December 2015




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Hospitals' Electronic Exchange Activity
Critical Access Hospital and Non-Critical Access Hospital, 2014

Electronic health records chart

Hospital N = 128 MN non-federal acute care hospitals (76 Critical Access Hospitals and 52 non-CAHs)
Source: Minnesota e-Health Profile, MDH Office of Health IT, 2015

Health information exchange (HIE) is the secure electronic exchange of clinical information between organizations using nationally recognized standards (not including phone, fax, or non-secure email). The goal of HIE is to help make health information available, when and where it is needed, and to improve the quality and safety of health and health care. In Minnesota, many efforts are underway to help achieve the secure electronic exchange of clinical information between organizations across the wide spectrum of health and health care. Looking at electronic health information exchange by type of hospital, we see that across the board the CAHS have had less exchange activity with other providers than non-CAHS. These differences are most dramatic for exchange with local health departments, hospitals, clinics, MDH, and home health agencies while rates are equal or higher for exchange with social services agencies and behavioral health providers respectively.

For more information please visit: Minnesota e-Health.

National Rural Health Day Real Doc Hollywoods and Community Stars
As part of the annual National Rural Health Day (NRHD) celebration on November 19, the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) just released Real Doc Hollywoods and Community Stars to honor rural providers and communities across the country. This inaugural e-publication documents just a few of the wonderful stories of service and dedication to the people who call rural America home.


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Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program
The Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program's application cycle for next year is open through Sunday, January 3, 2016. Over $3.2 million is available in Fiscal Year 2017. In addition to the eligible professions of physicians, dentists, pharmacists, midlevel providers, nurses, and nurse/allied faculty, the program has been expanded to include three new professions—rural dental therapists/advanced dental therapists, rural public health nurses, and mental health professionals as defined by Minnesota Statute Section 245.462, subdivision 18. For information on the professions covered in the program, and for instructions on applying, please see the Loan Forgiveness and Repayment Programs webpage, or contact Brenda Flattum at 651-201-3870 or Paia Vang at 651-201-3895.


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OTHER GRANTS And funding

Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program in Minnesota
The Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program in Minnesota provides affordable funding to develop essential community facilities in rural areas. An essential community facility is defined as a facility that provides an essential service to the local community for the orderly development of the community in a primarily rural area and does not include private, commercial or business undertakings. Examples of essential community facilities include: health care facilities such as hospitals, medical clinics, dental clinics, nursing homes or assisted living facilities; public safety services such as fire departments, police stations, prisons, police vehicles, fire trucks, public works vehicles or equipment; utility services such as telemedicine or distance learning equipment. For more information, contact the US Department of Agriculture Rural Development State Director, Mary Colleen Landkamer, at 651-602-7899.

Health Workforce Grants
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Bureau of Health Workforce has many Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) for state or local governments, non-profit organizations, healthcare facilities, and academic institutions interested in strengthening the nation’s health workforce. For more information about these opportunities, view the view the Grants Bulletin, which outlines the eligibility requirements, disciplines and estimated open dates for all of their programs. Sign up for email alerts for when the next FOA opens.

Primary Care Scholarships and Loan Repayment
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Bureau of Health Workforce has many loan repayment and scholarship programs for primary care students and providers interested in a career in primary care. For more information about these opportunities, view the Application Bulletin which outlines the eligibility requirements, disciplines and estimated open dates for all of their programs. Sign up for email alerts about when each of the 2016 application cycles open.

Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students
The Scholarships for disadvantaged Students (SDS) program promotes diversity in the health professions and nursing workforce. Up to $650,000 per year will go to eligible schools for awarding scholarships to students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Rural providers focusing on growing their own can help pair local students with partner educational institutions that apply for this funding. For health care training programs that serve rural communities, the funding provides a good opportunity to build academic-community partnerships and address long-standing workforce challenges in rural communities. The deadline to apply is January 25.


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Enhancing Diversity in the Physician-Scientist Workforce
National Institute of Health (NIH) is seeking information that may be useful to support initiatives on enhancing diversity in the physician-scientist workforce. Responses to this RFI must be submitted electronically on the submission website by December 28, 2015. Please do not submit comments by other mechanisms, such as fax or email. We do not require you to provide your name with the response. Please direct all inquiries to: Lisa Evans, JD, Scientific Workforce Diversity Officer.

Mental Health Community Partners Networking
From January through August, 2016, ICSI will be hosting a variety of in–person events and subject–specific webinars focused on care transitions for four patient population groups: 1) patients admitted to an inpatient psychiatric hospital unit; 2) patients with acute conditions and known mental health diagnoses; 3) patients with chronic disease who develop mental health conditions; and 4) patients newly diagnosed with serious mental illness. This is an opportunity for all healthcare organizations in your community to rally around and plan for optimal care transitions for patients with mental illness. The first networking event is January 27, from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Maplewood Community Center, Maplewood, MN. Register on the ICSI website.

Minnesota Rural Health Association Announces Formation of Student Chapter
The Minnesota Rural Health Association has recently formed a Student Chapter intended to empower and engage rural health professions students on campuses across Minnesota. The MRHA Board voted unanimously to form the new Student Chapter which will operate under the auspices of the MRHA. Alena Tofte, a medical student at the University of Minnesota Duluth, has been appointed the first Chapter President. Dr. Ray Christensen, Dean of the University of Minnesota Duluth Medical School, and long-time rural health advocate, is the chapter's faculty advisor. MRHA is excited about the potential to engage rural health students in building the future of rural health in which they will serve.

Native One Stop
American Indians and Alaska Natives seeking information on a variety of topics now have a new tool, Native One Stop. Whether you are a veteran looking for a home loan or a student looking for an educational grant, the site is a quick resource finder.

Nominations for Appointment to Veterans Rural Health Advisory Committee
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Office of Rural Health, is seeking nominations of qualified candidates to be considered for appointment to the Veterans Rural Health Advisory Committee (VRHAC). The Committee advises the Secretary on ways to improve and enhance access to VA healthcare services for enrolled veterans residing in rural areas and the identification of barriers to providing services. The Committee makes recommendations to the Secretary regarding such activities. Nominations of qualified candidates are being sought to fill upcoming vacancies on the Committee.

Population Health Portal
The National Rural Health Resource Center has created a Population Health Portal in cooperation with the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP). The Population Health Portal is designed to help critical access hospitals, Flex coordinators and rural health networks navigate the journey towards improved population health.


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2015 Bush Prize for Community Innovation Grant Winners in Minnesota
The Bush Prize for Community Innovation honors and supports innovative organizations with a track record of making great ideas happen. The Bush Prize provides creative capital for the organizations to use however they choose. Here are this year's Minnesota winners:

Lakewood Health System in Staples was awarded a $500,000 Bush Prize for Community Innovation for their ability to inspire innovations leading to a healthier, economically stronger region. Lakewood encourages all levels of staff to share ideas to improve the health and well-being of patients and the community. This grant will advance their charitable mission. Read more about Lakewood's award on the Bush Foundation website.

Hope Community in Minneapolis was awarded a $500,000 Bush Prize for Community Innovation for their ability to create models for urban change. Hope Community works closely with the people of Phillips neighborhood to identify the challenges in their community and drive their own solutions. Over 1,000 youth and adults work with Hope Community each year to build stronger lives for their families and communities. Read more about their award on the Bush Foundation website.

Minnesota Valley Action Council (MVAC) in Mankato was awarded a $500,000 Bush Prize for Community Innovation. As one of the nation's 1,100 Community Action Agencies, MVAC is a regional leader in the fight against poverty. Its food hub and other revenue-generating initiatives provide the flexibility Minnesota Valley Action Council needs to advance its efforts. Read more about their award on the Bush Foundation website.

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ORHPC Staff News

Marty Forseth
Please welcome Marty Forseth to the ORHPC team.  His start date is Monday, January 4, 2016.  Marty will work in the Trauma Program as a second hospital designation coordinator.  Along with Tammy Peterson they will manage 129 hospital designations including adult and pediatric centers. Marty comes to ORHPC with over 30 years of experience in hospital and EMS administration and leadership, 22 of those years with HealthEast Care System.  Marty also has seven years of public health preparedness experience, coordinating various community programs, effectively collecting and using public data, and leading advisory committees.


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Health Care Facilities
Estimated costs of rural freestanding emergency departments (Rural Health Research Gateway).
Reducing noise levels in hospitals (Federal Telemedicine News).
Are you ready to begin a capital project? A guide, toolkit and resources for Critical Access Hospitals and Rural Health Clinics (National Rural Health Resource Center).
'Flying ICUs' part of rural health care strategy (Duluth News Tribune).

Health Equity
Education and Healthy Living Center in North Minneapolis (Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development).
Deficiencies in end-of-life care extend across ethnicities (Kaiser Health News).
Award recognizes state efforts to make mental health care available to all deaf Minnesotans (MinnPost)
Rural adults delay, forego, and strategize to afford their pre-ACA health care (Maine Rural Health Research Center)

Health Reform
Continuing the shift from volume to results in American healthcare (The CMS Blog).
Rural hospitals worry Medicaid transition could end essential funding (The Gazette).

Health Technology
Access to health information technology training programs at the community college level (Rural Health Research Gateway).
In Minnesota, an emphasis on getting to the ‘broadband starting line’ (The Daily Yonder).
Managing chronic conditions (Federal Telemedicine News).
USDA announces $23.4 million in distance learning and telemedicine grants for 75 projects in 31 states (United States Department of Agriculture).
Why interoperability matters (American Hospital Association).

Minnesota Employment Review, November 2015 (Department of Employment and Economic Development).
Community Paramedicine can improve your hospital's standing, ease ED burden (Hospitals & Health Networks).
Dentist supply, dental care utilization, and oral health among rural and urban U.S. residents (University of Washington Rural Health Research Center).
M State launches new health programs to meet workforce needs (Inforum)
Community paramedics understand that sometimes the best care is a home cooked meal (Minnesota Department of Human Services)

Conference will emphasize primary care providers’ key role in addiction treatment (MinnPost)
The '10 commandments' for patient-centered care (MinnPost)
Integration of primary care, mental health sorely needed, says panel (American Academy of Family Physicians).
End of Medicare bonus program will cut pay to primary care doctors (Kaiser Health News).
Refocus system on primary care, says Iora Health CEO (American Academy of Family Physicians).

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Corporation for Supportive Housing is hosting the Engaging Partners in Health and Housing Partnerships webinar on December 10, 2 p.m. EST.

The 4th annual Medical Education Conference Topics in EMS: Time Critical Calls will be held February 13 in Fergus Falls.

The National Rural Health Association's Rural Hospital Innovation Summit will be held May 10-13 in Minneapolis.

The 12th annual Minnesota e-Health Summit Closing the Gaps to Achieve Healthy Communities will be held June 7 in Brooklyn Center.

The Minnesota Rural Health Conference will be held June 20-21 in Duluth.

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) annual conference Cultivating a Culture of Health Equity will be held July 19-21 in Phoenix, AZ.

The next Joint International Conference of the Community Development Society and the International Association for Community Development, Sustaining Community Change: Building Local Capacity to Sustain Development Initiatives, will be held July 24-27 in Bloomington.


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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.