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Natl Rural Health Day logo and link

Celebrate in your community on November 21!

Governor Mark Dayton has proclaimed November 21, 2013 Rural Health Day across Minnesota. Join us in highlighting the unique health care challenges in rural areas and showcasing the many ways rural health providers and communities address those needs.

Learn how to share your story and discover more ways to celebrate on the National Rural Health Day website

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) and MDH announced two new ways to stay updated on the $45 million State Innovation Model (SIM) grant. A new SIM Minnesota website is now available with information on SIM task forces, partners and resources. Email updates are also available: subscribe on the SIM Email List page. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) awarded Minnesota the SIM grant in February 2013 to test new ways of delivering and paying for health care using the Minnesota Accountable Health Model (MAHM). If you have questions about SIM, contact

ORHPC's Health Workforce Analysis Program has released a new Fact Sheet: Minnesota's Marriage and Family Therapist Workforce. The report provides summary statistics regarding current demographics, geographic location, work settings and activities of Marriage and Family Therapists licensed in Minnesota as of June 2013. 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.


Graph - Percentage of Minnesota clinics offering patient access to EHRs, 2013

Source: MDH Health Care Workforce Survey (June 2013). Response rate to this question was 46 percent (724/1,578).

Marriage and family therapists are mental health professionals trained to address relationship, mental and emotional disorders within the contexts of couples, family systems and communities. As of June 2013, there were 1,578 Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) licensed to practice in Minnesota.

LMFTs work in a variety of settings, though nearly three quarters of those surveyed work in either an individual private practice, a mental health agency or group private practice. A unique service provided by LMFTs is reflected in the category “Home,” which refers to therapists who make house calls or provide in-home therapy. The “Other” category includes settings such as prisons, crisis lines and higher education.

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 Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Grant Program are now available. The Flex program provides grant support to promote regionalization of health care services, improve access to quality health care services, and provide for the development and enhancement of rural health networks, including emergency medical service networks. Applications are due November 15.

The Medical Education and Research Costs (MERC) Fund program is accepting grant application from sponsoring institutions with accredited programs providing training in fiscal year 2012 for advanced practice nursing, clinical social workers, community health workers, community paramedics, dental students/residents, dental therapists/advanced dental therapists, chiropractic students, medical students/residents, pharmacy students/residents, physician assistants and psychologists. Programs wishing to apply for a grant from MERC must submit their application through their sponsoring institution. Applications due to MDH December 15. Applications have also been re-opened for specific types of clinic training provided in fiscal year 2011; these applications are due November 15. Find more details on the MERC Grant Application Information page.

Application materials are now available for the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Loan Program. Funds are intended primarily for EHR software, hardware, training and support expenses. Priority applicants are critical access hospitals; federally qualified health centers; entities that serve uninsured, underinsured and medically underserved individuals (urban or rural); individual or small group practices focused on primary care; nursing facilities and elderly waiver facilities. Loans are six-year, no-interest with the first year’s repayment deferred. Applications due December 19.


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The federal Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) is accepting applications for its FY2014 Rural Health Network Development Program. This year ORHP has taken a new approach, requiring applicants to select at least one activity from among three primary charges: achieve efficiencies; expand access to, coordinate and improve the quality of essential health care services; and strengthen the rural health care system as a whole. The application can be downloaded via Application deadline extended to December 6.

The Susan G. Komen Minnesota is accepting applications to its 2014 Community Grants Program for innovative programs in the areas of breast health and breast cancer education, screening, diagnosis, treatment, treatment support, survivorship and health care delivery/systems change. A funding priority area this year is northwest Minnesota, including applications from Kittson, Roseau, Lake of the Woods, Marshall, Beltrami, Polk, Pennington, Clearwater, Red Lake, Norman, Mahnomen and Hubbard counties. Applications due January 10.


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Join the Minnesota Tribal Asthma Resource Network (MTARN) and other health professionals caring for Minnesota’s American Indian communities on November 7 and 8 in Detroit Lakes for a conference and workshop on asthma, hypertension, suicide and sexual violence prevention. Learn more and register by November 4 on the Health of Many Nations conference website.

MDH is recruiting clinics for the Postpartum Depression Screening Quality Improvement Project. The project seeks clinics that are already doing well-child checks and are interested in implementing maternal depression screens within these checks in the first year of a child's life. The project will launch in December, so clinics must commit to the project by then. A $3,000 stipend will be provided to participating clinics, to support the data gathering and quality improvement process. Project teams will be working with a well-respected quality improvement expert and physicians who have already implemented screening in well-child checks in their clinics. Contact Tess Wetjen at 651-201-3625 or

The Minnesota Network of Hospice & Palliative Care (MNHPC) is hosting an End-Stage Dementia and Hospice Care forum on November 12 at St. Cloud University. Learn more and register on the MNHPC website (link no longer available).

The Minnesota Stroke Registry will hold two more 2013 regional workshops, "Stroke Program Development: Getting Ready to be Ready, Meeting the Designation Criteria": in Brainerd on November 19 and Duluth on December 17.

The Minnesota e-Health Summit has issued a Call for Presentations for the 10th anniversary e-Health Summit, to be held June 11-12 in Bloomington.

The Innovation to Equity: Eliminating Tobacco Disparities in Minnesota conference will take place November 21-22 in Bloomington.

MDH and the Minnesota e-Health Initiative in conjunction with the Laboratory Interoperability Cooperative (LIC) will once again present a free workshop to Minnesota hospitals to provide Electronic Laboratory Reporting (ELR) Laboratory LOINC® Mapping Guidance. The workshop will be held December 3 in Rochester. Register on the LIC website by November 22.

Connect Minnesota will hold a 2013 Broadband Summit: The State of Broadband on December 4 in Roseville.


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Join ORHPC, the Minnesota Medical Association, the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians, and the Minnesota Chapter of the American College of Physicians at a Primary Care Physician Workforce Summit on the evening of November 12 at the Ramada Plaza in Minneapolis. The summit will examine trends with local experts, explore how groups across the state are responding and offer take-away strategies for meeting the growing need for primary care. Register on the MMA website (link no longer available).

The Minnesota Association of Community Health Centers presented its 2013 Legislative Champion Award to former Rural Health Advisory Committee (RHAC) member Sen. Tony Lourey of Kerrick, and its 2013 Community Health Champion Award to Michael Scandrett, an attorney and consultant with Halleland Habicht.

Congratulations to Sally Thomas Buck, now Chief Executive Officer of the National Rural Health Resource Center, and to former Executive Director Terry Hill, who will continue in the capacity of Executive Director of Rural Health Innovations (RHI), a subsidiary of the Center. Terry will also assume the role of the Center's Senior Advisor for Rural Health Leadership and Policy.

A November 1 article in the Rochester Post-Bulletin, Training helps improve rural hospitals, highlights the role played by the Comprehensive Advanced Life Support (CALS) training program and the statewide trauma system in strengthening rural hospitals. ORHPC director Mark Schoenbaum was interviewed for the article.

The National Rural Health Resource Center has released a Critical Access Hospital Blueprint for Performance Excellence (link no longer available) to aid Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) in managing the complexities of the changing healthcare environment. The Center assembled national rural health experts to create the blueprint, which is modeled after the Baldrige performance excellence framework.

The Federally Qualified Health Center Urban Health Network (FUHN), a collaboration of 10 federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) in the Twin Cities, is featured in a new Commonwealth Fund publication: Bringing Accountable Care to the Safety Net: A New Case Study.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released new National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health and Health Care. Although the standards are not in themselves legal requirements, recipients of federal funds generally must provide services consistent with standards 5-8, pertaining to communication and language access.  

The University of Minnesota Extension has created a short video on the health impacts of airborne emissions from animal feeding operations. The extension service encourages health professionals and community members interested in issues of air quality and rural health to watch the video and share it with others.

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Health reform
Rural implications of changes to the Medicare hospice benefit (National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services).
Affordable Care Act a hard sell for Native Americans (USA Today).
Health care in the two Americas: Findings from the scorecard on state health system performance for low-income populations, 2013 (Commonwealth Fund).
Rural and urban Medicare beneficiaries use remarkably similar amounts of health care services (Health Affairs).

Rural health
Cancer survivors in rural areas forgo health care because of cost
(American Association for Cancer Research via Newswise).
Perinatal health in the rural United States, 2005 (link no longer available) (WWAMI Rural Health Research Center).

Community Health Centers focusing on population-based care and holistic approaches (National Association for Healthcare Quality via Newswise).

How one rural hospital prevents patient falls (HealthLeaders Media).
Speak your piece: Death of a hospital (Daily Yonder).
Profitability in rural hospitals (North Carolina Rural Health Research Program).

Mental health
Mental health services in rural long-term care: challenges and opportunities for improvement (Maine Rural Health Research Center).

Minnesota: Projecting primary care physician workforce (Robert Graham Center).
GME in the United States: A review of state initiatives (Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research).
Lessons in primary care extension from four states (National Academy for State Health Policy).

Health Information Technology
Managing populations, maximizing technology: Population health management in the medical neighborhood (Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative).
Barriers to telemedicine slowly dropping (Medpage Today).

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Angie Sechler has been promoted to Research Analyst Specialist Senior. Angie conducts research and analysis for ORHPC's Health Workforce Analysis program.

ORHPC welcomed back Leslie Nordgren, who will be leading oral health workforce research.

Will Wilson has been selected for the National Rural Health Association’s 2014 Rural Health Fellows (RHF) Program. The RHF program is a yearlong, intensive program for developing leaders who can articulate a clear and compelling vision for rural America.

Mark Schoenbaum moderated the national policy update panel at the annual meeting of the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health in Asheville, North Carolina in mid-October.

On October 28 and 29, ORHPC held two Rural Health Community Forums in northwest Minnesota. Staff members Judy Bergh, Kristen Tharaldson, Anne Schloegel and other ORPHC staff heard from a wide range of community members in Little Falls and Breckenridge about health issues and priorities in their areas. These regional community forums help ORHPC gather information and make recommendations regarding rural health care in the state.

Tammy Peterson and Chris Ballard conducted multiple Level 4 trauma designation visits in October: Essentia Health Virginia, Bigfork Valley Hospital, St. Francis Healthcare Campus in Breckenridge, Sanford Medical Center Thief River Falls, Sanford Luverne Medical Center, Johnson Memorial Hospital in Dawson, Fairview Northland Medical Center and Albany Area Hospital.

Judy Bergh conducted October site visits to North Valley Medical Center in Warren, Essentia Health-Ada, Mercy Hospital in Moose Lake and Bigfork Valley Hospital.


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The 10th anniversary Minnesota e-Health Summit, Looking Back to Celebrate, Looking Forward to Innovate, will be held June 11-12 in Bloomington.

The 2014 Minnesota Rural Health Conference will be held June 23 and 24 in Duluth.


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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 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.