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Twelve Minnesota Accountable Communities for Health (ACH) will receive grants to demonstrate how health care and community organizations can work together to change population health. Minnesota is testing the ACH model as part of its $45 million State Innovation Model grant from the federal government.

MDH is part of a broad-based group of organizations and stakeholders that recently launched the Minnesota Food Charter.The Food Charter is a roadmap designed to guide policymakers and community leaders in providing all Minnesotans with equal access to affordable, safe and healthy food regardless of where they live -- access that not only improves the health and wellbeing of residents but that also has the potential to improve the state's economy. For more information and to get involved, visit the Minnesota Food Charter website.

MDH has released new resources to help health care providers and professionals improve privacy, security and consent management programs. Visit the Minnesota Privacy & Security Resources page to download copies of new and updated documents, including the Minnesota Standard Consent Form for the Release of Health Information, a model Notice of Privacy Practices and a summary of proactive monitoring processes.

MDH is accepting applications for two leadership positions: Assistant Commissioner for Health Protection and Director of the Center for Health Equity. Applications for the assistant commissioner position will be accepted until December 22, and those for the division director position until December 31.


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Application materials are available for the Rural Hospital Capital Improvement Grant Program. This grant program helps small rural hospitals make needed facility and equipment improvements. Step 1 applications are due December 12. If invited, Step 2 applications will be due March 13, 2015.

Applications for the Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program are now being accepted for Fiscal Year 2016. Applications are due January 2, 2015.


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MDH seeks proposals under two Learning Community grant programs - the General Learning Community Grant Program and the Accountable Communities for Health (ACH) Learning Community Grant Program - in support of the Minnesota Accountable Health Model. A Learning Community is defined as learning teams who have common goals or interests, share best practice knowledge, and are actively engaged in implementing transformation in a focused, structured environment with the goal to advance patient-centered, coordinated and accountable care. Information about both programs is on the Learning Communities web page. Applications due December 30.

The federal Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) seeks applications to the Rural Health Network Development Planning Program (Network Planning). This is a one-year grant for planning and developing an integrated health care network. Previously funded projects included workforce, behavioral health, telehealth, care coordination, health information technology, and outreach and enrollment initiatives. Applications due January 9.


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A webinar on the 2014 Update of the Rural-Urban Chartbook was held December 9 at 1:00 CST. The Chartbook presents information on population demographics, health-related behaviors and risk factors, age-specific and cause-specific mortality, access to care, health insurance coverage, mental health and other health-related topics across levels of rural and urban status.

The Minnesota e-Health Summit has issued a Call for Presentations for the 11th Annual Minnesota e-Health Summit, Connecting Communities to Advance Population Health, which will take place June 16-17, 2015 in St. Louis Park. Proposals due December 15.

The third annual Rural Lens photography contest, sponsored by the Rural Assistance Center and the National Rural Health Association, is open for entries in three categories: community/people; landscape; and rural health, a new category intended to highlight rural care. Entries due December 20.


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MNsure has published an online Assister Directory searchable by county, city, zip code and/or language.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a list of Critical Access Hospitals in areas no longer considered rural. If a CAH is located in one of these counties, it must reclassify as rural using the regulations at 42 CFR §412.103 by September 30, 2016.

The Rural Assistance Center (RAC) has issued two new topic guides: Health Care Access in Rural Communities and Conducting Rural Health Research, Needs Assessment, and Program Evaluation and updated its Rural Health Disparities guide.


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Enjoying the comforts of home with hospice (Hospice of the Red River Valley).

Health reform
•• Advancing the transition to a high-performance rural health system (Rural Policy Research Institute Rural Health Panel).
’Mega boards’ could be rural healthcare disruptor (HealthLeaders Media).

Primary care
Target to offer primary care services in new clinic model (Star Tribune).
Young entrepreneurs help remold rural health care in Oregon through membership payment model (The Rural Monitor).

St. Luke’s partners with rural hospitals (Duluth News Tribune).
Urban hospitals need rural skills (Newswire).


Diversity in the physician workforce: Facts and figures 2014 (Association of American Medical Colleges).
Doctors with borders: How the U.S. shuts out foreign physicians (The Atlantic).
The obstetric care workforce in Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) and rural non-CAHs (University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center).
A new effort to ease the doctor shortage (Governing).
Training the next generation of doctors to get LGBT health right (National Public Radio).

Health information technology
Capturing social and behavioral domains and measures in Electronic Health Records (Institute of Medicine).
CMS expands telehealth reimbursement with new rule (Health Informatics).
For rural veterans with PTSD, telemedicine may help (Reuters).

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ORHPC Deputy Director Tim Held is a 2014 recipient of the Distinguished Public Leadership award from Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths (TZD). Tim was recognized as "the driving force behind the design and construction of a formal, comprehensive statewide trauma system in Minnesota" and other contributions to the TZD vision. Read more about the award on the TZD Star Awards Recipients page. Congratulations, Tim!

ORHPC bade farewell to two staffers in November: long-time rural health planner and Rural Health Advisory Committee (RHAC) staffer Kristen Tharaldson, who heads to the City of Minneapolis to serve as Healthy Start Coordinator, and RHAC and trauma research analyst Katie Schleiss, who is now an epidemiologist in MDH's Emerging Infections Unit. Thank you and best wishes, Kristen and Katie!


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The 20th annual Rural Multiracial and Multicultural Health Conference will be held April 14, 2015 in Philadelphia.

The New Face of Health Care: Expanding Medical Professional Relationships, the 42nd Minnesota Health Care Roundtable, will be held April 23, 2015 in Minneapolis.

The 11th Annual Minnesota e-Health Summit, Connecting Communities to Advance Population Health, will take place June 16-17, 2015 in St. Louis Park.

The 2015 Minnesota Rural Health Conference will be held June 29-30, 2015 in Duluth.


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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.