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June 24-25, 2013
Session PROPOSALS due February 1!

On December 13, the Minnesota Health Care Reform Task Force endorsed the Roadmap to a Healthier Minnesota. The Roadmap includes policy strategies for creating more patient-centered coordinated care, changing payment structures to incentivize keeping people healthy, engaging communities in designing healthier environments and encouraging increased personal responsibility. The recommendations are based on Task Force and Work Group discussion, expert testimony, Citizen Solutions’ feedback and public input. The Roadmap and Supplement are available at these links.

The Rural Health Advisory Committee (RHAC) has developed its Work Plan Priorities for 2012-2013 and a framework for the year’s activities. Priorities include rural health systems change and reform; successful wellness models for rural communities; aging, dementia and long-term care; emergency medical services; and rural obstetrics. The RHAC Fact Sheet has also been updated.

The first annual report on the statewide trauma system is now available on the ORHPC website. The report describes traumatic injury in Minnesota and trends in admission and acuity levels. One of the key findings is the tremendous growth in the trauma system -- an increase from six designated hospitals in 2005 to 123 hospitals as of January 2012. Virtually all trauma care in Minnesota now occurs at hospitals participating in this voluntary statewide system (see graph below). MDH/ORHPC publishes the annual trauma report in conjunction with the Statewide Trauma Advisory Council. This initial report covers fiscal year 2011.

Graph - Growth of the MN statewide trauma system

Source: Uniform billing data provided by the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA).

For more information and data on the trauma system, visit the Minnesota Statewide Trauma System website.


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The 2012 Minnesota e-Health Connectivity Grant Program for Health Information Exchange (HIE) is accepting applications on a first-come, first-serve basis. Eligible applicants include community HIE Partners (two or more health organizations collaborating to implement HIE for meaningful use transactions) or pharmacies not able to accept electronic prescriptions. Contact Anne Schloegel at or 651-201-3850 with questions.

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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The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation's Access to Coverage program seeks proposals for increasing health care coverage for low-income Minnesotans who are eligible for coverage but not currently enrolled. The foundation will fund each of the state's six regions and encourages the development of regional coalitions of community partners who can identify and effectively reach out to all low-income individuals in their area. Applications due January 14.

The federal Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention (NEPQR) program is accepting applications for projects that will enhance nursing education, improve the quality of patient care, increase nurse retention and strengthen the nursing workforce. Applicants must be accredited schools of nursing, health care facilities, or a partnership of such a school and facility. A funding preference will be given to projects that benefit rural or underserved populations. Applications due January 25.

The federal Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) has released a FY 2013 Small Health Care Provider Quality Improvement (Rural Quality) Grant Program funding announcement. The program supports rural primary care providers in implementing quality improvement activities that help develop an evidence-based culture and the delivery of coordinated care. Applications due January 30.

The American Academy of Pediatrics' Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) program is seeking applications from pediatricians and pediatric residents in the planning or initial implementation stage of a community-based child health initiative. The program is designed to help increase children’s access to a medical home or specific health services not otherwise available. Applications due January 31.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is accepting applications for grants to provide supportive services to very low-income veteran families, especially those who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless. Grantees provide eligible veteran families with outreach, case management and assistance in obtaining VA and other benefits, including health care services. Both initial and renewal grants are available. Applications due February 1.

The federal Telehealth Network Grant Program (TNGP) is soliciting applications for projects that demonstrate how telehealth programs and networks can improve access to quality health care services in rural, frontier and underserved communities. Grants activities must serve rural communities, though grantees may be located in either urban or rural areas. Applications due February 13.


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Present a breakout session at the 2013 Minnesota Rural Health Conference! The success of the conference depends on the excellent presentations people give about their work in rural Minnesota. Proposals are due by February 1. The conference will be held June 24-25 in Duluth.

The Minnesota Stroke Registry Program is offering two regional workshop series in 2013 to help hospital-based providers build stroke programs and become stroke ready. Initial workshops will be held in Mankato on February 27, in Brainerd on March 20 and in Fergus Falls on April 23. More information and registration is available on the Minnesota Stroke Registry website.

The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) seeks public comment until January 4 on a possible new methodology for designating frontier and remote areas. Comments may be emailed to More information is available from the National Center for Frontier Communities.

The Regional Extension Assistance Center for HIT for Minnesota and North Dakota (REACH) will offer a half-day boot camp on January 7 to help staff from clinics and hospitals understand Stage 2 Meaningful Use and its implications. More information and registration is on the REACH website.

The Rural Palliative Care Networking Group will feature a special presentation, "Providing Palliative Care to Veterans," on January 29 from 10:00-noon at Glacial Ridge Hospital in Glenwood. To register for in-person attendance or conference call, contact Mary Montury by January 22 at or 952-853-8541.

The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) seeks nominations for its 2013 Rural Health Awards. These national awards recognize outstanding individuals and organizations in the field of rural health who have dedicated their time and talents to improving the health and well being of others. Nominations due February 14.

The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, will hold a free webinar on January 16 discussing the Rankings & Roadmaps features and how they can be used to ignite action in local communities.

Learn how to understand, define and measure health disparities through a free, computer-based course, Measuring Health Disparities. The program is available through the Michigan Public Health Training Center with funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others. Click here for more information and to access the course.

The TeamSTEPPS Primary Care Version is available online from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). TeamSTEPPS is a teamwork system designed to improve patient safety, communication and teamwork skills among health care professionals. The Primary Care version includes examples, discussions and exercises tailored to primary care office-based teams.


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From the CMS: Notice for providers in HPSAs regarding Medicare bonuses
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provides 10 percent bonus payments to primary care physician services and major surgical services provided in geographic Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). CMS annually publishes a list of zip codes from which bonuses are automatically generated. CMS has recently posted corrected 2013 HPSA zip code lists, replacing incorrect versions posted in December. Zip codes that are partially within a geographic HPSA will not be on the list; however, services in those areas are still eligible for the bonus payment if a modifier is used. Learn more about the bonus programs on the CMS website (link no longer available). For more information on HPSA designations with regard to the bonus programs, contact Deb Jahnke at 651-201-3845 or

Congratulations to the Rural Assistance Center (RAC), a national information resource for rural health and human services, as it celebrates 10 years of service. RAC is a collaboration of the University of North Dakota and the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI). The RAC website offers an extensive online library, information by state and topic, and customizable maps. Recently RAC launched Tools for Success, which features toolkits and resources on topics such as obesity prevention, health information technology, community health workers, and planning for sustainability.

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Palliative care in rural Minnesota (Minnesota Medicine).
Improving patient decision-making: Great Plains region (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation).

Community Health Needs Assessment template (
Network analysis (Orton Family Foundation), a handbook for conducting community network analysis to identify the full range of individuals and organizations in a given community, and how to reach them and bring them into projects.
Tools for improving primary care access
(Institute for Healthcare Improvement).

Health reform
How a Minnesota county solved the Medicaid expansion problem (Governing).

Rural Health Clinics (RHC): Updated fact sheet (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services).
After-hours access to primary care linked with lower Emergency Department use and less unmet medical need
(Health Affairs).

Merger and acquisition (M&A) strategies for small hospitals (HealthLeaders Media).

How are immigrants and refugees faring in Minnesota? (MinnPost).

Most internists don't plan to stay in primary care (Reuters based on article in the Journal of the American Medical Association).
Promoting Community Health Workers (CHWs) to reduce health disparities in MN (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation).
Contributions of community colleges to the education of allied health professionals in rural areas (WWAMI Rural Health Research Center).
Where have all the primary care doctors gone? (New York Times)
Growing need for medical interpreters (USA Today). Includes Minnesota examples.

Health information technology
Annual Report and Broadband Plan (Governor's Task Force on Broadband), which includes health-specific issues and examples. See also State Broadband Index (TechNet), which ranks Minnesota 19th nationally for broadband adoption, network quality and economic structure.
10 best practices for implementing telemedicine in hospitals (Becker's).
Where ER doctors work entirely via webcam (The Atlantic).

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The Rural Health Policy Institute will be held February 4-6 in Washington, D.C.

The Oral Health Summit 2013 will take place on February 22 in West St. Paul.

The Regional Telehealth Forum, hosted by the Great Plains Telehealth Resource & Assistance Center (gpTRAC), will be held April 15-16 in Minneapolis.

The 2013 Spring Refresher (link no longer available), sponsored by the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians, will be held April 18-19 in St. Paul.

The national Annual Rural Health Conference will be held May 7-10 in Louisville, Kentucky.

The 2013 Minnesota e-Health Summit will be held June 12-13 in Bloomington.

The 2013 Age and Disabilities Odyssey Conference will take place June 17-18 at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC).

The 2013 Minnesota Rural Health Conference will be held June 24-25, 2013 in Duluth.


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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.