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Logo for the MN Rural Health Conference
There's still time to submit a proposal for this summer's conference - apply by February 7!

Learn more on the Call for Proposals and sign up for email updates on 2014 Minnesota Rural Health Conference website.

Visit the Health Reform Minnesota website for a review of key health reform activities in Minnesota in 2013, including developments in Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, MNsure, the State Innovation Model (SIM) grant, health care homes, quality measures, the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP), senior care and research.

MDH has released a legislative report calling for the state to directly address health inequities so that all Minnesotans have the opportunity to be healthy regardless of race, place or income. The report, Advancing Health Equity in Minnesota: Report to the Legislature (PDF: 130 pages/2053KB), notes that Minnesota’s generally positive health rankings hide some of the nation’s worst health inequities. To address the problem, the report is recommending increased statewide reporting and collection of data related to health equity, advancing health promotion in all of Minnesota’s policies, increased hiring of people with expertise working with communities of color and American Indians, and increased engagement with communities of color and American Indians.

The MDH Health Economics Program released a new issue brief, Trends at Minnesota’s Community Hospitals, 2009 to 2012, analyzing changes in hospital utilization, financial performance and workforce. Key findings include a continuing decline in hospital admissions, growth in hospital outpatient service utilization, and an increase in uncompensated care. More detailed information, including at the hospital level, is available in the Minnesota Health Care Markets Chartbook.

As of January 14, Minnesota has received more J-1 Visa Waiver applications than it can accommodate for the current program year. The 2015 program will begin October 1, 2014. The J-1 Visa Program is for foreign medical graduates who wish to pursue graduate medical training in the United States. J-1 Physicians, also known as Foreign Medical Graduates or International Medical Graduates, are physicians from other countries who have sought and received a J-1 exchange visitor visa. The visa allows holders to remain in the United States until their studies are completed. Visit the J-1 Visa Waiver website for more information.


Graph - Intent to continue practicing in Minnesota, Primary care nurse practitioners by location.

Source: MDH Registered Nurse Workforce Survey (2011-2012).

Primary care nurse practitioners (NPs) are nurse practitioners certified in adult health, family health, gerontology, pediatrics and/or women’s health (based on the “primary care competencies” for NPs defined by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration). Using this definition, Minnesota had 2,447 primary care NPs in 2011-2012.

Overall, 64 percent of the primary care NPs surveyed in 2011-2012 said they planned to practice in Minnesota for more than 10 years into the future. In smaller rural areas, however, the percentage was much higher: 80 percent of those in small rural areas and 75 percent of those in isolated rural areas said they intended to practice for more than 10 years.

Note: These rural-urban categories are based on Rural-Urban Commuting Areas (RUCAs). See Defining Rural, Urban and Underserved Areas in Minnesota.

For more information on Minnesota's health workforce, see ORHPC's recent report, Minnesota's Primary Care Workforce, 2011-2012 and the Health Care Workforce Planning & Analysis website.


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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 Minnesota Accountable Health Model e-Health Grant Program expects to issue a Request for Proposals in February 2014. The grant program is designed to support readiness for and participation in the Minnesota Accountable Health Model. Grants will support community collaboratives in developing a plan for e-health requirements or expanding e-health capabilities for participation in the model. Look for announcements and sign up for email updates on the State Innovation Model (SIM) Grant website.

The Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at the University of Minnesota seeks applications to its Community Health Collaborative Grants Program. The program supports community-university pilot research projects addressing important health issues identified by Minnesota communities. Awards are designed to stimulate high-impact research, while building and sustaining long-term partnerships between U of M researchers and community representatives. CTSI can help interested applicants identify potential research partners. Mandatory Letters of Interest are due February 13, with full applications due (by invitation) April 9.

ACT on Alzheimer's is accepting applications from Minnesota communities interested in becoming dementia capable. Eligible communities will use the ACT on Alzheimer’s Dementia Capable Communities Toolkit, undertake the processes defined by the toolkit, and implement at least one (1) major priority goal area identified through the process. Applications due March 4. Learn more on the ACT on Alzheimer's website.

The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is accepting applications for 2014 Planning and Developing Infrastructure to Improve the Mental Health and Wellness of Children, Youth and Families in American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) Communities (short title: Circles of Care VI) grants. The grants are intended to increase the capacity and effectiveness of mental health systems serving tribal and urban AI/AN communities. Applications due March 7.

The Bush Foundation is once again accepting applications for Community Innovation Grants to support organizations working to create or implement a breakthrough in addressing a community need. Grants will range from $10,000-$200,000 for problem-solving processes that lead to more effective, equitable and sustainable solutions. Applications due March 13.

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.


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

The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) offers a free monthly videocast providing news and public policy updates on the use and deployment of telemedicine, including remote clinical services, mHealth and online consultations.


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The Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture released an update to the rural-urban commuting area (RUCA) codes that classify U.S. census tracts using measures of population density, urbanization and daily commuting. The update uses both the 2010 Census and the American Community Survey (ACS) five-year estimates to create two levels of classification. ORHPC will be updating its Minnesota maps with the new codes in early 2014, but in the meantime, more information and the new codes are available on the ERS RUCA website.

The Bentson Foundation announced it will invest $10 million in the University of Minnesota's Doctor of Nursing Practice program to provide scholarships and help build Minnesota's workforce of nurses with doctorate-level training in family medicine, geriatrics and other specialties.

The State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC), based on the University of Minnesota, has released new state and county-level health insurance coverage estimates for 2008-2012. These estimates pool together five years of data to produce reliable period estimates for areas and subgroups with smaller populations. This is the first time health insurance coverage estimates are available for all counties.

Did you know that the Department of Human Services (DHS) operates five community dental clinics for individuals with developmental disabilities, severe/persistent mental illness or traumatic brain injury who are unable to obtain care from other community providers? Clinics are located in Brainerd, Cambridge, Faribault, Fergus Falls and Willmar. The Faribault office also provides out-patient psychiatric services. Download a Dental Clinic brochure or visit the State Operated Services website to learn more.

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Breastfeeding initiation and duration by county (MDH).
Widening rural–urban disparities in life expectancy, U.S., 1969–2009 (American Journal of Preventive Medicine).
Meeting older adults’ mobility needs: Health care and transportation in rural communities (AARP).
Handbook for rural health care ethics (Dartmouth Medical School).

Health reform
Docs ready for wave of new MNsure patients (Star Tribune).
Analysis of early Accountable Care Organizations defines patient, structural, cost, and quality-of-care characteristics (The Commonwealth Fund).
How will the uninsured in Minnesota fare under the Affordable Care Act? (The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation).
Rural obstacles to Obamacare: few providers, lack of broadband, negative talk and misinformation (The Rural Blog).

Study ties health center funding with improved access to care (NACHC blog).
A profile of Community Health Center patients: Implications for policy (The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation).
Rural health centers utilize tax credit program to expand primary care services (Healthcare Finance News).
Lenders coalition launches to help CHCs (Healthcare Finance News).
The medical home's impact on cost & quality (Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative).
Nonprofit health centers go into for-profit insurance business (Kaiser Health News).

Hospital federation: No link between consolidation, high prices (HealthLeaders Media).
Potentially lethal delays: Southern Minnesota hospitals slow to send in newborn blood samples (St. Peter Herald).
Data-sharing will trump hospital mergers: Anthem's Schreiber (Milwaukee Business Journal).

Emergency services
America's emergency care environment: A state-by-state report card (American College of Emergency Physicians).
Emergency rooms are front line for enrolling new Obamacare customers (Kaiser Health News).
City ambulance services navigate changing medical times (Star Tribune).

Minority docs care for majority of underserved (Charlotte Post, on study in JAMA Internal Medicine).
Lots of new patients, too few doctors (New York Times, Well blog).
Some medical schools shaving off a year of training (Kaiser Health News).
See one, do one, teach many: Preceptors have become a precious commodity (Minnesota Medicine).
 Recruiting from within (audio) (Rural MN Radio via blog).

Health Information Technology
MN Broadband Task Force recommends $100 million for broadband deployment (Blandin on Broadband).
Telemedicine emerging as rural ICU solution (HealthLeaders Media, on report from New England Healthcare Institute).
• ICD-10 basics for small and rural practices (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services).
Telepharmacy: Bringing the most accessible health care provider to rural areas (Pharmacy Times).

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ORHPC is seeking a Lead Health Workforce Analyst. This position leads the research team of the Workforce Planning and Analysis Program. Applications due by February 7. Learn more at


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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.