MARCH 2013



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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed reforms to Medicare regulations seen as unnecessary, obsolete or unnecessarily burdensome on hospitals and health care providers. Several of the provisions seek to assist Critical Access Hospitals, rural health clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers in particular. More details are available on the CMS website.

The MDH Health Economics Program has issued a new issue brief: Implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Minnesota – Preliminary Projections of Reductions in Uncompensated Care by 2016. The analysis projects that hospital uncompensated care in the state could fall by nearly 60 percent with ACA implementation.

ORHPC's Health Workforce Analysis Program has released a new report: Geographic Distribution of Minnesota Physicians, by Specialty. The publication examines the mix and distribution of Minnesota board-certified specialties as a lens for understanding the state’s physician workforce balance.

Also, released by the Health Workforce Analysis Program is the Minnesota's Respiratory Therapist Workforce 2012 fact sheet, which provides summary statistics regarding current demographics, geographic location, work settings and activities of Minnesota respiratory therapists in 2012.


Graph - Electronic Health Information Exchange in Minnesota Clinics and Hospitals

Source: Minnesota Department of Health, Office of Health Information Technology (OHIT), Minnesota Health Information Exchange Brief, citing data from the Minnesota Health Information Technology (HIT) Ambulatory Clinic Survey (2011) and the American Hospital Association (AHA) Annual Survey (2011).

The goal of health information exchange (HIE) is to help make health information available, when and where it is needed, to improve the quality and safety of health and health care. In Minnesota, many efforts are underway to achieve the secure electronic exchange of clinical information between organizations using nationally recognized standards. The majority of Minnesota’s hospitals and clinics are now regularly exchanging health information electronically. Fewer are exchanging outside their own systems/affiliated partners or with other provider types.

For more information please visit the Minnesota e-Health website.


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The Clinical Dental Education Innovations Grants Request for Proposals (RFP) for FY2014 is now available. Grants will be awarded to sponsoring institutions and clinical dental training sites for projects that increase dental access for underserved populations and promote innovative clinical training of dental professionals. Applications are due May 3.

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 Healthy Communities/Healthy America Fund of the American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation is accepting proposals for diabetes management and education projects serving patients at free clinics. The program will award $10,000-$25,000 grants. Letters of inquiry are due by March 15.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) seeks proposals for Community Service/Community Services Development (CS/SD) grants through its Aging and Adult Services Division. The purpose is to expand and integrate home and community-based services for older adults that allow local communities to rebalance their long-term service delivery system, support people in their own home, expand the caregiver support and respite care network and promote independence. Applications due April 5.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is accepting applications for grants to expand care coordination through the use of technology-assisted care in targeted areas of need (TCE-TAC). The purpose of the TCE-TAC program is to use technology to expand and/or enhance the capacity of substance abuse treatment providers in underserved communities. Applications are due April 10.

The federal Rural Health Information Technology (HIT) Workforce Program seeks applications from rural health networks to provide recruitment, education, training, and retention of HIT specialists. The program will also support rural health networks in training current health care staff, local displaced workers, rural residents, veterans and other potential students. Applications are due April 15.

Looking for resources to support discussion around a community health assessment or other issue? In partnership with the Meadowlark Institute, InCommons is offering small grants for facilitated conversations around an issue, opportunity or project. The Request for Proposals is available on the InCommons website. Grant applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but all funds are expected to be allocated by May 31.


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MDH and the Minnesota Physical Therapy Association (MNPTA) are collaborating to train physical therapists in the Otago Exercise program, an evidence-based approach to falls prevention. Free sessions will be held March 7 in Red Wing, March 13 in Alexandria, March 20 in Duluth and April 2 in Olivia. The training will provide CEUs to physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs). Visit the MNPTA website for more information and contact Kris Gjerde to register.

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 Brainerd on March 20 and in Fergus Falls on April 23. More information and registration is available on the Minnesota Stroke Registry website.

The Center for Healthcare Innovation will host a presentation on Recognizing and Addressing Workplace Bullying in Health Care on March 21 at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth. Live streaming and American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) contact hours available. For more information, contact Toni Pearson at or 218-625-4933.

The Minnesota Rural Health Association will hold a cyber conference titled "340b Drug Purchasing Opportunities for Critical Access Hospitals" on March 22 from noon to 1:00. To register, email

The federal Office of Health Information Technology and Quality will hold a webinar, "Using clinical decision support in safety net settings," on March 22 at 1:00 p.m.

The Minnesota Center for Cancer Collaborations and Minnesota Cancer Alliance invite medical/public health professionals, community-based organizations, community-engaged researchers and students to submit abstracts for posters, papers and panel presentations at the 2013 Cancer Disparities Summit: Working Together to Find Solutions (link no longer available). Submissions due by March 29.

Know an organization or individual who has made significant contributions to the aging community, the disability community or both? Nominate them for a 2013 Odyssey Award, to be presented at the Age and Disabilities Odyssey conference on June 17 and 18 in Duluth. Nominations are due by April 1.

Nationally, 97 percent of physicians treat Limited English Proficient (LEP) patients. Central Minnesota's average is similar. A survey of CentraCare providers was conducted and revealed that 75 percent felt additional training is needed in this area. The Cultural Competency in Health Care conference (link no longer available) to be held April 10 in St. Cloud will address the needs of health care providers and administrators. Registration deadline is April 1.


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Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced a U.S. Senate resolution recognizing that "access to hospitals and other health care providers for patients in rural areas of the United States is essential to the survival and success of communities." The resolution was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. View the full resolution on the Government Printing Office website.

The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) released a new Minnesota Health Center Fact Sheet profiling the state's total number of health center patients, services provided, staff, patient visits and costs of care. In 2011, federally supported Health Centers served 22 percent of Minnesota's low-income and uninsured population.

The February issue of Minnesota Medicine focuses on the primary care workforce. View the publication on the Minnesota Medical Association website.

The Rural Assistance Center (RAC) published profiles of two new new rural health care delivery models being tested by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and supported by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP): Frontier Extended Stay Clinics and the Frontier Community Health Integration Program. RAC also published new minority population maps (link no longer available), showing county, region and state-specific information on (1) American Indian and Alaska Native populations and (2) Black or African- American populations.

The National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services, a 21-member citizens' panel that provides recommendations on rural issues to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, published two policy briefs: Implications of Proposed Changes to Rural Hospital Payment Designations and Options for Rural Health Care System Reform and Redesign.

Two ORHPC partners invite feedback through surveys now open:

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HIV/AIDs in rural America: Key facts and Prevalence and service availability (South Carolina Rural Health Research Center).
New video aims to reduce infant mortality in the Native American community (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation).
Dialysis availability in rural America
(South Carolina Rural Health Research Center).

Health Reform
Medical home participation outpaces ACOs (Hospitals & Health Networks Daily).
Obamacare transforms med school (
Primary care access: 30 million new patients and 11 months to go: Who will provide their primary care?
(U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions).

School health clinics expand to serve communities (Minnesota Public Radio).
Online clinic is finding success (Star Tribune).
Value of Community Health Centers study (California Primary Care Association).

Commentary: AHA rural chair says reimbursement is top challenge (HealthLeaders Media).
Where Critical Access Hospitals fit in health care reform: Q&A with West Park Hospital CFO Pat McConnell (Becker's Hospital Review).

Oral health
More physician assistant programs teaching oral health (

Mental health
Mental health and mental health care in rural America: the hope of redesigned primary care (Veterans Health Administration, Office of Rural Health).

Rural pharmacy closures: Implications for rural communities (RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis).
Webcams connect pharmacists to immobile Minnesota seniors (Minnesota Public Radio).
Survey suggests rural seniors face challenges from Medicare Part D preferred pharmacy drug plans (link no longer available) (PR Newswire).

Luring primary care docs into Medicaid (Stateline, Pew Charitable Trusts).
Community paramedics aim to lower health care costs via home care (HealthLeaders Media).
Assessing Community Health Center (CHC) assets and capabilities for recruiting physicians: the CHC Community Apgar Questionnaire (Rural and Remote Health Journal).

Health information technology
New technology helps doctors link a patient’s location to illness and treatment (Washington Post).

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The February issue of Minnesota Medicine (link no longer available) features an article by Mark Schoenbaum and Edward VanCleave titled "Primary Care is at the Heart of Health Reform in Minnesota."


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The 2013 Policy & Issues Forum of the National Association of Community Health Centers will be held March 20-23 in Washington D.C.

The Minnesota Hospice and Palliative Care Conference will be held April 14-16 in Bloomington.

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 Connecting to Transform Communities: Stakeholders in Health and Wellness conference will be held April 25-26 in Minneapolis.

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). Registration is now open, with reduced rates available for registration before May 1.

The 2013 Cancer Disparities Summit (link no longer available) will be held June 19-20 in Minnetonka.

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

Rural Wisconsin Health Careers (RWHC) will hold two educational sessions in St. Croix Falls in July: Pediatric assessment/emergencies on July 10 and Lateral violence: Empowering staff to stop bad behaviors on July 11.


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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.