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Join ORHPC in gathering information and making recommendations about rural health care in Minnesota. Your input will help shape state and national health care policies and activities.

Interested citizens, hospital administrators and staff, rural emergency medical services personnel, rural health care providers, and community organizers and leaders are encouraged to participate in one of three upcoming forums scheduled in Northeast Minnesota:

Tuesday, September 11, at Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital, Ely.
Wednesday, September 12, at Deer River HealthCare Center, Deer River.
Thursday, September 13, at the 40 Club Inn and Convention Center, Aitkin.

To attend a forum, please register here. For more information, contact Judy Bergh at 651-201-3843 or

All four Work Groups of the Governor's Health Care Task Force have now presented preliminary recommendations. These proposals as well as supporting materials are available on the Health Care Reform Task Force's website.

From April to July 2012, Citizen Solutions held conversations with 1,100 Minnesotans about the future of health care. On August 6, the Bush Foundation and Citizens League presented the findings of the conversations to the Health Care Reform Task Force.

On August 13, MDH published proposed amendments to the Minnesota Statewide Quality Reporting and Measurement System in the State Register. The publication of the proposed amendments initiated a formal 30-day comment period. Comments must be submitted by 4:30 p.m. on September 12.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services released the Meaningful Use Stage 2 final rule (link no longer available) in the EHR Incentive Payments Program on August 23. More details, as well as local opportunities to learn more about the new rule, are available through the Regional Extension Assistance Center for HIT (REACH) website.

In preparation for the Minnesota Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Program (MEIP), Minnesota Health Care Programs (MHCP) requires hospitals and clinics to review their professional affiliations with individual providers and report any changes to the MHCP Provider Enrollment unit by October 15. For more information, see the MHCP Provider Update MHP-12-09 Provider Affiliations page or contact the MHCP Provider Call Center at 651-431-2700 or 1-800-366-5411.

A new Fact Sheet, "Minnesota's Registered Nurse Workforce, 2009-2010," is available from ORHPC's Health Workforce Analysis Program. The report presents key findings about the education, career and future plans of the state's registered nurses (RNs) (including advanced practice registered nurses) based on workforce surveys conducted in cooperation with the Minnesota Board on Nursing.


health care workforce diversity

As of 2011, there were 1,350 licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs) working in Minnesota. Sixty-three percent of the LMFTs intended to practice more than 10 years. Practice plans among LMFTs younger than 45 years were not unusual:  90 percent planned to practice more than 10 years. Interestingly, 46 percent of LMFTs who were 45 years and older indicated they planned to continue practicing longer than 10 years as well. It is possible that demand for LMFT services is large enough to allow for LMFTs to stay in the workforce for longer periods of time. 

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.


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Application materials for the Rural Hospital Planning and Transition Grant Program, which helps small rural hospitals preserve access or respond to changing conditions, are available on the ORHPC Grants and Loans page. Applications due October 1.

Application materials for the Community Clinic Grant Program are now available on the ORPHC Grants and Loans page. These grants support clinical capacity to serve people with low incomes, reduce current or future uncompensated care burdens, or improve care delivery infrastructure. Pre-applications are due October 24. If invited, full applications will be due January 23.

The 2012 Minnesota e-Health Connectivity Grant Program for Health Information Exchange (HIE) is currently accepting applications. Grant applications will be reviewed and evaluated on a first-come, first-serve basis. Visit the Minnesota e- Health Connectivity Grant for Health Information Exchange webpage for more information on this new funding opportunity. Contact Anne Schloegel at with questions.

Application materials for two loan programs are now available on the ORHPC Loan Forgiveness and Repayment Programs page:

  • The Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program, which supports recruitment and retention of health care professionals in communities experiencing a shortage of primary health care providers. Applications are due by January 2, 2013.

  • The State Loan Repayment Program (MN SLRP), which provides funds for repayment of qualifying educational loans of up to $20,000 annually for full-time primary care providers and up to $10,000 annually for half-time primary care providers. Applications are due September 28.

Application materials for the Rural Hospital Flex Grant Program will be available later in September. Stay tuned to the ORPHC Grants and Loan page for updates. Applications will be due October 29.

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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Applications for the 2013 Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant Program are due October 15.  This one-year grant from the federal Office of Rural Health Policy is an opportunity for rural communities to bring together key parts of a health care delivery system, particularly those entities that may not have collaborated in the past, to work together to establish or improve local capacity and coordination of care. 

The Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children Program (HTPCP) is soliciting grant applications for innovative community-initiated programs that promote access to health care for children, youth and their families, and employ preventive health strategies. Applications are due September 21.

The Kresge Foundation is accepting grant applications for promising new practices that serve vulnerable populations by advancing prevention, improving access, and integrating primary community and clinical care.


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The 2012 Community Mental Health Conference, "A Balanced Approach: The Pursuit of Wellness," will be held September 11-12 in Duluth. More information and registration is online at the Minnesota Association of Community Mental Health Programs (link no longer available).

The Rural Behavioral Health Practice Conference will be held September 14 at the University of Minnesota-Morris. Attend in person or via simultaneous webcast. More information and registration is on the Minnesota Psychological Association website.

The Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement (ICSI) and MDH have teamed up to offer full-day regional learning opportunities about Health Care Homes. MDH is leading sessions for clinics considering becoming health care homes and ICSI is leading collaboratives for those considering becoming a health care home and those already certified as health care homes.

Sessions for both the ICSI Three Month Learning Collaborative and the MDH workshops will be held in:
• Brainerd - September 13
• Willmar - September 21
• Rochester - September 28
• Metro - October 1

The Power of Three: Time Management, Delegation and SMART Goals , a one-day workshop from the National Rural Health Resource Center, will be held September 19. The training is part of the Center's L.E.A.D. series.

The fourth annual Minnesota Childhood Injury Summit will be held September 20 in St. Paul. The event is designed for safety educators, public health and public safety personnel, EMS, health care providers and others who work with parents and children.

The EMS Leadership Academy, a four-part educational program presented by SafeTech Solutions, will be held October 11-14 in Bloomington. The Academy is designed for current leaders, new leaders and anyone with an interest in the leadership and management of EMS. Participation is limited to 26 participants per session.

The 2012 Many Faces of Community Health Conference will be held October 25-26. The event will explore ways safety net providers can improve care and reduce health disparities in underserved populations.

The Rural Palliative Care Networking Group meets quarterly to network and learn from those interested in palliative care services in rural areas. The next meeting will be held on September 18 from 10:00-noon at Fairview Lakes HomeCaring & Hospice in Chisago City. To register for in-person attendance or conference call, contact Mary Montury by September 11 at or 952-853-8541.

The MN Health IT Training Program (MNHIT) is accepting applications for the six-month, professional Health IT training program at Normandale Community College. Applications opened in July and will close when seats are filled.  Visit and click on the Healthcare and Medical for more information.

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The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) will celebrate Corps Community Day on October 11. Minnesota will celebrate the day at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry from 12-1 p.m. with presentations by NHSC scholars, loan repayment recipients and NHSC Ambassadors and an award to the School of Dentistry for its commitment to expanding access to oral health and primary care. To register , contact Meghan Reedy at Also check out the NHSC's 40 Clinicians in 40 Weeks feature, which showcases a new member each week. Week six profiled Ashley Landers, who serves as an outpatient therapist, medical services contractor and clinical supervisor with Central Minnesota Mental Health Center in Buffalo, Minnesota.

The Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging is one of 47 sites nationwide selected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to participate in the Community-based Care Transitions Program (CCTP). The CCTP is a five-year program created by the Affordable Care Act to provide care transitions services for Medicare beneficiaries.

The Early Childhood Dental Network, a nine-county collaborative in west central Minnesota, was profiled in the "Giving Forum," a publication of the Minnesota Council of Foundations.

Sawtooth Mountain Clinic, a community health center with locations in Grand Marais, Tofte and Grand Portage, has revamped its website and garnered national attention for its use of features such as local artwork donated to the organization and a series of videos.

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Health Reform
Rural healthcare eyes Massachusetts reforms (HealthLeaders Media).
•The Urban Institute reports on Minnesota's progress implementing the Affordable Care Act.

Health Disparities
The promise and peril of accountable care for vulnerable populations: A framework for overcoming obstacles (The Commonwealth Fund).
•The American Lung Association reports on tobacco use in rural communities and MinnPost summarizes Minnesota's place in the report and efforts to decrease tobacco use in rural areas.

Quality reporting for CAHs and rural PPS hospitals: The potential impact of composite measures (link no longer available) (Upper Midwest Rural Health Research Center).
Missing the handoff: Post-hospitalization follow-up care among rural Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes (Rural and Remote Health).

Advancing primary care: Opportunities to support care delivery redesign in practices serving Medicaid and racially and ethnically diverse patients(Center for Health Care Strategies/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation).
Three new briefs showcase the role of community health centers as "primary care powerhouses" (link no longer available) (National Association of Community Health Centers).

Oral Health
The Pew Center on the States reports on the potential for dental therapists to increase access, particularly through school-based health centers.

Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
Services integration strengthens rural EMS (The Rural Monitor).
Local and national efforts improve rural EMS safety (The Rural Monitor).

Nursing schools struggling to find professors (Virginia Public Radio/Kaiser Health News).
Doctor shortage may swell to 130,000 with cap (Bloomberg Businessweek).

Health Information Technology
Telemedicine gives rural doctors immediate access to help (MPR).
Phones enable smart wound care in rural areas (The Rural Monitor).
CMS launches electronic quality reporting pilot for hospitals (InformationWeek).

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National Rural Health Day will be celebrated on November 15. Start planning now for ways you can help highlight the unique health care challenges in rural areas and showcase the many ways rural health providers and communities address those needs. More information will be available soon on the ORHPC and National Rural Health Day websites.

The 2013 Minnesota Rural Health Conference is tentatively scheduled for June 24-25, 2013 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.