MARCH 2014



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

Sign up for email updates on 2014 Minnesota Rural Health Conference website.

ORHPC issued its second annual Trauma System Report to the Minnesota Legislature. The report describes traumatic injury and trends in admission and acuity levels for fiscal year 2012.

ORHPC released a new report in partnership with the Board of Dentistry: Early Impacts of Dental Therapists in Minnesota: A Report to the Minnesota Legislature. The report evaluates dental therapists’ impact on the delivery of and access to dental services in the state, as required in the 2009 legislation that made Minnesota the first state government in the U.S. to authorize the licensing of this new profession.  


Graph - Practice settings of Minnesota dental therapists.

Source: Minnesota Board of Dentistry.

In 2009, Minnesota became the first state government in the U.S. to authorize the licensing of dental therapists and the credentialing of advanced dental therapists. These new professions practice as part of a dental team to provide educational, clinical and therapeutic services, and are sometimes referred to as “mid-level” providers – akin to nurse practitioners, other Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and physician assistants in medical settings – because their scope of practice falls between other allied dental professionals’ scopes and a dentist’s scope.

As of early February 2014, Minnesota had 32 licensed dental therapists, six of whom also held certifications in advanced dental therapy. Dental therapists work in a variety of settings. The majority of these are in urban underserved areas, but a growing number are located in rural and suburban communities.

For more information on Minnesota's dental therapy workforce, see the full report: Early Impacts of Dental Therapists in Minnesota: A Report to the Minnesota Legislature and a fact sheet soon to be available on ORHPC's Health Care Workforce Planning & Analysis website.

MDH and the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) issued a legislative report, Health Care Homes: Annual Report on Implementation, showing that 43 percent of all primary care clinics in Minnesota are now certified as health care homes. Together, these clinics serve nearly 3.3 million Minnesotans. In addition, an evaluation conducted by the University of Minnesota shows that health care homes clinics reduced Medicaid costs and outperformed other clinics on quality measures during a three-year period.

MDH's Health Economics program released a new fact sheet, Health Insurance in Minnesota: Results from the 2013 Minnesota Health Access Survey, which explores access to health insurance coverage and health care in the state. A companion issue brief, Health Care Access in Minnesota: Baseline Analysis for Assessing the Impact of Health Reform, analyzes effects and understanding of the Affordable Care Act in particular.


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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 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 Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health (GPCAH) Small Grants Program is accepting applications from community-based and academic organizations for pilot funding for outreach, education, and the transfer of research-based evidence to prevent agricultural injury and illness. Applications due March 10.

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 federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is accepting applications from Federally Qualified Health Centers for Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Facility Improvement grants to support alteration and renovation activities and/or new construction costs to facilitate the establishment of a PCMH model. Applications due March 14.

The Community Assistantship Program (CAP), administered by the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota, is accepting applications from community organizations and government agencies in rural Minnesota for student research assistance. CAP provides approximately 200 hours of student time to work on a project defined by the community. Applications due March 15.

MDH requests proposals for the Minnesota Accountable Health Model e-Health Grant Program. The grants are intended to support readiness for the Minnesota Accountable Health Model and to prepare for potential participation in accountable communities for health. Letters of intent due March 27 and full proposals due May 5.

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 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 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 website, produced by the National Indian Health Outreach and Education Initiative, provides training tools and consumer-oriented education materials to assist American Indians and Alaska Natives in understanding their rights and opportunities under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA).

Measuring Health Disparities is a free downloadable course on how to understand, define and measure health disparities. It is offered through the Michigan Public Training Center.


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The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) is expanding its Integrated Health Partnerships (IHP) demonstration with new contract awards for Hennepin Healthcare System (Hennepin County Medical Center Hospital and Clinics) and Mayo Clinic. Formerly called the Health Care Delivery Systems (HCDS) demonstration, the IHP strives to deliver higher quality and lower costs through innovative approaches to care and payment. Participants in their second year of the demonstration are Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota; CentraCare Health System; Essentia Health; Federally Qualified Health Center Urban Health Network (FUHN); North Memorial Health Care; and Northwest Metro Alliance (a partnership between Allina Health and HealthPartners). 

The February issue of Minnesota Medicine includes a commentary, Linking primary care and public health in Minnesota: Why it's critical to the health of our population, by Jane Korn, medical director of the Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Division at MDH.

The Rural Assistance Center (RAC) and NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis released a new Rural Care Coordination Toolkit to help rural communities and organizations identify and implement a care coordination program.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has released the 2014 federal poverty guidelines.

The Flex Monitoring Team has launched a new website at, offering access to their collection of resources aimed at improving the accessibility, viability and quality of health care for rural residents and communities.

Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia is profiled in an article in HealthLeaders Media: An independent community health system carves its own niche.

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An integrative review of literature regarding health concerns of rural dwelling adolescents (Online Journal of Rural Research and Policy).

Health reform
Medicaid matters for rural America: Strategies for engaging rural constituencies (Community Catalyst).
Finding the role of health care in population health (Journal of the American Medical Association).
Poorer counties have fewer options for health insurers, making their premiums higher (The Rural Blog).
Community health centers lead health insurance enrollment: Implementing the Affordable Care Act (The Nation's Health).
Health Centers see threat from 'private option' Medicaid
(Kaiser Health News).

Minnesota’s Health Care Homes: Transformative change in primary care delivery (MNCM News).
Health homes in Medicaid: The promise and the challenge (Urban Institute).

Bundling beyond hospitals (Healthcare Finance News).
Commentary: How rural Maine hospitals are tackling financial challenges (HealthLeaders Media).
For small health systems, big decisions can mean life or death (HealthLeaders Media).
Uninsured trauma patients may get better hospital care (USA Today).
• Money sought as Minnesota falls to 12th in emergency care (link no longer available) (Duluth News Tribune).
Discharge to swing bed or Skilled Nursing Facility: Who goes where? (North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center).

Oral health
Freshly minted dental therapists aid rural towns (Minnesota Daily).

Mental health
Bringing behavioral health to the front lines (MDNews).
Rural primary care physicians offer insight into rural women's health care (Penn State News).


Programs for loan repayment and forgiveness: A list for rural providers (The Rural Monitor).
How Community Health Workers dramatically improve health care (The Atlantic).
Conquering the doctor shortage
(USA Today).
Pharmacists increasingly take on clinical roles (Kaiser Health News).
Demand for physician assistants intensifies (HealthLeaders Media).
Patient simulators sharpen skills of rural practitioners (The Rural Monitor).
Apprehensive, many doctors shift to jobs with salaries (New York Times).
Support for rural training programs key to continued health care access for many Americans (AAFP News).

Health Information Technology
Telemedicine bolsters ICU care in rural Maryland hospitals (Kaiser Health News).
Technology widens care options for rural hospitals (The Rural Monitor).

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On March 10, Robyn Anderson joins ORHPC as the new Emerging Professions Coordinator, part of the State Innovations Model (SIM) grant project.  She will be managing two grant programs, working closely with emerging profession stakeholders, and coordinating with other SIM grant staff in MDH and DHS. Robyn joins us from the MDH Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Division.

Mark Schoenbaum was interviewed for an article in the Star Tribune: Retirements shrinking ranks of Minnesota's rural medical responders.

Judy Bergh conducted site visits to Redwood Falls Community Hospital and South Central Minnesota EMS on February 18.


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The 2014 Symposium on Small Towns, Understanding Rural Migration: Myths, Trends, and Opportunities Exposed, will be held June 4-5 at the University of Minnesota Morris.




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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.