January 2015



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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! Proposals due by January 30.

Applications are now open for five seats on the Rural Health Advisory Committee, including two Consumer Representatives, one Registered Nurse Representative, one Volunteer Ambulance Service Representative, and one Licensed Health Care Professional Representative. The committee advises the Commissioner of Health and other state agencies on rural health issues. All members must reside outside the seven‐county metropolitan area.

ORHPC is seeking a Rural Health Planner. This position is the section and department expert on current and emerging rural health policy issues and analysis. Working with the Governor-appointed Rural Health Advisory Committee, the position leads these policy advisors in the identification of high-priority, wide-ranging rural health policy issues, and establishes goals and work plans for improving health status and health system performance in rural Minnesota.

MDH's Health Economics Program released findings on 2014 insurance coverage and access in Minnesota. The uninsured rate for adults ages 18 to 64 fell in September 2014 to the historically low rate of 6.7 percent, which compares to an estimated national level of 12.4 percent. Learn more through the Minnesota's Adult Uninsured Rate 2014 infographic and a more detailed issue brief.

MDH and the Minnesota e-Health Initiative announced a new partnership with Stratis Health to develop Minnesota e-Health Roadmaps to assist providers in long-term and post-acute care, local public health, behavioral health, and social service settings in using e-health to participate in the Minnesota Accountable Health Model. Direct questions to Kari Guida at


Graph - Minnesota population for every one physician, 
by rural-urban commuting area (RUCA)

Source: Minnesota Board of Medical Practices, May 2014 data. Population data are from 2010 U.S. Census.

As one indicator of access to care, the data in this chart include all physicians with active licenses who report a Minnesota business address. (Note that only about 26 percent of these are primary care physicians. Also included are other specialists, sub-specialists, facility-based physicians, and the physicians without a specialty certification.) These rural-urban categories are based on Rural-Urban Commuting Areas (RUCAs). See Defining Rural, Urban and Underserved Areas in Minnesota.

For more information and data on 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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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.

Nonprofits Assistance Fund (NAF) announced it is now offering long- term loans for facility and real estate projects. The loans are available to nonprofits serving low-income or special needs populations in Minnesota.


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MDH and Minnesota Community Measurement will present an informational webinar to review 2015 clinic and provider registration processes and data submission requirements for the Minnesota Statewide Quality Reporting and Measurement System (SQRMS) on January 13 and January 15. Link and dial-in information is available at In addition, MDH and Stratis Health will present an informational webinar to review SQRMS 2015 hospital quality measurement requirements on January 14. To register for the latter, contact Mary Montury at or 952-853-8541.

The Rural Palliative Care Networking Group will meet January 15 at Glacial Ridge Hospital in Glenwood. The educational topic will be "The TRUE Hospice Utilization Project: A community-based approach to increasing appropriate hospice use." Register for in-person attendance or conference call.

The Modeling Effective Network Training Opportunities for Rural (MENTOR) Health IT online training program is now taking applications for courses beginning January 19. The program provides health IT training specifically geared toward rural needs. Trainees must work or be looking for work in a rural area. Learn more and apply through the MENTOR website.

The Minnesota Behavioral Health Community has launched a new website to help share information for upcoming events and resources. Visit Behavioral Health: Preparing for the Future of e-Health.


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Neighborhood Involvement Program, Inc. (N.I.P) ended all direct client services on December 31. The N.I.P. Seniors program will become a program of Senior Community Services. N.I.P.'s Rape and Sexual Abuse Center (RSAC) will become a program of Cornerstone Advocacy Service. RSAC Legal Advocates staff will now be part of the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office. Walk-In Counseling Center will be accepting uninsured and under-insured N.I.P. mental health clients.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced changes to the Office of Rural Health Policy, including a new name: the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP). The notice also establishes the Policy Research Division and the Administrative Operations Division, among other changes.

The Rural Assistance Center (RAC) has issued a new topic guide: Community Health Workers in Rural Settings and updated its Rural Mental Healthand Oral Health in Rural Communities guides.

The U.S. Health and Human Services department announced $36.3 million in Affordable Care Act funding to 1,113 health centers, including 16 in Minnesota, to recognize health center quality improvement achievements and invest in ongoing quality improvement activities.

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Health reform
Half of doctors listed as serving Medicaid patients are unavailable, investigation finds (New York Times).
Best practices for health insurance marketplace outreach and enrollment in rural areas (North Carolina Rural Health Research Group).
Opportunities to transform rural health care (Brookings Institution).

Health disparities
The role of Medicare and the Indian Health Service for American Indians and Alaska Natives: Health, access and coverage (The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation).
Rural-urban differences in continuity of care among Medicare beneficiaries (North Carolina Rural Health Research Group).

Primary care
First of its kind: A health center, inside a hospital, next to an E.R. (
What does health care cost? Study finds huge gaps among Minnesota clinics (Star Tribune).

Opinion: Elegy for rural community hospitals (Scientific American).
Geographic variation in potentially preventable hospitalizations for acute and chronic conditions, 2005-2011 (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality).


Physicians trained in high-cost regions spend more (HealthLeaders Media).

Health information technology
Rural adoption rates of electronic medical records overtake those in urban areas (Oklahoma State University).
Telehealth: Start-up and resource guide
(Telligen and Great Plains Telehealth Resource & Assistance Center).

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ORHPC welcomes two new staffers in January: Kim Thon joins MDH as a second Trauma Designation Coordinator, and Jodi Millner will serve as the new Cardiac Care Coordinator.  Welcome, Kim and Jodi!

ORHPC director Mark Schoenbaum was one of eight rural Minnesota health experts who joined U.S. Sen. Al Franken in December as he kicked off a series of conversations about rural health as the new co-chairman of the Senate Rural Health Caucus.


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The 20th annual Rural Multiracial and Multicultural Health Conference will be held April 14, 2015 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.

Moving Forward Together: Building Healthy Minnesota Communities, a conference for Minnesota health care home providers, State Innovation Model grantees, and community partners, will be held May 12-14 in St. Cloud.

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

The 2015 Minnesota Rural Health Conference will be held June 29-30, 2015 in Duluth.


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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.