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Natl Rural Health Day logo and link

Start planning now for November 21!

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 National Rural Health Day in your community

Join ORHPC in gathering information and making recommendations about rural health care in Minnesota. Interested
citizens, hospital administrators and staff, emergency medical services personnel, health care providers, and community organizers and leaders are encouraged to attend one of two upcoming regional forums: in Little Falls on October 28 at St. Gabriel's Hospital and in Breckenridge on October 29 at St. Francis Healthcare Campus. Your input will help shape state and national health care policies and activities. To attend, please register online. For more information, contact Judy Bergh at 651-201-3843 or

Enrollment opens October 1 in MNsure, Minnesota's new health insurance marketplace. Health care organizations will play an important role in outreach and enrollment in the new system. MDH has developed two resources for providers: MNsure Provider Network FAQs and a list of current provider networks that will be offered on MNsure. MNSure also has a set of FAQs for Consumer Assisters available on its website, and the Minnesota Hospital Association has two Fact Sheets for providers: MNsure 101: Top 10 things to tell your patients and MNsure 101: What Minnesota's hospitals and health systems need to know about the new health insurance exchange.

ORHPC's Health Workforce Analysis Program has released a major new report: Minnesota's Primary Care Workforce, 2011-2012. The report provides a snapshot of the number of primary care clinicians currently practicing in the state and how they are distributed, geographically as well as by age, gender, race/ethnicity and future plans to practice. 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.

MDH and the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) jointly released a Request for Information (RFI) on Health Information and Data Analytics in Accountable Care Models as part of the Minnesota State Innovation Model (SIM) Grant. The RFI seeks input from a variety of stakeholders on the health information technology, health information exchange and data analytics needed to advance the Minnesota Accountable Health Model. Respondents may respond to any or all questions in the RFI, depending on their areas of interest or expertise. Responses are due on October 15, 2013.  If you have any questions, email

MDH invites health care providers to use its registration system to meet public health-related meaningful use objectives under the CMS Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. MDH is currently able to receive electronic submissions for three of these objectives: immunization registry, electronic lab reporting and cancer registry. For Stage 2 meaningful use, providers must register their intent to submit data to MDH. Registration information can be found at While this is required for Stage 2, MDH will also be using this registration system for Stage 1 meaningful use and non-meaningful use entities wanting to submit electronic data to the immunization registry, electronic lab reporting and/or the cancer registry. For questions, contact


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

Source: Minnesota HIT Clinic Survey (March 2013). Response rate was 79 percent (1,286/1,623).

With implementation of electronic health records (EHRs), health care providers have the opportunity to provide patients with online access to their health information.

The 2013 Minnesota Clinic HIT Survey found that two-thirds of clinics with EHRs offered an online patient portal. Patient portals allow patients to access their EHR and communicate with their health care providers. Among clinics with online patient portals, most offered several options, including test results (90 percent), medication lists (85 percent), allergy lists (79 percent), immunization records (78 percent), and clinical visit summaries (77 percent). However, just one in four of these clinics (27 percent) offered patients access to their care plans.

In addition to patient portals, 60 percent of clinics with EHRs provided patients with the option to view their EHR online. Less than half, however, allow patients to download their information and fewer than 10 percent allow for transmission of information elsewhere.

For more information and data on Minnesota's health information technology adoption and use, visit the Minnesota e-Health website.


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Application materials for the Community Clinic Grant Program are now available. These grants support clinical capacity to serve people with low incomes, reduce current or future uncompensated care burden, or improve care delivery infrastructure. Pre-applications are due October 4. If invited, full applications will be due January 8.

Application materials are available for the Family Medicine Residency Grant program, a new grant program created by the Minnesota Legislature in 2013 to assist Family Medicine Residency programs outside the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area. Step 1 applications are due October 25. If invited, Step 2 applications will be due November 25.

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.


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The Minnesota chapter of the March of Dimes invites nonprofit organizations and government agencies to apply to its 2014 Community Grant Program. Priority will be given to projects that are evidence-based, include measurable outcomes and promote equity in birth outcomes. Projects may focus on consumers and/or health care providers, though the March of Dimes does not fund billable health care provider services. Applications due November 1.

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 Applications due November 22.


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The Rural Assistance Center (RAC) and the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy will host a webinar on HIV/AIDS in rural America on October 1 at 1:00 p.m. The webinar will focus on research, prevention and the Ryan White program. Register on the RAC website (link no longer available).

The AHIMA Foundation has announced a new free webinar series, National Rural Health Webinars, which will focus on health information technology topics for rural providers. The first will take place October 9 and will focus on the role of mHealth in rural areas. Learn more and register on the AHIMA website.

The Fifth Annual Rural Behavioral Health Practice Conference: "Advances in Rural Practice," will be held October 11 at the University of Minnesota - Morris and through group site and individual webcasts. Multiple rural organizations have collaborated to present evidence-based training on state-of-the-art rural clinical practices and current behavioral health care policy. Up to 7 hours of American Psychological Association (APA) continuing education credit is available.

REACH (the Regional Extension Assistance Center for HIT in Minnesota and North Dakota) will host a webinar on October 15 to introduce Patient Engagement for Care Teams, a newly launched web portal for helping care teams effectively engage patients. The portal is available to all providers, not only REACH clinics and hospitals. More information and webinar registration is available on the REACH website.

The Minnesota Stroke Registry will hold its 2013 regional workshop, "Stroke Program Development: Getting Ready to be Ready, Meeting the Designation Criteria," in three locations: Mankato on October 30, Brainerd on November 19 and Duluth on December 17.


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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 U.S. Department of Health & Human Services announced awards of nearly $67 million to Community Health Centers (CHCs) around the country, including $545,389 in base award increases to the 16 CHC organizations in Minnesota. The grants were funded in part by the Affordable Care Act.

The Lac Qui Parle Health Network Hospital Services Cooperative received a major federal grant through the Rural Health Information Technology Workforce Program. The nearly $300,000 award was one of 15 made nationwide to support formal rural health networks that focus on activities relating to the recruitment, education, training, and retention of Health Information Technology (HIT) specialists.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services released a new fact sheet: The Affordable Care Act - What It Means for Rural America. The material summarizes key facts regarding rural insurance coverage, what the law means for rural communities, where to go for consumer assistance, and how rural stakeholders can contribute to the outreach effort.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) launched a new guidance for implementing health IT in Critical Access Hospitals and small rural hospitals.

North Valley Health Center in Warren is hosting a grand opening for its new hospital facility on October 20. For more information, contact CEO Ashley King at or 218-745-3262.

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Rural gays report better health, happiness (Daily Yonder) .
Health gaps: Substantial disparities in health and health care persist among populations across the United States (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation).

Health reform
Undocumented and uninsured: Barriers to affordable care for immigrant populations (The Commonwealth Fund).
Rural areas more likely to lack insurance (Daily Yonder).

Community Health Centers poised for expansion (HealthLeaders Media).
Undergoing transformation to the Patient Centered Medical Home in safety net health centers: perspectives from the front lines(The Commonwealth Fund).

Addressing population health in rural communities (Hospitals & Health Networks).

Emergency Medical Services (EMS)/Trauma care
2013 national rural emergency department study
(iVantage Health Analytics).
Racial disparity seen in trauma center mortality rates (HealthLeaders Media, regarding study in the Annals of Surgery).

Mental health
Several issues differentiate mental health care in rural, urban youth (Psychiatric News).
• Integrating physical and behavioral health care in Medicaid: an online toolkit
(link no longer available) (Center for Health Care Strategies).

Nurse practitioners try new tack to expand foothold In primary care (Kaiser Health News).
Celebrating 50 years of health professions education programs (Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition).
Could retiring physicians solve the primary care shortage? (HealthLeaders Media).
Enhancing and diversifying the nation's health care workforce (Texas Health Institute).

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Tammy Peterson conducted a Level 3 trauma designation visit to Fairview Lakes Medical Center on September 10 and Level 4 designation visits to District One Hospital in Faribault on September 16 and River's Edge Medical Center in St. Peter on September 17. On September 27, she and Chris Ballard also participated in a Regional Performance Improvement forum in Welch hosted by the Southern Minnesota Regional Trauma Advisory Committee.

Judy Bergh conducted a site visit to Essentia Health-Northern Pines in Aurora on September 18 with staff from the National Rural Health Resource Center and the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy.

Deb Jahnke presented "Health Professional Loan Forgiveness/Repayment Options in Minnesota" in a Minnesota Rural Health Association cyber-conference on September 20. Her presentation covered the eight Minnesota Loan Forgiveness/Repayment Programs available through ORHPC, as well as the federal National Health Service Corps, and the federal Nurse Corps.

Kristen Tharaldson co-presented a session titled "All Our Babies: Improving Rural Birth Outcomes in Minnesota" at the 2013 Community Health Conference on September 27 in Brainerd.


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National Rural Health Day is November 21.

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

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


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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.