August 2014



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The Rural Health Advisory Committee (RHAC) has an open appointment for a licensed health care professional who is not a physician, midlevel practitioner, licensed nurse or licensed practical nurse. The committee advises the Commissioner of Health and other state agencies on rural health issues. All members must reside outside the seven-county metropolitan area. Meetings are held approximately 5 times per year in person or by/with teleconferencing/video conference. Visit the Current Vacancies page of the Secretary of State's website to learn more and apply.

The MERC program, which distributes grants to clinical training sites around the state, released $57.1 million in funding in April. The Minnesota Legislature created MERC in 1997 to distribute grant funds to hospitals, clinics and other clinical sites to support clinical training. Learn more about MERC and the recent grant distribution on the MERC website.

MDH has updated the Minnesota Standard Consent Form to Release Health Information to incorporate recent rule changes. The form represents current privacy and confidentiality business practices and is compliant with current federal and state privacy law.  

Regional meetings on the State Innovation Model (SIM) project continue in August, with an evening session in Shakopee on August 4 and sessions in Minneapolis and Worthington on August 5. Learn about the Minnesota Accountable Health Model and related funding opportunities, and connect with potential partners to coordinate care, services and support programs. Learn more on the SIM Events web page.

ORHPC is staffing a new advisory body created by the 2014 Minnesota Legislature. The Task Force on Immigrant International Medical Graduates is charged with developing strategies to integrate refugee, asylee and other immigrant physicians into the Minnesota health care delivery system. The Task Force will issue recommendations to the Commissioner of Health and the Legislature in January 2015. Meetings are open to the public. For more information, including the meeting schedule, visit the Task Force web page.

Graph - Share of Minnesota-licensed physicians educated outside U.S./Canada.

Source: Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, May 2014.

Among the 21,669 physicians licensed in Minnesota, 3,390 (16 percent) were trained outside the U.S. and Canada. Across the state, the percentage of licensed international medical graduates (IMGs) varies by region, from 8 percent in northeast Minnesota to 24 percent of physicians in southwest Minnesota. In the U.S. overall, internationally trained physicians represent roughly 25 percent of those licensed to practice.

For more information and data on Minnesota's health workforce, visit the ORHPC Health Care Workforce Analysis Program site.


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Application materials for the Minnesota State Loan Repayment Program (MN SLRP) are now available. The program provides funds for repayment of qualifying educational loans of up to $20,000 annually for full-time primary care providers and up to $10,000 annually for half-time primary care providers. For 2014, an estimated 5-10 loan repayment awards will be available. Applications due by August 20.

Application materials for the Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Grant Program are now available. The Flex program provides grant support for Critical Access Hospitals, other small rural hospitals, rural emergency medical services (EMS), and other rural organizations to undertake operational, performance and quality improvement; health system development; and rural community engagement projects. Applications due September 11.

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 burdens, or improve care delivery infrastructure. Pre-applications due September 12. If invited, full applications due December 22.

The Emerging Professions Integration Grant Program is accepting applications to support the integration of Community Health Workers, Community Paramedics and Dental Therapists into the workforce in roles that support the broad goals of the Minnesota Accountable Health Model. An informational call will be held on August 6 from 3:00-4:00 p.m. (call-in number: 1-888-742-5095, passcode: 5163675926). Applications due September 19.


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The Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children (HSHC) program seeks applications for Access to Care grants. The grants provide up to $20,000 in matching funds for community-based initiatives that provide dental care and ultimately serve as a Dental Home to underserved/limited-access children. Letters of intent due August 18.

The federal Health Center Program has released a New Access Point (NAP) funding opportunity to provide operational support for new primary health care service delivery sites. Applications may be submitted from new organizations or from existing Health Centers to expand their network to serve new underserved populations. Initial applications due in by August 20; supplemental application information due October 7.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation invites applications to its Beyond Coverage: The Journey to Better Health program to help newly insured individuals and families navigate the health care system. An informational webinar will be held on August 6 at 10 a.m. (no registration required). Letters of intent due September 3.

The Healthier Minnesota Community Clinic Fund has issued a 2014 Request for Proposals seeking applications from safety net primary care providers for projects that improve access to and the quality of primary care clinical services for low-income people, communities of color, and the medically underserved. All eligible projects will be considered, but priority will be given to reproductive, dental and mental health care initiatives. Applications due September 11.


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A free webinar, "Strategies to support expanded roles for non-clinicians on primary care teams: Two state case studies," will be held August 12 at 1:30 p.m. Register on the National Academy for State Health Policy website.

The Minnesota Partnership for Adolescent Health will hold a southwest regional community meeting on August 14 in Madison, Minnesota to provide feedback on the state’s vision for adolescent health and to identify barriers and actions needed.

A free training on the continuum of HIV/AIDS care, from testing to referrals, will take place August 19 in Moorhead. The training is co-sponsored by Midwest AIDS Training + Education Center (MATEC), the Rural AIDS Action Network (RAAN), Minnesota Department of Human Services and others. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available. For more information and to register, call 612-625-1894 or email

Essentia Health-Deer River Clinic, as part of a recent grant from the Blandin Foundation, invites organizations to learn how to implement telehealth programs by participating in free Telehealth Implementation Retreats at Deer River. Arrowhead and Range home care agencies are also invited to participate in an e-Learning Collaborative on tele-home care that will run July 2014-January 2015. For more information, contact Kimberly Shropshire at

The 2014 Family Medicine Midwest Conference will be held in Minneapolis on October 10-12. Students are encouraged to apply for a scholarship to attend - deadline to apply is August 18.

New, free online courses are available to help health care providers and their office staff use and optimize health IT tools, including a Health Informatics 101 course, the Health IT Foundations for IT Professionals Certificate Program and the Health IT Foundations for Physician Practices program. The courses are offered through the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).


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The White House issued a Fact Sheet: Increasing Investment in Rural America outlining an array of programs aimed at strengthening rural communities, including $9.9 million to improve health care quality and address rural health disparities.

MDH's Office of Health Information Technology: Minnesota e-Health Initiative won a State Innovation Award for its public-private collaborative to advance the use of electronic health records and other health information technology. The Humphrey School of Public Affairs organizes the State Innovation Awards in partnership with the Bush Foundation to recognize 10 state projects for how they deliver better government services to Minnesotans. An awards ceremony will take place August 7 at the Minnesota History Center.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that Oct. 1, 2015 is the new compliance date for health care providers, health plans and health care clearinghouses to transition to ICD-10, the tenth revision of the International Classification of Diseases. The ICD-10 codes on a claim are used to classify diagnoses and procedures on claims submitted to Medicare and private insurance payers. Learn more and sign up for updates on the ICD-10 web page at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

This year's Minnesota FarmFest in Redwood Falls on August 5-7 will feature presentations by two of the statewide trauma system's regional trauma advisory committees - the Southern Minnesota Regional Trauma Advisory Committee and the Southwest Regional Trauma Advisory Committee - on farm trauma and injury prevention.

Celebrate National Health Center Week by joining Community-University Health Care Center, NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center and People's Center Health Services at events during the week of August 10-16. Find more details on Minnesota events at the National Health Center Week events page.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) announced that a pilot program to deliver quality health care more efficiently for low-income individuals and families served 100,000 Minnesotans and yielded $10.5 million in savings during its first year. Final results for the Integrated Health Partnerships (IHP) initiative, formerly known as the Health Care Delivery Systems (HCDS) demonstration, will be calculated in early 2015.

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Rural long-term care (Rural Assistance Center).
Community vitality and rural healthcare (Rural Assistance Center).
Remembering rural philanthropy in an urban-focused society (Nonprofit Quarterly).

Health reform
Facilitating the formation of Accountable Care Organizations in rural areas (RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis).
The effect of Medicare payment policy changes on rural primary care practice revenue (RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis).
Will health reform bring new role, respect to primary care physicians? (Kaiser Health News).
How does Medicaid expansion affect insurance coverage of rural populations? (North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center).
Former CMS head breaks down ACO lessons to date (AAFP News).

Health equity
New resource center in N.D. aims to improve Indian health (Crookston Times).
HIV/AIDS in rural America: Disproportionate impact on minority and multicultural populations (National Rural Health Association).
Commentary: Rural means older and sicker, data confirms (HealthLeaders Media).

Health Centers and family planning update (Milken Institute School of Public Health).
Race is on to profit from rise of urgent care (New York Times).
Primary care for women starts with OB-GYN (HealthLeaders Media).

Critical times for small and rural hospitals (HealthLeaders Media).
Critical Access Hospitals struggle with EHR implementations (Health IT Outcomes).
Speak your piece: A rural hospital crisis (Daily Yonder).


Expert panel recommends sweeping changes to doctor training system (Kaiser Health News).
Expanding the dental team: Increasing access to care in public settings (The Pew Charitable Trusts).
Growing shortage of clinical training sites challenges medical schools (AAFP News).
Nixon signs bill allowing creation of 'assistant physicians' (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).
Commentary: How many doctors does it take? (U.S. News via Yahoo News).
Part of the solution: Pre-Baccalaureate health care workers in a time of health system change (Brookings Institution).

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The 2nd Annual Rural Wellness Conference, “Diversity in Wellness - Recovery Outside the Box,” will be held September 6 in Little Falls. Learn more and register on the Wellness in the Woods website.

The 2014 Minnesota Community Measurement Seminar, "Making Measurement Matter: Exploring the Power of Data to Improve Health," will take place September 16 in Minneapolis.

The Minnesota Association of Community Mental Health Programs (MACMHP) 2014 conference, Thriving Through Change, will take place September 16-19 in Duluth.

Creating Accountable Communities for Health: Catalyzing Integrative Approaches to Obesity and Mental Health will take place September 22 in Duluth.

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 Family Medicine Midwest Conference will be held October 10-12 in Minneapolis.

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

The University of Minnesota-Morris will hold the 6th Annual Rural Behavioral Health Practice Conference on October 24, 2014. The theme of this year's conference is Integrated Care in Rural Practice.

The 2014 annual conference of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, Nonprofits in Motion: Momentum for a New Minnesota, will take place November 6-7 in St. Paul.


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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.