orhpc loo




















Join ORHPC in gathering information and making recommendations about rural health care in Minnesota. Interested
citizens, hospital administrators and staff, emergency medical services personnel, health care providers, and community organizers and leaders are encouraged to attend a regional forum in St. Peter on August 22 from 10:00 to 2:00 at River's Edge Hospital and Clinic. Your input will help shape state and national health care policies and activities. To attend, please register online. For more information, contact Judy Bergh at 651-201-3843 or

Following up on last summer’s popular “Pitch the Commissioner” events, Minnesota Commissioner of Health Ed Ehlinger is once again visiting communities around the state inviting local officials, community leaders and Minnesotans interested in the health of their community to join him in a game or two of horseshoes while they discuss important public health issues. Upcoming events include Isanti/Mille Lacs Counties on August 6, Little Falls (Morrison County) on August 7 and Winona (Winona County) on September 12.

Governor Mark Dayton announced four appointments to the Rural Health Advisory Committee (RHAC) for terms through December 2017: Rep. Clark Johnson of North Mankato (as House majority member); Sen. Tony Lourey of Kerrick; Sen. Julie Rosen of Fairmount; and Rep. Joe Schomacker of Luverne (as House minority member). Lourey and Rosen are reappointments, and Johnson and Schomaker are new appointments to RHAC. For more information, contact Kristen Tharaldson at 651-201-3863 or

ORHPC's Health Workforce Analysis Program has released a new Fact Sheet: Minnesota’s Psychiatrist Workforce, 2012. The report provides summary statistics regarding current demographics, geographic location, work settings and activities of Minnesota's 658 licensed psychiatrists. More information about the Health Workforce Analysis Program, as well as additional publications and workforce data, are available on the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care website.

The Workforce Analysis Program will also release a new report on the state's primary care workforce later this summer. The following is a graph from the forthcoming report:


Graph - Minnesota Primary Care Provider Types by Age, 2011-2012

Source: Minnesota Board of Medical Practice and Board of Nursing

As of 2011-2012, Minnesota had an estimated 9,075 primary care providers (defined as physicians board-certified in general family medicine, general internal medicine and pediatrics; nurse practitioners certified in one of five primary care competencies; and all physician assistants, as this profession has only recently begun specialized certifications) licensed in the state. Physician assistants (PAs) are the youngest of the three provider types, reflecting in part the shorter training period required to become a PA compared to a physician or NP. With more than half of the NPs and physicians now 45 years or older, a third of these providers may begin retiring from the primary care workforce in the next 10 years.

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.


top of page


Application materials for the Minnesota State Loan Repayment Program (MN SLRP) are now available. The program 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. For fiscal year 2013-2014, an estimated 5-10 loan repayment awards will be available. Applications due by August 19.

Application materials for the Indian Health Grant Program, which helps applicants establish, operate or subsidize clinic facilities and services to offer health services to American Indians who live off reservations, are now available. Nonprofit organizations, governmental and tribal entities are eligible to apply. Applications due September 18.

Application materials for the Community Clinic Grant Program are now available. 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 4. If invited, full applications will be due January 8.


top of page


The Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health seeks applications for small grant projects in either (1) basic and applied research addressing agricultural safety and health priority issues, needs or gaps; or (2) community partnerships using outreach, education and translation of evidence-based methods to prevent agricultural injury and illness among agricultural workers. Applications due August 5.

The National Rural Health Association (NHRA) invites applications for the 2014 Rural Health Fellows program. The goal of the program is to educate, develop and inspire a networked community of rural health leaders who will step forward to serve in key positions in NRHA, affiliated rural health advocacy groups and local and state legislative bodies. Applications due by August 31.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is accepting applications for grants for transportation of veterans in highly rural areas. Eligible organizations should use innovative approaches to assist veterans with transportation to VA and non-VA facilities for medical care, serving veterans who would not otherwise be able to obtain medical care through conventional transportation options. Applications due September 9.

The Rural Veterans Coordination Pilot program seeks applications for grants to organizations that will assist veterans and their families in transitioning from military service to civilian life in rural or underserved communities. Applications due September 19.


top of page


The Rural Hospital Performance Improvement (RHPI) project of the National Rural Health Resource Center will provide a free webinar, "Shifting to a Value-Based Health Care System," on August 6 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. Registration is required. The project also offers a free library of recorded trainings covering a variety of performance improvement topics, including ICD-10, revenue cycle management and quality reporting.

Stratis Health, with support from ORHPC, is hosting a series of five Quality Improvement learning sessions for Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs). The August 14 will focus on "Using Process Mapping to Optimize Care." For more information and to register, contact Alex Mitchell at 952-853-8598 or

A free training on the continuum of HIV/AIDS care, from testing to referrals, will take place August 6 in Waite Park. The training is sponsored by Stearns County Human Services and the Midwest Center for Lifelong Learning in Public Health (MCLPH) at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available. For more information and to register, call 612-625-1894 or email

A webinar on Health Information Exchange (HIE) will be offered on August 13 by the Regional Extension Assistance Center for HIT for Minnesota and North Dakota (REACH). The webinar will provide an overview of what HIE is, how it is used in health care settings and key factors for any successful HIE implementation. Learn more and register online on the REACH website.

The federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is providing a free webinar titled "Telehealth Solutions for Safety Net Providers" on August 20. This webinar will provide an introduction to telehealth and background information on the Telehealth Resource Center services for HRSA grantees and other safety net providers. Register online with HRSA.

Registration is now open for the National Association of Community Health Centers' 2013 Community Health Institute and Expo. This year's CHI will take place in Chicago from August 25 to August 27.

The Health Care Homes (HCH) Learning Collaborative is hosting a webinar series titled "Introduction to Health Care Homes" to increase knowledge of innovative practices and standards in primary care, and help equip clinics to begin the transformation process. The webinar series will help clinic teams identify and plan for closing the gaps in care, and will prepare teams for patient-centered, team-based coordinated care. The series includes four webinars that will run from August through October.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) seeks public comment until September 6 on a Medicare Program; Revisions to Payment Policies under the Physician Fee Schedule, Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule & Other Revisions to Part B for CY 2014 (link no longer available) that includes potential expanded payments for telehealth services and a new definition of rural.

The MDH Community Transformation Grant program, Health Care Homes program and community partners will present workshops for southwest and west central Minnesota titled "Teamwork and Skill-Building to Transform Hypertension Management: Screen, Counsel, Refer and Follow-up." The free workshops will take place in Willmar on September 17 and in Marshall on September 18. Clinic direct care providers and administrative staff will learn current best practices, team-based, patient-centered screening, counseling, referral and follow-up, and how to develop supportive clinic systems for optimal hypertension management. CEUs available. For more information, contact

The Rural Palliative Care Networking Group will feature a special presentation, "Symptom management at end-of-life," on September 19 from 10:00 a.m. to noon at United Family Home Care and Hospice in Little Falls. To register for in-person attendance or conference call, contact Matt Ellis by September 12 at or 952-853-8539.

The Rural Health Professions Institute of the Veterans Health Administration's Office of Rural Health offers free, on-demand remote learning opportunities through its MyVeHU Campus. Sessions are geared toward rural health professionals both inside and outside the VA caring for rural veterans. Topics include rural community collaborations and veteran outreach, cultural competence and caring for the rural veteran, and facilitating co-managed care. All sessions are accredited (CME/CEU available).

The Safety Net Medical Home Initiative has released new resources on empanelment, the process of assigning individuals to primary care providers and teams with sensitivity to patient and family preference, a key part of population health management and care coordination.


top of page


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced $150 million in grant awards to Community Health Centers -- including 16 health centers with 77 sites in Minnesota -- to help enroll uninsured individuals in new health coverage options made available through the Affordable Care Act. With the new Outreach and Enrollment funding, Minnesota health centers expect to hire 29 additional workers and assist 21,334 people with enrollment. Coverage by Minnesota Public Radio featured ways health centers are connecting with Minnesota's Latino community in particular.

The Rural Assistance Center and the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health recently released a Rural Health Oral Toolkit to help rural communities increase access to oral health care. A free webinar will be offered on August 6 to introduce the toolkit and two examples of successful programs funded by the federal Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP). Learn more and register online (link no longer available) for the webinar.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced a new website featuring free online clinical training opportunities for safety net providers from the Agency for Health Research and Quality (AHRQ). Training activities are based on comparative effectiveness research and include 36 topics relevant to health care professionals in medically underserved areas. Each module is 1 CE/CME credit and 1 hour in length.

The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth announced a new online Master's in Business Administration (MBA) program for rural health care administrators. Learn more on the College's website.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has launched a new long-term and post-acute care webpage featuring information about federal health IT initiatives that could be beneficial to long-term care providers. These providers don't qualify for the EHR incentive initiatives, but they do contribute to enhanced care transition processes. One initiative mentioned on the site is the Beacon Community programs that promote patient data sharing between nursing facilities and health information exchanges with or without the use of EHRs

top of page


Communities taking action: Profiles of health equity (Prevention Institute).
The uninsured: An analysis by income and geography (RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis).

Rural health
Promotion and protection of rural miner health: Are the resources in place? (link no longer available) (West Virginia Rural Health Research Center).
Obstetric Services and Quality among Critical Access, Rural, and Urban Hospitals in Nine States (link no longer available) (University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center).
MDH Commissioner ‘pitches’ new ideas for keeping rural Minnesota healthy (St. James Plaindealer).
Study: Risk of death from injury is significantly higher in the most rural areas than the most urban ones (The Rural Blog).

Health reform
Rural implications of the Primary Care Incentive Payment Program (RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis).
Accountable care organizations: benefits and barriers as perceived by Rural Health Clinic management (Rural and Remote Health).
Accountable Care Organizations in rural America (link no longer available) (RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis).

Primary care
Obamacare helps, but community clinics work to fill the gaps (MSNBC).
At some rural companies, the doctor is in (Wall Street Journal).
Becoming a medical home: implementation guides (The Commonwealth Fund).
What Community Health Centers mean to Americans and how they manage chronic diseases (Huffington Post Blog).
In search of joy in practice: A report of 23 high-functioning primary care practices (Annals of Family Medicine).

Critical Access Hospitals: What's the fuss? (Daily Yonder blog).

Mental health

Series: Minnesota's mental state (Minnesota Public Radio News).
• Few mental-health specialists carry heavy load in rural areas
(link no longer available) (Duluth News Tribune).
2013 has been a banner year for Minnesota children's mental health (MinnPost).
A needs-based method for estimating the behavioral health staff needs of community health centers (BMC Health Services Research).
Rural children experience different rates of mental health diagnosis and treatment (Maine Rural Health Research Center).

A new nurse role for a new era (Advance for Nurses).
Physician assistants in rural America (National Rural Health Association).

Health information technology
Health information technology in the United States 2013 (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation).
Telemedicine clinics make inroads into primary care (SearchHealthIT).
When mHealth and telehealth become 'just healthcare' (Government Health IT).

top of page


Judy Bergh made site visits to RC Hospital in Olivia and Sibley Medical Center in Arlington on July 17. In June, Deb Jahnke visited Northern Pines Community Mental Health Center in Little Falls and Baxter, Tri-County Health Care in Wadena, Essentia Health in Brainerd and Lakewood Health Systems in Staples.

Tammy Peterson and Chris Ballard conducted trauma system consultation visits to RC Hospital in Olivia and on July 24 and Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater on July 25.

Deb Jahnke and Lee Schutz gave a presentation in Brainerd at a meeting of directors in the Minnesota Area Health Education Center (AHEC) network. Their session covered the criteria and process involved in health shortage area designations, as well as an overview of the National Health Service Corps and other loan repayment options in Minnesota. ORHPC works closely with the regional AHECs as part of an ongoing collaboration to provide technical assistance to students, clinicians and sites to increase access to health services.

Kristen Tharaldson will present a session titled "All Our Babies: Improving Rural Birth Outcomes in Minnesota" at the 2013 Community Health Conference in September in Brainerd.


top of page


National Health Center Week will be celebrated August 11-17.

The 2013 Community Mental Health Conference will take place September 25-27 in Duluth.

Registration is open for the 2013 Community Health Conference taking place September 25-27 in Brainerd. Working Together: Attaining Health Equity in Minnesota Communities is sponsored by the State Community Health Services Advisory Committee (SCHSAC) and the Minnesota Department of Health Office of Performance Improvement.

The 14th Annual Greater Northwest EMS Conference, "Welcome to the Jungle," will take place October 4-5 in Mahnomen.





top of page

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

We invite you to forward this newsletter to your colleagues. Not already a subscriber? Subscribe to receive the Minnesota Office of Rural Health and Primary Care free Monthly and Quarterly e-newsletters.

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

Our mission
To promote access to quality health care for all Minnesotans. We work as partners with policymakers, providers, and rural and underserved urban communities to ensure a continuum of core health services throughout the state.