JUNE 2012



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Don't Miss Out!
Registration still open for the 2012 Rural Health Conference June 25-26 in Duluth.

Minnesota Rural Health Conference 2012:
Bringing It All Together

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Citizen Solutions Forums will be held throughout the state to hear what's important to Minnesotans about the future of health and healthcare. In August, the Bush Foundation and Citizens League will deliver a report to the Health Care Reform Task Force on the values and priorities heard from these sessions. Upcoming forums include those in Grand Rapids (June 20), Worthington (June 26) and Virginia (July 12).

In addition to these citizen forums, the four Work Groups of the Governor's Health Care Task Force continue to develop strategies for the Roadmap to a Healthier Minnesota, which will include policy recommendations and be presented to the Governor and legislature in November 2012. Sign up for updates from the Task Force.

The Courage Center is one of 26 recipients nationwide in the first round of Health Care Innovation Awards issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The three-year, $1.8 million CMS grant will be used to further develop the Courage Center's patient-centered medical home model for people with disabilities and complex medical conditions.

Clinics certified as health care homes now serving 2 million Minnesotans.

Minnesota Chiropractic Office Health Information Technology Survey results now online.

The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) recently highlighted Minnesota as a Bright Spot in e-prescribing since it is a state that has made significant progress in the proportion of pharmacies actively accepting electronic prescriptions.


Annual Summary of Minnesota's J-1 Physician Waivers
by Rural and Non-Rural Placement

Graph of annual summary of Minnesota's J-1 Physician Waivers by Rural and Non-Rural Placement

Source: Minnesota J-1 Visa Waiver Program
Since 1994, the J-1 Visa Waiver program has provided opportunities for foreign physicians to practice medicine while simultaneously ensuring continual access to health care services in places where the number of health care providers are inadequate to meet the needs of the population. With an average number of 17 placements per year, Minnesota’s J-1 physician waiver program has evolved from a predominately rural program to one serving the underserved in both rural and non-rural communities.

For more information and data on Minnesota's health workforce, visit the ORHPC Health Care Workforce Analysis Program site or contact Angie Sechler at or 651-201-3862.



Doug Benson
is retiring after seven years with the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care. Doug has been our master of grantmaking, and he’s kept the office's many grant programs functioning smoothly, to the benefit of Minnesota’s health care safety net. Congratulations, Doug!

Darcy Dungan-Seaver is ORHPC's new Communications Coordinator. Contact Darcy at

Judy Bergh attended the Annual Board Meeting of the Bigfork Valley Hospital District on May 21. CEO Dan Odegaard gave an update on the year’s activity and Dr. Kathy Annette, President and CEO of Blandin Foundation, spoke on rural community leadership.

Jo-Ann Champagne conducted Level IV Trauma Designation site visits at the following facilities in May: Olmsted Medical Center (Rochester); St. Michael's Hospital (Sauk Centre); LifeCare Medical Center (Roseau); Rainy Lake Medical Center (International Falls); RiverView Health (Crookston); and Sanford Bagley (Bagley).

Chris Ballard participated in the Northeast Regional TZD (Toward Zero Death) Workshop in Duluth on May 30, co-presenting a Regional Trauma Advisory Committee (RTAC) overview with Stan Sadenwasser from St. Luke’s Hospital.

Mark Schoenbaum and Nitika Moibi, along with Work Group Chair Dr. Therese Zink, presented health workforce recommendations to the Governor's Health Reform Task Force, Workforce Work Group, on May 3.

Nitika Moibi participated in the Best Practices in State Health Workforce Data and Planning Conference in Alexandria, VA, May 15-16.

Tim Held participated in the Board meeting of the National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMO) in Bethesda, MD, May 6-8. As part of the event, Tim also co-chaired the Joint Operations Meeting of NASEMO and the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Committee on of page


The Minnesota Primary Care Loan Fund offers loans to clinics, hospitals, networks and others for equipment, working capital, expansion, startup and other needs.

Be an ORHPC grant reviewer. Please contact Cindy LaMere at or 651-201-3852 with your name, profession, place of employment and contact information.


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USDA Rural Utilities Service Community Connect Grant Program provides grants to establish broadband transmission service in rural communities which are currently underserved. Funds may be used to build broadband infrastructure and establish a community center which offers free access to broadband services for community residents for two years.  Deadline is June 18, 2012.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Community Transformation Grants (CTG) – Small Communities Program targets communities with populations of up to 500,000 people to increase opportunities to prevent chronic diseases and promote health. No less than 20 percent of grant funds will be directed to rural and frontier areas. Letters of Intent due June 18, 2012.

Health information technology funding now available through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).


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The 2012 Symposium on Small Towns, "Reigniting Community Leadership: Being Bold in the Face of Change," will take place June 14 at the University of Minnesota, Morris.

The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health's (NOSORH) Rural Health Grant Writing Specialist Training begins June 21, 2012; register by June 20.

The Minnesota Department of Health’s Sage programs, together with the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement, are recruiting medical groups to take part in a learning collaborative to increase screening for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer among appropriate populations.  To join the collaborative or get more information, contact Melissa Marshall at or Louie Kaeter at

HIMSS Job Mine is a new resource for emerging professionals in the health information technology field. For more information and to join, contact

The Minnesota Department of Human Services’ Minnesota Community Application Agent (MNCAA) program is now accepting proposals from qualified organizations to provide application assistance for Minnesotans interested in applying for Minnesota Health Care Programs. Qualifying organizations should have ongoing contact to an uninsured population and not already receive state or federal funding for performing application assistance in Minnesota. The RFP can be viewed by visiting the Minnesota Department of Human Services RFP website. 

Two toolsets for e-prescribing implementation -- one for physicians, including those in small practices and safety net clinics, and one for independent pharmacies -- are now available from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (link no longer available).

A Rural Guide to Health Professions Funding is now available through the U.S. Office of Rural Health Policy. The manual provides a road map for rural communities on how HRSA-based programs can assist in the recruitment and retention of health care professionals.

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Congratulations to the rural winners of the 2012 Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) Awards! (link no longer available)

  • Spirit of Advocacy Award: Randy Ulseth, FirstLight Health System, Mora.

  • Volunteer of the Year Award: Carol and John Buszmann, Mayo Clinic Health System in New Prague.

  • Patient Safety Leadership Award: Steven Mulder, M.D., Hutchinson Area Health Care.

  • Health Care Career Promotion Award (small hospital category): Riverwood Healthcare Center, Aitkin.

  • Best Minnesota Hospital Workplace Award (small hospital category): Buffalo Hospital.

  • Bruce and Denise Rueben Courage Award: Anna Herrmann, Mayo Clinic Health System in New Prague.

  • Community Benefit Award (small hospital category): "The Fitness Center," Mayo Clinic Health System in New Prague.

Additional congratulations to Susan Klassen, Mahnomen Health Center, who received a 2012 Grassroots Champion Award from the American Hospital Association. Sue is a longtime, active member of ORHPC's Flex Advisory Committee, so we salute her commitment to Minnesota Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) as well!

The Minnesota Medical Association Foundation (MMAF) and ORHPC are partnering to help two physicians begin their family medicine practices in underserved rural communities this summer through an expanded Rural Physician Loan Forgiveness Program. The MMAF, which works to improve health and health care in underserved communities, committed to match the state’s $100,000, allowing for a second award where funding was otherwise available for only one.

The Rural Palliative Care Networking Group will meet on June 27, 2012, at the Mercy Hospital in Moose Lake, MN. Register for the meeting or conference, contact Mary Montury at or 952-853-8541.

Two Minnesota organizations received Rural Health Care Services Outreach grant awards: Mississippi Headwaters Area Dental Health Center, Bemidji,  $447,400 and Koochiching County, International Falls, $450,000.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced awards to boost telemedicine efforts in rural communities, including three in Minnesota: $266,900 to Altru Health System; $354,041 to SISU Medical Systems; and $448,053 to Avera Health (for a system used in part by Minnesota providers).

In late May, Rhonda Degelau of the Minnesota Association of Community Health Centers joined more than 120 representatives of Community Health Centers and State Primary Care Associations invited to the White House to discuss quality and policy issues with the Obama Administration.

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Report: Profile of Medicare in Minnesota.
First responders may soon be connected to others across the nation via broadband network.
Another study finds rural kids less likely to have allergies, asthma; more diverse exposure credited.
Local rural health expert discusses quality measures, health reform and ACOs.

Health Disparities
Worry that reform law will restrict undocumented residents' access to care.

Reducing care fragmentation: A toolkit for coordinating care.
Redesigning diabetes care in rural fee-for-service practices.

The use of hospitalists in small rural hospitals. (link no longer available)
Care in rural hospitals is just as good as that in urban hospitals, study concludes.
HIT workforce a growing concern for Critical Access Hospitals.

Health Information Technology  
Poor, rural communities are major beneficiaries of telehealth services.
How televideo is helping cancer patients while saving money.
Study: Telehealth reduces psychiatric hospitalization of patients.

Nurse practitioners look to fill gap with expected spike in demand for health services.
Experts discuss improving training and employment for direct-care workers. (link no longer available)

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The Minnesota e-Health Summit is June 13-14 in Brooklyn Park.

2012 Symposium on Small Towns is June 13-14 at the University of Minnesota, Morris.

The Minnesota Rural Health Conference is June 25-26 in Duluth.


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View online all previous issues of the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care publications.

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Minnesota Office of Rural Health and Primary Care
P. O. Box 64882
St. Paul, Minnesota 55164-0882
Phone 651-201-3838
Toll free in Minnesota 800-366-5424
Fax: 651-201-3830
TDD: 651-201-5797

Our mission
to promote access to quality health care for rural and underserved urban Minnesotans. From our unique position within state government, we work as partners with communities, providers, policymakers and other organizations. Together, we develop innovative approaches and tailor our tools and resources to the diverse populations we serve.