May 2015



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Logo for the MN Rural Health Conference
June 29-30 in Duluth, MN

Registration is still open! Early bird discount until June 8.

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Nominations are now being accepted for the annual Minnesota Rural Health Hero and Minnesota Rural Health Team awards. Nominees may have contributed to rural health care in any capacity, such as through a volunteer or paid position and in policy or practice. Examples of areas of impact include: health care programs; rural health policy; advancement of the field; improved patterns of delivery; cooperative efforts to avoid duplication of services and achieve common goals; education; and the lasting impact of a program on the community. Nominations are due by Friday, May 15.

The CDC rently published All Our Babies: Using Minnesota PRAMS Data to Inform Policies and Planning for Improved Rural Birth Outcomes, under New State Success Stories for Rural Health. The Minnesota Rural Health Advisory Committee (RHAC) formed a work group in 2011 to review access to obstetric services among women living in Greater Minnesota. Results were included in the Rural Health Advisory Committee's Report on Obstetric Services in Rural Minnesota. Based on this work, the RHAC issued a number of recommendations for improving birth outcomes.

Dr. Ed Ehlinger, Commissioner of Health, writes about Minnesota's approach to electronic health records (EHRs) in Electronic Health Records Advance Quality Care for all Minnesotans (MinnPost). He states that Minnesota's system of EHRs strikes "a responsible balance of patient privacy protection with key system improvements. The technology offers a strong public health benefit, and processes are in place to prevent problems. Minnesota's EHR law sets our state on a sound course leading to better care coordination and service; this benefits all of us."


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The Rural Hospital Capital Improvement Grant Program has awarded its 2015 grants. This grant program helps small rural hospitals make needed facility and equipment improvements. Awards are listed by location, award amount and project summary.

The Electronic Health Record (EHR) Loan Program is accepting applications to help finance the implementation or support of interoperable EHR systems. Eligible applicants include federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), community clinics, behavioral health organizations; nonprofit or local units of government hospitals, individual or small group physician practices focused on primary care, nursing facilities and local public health departments. Applications due Monday, June 1.

The Emerging Professions Integration Grant program fosters the integration of emerging professions into the workforce in roles that support the broad goals of the Minnesota Accountable Health Model. Applications are due Friday, June 12.


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The RFP for the Otto Bremer Foundation Capital Equipment Funding for Dental Services 2015 is available. The Foundation's trustees have authorized funding for capital equipment to enable organizations to expand the direct dental care services they are providing to low-income and underserved communities. Applications are due Friday, May 15.

The Kresge Foundation's Accelerating Community-Centered Approaches in Health supports innovative population health programs and policies that work to improve health at the community level, including the use of new financial models to achieve cost effective solutions. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) is accepting proposals for an additional round of qualified grantee(s) to provide health care services to Medical Assistance (MA) and MinnesotaCare enrollees under alternative payment arrangements through the Integrated Health Partnerships (IHP) demonstration. The Integrated Health Partnership demonstration is an opportunity for provider organizations to contract and collaborate with DHS to care for public health care program recipients under an accountable payment model that incents quality and efficient care delivery. The Request for Proposals are due Monday, July 27.


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The Minnesota Emergency Medical Services Regulatory Board currently has a vacancy for one member of a local board of health representing community health services. This is a Governor-appointed position to the Board. Please view the Minnesota Secretary of State Open Commissions and Appointments website for more information and for instructions on how to apply for the position. The vacancy is listed in the November 2014 notices, page 22.

The Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement has released Going Beyond Clinical Walls, a new resource to help clinicians, clinical staff and administrators connect with community partners and resources to improve health through collaborative problem-solving.

Registration is now open for the Minnesota Council for Affordable and Rural Housing (MN CARH) 24th Annual Conference and Meeting, on May 27-28 at the Jackpot Junction Casino, Morton, MN.

Registration is now open for the 11th Annual Minnesota e-Health Summit: Connecting Communities to Advance Population Health, on June 16-17 in St. Louis Park.


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The Minnesota Hospital Association announced its Annual Health Care Awards to individuals who have offered dedicated service to hospitals and organizations that have implemented successful, innovative programs.

The National Rural Health Association announced its 2015 Rural Health Award recipients.

The Swift County-Benson Hospital announces Kurt Waldbillig as its new Chief Executive Officer: SCBH is announcing its new CEO.

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MN Health Providers Fall Short on Digital Records (MPRNews, Online).
Hospital Views of Factors Affecting Telemedicine Use (RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis, Rural Policy Brief).

Health Care
When Health Care is Far from Home (Kaiser Health News).
In-School Clinics Provide Better Healthcare for Students and the Community (Mid-Missouri Public Radio, Online).
LGBT People in Rural Areas Struggle to Find Good Medical Care (CNN Online News).
The Tangle of Coordinated Health Care (The New York Times).

Health Reform
Minnesota's Health Care Performance Scorecard: Putting the state's health care system in national perspective, January, 2015 (Minnesota Business Partnership).
A Guidebook of Professional Practices for Behavioral Health and Primary Care Integration: Observations from Exemplary Sites (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality).

Obstetrics a Money-Losing Challenge for Rural Hospitals (HealthLeaders Media).
Birth simulation vehicle to help rural hospitals train delivery room workers (The State, South Carolina).

Oral Health
Brief: Policy Options to Increase Access to Oral Health Care and Improve Oral Health by Expanding the Oral Health Workforce (The Network for Public Health Law).
Interpreting HRSA's Latest Dentist Workforce Projects (Health Policy Institute).
Addressing Oral Health Disparities in Minnesota (Healthy People 2020).

How Will the Affordable Care Act Affect the Use of Health Care Services? (The Commonwealth Fund).
Online Program Converts Physicians to Family Doctors (Times Record, Online Editions).
Challenges in building the long-term care workforce in rural Minnesota (Center for Rural Policy and Development).

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

The 2015 Minnesota Rural Health Conference, Partnerships in Progress will be held June 29-30 in Duluth. Registration is now open!

Wellness in the Woods 3rd Annual Conference "Diversity in Wellness-Filling Up Your Recovery Toolbox" will be held September 12 in Little Falls, MN.

The Minnesota Community Measurement's 2015 Annual Seminar and 10th Anniversary Celebration, Motivating Through Measurement: Catalyzing Improvement in Health Equity, Cost and Patient Outcomes, is September 24 in Minneapolis.



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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.