July 2014



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Logo for the MN Rural Health Conference
Thank you for another great conference!

A record 525+ participants attended the 2014 Minnesota Rural Health Conference June 23 and 24 in Duluth.

To access session presentations and sign up for email updates on the 2015 conference, visit the conference website.

Thanks to the Blandin Foundation, the full text and video of Dr. Kathy Annette's keynote is also available online.

Congratulations to the 2014 Rural Health Award winners! James G. Boulger, a charter faculty member at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Duluth and director of the Center for Rural Mental Health Studies, received the Rural Health Hero award. Project Care Free Clinic, based in Hibbing with additional sites in Ely, Grand Rapids and Virginia, received the Rural Health Team award. Thank you to everyone who submitted nominations, and to our review committee. Please consider submitting a nomination next year for your rural health hero or rural health team.

The State Trauma Advisory Council (STAC) in June adopted new criteria for level 3 trauma hospitals in Minnesota. These new criteria are the most significant change to the statewide trauma system since its inception in 2005. Over three years of work groups, subcommittees and stakeholder feedback shaped the revisions. The criteria were developed to provide more direction for and structure in Minnesota’s level 3 trauma hospitals, and are expected to improve outcomes for trauma patients. The new criteria affect only level 3 trauma hospitals - the level 4 criteria remain unchanged - and are effective on July 1, 2015. The statewide trauma system will be offering technical support throughout the transition period. For more information, contact Chris Ballard, Trauma System Coordinator, at 651-201-3841 or

ORHPC issued an update to its 2007 report to the Minnesota Legislature on swing bed utilization and related Medicare data. The 2014 update, Swing Bed Usage and Access to Post-Acute Care in Rural Minnesota, did not find substantial change between 2004 and 2012 in swing bed use, nursing home occupancy rates, or Medicare payment for nursing home stays. Swing beds are intended for hospitalized patients who are no longer in need of acute care, but still require some level of skilled nursing care and are currently in a hospital acute care bed. For more information, contact Katie Schleiss at 651-201-3854 or

Governor Dayton proclaimed June 11 Minnesota e-Health Day, marking the the state's e-health transformation over the past decade.

Graph - Health Information Technology (HIT) adoption in Minnesota, 2004-2014.

Sources: Minnesota Department of Health, Office of Health Information Technology, 2004-2014, the Office of the National Coordinator, Surescripts.

Minnesota has seen an e-health transformation over the last 10 years. Consumers have gained unprecedented access to their health information, and most Minnesota hospitals and clinics have moved from paper to electronic health records.

Today, 93 percent of the state's clinics and 99 percent of its hospitals have adopted electronic health records (EHR) systems. In addition, 72 percent of Minnesota clinics now offer an online patient portal, 76 percent use automated tools to identify needed preventive care services, 70 percent use automated reminders for missing labs and tests, and 95 percent use medication guides and alerts.

For more information, visit the Minnesota e-Health website.


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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.


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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP) is accepting applications for holistic approaches to population health and wellness in Indian Country, specifically in the areas of heart disease and type 2 diabetes and associated risk factors, such as tobacco use, physical inactivity and unhealthy diet. Applications due July 22.

The Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation announced a leadership award in honor of Ann K. Johnson, former Executive Director of the foundation and Community Affairs Director of Delta Dental of Minnesota. The Ann K. Johnson Minnesota Community Health Spirit Award will be given to an individual in special recognition of their contributions to improving oral and/or overall health in Minnesota, and to celebrate their visionary leadership. An award of $2,500 will be presented by the foundation. Nominations due July 31.

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 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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Stratis Health invites interested organizations to an "Outcomes Congress" on the Targeting Resource Use Effectively (TRUE) project, a special one-year initiative to increase utilization of hospice care. TRUE involved partners in Alexandria, Mora and Waconia. The TRUE Outcomes Congress will take place July 16 in St. Cloud. The event is free but registration is required. For more information, contact Matt Ellis at 952-853-8539.

A Get With the Guidelines - Stroke conference call for small, rural and critical access hospitals will take place July 16 from 12:00-1:00 p.m. The call is hosted by the Midwest affiliate of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. RSVP to

Registration is open for the Rural Quality and Clinical Conference, presented by the National Rural Health Association, to be held July 16-18 in Atlanta.

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 Rural Health Fellows Program, a year-long, intensive leadership program of the National Rural Health Association, is accepting applications through August 31.


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MNsure announced that Minnesota’s uninsured population rate is at its lowest point since records on the rate have been kept, with the number of uninsured Minnesotans falling by 180,500 between September 2013 and May 2014 - a 40.6 percent reduction. The findings are detailed in a new report from the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC): Early Impacts of the Affordable Care Act on Health Insurance Coverage in Minnesota.

The federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) released a YouTube video to support ICD-10 readiness: Preparing Safety Net Providers for ICD-10.

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Status of women and girls in Minnesota: research overview (Women's Foundation of Minnesota and Center on Women & Public Policy).
Update: Independently owned pharmacy closures in rural America, 2003-2013 (RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis).

Health reform
High-deductible health insurance plans in rural areas (Maine Rural Health Research Center).
Work to join public health, primary care moves ahead: Breaking down silos (The Nation's Health).
Alternatives to ACO strategies emerge (HealthLeaders Media).
Strategies in 4 safety-net hospitals to adapt to the ACA (The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation).
First survey of public, commercial ACOs finds majority are physician-led (Bloomberg BNA).

Health equity
Challenges and barriers: Race, ethnicity and language data collection and quality reporting (Stratis Health).
Poor health: Poverty and scarce medical resources in U.S. cities (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).
Tribal traditions key to native health (Minnesota Public Radio News).
Reaching out to Indian Country’s veterans (Veterans Affairs, Office of Rural Health).

Panelists discuss future of rural primary care at Rural Health Journalism 2014 (Association of Health Care Journalists).
Case study: Heartbreak and lessons learned in mental health integration in an FQHC (Psychiatric News).

Trends in hospital network participation and system affiliation, 2007-2012 (RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis).
Rural hospitals’ service to poor challenged by costs and policies (Nonprofit Quarterly).
Which Medicare patients are transferred from rural emergency departments? (University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center).
Collaborative Community Health Needs Assessments: Approaches and benefits for Critical Access Hospitals (Flex Monitoring Team).
Strategies for ED psych patients (HealthLeaders Media).


Health care interpreters becoming vital part of medical team (Wisconsin State Journal).
Dental therapists in school-based programs improve access to care (
An up-and-coming executive role: chief population health officer (Healthcare Finance News).
Some paramedics doing less transport, more treatment at scene (National Public Radio).
Support for rural recruitment and practice among U.S. nurse practitioner education programs (WWAMI Rural Health Research Center).
Position paper: Rural practice, keeping physicians in (American Academy of Family Physicians).

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Kristen Tharaldson and colleagues from the Maternal and Child Health division of MDH presented data and findings from the Rural Health Advisory Committee's Report on Obstetric Services in Rural Minnesota and the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) to regional forums in Rochester, New Ulm, Bemidji and St. Cloud. The group was also invited to submit a "Data to Action" example for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

Judy Bergh attended the Northeast Minnesota Health Care Forum on May 30 in Mountain Iron.

In June, Tammy Peterson conducted Level 4 trauma designation site visits to Winona Health, Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea, and Regina Medical Center in Hastings.


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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.

The Minnesota Association of Community Mental Health Programs (MACMHP) 2014 conference, Thriving Through Change, will take place September 16-19 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 Many Faces of Community Health Conference: Community Centered Care and the People We Serve, will be held October 23-24 in Minnetonka.

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.