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Logo for the MN Rural Health Conference
Propose a breakout session or learning station (new this year) for the 2015 conference!
Deadline extended to February 4.

Learn more on the Call for Proposals and sign up for email updates on 2015 Minnesota Rural Health Conference website.

ORHPC recently issued several publications on Minnesota physician workforce topics. Minnesota's Physician Workforce, 2013-2014 provides physician demographics, education, work settings, geographic distribution and more. The Task Force on Foreign-Trained Physicians: Report to the Minnesota Legislature takes a comprehensive look at the barriers to licensure faced by immigrant physicians and calls on Minnesota to be a national leader in integrating these often highly experienced physicians into the health care workforce.

Last month saw several additional Minnesota health workforce advisory groups issue findings and recommendations. ORHPC helped produce the 2014 Report and Recommendations on Strengthening Minnesota's Health Care Workforce from the Legislative Health Care Workforce Commission. The Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on the University of Minnesota Medical School, which included Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger, released its final report: Preeminent Medical Discovery, Education and Workforce for a Healthy Minnesota. And the Minnesota Health Workforce Steering Committee released Gearing Up for Action: Mental Health Workforce Plan for Minnesota, which includes recommendations for recruitment, education and training, placement, retention and assessment.

MDH's Health Economics Program released Hospital Nurse Staffing and Patient Outcomes: A Report to the Minnesota Legislature. Because of data constraints, MDH was unable to conduct a direct quantitative analysis of how nurse staff levels affect patient outcomes in Minnesota, but a review of the literature found evidence linking lower nurse staffing levels to certain patient outcomes.

MDH awarded nearly $200,000 to 10 primary care, behavioral health and social service organizations committed to practice transformation and the integration of care. The selected organizations cover a large geographic area, including the Twin Cities metro area, surrounding suburbs and rural settings. These Practice Transformation grants are part of Minnesota's $45 million State Innovation Model (SIM) grant in support of the Minnesota Accountable Health Model. This is the first of four grant rounds.


Graph - Share of Minnesota physicians who supervise a physician assistant, 
by rural-urban commuting area (RUCA)

Source: MDH-ORHPC Physician Workforce Survey, 2013.

Physician assistants practice under physician supervision. Compared to urban physicians, a greater share of physicians in isolated and small rural areas report supervising physician assistants, a finding similar to the share of physicians working with advanced practice registered nurses (such as nurse practitioners and certified nurse midwives) in rural versus urban areas. For more on these relationships and other physician data and analysis, see ORHPC's recently issued report, Minnesota's Physician Workforce, 2013-2014

Note: This data Includes all those physicians with a Minnesota license who responded to the survey, were employed as a physician, and whose primary business address was in Minnesota (n=7,444). Presents results from those who answered “yes” to the question: “Do you supervise a physician assistant?” The rural-urban categories are based on Rural-Urban Commuting Areas (RUCAs). See Defining Rural, Urban and Underserved Areas in Minnesota.

For more information and analysis of Minnesota's health workforce, visit the ORHPC Health Care Workforce Analysis Program.


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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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MDH requests proposals for the Practice Facilitation Grant Program, part of the Minnesota Accountable Health Model - SIM Minnesota initiative. The grants will support transformation activities that remove barriers to care integration. Eligible providers and teams include those in primary care, behavioral health, social services, long-term and post-acute care, or accountable care organizations or similar models. Letters of Intent are required and due February 3.

The Center for Prevention at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota is accepting applications for Active Places demonstration projects - temporary, low-cost projects that contribute to a long-term goal of making a community more amenable to walking, biking or other forms of physical activity. Applications due February 12.

The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) announced a new one-time funding opportunity: the Rural Outreach Benefits Counseling Program. The three-year program seeks to expand health insurance outreach, education and enrollment efforts to eligible uninsured and newly insured individuals and families in rural communities. Applications due March 30.


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The Rural Assistance Center is hosting a free, two-part webinar series on recent rural health policy briefs. The Health Update from The National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services will be held February 18 at 1:00 Central Standard Time (CST) and the Human Services Update will take place February 26 at 1:00 CST.


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Minnesota Public Radio featured Al Vogt in a Profiles in Health piece in January. Al will soon retire as CEO at Cook Hospital and was the recipient of the 2013 Minnesota Rural Health Hero Award.

The RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis, Rural Health Value and Stratis Health released two self-assessment tools for rural health providers and organizations, one on care coordination and one on population health.

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Health reform
• Medicaid market for dental care poised for major growth in many states (Health Policy Institute and the American Dental Association).
• Rural Maine county pioneers population health (HealthLeaders Media).

Health disparities
• Minnesota has major racial and ethnic health inequities, report finds (MinnPost).
• Homelessness in rural America (National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services).

Primary care
• Film shows heroism, heartbreak at St. Paul clinic (Pioneer Press).

Mental health
• Alliance formed to improve care for high-risk, low-income patients with mental illness (MinnPost).
• Access to behavioral health care for geographically remote service members and dependents in the U.S.
(RAND Corporation).
• Bemidji asks: Can we keep the mentally ill out of jail? (Star Tribune).

• Rural hospitals getting out of the birthing business? (Minnesota Public Radio).
Why cultural competency matters in hospitals (HealthLeaders Media).


• Nurse staffing levels and quality of care in rural nursing homes (University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center).
• Country Doc of the Year a ’dinosaur,’ motivated by community (HealthLeaders Media).
• Analysis: Nurse practitioners doubled in 10 years (The Hill).

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The 20th annual Rural Multiracial and Multicultural Health Conference will be held April 14 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 Interprofessional Education Summit 2015, New Models of Care: An Interprofessional Perspective, will take place April 29 in St. Paul.

The National Rural EMS Conference: Building Collaboration and Leadership for the Future takes place May 5-6 in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

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



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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.