APRIL 2014



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Logo for the MN Rural Health Conference
Save the date: June 23-24, 2014

Registration opening soon -- sign up for email updates on the 2014 Minnesota Rural Health Conference website.

The Rural Health Advisory Committee issued a new issue brief on emergency mental health transport. The 2013 Update Brief on the EMSRB 2007 Behavioral Health Report: Improving Response to Mental and Behavioral Health Emergencies examines the progress made towards the 2007 recommendations by the Emergency Medical Services Regulatory Board (EMSRB) to reduce the demand for EMS mental health transports, increase the capacity and efficiency of community-based mental health programs, and support system-wide improvements in Minnesota’s mental health system. For more information, contact Katie Schleiss at or 651-201-3854.

ORHPC released a new fact sheet: Minnesota’s Dental Therapist Workforce, 2013. Dental therapists are the most recent profession to be added to MDH’s regular analyses of health care professions, which also include dentists, dental hygienists and dental assistants. For more on this emerging profession, see also Early Impacts of Dental Therapists in Minnesota, a joint report to the Minnesota Legislature from the Minnesota Board of Dentistry and MDH, issued in February.  


Graph - Number of Departments Minnesota RNs Work In, by Rural-Urban Distribution.

Source: MDH RN workforce survey, 2011-2012.

As of January 2012, there were 89,573 registered nurses (RNs) licensed in Minnesota. Eighty-three percent of RNs who reported practicing in hospitals worked in a single department, while 17 percent said they worked in two and sometimes up to eight different departments. A greater percentage of RNs practicing in rural hospital settings reported working in 3 or more departments compared to RNs working in urban or large rural hospital settings, where working in a single department was more common.

From a forthcoming fact sheet on Minnesota's RN workforce as of 2011-2012. 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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The Clinical Dental Education Innovations Grant Program is accepting applications from 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 2.

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 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Health Impact Project, with funding support from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation, seeks applications for Minnesota-based health impact assessment (HIA) demonstration projects. Preference will be given to HIAs focused on community development, education, social or economic policies relevant to health and health equity in Minnesota, and the links between health and school discipline and/or criminal justice policies. Applications due April 2.

The Blandin Foundation invites applications from rural communities interested in pursuing better broadband. Funding is available through several programs, all of which have a deadline of April 4. Learn more on the Blandin Foundation website.

The Northland Foundation invites Letters of Interest to participate in the capacity-building portion of its recently launched Rural Aging Initiative. The training and grant awards aim to strengthen nonprofit organizations serving older adults and their caregivers in northeastern Minnesota. Direct questions to Erik Torch at or 218-723-4040 or 800-433-4045. Letters due April 4.

The federal Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) is accepting applications to the Rural Access to Emergency Devices (RAED) Grant Program. Grants will be awarded to community partnerships to purchase automated external defibrillators (AEDs), provide defibrillator and basic life support training, and place the AEDs in rural communities with local organizations. Applications due April 30.

The Miscarriage Care Fellowship program will soon be accepting invitations to expand access to evidence-based, patient-centered miscarriage care in primary care settings. Fellows receive one-on-one support to integrate miscarriage treatment in their primary practice. More information will be available in April from the Reproductive Health Access Project. Contact Rosann Mariappuram at with questions.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) requests proposals for delivering health care services to Medical Assistance (MA) and MinnesotaCare enrollees under alternative payment arrangements through the Integrated Health Partnerships (IHP - formerly known as Health Care Delivery Systems or HCDS) Demonstration. Proposals due June 2.


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The 2014 Many Faces of Community Health Conference, to be held October 23-24 in Minnetonka, is accepting proposals for breakout sessions. Visit the Call for Abstracts for more information. Proposals due April 2.

The National Academy for State Health Policy will present a webinar, "Realizing Rural Care Coordination: Considerations and Action Steps for State Policymakers," on April 2.

The 2014 Great Plains Telehealth Resource & Assistance Center’s Forum, “Telehealth and HIT: Partners in Patient Care” will take place April 3-4 in Minneapolis. This year’s event will focus on how telehealth and other Health Information Technologies (HIT), including mHealth, can help provide coordinated patient care.

The 2014 Minnesota Hospice & Palliative Care Conference, "Improving Education – Improving Lives," will be held April 6-8 in Bloomington. Learn more and register on the annual conference home page (link no longer available).

The 2014 Health Disparities Roundtable will be held April 10 at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. This year's roundtable is titled "Improving Access to Mental Health Services: The Affordable Care Act." Register online for this free event.

The Minnesota Partnership for Adolescent Health will hold a central regional community meeting on April 11 in Waite Park. At this and other regional community meetings, participants will learn about the state’s adolescent health strategic planning initiative, help shape the state’s vision for adolescent health, and identify barriers and potential actions. Learn more and register on the MDH meetings website.

The Mission: Lifeline Rural Minnesota STEMI Conference will be held April 23 in Alexandria. Learn more and register for this free event on the American Heart Association website.

The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association will present "Heart Failure: Guideline Review & Best Practice Success Stories for Rural Hospitals" in a webinar on April 24. The webinar is free but you must register to attend. Contact Katie Sahajpal at or 414-227-1416 with questions.

The Rural Palliative Care Networking Group will feature Part III of its series "Symptom management at end-of-life" on May 6 from 10:00 a.m. to noon at Knute Nelson Grand Arbor in Alexandria. More information, as well as audio recordings of Parts I and II, are available on the Stratis Health Rural Palliative Care web page. To register for in-person attendance or conference call, contact Matt Ellis by April 29 at or 952-853-8539.

The Health Professions Network – an association of allied health organizations – will hold its spring conference on May 7-9 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The conference will focus on the major shifts under way in health care settings, systems and delivery models.

The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) is accepting submissions for presentations at the 2014 Rural Health Clinic Conference to be held September 30-October 1 and the 2014 Critical Access Hospital Conference to be held October 1-3, both in Kansas City. Proposals due May 9.


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The County Health Rankings and Roadmaps project released its fifth report ranking the health of every county in the U.S. The project ranks counties by overall health using a standard formula to measure the health status of county residents and how long they live. As noted in an MDH press release, the report shows a wide range of health status among Minnesota counties.

The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), as part of its new "Access is the Answer" campaign, announced materials documenting the lack of access to primary care in many communities. In addition to two nationwide reports, NACHC released state-level maps on insurance expansion and primary care shortages.

An article in the Los Angeles Times, What makes a community healthy?, featured Open Cities Health Center in St. Paul as an example of a collaborative approach to health care for the underserved.

The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) issued its State Estimates of Adult Mental Illness from the 2011 and 2012 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health.

The Rural Assistance Center (RAC), the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center, and the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis released a new Rural Mental Health and Substance Abuse Toolkit. The free toolkit is designed to help rural communities and organizations develop and implement programs to meet the targeted mental health needs of communities, based on proven approaches and strategies.

The Public Health Law Center and the Institute for a Sustainable Future have published a summary of the 2013 conference Creating Accountable Communities for Health: A Collaborative, Cross-Sectoral and Local Approach to Health. A companion discussion guide, Perspectives and Next Steps in Creating a Healthier Health Care System, is also available.

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Health reform
• Health providers holding down costs while better coordinating care (link no longer available) (Mankato Free Press).
Rural residents confront higher health care costs (AP via Minnesota Public Radio News).
• New law’s demands on doctors have many seeking a network (New York Times).
Video: Faces of the Affordable Care Act: The safety net doctor (Wall Street Journal).
• The uninsured: An analysis by age, income and geography (RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis).
• Rural implications of the Affordable Care Act outreach, education and enrollment (National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services).
• Minnesota's 'health care homes' aim to fill gaps in support for late-in-life patients (MinnPost).

Health disparities
• The most and least healthy counties in America (The Atlantic).
• A practitioner’s guide for advancing health equity: Community strategies for preventing chronic disease (Practitioner’s Health Equity Guide).
• Reducing health care disparities: Where are we now? (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation).
• The intersection of rural poverty and federal human services programs (National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services).

• Rural health centers utilize tax credit program to expand primary care services (Healthcare Finance News).
• Potential measures for clinical-community relationships (Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality).

• Care coordination tough to define, measure (HealthLeaders Media).
• Which Medicare patients are transferred from rural emergency departments? (University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center).

Mental health
• The state of mental health treatment in the United States (Tufts University via Medical Xpress).


• Community paramedicine in rural areas: State and local findings and the role of the state Flex program (Flex Monitoring Team).
Report: Minn. dental therapists are making an impact (Dr.
Firefighter house calls help after Methodist Hospital stay (Star Tribune).
• Development of the Nursing Community Apgar Questionnaire (NCAQ): A rural nurse recruitment and retention tool
(Rural and Remote Health).
• Promising approaches to integrating Community Health Workers into health systems: Four case studies (Urban Institute).
NDSU program specializes in American Indian health (Crookston Times).

Health Information Technology
• Commentary: The quest for population health management (InformationWeek).
• Expanding telemedicine beyond state borders (USA Today).
Electronic health records: A hard pill to swallow for some doctors (Star Tribune).
• Meaningful use of the Electronic Health Record by Rural Health Clinics (Maine Rural Health Research Center).
• FCC launches health task force (The Hill).
• Telemedicine can help treat, delay Alzheimer's, especially in rural areas (The Rural Blog).

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ORHPC welcomed Brenda Flattum as the new Loan Forgiveness Administrator.  Brenda joins MDH from the Department of Health Services in Arizona. Contact Brenda at or 651-201-3870.

At the request of the Grand Forks Herald, Tim Held wrote a column published on March 9: Technology, partnerships can ease crisis in rural emergency care.

Craig Baarson and Judy Bergh visited Rainy Lake Medical Center in International Falls on March 4, and performed a mock survey to help prepare the facility for an initial Rural Health Clinic Survey. Judy also conducted a Critical Access Hospital mock survey at Redwood Area Hospital on March 3.


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The 2014 Minnesota Public Health Association Annual Meeting, Health in All Policies: Actions Toward Health Equity, will take place June 4-5 in Minneapolis.

The National Rural Health Association (NRHA)'s 2014 Rural Health Clinic Conference will be held September 30-October 1 and the 2014 Critical Access Hospital conference will be held October 1-3, both in Kansas City.

The 2014 Many Faces of Community Health Conference: Community Centered Care and the People We Serve, will be held October 23-24 in Minnetonka.


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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.