pandemic, on December 27, 2020, President Donald Trump signed into law the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021” (CARES Act) passed by Congress on December 21, 2020 (“the Act”) and subsequent relief packages since that time, which brought numerous funding programs to aid in relief to American citizens and businesses.   While these relief packages were desperately needed, they have also been wrought with unclear and costly compliance and reporting requirements.

Fast forward to January 2021, we are welcomed with a new year, tax requirements to be met for 2020, new stimulus money approved for the Nation’s people, and a scramble to interpret reporting guidance for these various stimulus programs.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP2):

The second round of PPP loans (“PPP2”) is be available to first-time borrowers and to businesses that previously received a PPP loan. The maximum PPP2 loan is $2 million.  Essentially, as a second time applicant for PPP funds, if you meet the qualifications showing you have had a substantial revenue decline along with the requirements noted below, you can apply for a second round of funds.

Second-draw PPP loans are available to businesses, certain nonprofits, self-employed individuals, independent contractors, sole proprietors, housing cooperatives, small agricultural cooperatives, veterans’ organizations and tribal businesses.

If you or your organization received an initial PPP loan, you may qualify for a second round if you:

  • Can show a drop of at least 25% in annual gross receipts (excluding any CARES Act funds received) or for any quarter of 2020, compared with the same quarter in 2019.
  • Have not permanently closed. Businesses that have temporarily closed or suspended operations can receive a second-draw loan.
  • Previous recipients of PPP must have 300 or fewer employees; have used, or will use, the full amount of their first PPP loan
    • NOTE: First-time PPP borrowers original rules apply from first round of PPP and be businesses with 500 or fewer employees that are eligible for other SBA 7(a) loans; sole proprietors, independent contractors, and eligible self-employed individuals; or not-for-profits, including churches.
  • Section 501(c)(6) business leagues, such as chambers of commerce, visitors’ bureaus, etc. are now eligible provided they have 300 or fewer employees and do not receive more than 15% of receipts from lobbying. The lobbying activities must comprise of no more than 15% of the organizations’ total activities and have cost no more than $1 million during the most recent tax year that ended prior to February 15, 2020.
  • Borrowers that returned all or part of a previous PPP loan, can reapply for the maximum amount available to them.

Not-for-profit entities financial statement treatment for PPP loans: if the organization expects to meet the eligibility requirements and expects the PPP will be forgiven, the guidance is that the PPP should be accounted for under FASB ASC 958-605 as a conditional contribution/grant instead of a loan. In doing so, the conditional grant would be recognized into income based upon when the conditions/barriers are met. Conditions include both funds being sent on eligible expenditures and FTE tests. Organizations with fiscal year ends will have more of a challenge in determining the amount of the grant to recognize in income prior to the fiscal year end and how much will be carried over as a liability until the remaining conditions/barriers are met. It is important to track the eligible expenses to support the satisfaction of one of the conditions/barriers for the PPP funding whether under the first or second round of funding. The Act specifies that business expenses paid with forgiven PPP loans are tax-deductible, as was Congress’ intent when it created the original PPP. The Act also repeals the requirement that PPP borrowers deduct the amount of any EIDL advances from the PPP forgiveness amount and now includes set-asides to support first and second time borrowers of PPP funds with 10 or fewer employees, first time borrowers recently made eligible and for loans made by community lenders.

The second round of funding does have a deadline of March 31, 2021. We just learned that if your banking relationship is with a bank that has under $1B in assets they are being given priority and applications can be submitted as early as Friday, January 15, 2021 and larger institutions beginning next Tuesday, January 19, 2021.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Funding:

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued guidance regarding both the reporting and audit requirements for Provider Relief Fund payments received.  These payments were in a phased approach by provider type and held different terms and conditions for usage of funds.

Timeline of Funding Distribution:

“General Fund”

  1. General Fund Phase 1- received appx: April 10-24
    • Sent to all Medicare Certified Healthcare Providers
  2. General Fund High Impact Areas- received appx: May 7-22
    • Sent to all Hospital and SNF Providers
  3. General Fund Phase 2- received appx: June 9
    • Sent to all Healthcare, Medicaid, Change in Ownership, Assisted Living Providers
  4. General Fund Impact Areas- received appx: June 15
    • Sent to all Hospitals
  5. General Fund Phase 3- received appx: November
    • Sent to all Healthcare, Behavioral Health Providers

“Targeted Fund”

  1. COVID-19 High Impact Distribution-received appx: May/June/July 
  2. Rural Health Clinics
  3. Targeted Infection Control for Skilled Nursing- received appx: August
  4. Clinics, Urban Health Centers, Safety Net Hospitals
  5. Uninsured Relief Fund
  6. Skilled Nursing Quality Incentive Program (infection control)- received appx: October/November/December

General vs Targeted funds usage:

The most significant difference between these two “types of provider relief fund categories” is that the General Fund can be utilized on “healthcare related expenses attributable to coronavirus not reimbursed or obligated to be reimbursed from other sources; and, lost revenues”, while Targeted Funds needed to be utilized on “costs associated with infection control measures”.  To attest to the terms and conditions to have received and accepted these payments you had to have been one of the unique provider types for that specific funding and, after January 31, 2020, provided diagnoses, testing, or care for individuals with possible or actual cases of COVID-19 (HHS broadly views every patient as a possible case of COVID-19).

Reporting for Funds Used:

Any healthcare providers that have received $10,000 or more in aggregate of the total Provider Relief Funds are required to report use of funds in accordance with the program terms and conditions.

The Provider Relief Fund reporting is in place for providers to justify that these funds used were spent on “healthcare related expenses attributable to coronavirus not reimbursed or obligated to be reimbursed from other sources; and lost revenues.  With the passing into law of the “Consolidated Appropriations Act” on December 21, 2020, the definition of lost revenue was further defined to state, “[a] provider may calculate such lost revenues using the Frequently Asked Questions guidance released by the Department of Health and Human Services in June 2020, including the difference between such provider’s budgeted and actual revenue budget if such budget had been established and approved prior to March 27, 2020.”  Furthermore, guidance was later published that HHS considers themselves to be “payer of last resort”, therefore enforcing a no “double dipping” of COVID Relief Funding received, but also that all funding sources, including that of general revenue receipts, are exhausted before the use of HHS monies.

Reporting Entities that received between $10,000 and $499,999 in aggregated payments: are required to report in two aggregated categories: general and administrative expenses and healthcare related expenses.

Reporting Entities that receive $500,000 or more in aggregated payments same as above but with more detailed information within the two categories of general and administrative expenses and other healthcare related expenses. The expense breakdown is necessary to include mortgage/rent, personnel, utilities, supplies, equipment, and other high-level expense categories.

The portal to upload reporting and supporting documentation, as well as the formal guidance, has yet to be opened and was scheduled to do so Friday, January 15, 2021, however HHS formally announced that Friday that the deadline was postponed and did not provide further details about new deadlines, eligibility requirements, application process, or timeline for the distribution of these additional funds.  This decision has been made by HHS due to the recent passage of federal legislation which adds $3.0 billion in funding to the PRF program.  HHS is working to provide updated reporting requirements which comply with this new legislation. 

While the new date for reporting has not been published, HHS encouraged providers to establish a reporting account by registering at the newly enabled PRF reporting website at

The HHS mandate further added additional requirements for both non-profit and for-profit recipients of Provider Relief Fund payments of $750,000 or more (collectively among all payments that have been distributed thus far).  These providers would also be subject to government audit requirements (GAGAS/Single Audit).   Non-profit entities trigger this audit at time of “expended” use of funds within the provider’s fiscal year. 

Important to note, that for non-profit providers who may fall under $750,000, but received other federal funds required to be listed on the Schedule of Expenditures of Federal Awards (SEFA), then that provider will also be subject to these audit requirements.  As originally reported and then later amended, donated personal protection equipment (PPE) will not be listed on the SEFA and therefore will not count toward the $750,000 threshold.

Single Audits require higher levels of testing than that of a standard audit. They are conducted in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards and follow testing requirements prescribed by the federal government in an annually issued compliance supplement. The audit will require tests of internal controls over financial reporting and compliance with applicable regulations for major programs. 

Completed audits will be submitted to the Federal Audit Clearinghouse. Audits are normally due to the Federal Audit Clearinghouse upon the earlier of 30 days from the issuance of the audit reports, or nine months from the organization’s year-end.  There is updated guidance from the HHS granting three (3) extensions.   For those providers who have fiscal year ends, new guidance stated that the implementation of these requirements begins for those with December 31, 2020 year end and any subsequent fiscal year ends.

Every day is a new day, and even as this article is published, you can be sure more updates will have unfolded.  As with this pandemic, every day, we learn something new to adapt to!

Dianne Piet

If you are interested in learning more about Mueller Prost and how they can support your team, please contact, Dianne Piet, your dedicated CPS Client Account Manager, at 603-935-7923 or

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2021 January Your Words

Your Words Responses for January

What is one way you have practiced self-care during the pandemic?

I downloaded the “pray as you go ” app and walk and listen as the sun is rising.

Kevin King, Executive Director at Mennonite Disaster Service

Making sure I walk between 10,000 to 20,000 steps a day. I listen to podcasts and books when I walk.

Myron J Weaver, Executive Director at OrrVilla Retirement Community

Intentionally looking for sparks of redemption in everyday.

Missy Schrock, Executive Director at Center for Healing and Hope

Taking time in silence each morning, walking on lunch breaks and spending time with family. Maintaining good boundaries.

Allen Rutter, Executive Director at Shalom Ministries

I found it helpful and necessary to purposefully step back from the noise of the pandemic and spend some time alone. These times of introspection help me become more aware of the constant, loving presence of God, who knows all things and does not change, and is sovereign over the affairs of the universe. This awareness helps bring peace in the midst of the turmoil of the season.

Curt Stutzman, President/CEO at Messiah Lifeways

I discovered and experience the “2-minute listening/grounding meditation” created by the Center for Action and Contemplation.

Don Tyson, MHS Board Member and MSN Programs Director at Eastern Mennonite University

Always wearing a mask. I keep a box on front seat of my car. Mostly church & prayer meeting is virtual – ZOOM.

Rebecca M. Nolt, Retired RN

Deep conversations with friends over coffee, outdoors, social distancing, in freezing condition, with many layers of clothing 🙂

Dennis R Koehn, PhD Principal at Koehn Consulting

Daily walk of 30 to 60 minutes!

Robert Carlson, Retired from MMHS

I have explored new recipes that incorporate healthier food choices.

Beverly Raine, Executive Director of TelePsychiatry at Kings View

Marlene and I at age 81 have just expanded the amount of walking we do every day, getting to new rivers, forests, and by meeting people who are discovering life in special ways. Life is waiting for us to find it.

Gerald Kaufman, Retired Social Worker

Spent time communing with our Maker in God’s “living room,” the outdoors!

Randy Murray, chaplain at OrrVilla Retirement Community

Starting a new hobby of covering table tops with tiles.

Carol Bornman, Bornman Boat Builders

I take time every day to exercise and make sure I have at least a 5-10 minute break from screen time every 2 hours.

Gretta Petersen, Director of Operations at Kings View

Making sure I sleep enough, accept the unknown and that things will continue to change.

Mike Kosareff, CFO at Kings View

Spending time with nature – doing lots of hiking.

Colleen Deegan, Sr. HR Generalist at Kings View

Stay connected with family and friends through social media platforms such as Zoom or group texting.

Warren Tyson, Board Chair at Frederick Living
2021 January

John Hendrickson to Retire in February

John Hendrickson, CEO at Frederick Living will retire February 28, after more than 15 years with the organization.

During his time at Frederick, Hendrickson is proud to be part of a 124 year heritage of service to older adults. He is particularly proud of the passion and dedication of his coworkers which have been even more evident during the pandemic. “Their genuine love for our residents and the every-day commitment to mission inspires me,” said Hendrickson.

In retirement, Hendrickson and his wife, Sue, plan to move closer to family, including two grandchildren – with another expected in June. They want to explore, to learn, and to grow with their grandchildren.

In the short-term, he expects to work part-time, to pursue coaching certifications, to serve on a non-profit Board, and to write. When COVID subsides, Hendrickson would like to revisit a fly fishing/golfing trip to Utah. He says that wherever they settle, they will connect with a local church body and seek active ministry.

“The people with whom I have served at APG and MHS are among the most dedicated and principled professionals that I have ever known,” Hendrickson said. “Special memories of reflective prayer and intimate conversation are a blessing to me. Our times of sharing and learning together at Assembly enriched me.”