MAY 2013



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Participant and exhibitor registration now open
for the 2013 Minnesota Rural Health Conference coming up June 24-25 in Duluth.

This year's conference will take an in-depth look at workforce, delivery models, patient and community engagement, value and access.

Nominations for the Rural Health Awards also open:
Submit a nomination by May 10.

conference logo

MDH's Office of Health Information Technology has released an updated e-Health Factsheet and Report (links no longer available) on hospital adoption and use of electronic health records (EHRs) and health information exchange. The data show an increase in use of EHRs, however only 62 percent of hospitals’ EHRs are able to electronically prescribe (e-prescribe) discharge medication orders. Findings also show that hospitals’ exchange of health information technology has improved over time but is still limited compared to the use of clinical support functionality. Two-thirds of hospitals indicated their greatest EHR-related need is for staff to manage and process the data, information and knowledge.

MDH released new surveillance reports on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV/AIDS for 2012. Chlamydia is the number-one reported infectious disease in the state and reached a new high of 18,048 cases in 2012, a 7 percent increase from 2011. Nearly one in three cases occurred in Greater Minnesota.

ORHPC's Health Workforce Analysis Program released a new Fact Sheet in April. Minnesota's Physician Assistant Workforce 2011 provides summary statistics regarding current demographics, geographic location, work settings and future plans of the state's physician assistants (PAs) in 2011 based on a workforce survey ORHPC conducts in cooperation with the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice. Additional workforce publications and data are available on the Health Workforce Analysis Program website.


Graph - Physician assistants in Minnesota, by age and geographic location, 2011

Source: Minnesota Board of Medical Practice

Nearly 90 percent of Minnesota physician assistants (PAs) are located in urban and large rural settings and these PAs tend to be younger. The median age of PAs located in urban and large rural settings is 36 years, while the median age of PAs in small rural and isolated rural areas is 45 years and 46 years, respectively. The overall median age of PAs in Minnesota is 37 years.

Note: The rural-urban categories used are based on Rural-Urban Commuting Areas (RUCAs). For more information on this methodology, see Defining Rural, Urban and Underserved Areas in Minnesota.

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.

Minnesota has submitted 30 applications for the 2013 Conrad State 30 J-1 visa waiver program. The program is now closed for the year and is no longer accepting applications. We will begin accepting applications for 2014 on October 1, 2013. Stay tuned to the J-1 program guidelines on the ORHPC website before filing a 2014 waiver application, as program changes at the state and federal levels are expected.


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The Clinical Dental Education Innovations grant program has released its FY2014 Request for Proposals. 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. Application materials are available on the Clinical Dental Education Innovations grant page. Applications are due May 3.


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The NURSE Corps Scholarship Program (formerly the Nursing Scholarship Program) invites applications from nursing students (in baccalaureate, graduate, associate degree or diploma programs). Scholarships are awarded in exchange for a minimum two-year, full-time service commitment (or part-time equivalent) at an eligible critical shortage facility. Applications due May 2.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation, in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, seeks proposals for health impact assessment (HIA) projects in Minnesota. Each grant will fund an HIA that informs an upcoming decision on a proposed local, tribal or state policy, plan or project. The Request for Proposals is available on the Health Impact Project website. Initial applications due May 15.

The Medica Foundation is accepting letters of inquiry for Cycle 2 of its 2013 funding program. This cycle has two funding priorities: early childhood health and organizational core mission support. The core mission support grants are awarded to regional and rural ares of Medica's service area (see the foundation's Giving Guidelines for more information on geographic limitations). Letters of inquiry due June 14.


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The 10th Annual South Central Minnesota Emergency Preparedness Conference will take place on May 8 in North Mankato. For more information, contact Lavida Gingrich at or 507-434-1525.

The Minnesota Rural Health Association will host a cyber conference titled "Telehealth services at Essentia: A focus on developing rural hospital programs" on May 17 from 12:00-1:00 p.m. To register, email

Registration is now open for the 2013 Minnesota Stroke Conference to be held June 3 at the University of Minnesota Continuing Education and Conference Center in St. Paul.

Registration is now open for the 9th Annual Minnesota e-Health Summit: e-Health: Connecting, Optimizing, Transforming, to be held June 13 in Bloomington, with a joint pre-summit workshop on June 12 on health reform preparedness.

The 2013 annual meeting of the Minnesota Public Health Association (MPHA) will take place June 13-14 in Minneapolis. "Health in All Policies: Creating Health Equity" will focus on a systems change approach to policy making and implementation.

MDH and the Minnesota e-Health Initiative in conjunction with the Laboratory Interoperability Cooperative (LIC) will present a free workshop June 14 to Minnesota hospitals to provide Electronic Laboratory Reporting (ELR) Laboratory LOINC® Mapping Guidance. To participate in the workshop and access additional LIC online education resources, each facility must complete a Hospital Participation Letter as part of the registration process.

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


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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced the release of enhanced National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS), which it called a "blueprint" for organizations seeking to improve health care quality for diverse communities.

The Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP) announced that Dr. Donald Hughes, a physician with Riverwood Healthcare Center in Aitkin, is 2013 Family Physician of the Year. An article in the Aitkin Age profiles Dr. Hughes and his many contributions over 20 years as a physician in that community.

The collaboration of 10 Community Health Centers known as the Federally Qualified Health Center Urban Health Network (FUHN) was featured in an April 5 Star Tribune article. Under a three-year demonstration project with the Department of Human Services (DHS), FUHN has launched one of the nation's first safety-net clinic attempts at an Accountable Care Organization (ACO).

Several hospitals in Northeast Minnesota were featured in a Minnesota Public Radio piece for taking a lead in the fight against obesity. Hospitals in Duluth, Grand Rapids, Grand Marais and Two Harbors have all stopped selling sugar-sweetened beverages at their facilities, a move fewer than 100 of the country's 5,000+ hospitals have made.

Interviews with two Minnesota dentists -- Dr. John Powers of Montevideo and Dr. Shiraz Asif of Family Dental Care in Minneapolis -- are featured in Working with Midlevel Providers: Dentists' Perspectives, a project update from the Children's Dental Campaign of the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Rural Roads (link no longer available), the online magazine of the National Rural Health Association, profiled Dr. Therese Zink for her work engaging students in rural family medicine.

Healthcare Informatics reports that HIMSS Analytics awarded its Stage 7 Ambulatory EMR Adoption Model (A-EMRAM) award to 54 Essentia Health ambulatory facilities in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. Key criteria include use of a patient portal and the ability to share clinical data via health information exchanges. These are the first Level 7 clinic awards in Minnesota.

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Health reform
Health coverage for the Hispanic population today and under the Affordable Care Act (Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured).
A health provider strives to keep hospital beds empty (New York Times).

Primary care
Community-oriented primary care curriculum (The Robert Graham Center).
• Profile of rural health clinics: Clinic and Medicare patient characteristics (link no longer available) (Rural Health Research & Policy Analysis Center).
In South Jersey, new options for primary care are slow to take hold (WHYY via Minnesota Public Radio).

Mortality rates for Medicare beneficiaries admitted to critical access and non-critical access hospitals, 2002-2010 (Journal of the American Medical Association) and a response from the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center/Flex Monitoring Team. (link no longer available)
The financial performance of rural hospitals and implications for elimination of the critical access hospital program (The Journal of Rural Health).
Rural relevant quality measures for critical access hospitals
(The Journal of Rural Health).
Critical access hospitals strive to improve outcomes in MT (HealthLeaders Media).

Oral health
Dental therapists in New Zealand: What the evidence shows (Pew Charitable Trusts).
Telehealth project brings 'virtual dental home' to patients (California Healthline).

Mental health
Access to mental health care lacking for children, teens across the U.S. (University of Michigan Health System News).
VA drive to hire 1,600 mental health professionals hits community clinics' supply (Kaiser Health News).

Doctor-hiring rush is on (HealthLeaders Media).
6 ways states are addressing the doctor shortage (Governing View).
Immigration and the rural workforce (Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture).
How to score a win for family medicine on Match Day (Primary Care Progress blog).
Minnesota's independent doctors are in critical condition (MinnPost).
Community Paramedics: Summary of an expert meeting (National Consensus Conference on Community Paramedics).

Health information technology
Telemedicine makes new advances, all the way to Antarctica (Washington Post).

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In early April, Will Wilson met with CEOs at Essentia Health-Holy Trinity Hospital in Graceville; Ortonville Area Health Services; Appleton Area Health Services; Johnson Memorial Health Services in Dawson; and Sanford Canby Medical Center. Will also conducted grant site visits at Graceville, Ortonville and Dawson.

Angie Secher co-presented “Using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to Identify Challenges to Dental Services in Minnesota" at the 2013 National Oral Health Conference in Huntsville, Alabama on April 23-24.

Tammy Peterson and Jo-Ann Champagne conducted multiple Trauma Designation site visits in April, including three Level 4 visits (St. Gabriel's Hospital in Little Falls; Montevideo Hospital; and Prairie Ridge Hospital and Health Services in Elbow Lake) and a Level 3 site visit at Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina.

Tammy Peterson and Chris Ballard taught trauma system Performance Improvement seminars in April in St. Cloud and Marshall. Tammy also conducted a trauma program manager training in St. Cloud and a trauma registry training in Mankato. All of these educational events were hosted by the Regional Trauma Advisory Councils for those areas.


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Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative (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.

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

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.


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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

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.