JULY 2013



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Thank you! Over 485 participants from across the state made the annual Minnesota Rural Health Conference another great success.

Congratulations to the 2013 Rural Health Award winners announced at the conference:
Al Vogt of Cook Hospital and the mobile health team of Open Door Health Center.


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Join ORHPC in gathering information and making recommendations about rural health care in Minnesota. In
terested 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 here. For more information, contact Judy Bergh at 651-201-3843 or

MDH invites interested stakeholders to review and comment on the final recommendations from Minnesota Community Measurement (MNCM) for physician clinic, ambulatory surgical center, and hospital measures for 2013. Minnesota Statutes 62U.02 requires the Commissioner of Health to establish a standardized set of quality measures for health care providers across the state. MDH contracted with Minnesota Community Measurement (MNCM) and other community partners to recommend measures for the Statewide Quality Reporting and Measurement System (SQRMS). Comments must be submitted to by 4:30 PM on July 5 to be considered.

MDH's Office of Health Information Technology (OHIT) has produced a policy guidance to clarify details about the 2015 Minnesota Interoperable Electronic Health Record (EHR) mandate. The 2007 Minnesota Legislature mandated in Minnesota Statute §62J.495 (Electronic Health Record Technology), that “By January 1, 2015, all hospitals and health care providers must have in place an interoperable electronic health records system within their hospital system or clinical practice setting.” Future updates and resources will be posted on the Minnesota e-Health Initiative / OHIT website.


Graph - General psychiatrists in Minnesota by age and gender, 2012

Source: Minnesota Board of Medical Practice

As of March 2012, a total of 658 psychiatrists held active licenses in Minnesota. Of these, 474 were board-certified general psychiatrists and 184 held one or more psychiatric subspecialty certifications. Both the general and sub-specialty psychiatry fields are predominately male, but women have begun to represent a larger percentage of the profession, especially among younger age cohorts. The chart above demonstrates this trend among general psychiatrists in particular.

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 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.


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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is accepting applications to its Tribal Public Health Capacity Building and Quality Improvement grant program. Eligible applicants include American Indian tribal governments and tribally designated organizations such as tribal health systems, tribal epidemiology centers, and tribal colleges and universities. Applications due July 15.

The Bush Foundation has announced Community Innovation Grants to support "community-powered problem-solving" that is inclusive and collaborative. Grants will range from $10,000-$200,000 to support a wide variety of issues, communities (including affinity or racial/ethnic communities) and stages of innovation. First round of applications due July 11; a second round will open in December.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation of Minnesota has issued a Request for Proposals for the Connect for Health program. Up to 10 grants of up to $50,000 will be awarded for projects designed to build social connectedness and improve health in low-income communities. Direct health care services are ineligible. Proposals due July 18.

MNsure, Minnesota's health insurance exchange, is accepting applications to its new Outreach and Infrastructure Consumer Assistance Partner Grant Program (link no longer available). A wide variety of entities are eligible to apply to provide outreach and/or establish infrastructure for in-person application and enrollment assistance. Applications due by July 19.

The American Academy of Pediatrics seeks proposals for its Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) grant program. CATCH supports pediatricians in collaborating with communities to increase children's access to health services and medical homes. Planning, implementation and resident grants are available. Applications due July 31.

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 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program has issued its Notice of Funding, Application Guide and related resources. Eligible applicants must operate a rural community facility or deliver telemedicine or distance learning services to an organization that operates such a facility. Applications due August 12.

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 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.


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Stratis Health, with support from ORHPC, is hosting a series of five Quality Improvement learning sessions for Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs). The July 17 session is "Communication and Teamwork Strategies" and 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

The federal Office of Rural Health, Rural Health Professions Institute and the Virtual VA eHealth University (vVeHU) will present "...To Care for Her Who Hath Borne the Battle...The Rural Woman Veteran" on July 25 from 12:00-1:10 p.m. Register for the free online broadcast on the MyVeHU Campus website.

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

Nominations are being accepted for the 2013 Community Health Awards. These annual awards recognize individuals or groups who make significant contributions to public health in Minnesota, and will be presented at the Community Health Conference. Nominations due July 26.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has issued a new guide, "Regional Health eDecisions: A Guide to Connecting Health Information Exchange in Primary Care.” As a complement to the guide, AHRQ will host a webinar on August 6 about using health information exchange to improve primary care practice. Register on the AHRQ website.

Migrant Clinicians Network encourages clinics to participate in its online Health Network "Bridge Case Management" program, which facilitates continuity of care for mobile patients, both in the U.S. and around the world. The program tracks patients who require follow-up care for any chronic condition, to help ensure patients remain under care despite their mobility. Enrolling patients is free. 

The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) has released free web-based training modules to train eligible professionals and Critical Access Hospitals on how to implement the new Stage 2 Meaningful Use (MU) standards.

The MDH Asthma Program has new Asthma Medication Posters (link no longer available) for free download. The posters assist school health offices and primary care clinics in prompting patients to identify their inhaled asthma medications. The posters display a photo of each inhaler; the generic and brand name of the medication; the delivery dose; and manufacturers’ name for all currently available inhaled asthma medications commonly prescribed in the United States.

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.


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The RARE Campaign (Reducing Avoidable Readmissions Effectively) announced it had prevented 4,570 avoidable hospital readmissions in 2011 and 2012. It estimates the campaign has also reduced inpatient costs by more than $40 million.

Presentations given at the 2013 gpTRAC Telehealth Forum (link no longer available) held in April are now available on the gpTRAC (Great Plains Telehealth Resource & Assistance Center) website. Topics include telehealth costs and business models, coordinated care, and preparing providers to delivery telehealth-enabled services.

A report on the role of small and rural hospitals in effective population health partnerships featured New Ulm Medical Center's Heart of New Ulm project as a case study. The Health Research & Educational Trust issued the report.

Minnesota's Community Care Team pilots are featured in a new report by the Commonwealth Fund: Care Management for Medicaid Enrollees through Community Health Teams.

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What does rural mean? Uncle Sam has more than a dozen answers (Washington Post).
Population health is a shared responsibility (HealthLeaders Media).

Rural health
Rural living presents health challenges for cancer survivors (Newswise).
Rural vets: Their barriers, problems, needs (Catholic Health Association of the U.S.).
The particular struggles of rural women (The Atlantic).

Health reform
Public health insurance boosts outpatient care, cuts hospital admissions (University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health).
Physicians shut out of ACOs seek to merge practices (HealthLeaders Media).
Exemption from health law’s individual mandate broadened for Native Americans (link no longer available) (Washington Post).
Sebelius asks for help reaching rural (Daily Yonder).

Primary care
Quality of care in Community Health Centers and factors associated with performance (Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured).
Primary care: Our first line of defense (The Commonwealth Fund).
Commentary: Physicians see a gaping hole in the safety net (HealthLeaders Media).

How hospital mergers and acquisitions benefit communities (American Hospital Association) and related coverage in the Washington Post and HealthLeaders Media.
Hospital mergers may be good for business, but patients don't always benefit (AARP).
Obstetric services and quality among Critical Access, rural and urban hospitals in nine states
(link no longer available) (Rural Health Research & Policy Centers).

Mental health
Telemental health guide (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).
New project addresses mental health gap (Politico).
Patterns of care for rural and urban children with mental health problems (link no longer available) (Rural Health Research & Policy Centers).
Challenges and opportunities for improving mental health services in rural long-term care (link no longer available) (Rural Health Research & Policy Centers).

Patients warm to nurse practitioners, physician assistants (Forbes).
Medical schools not graduating enough primary care docs (Physician News Digest) and full study in Academic Medicine.
Unequal distribution of the U.S. primary care workforce (Graham Center in American Family Physician).
Sunday dialogue - Will training more doctors improve health care? (New York Times).
Providers claim doctor shortage won't be severe in Minn. as health overhaul unfolds (St. Cloud Times).

Health information technology
Rural health IT grants get look over (Healthcare IT News).
An HIT framework for the Accountable Care environment (Health Affairs blog).
Broadband availability beyond the rural/urban divide
(link no longer available) (National Telecommunications and Information Administration).

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Mark Schoenbaum was interviewed for two recent articles: Minnesota faces shortage of primary care doctors (Associated Press via Minnesota Public Radio) and Independent hospital resists pressure to align with Mayo (Star Tribune). The latter article also referred to data from ORHPC's recent Issue Brief: Rural Hospital System Growth and Consolidation.

ORHPC recently bade farewell to two student workers, Laura Grangaard and Rachel Gunsalus, both of whom graduated in June. Laura will head to Stratis Health and Rachel to California, where she'll work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We also greeted a new student worker, Sahiti Bhaskara, who is pursuing a Master's in Public Health at the University of Minnesota. Sahiti will be assisting both ORHPC and the MDH Oral Health Program.

In June, Primary Care Coordinator Deb Jahnke visited Lake Superior Community Health Center and Essentia Health in Duluth; the Human Development Center in Moose Lake; Clarius Health in Virginia; Northland Counseling in Grand Rapids; Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe - Cass Lake Hospital; Northern Dental Access Center in Bemidji; and Essentia Health St. Joseph's - Lakeland Psychiatry Clinic in Brainerd. The visits were part of a National Health Service Corps site review process.


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

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

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

The Fifth Annual Rural Behavioral Health Conference will be held October 11 at the University of Minnesota - Morris and group webcast sites. Email for more information.

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




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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

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.