November 2015




orhpc loo







National Rural Health Day
November 19
Celebrating the Power of Rural!

National Rural Health Day

Join the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH),
the State Offices of Rural Health (SORH) and our partners to celebrate the great things that are happening in rural health!

  • In the United States, approximately 62 million people – one in five Americans – live and work in rural areas.

  • Rural doesn’t necessarily mean “remote.” Through growing telehealth and electronic health records initiatives, rural health professionals are able to coordinate care, stay connected with each other and urban tertiary care centers.

  • Hospitals are the economic foundation of many rural communities.
    • Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) provide essential health care to rural communities across 45 states and on average, bring 204 jobs to the local economy.

    • Every dollar spent on rural hospitals generates about $2.20 for the local economy.

  • The total time rural patients spend in the Emergency Room is 56 minutes faster in rural hospitals than in urban hospitals.

  • New models for community health workers, community paramedics and oral health professionals have been incubated in rural America as a model throughout health systems.

  • Of the 3500 certified Rural Health Clinics, 95% accept new Medicaid patients.

  • Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), CAH’s and other health providers in rural areas are working with their local communities to design health delivery systems designed specifically for the population they are serving. In many cases they may be the only source of primary care in a community.

  • All 50 states maintain a State Office of Rural Health. We serve as a clearinghouse of information and innovative approaches to rural health services delivery; coordinate state activities related to rural health in order to avoid duplication of efforts and resources; and identify Federal, State and nongovernmental programs that can provide technical assistance to public/private nonprofit entities serving rural populations.

National Rural Health Day Webinars
On November 19, National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) will be holding a day of webinars on the topic of rural health. Check the National Rural Health Day website (right column) for more information.

Really Rural Video Challenge
Watch the National Rural Health Resource Center's "Really Rural!" video to see how you can submit your own short video or photo for National Rural Health Day. No one knows the “Power of Rural” better than you – individuals, hospitals, networks, state offices, associations, and communities who live and work in rural America. For this year’s National Rural Health Day, submit a short video or photo of you, your community, your hospital, etc., showcasing how “Really Rural” you are! Showcase how health and wellness is part of your Really Rural lifestyle. The video with the most "likes" will be announced on National Rural Health Day, November 19. For video submission guidelines, check out the National Rural Health Resource Center's #PowerofRural #ReallyRural

Rural Health Advisory Committee (RHAC) Openings
Applications are open for six seats on the Rural Health Advisory Committee: one Hospital Representative Member, one Consumer Member, one Mid-Level Practitioner Member, one Long-Term Health Care Member, one Physician Member, and one Higher Education Member. The committee advises the Commissioner of Health and other state agencies on rural health issues. All members must reside outside the Twin Cities seven‐county metropolitan area. The full announcement and application materials are available on the Secretary of State’s Current Vacancies web page. Applications are due to that office by November 24.


top of page


Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program
The Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program opened next year´s application cycle on November 1 and will close on Monday, January 4, 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 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.

Rural Hospital Capital Improvement Grant Program
The Office of Rural Health and Primary Care Rural Hospital Capital Improvement Grant program assists small rural hospitals in undertaking needed modernization projects to update, remodel or replace aging hospital facilities, record systems, and equipment necessary to maintain the operations of the hospital. Maximum awards will be $125,000. An eligible hospital is a general acute care hospital of 50 or fewer beds located in a community with a population of less than 15,000, according to United States Census Bureau statistics, and outside the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area. Pre-applications are due November 13.

Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP)
The Office of Rural Health and Primary Care coordinates a state application to the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, Office of Rural Health Policy on behalf of Minnesota’s small rural hospitals (49 or fewer beds). SHIP grant funds may be used to purchase items from the SHIP Purchasing Menu in the following funding categories - value based purchasing, accountable care organization, payment bundling or care transitions. Applications are to be returned to via email by November 16.

Summer Health Care Internship Program
The purpose of the Summer Health Care Internship Program is to expose interested secondary and postsecondary pupils to various careers within the health care professions. The Minnesota Department of Health selects one statewide nonprofit organization to award grants to hospitals, clinics, nursing facilities and home care providers who will, in turn, establish summer health care internship programs for secondary and postsecondary students. Eligible organizations must be statewide nonprofit organizations representing facilities where students will serve their internships. Applications are due November 16. Contact, 651-201-3850, for more information.


top of page

OTHER GRANTS And funding

Minnesota Job Skills Partnership (MJSP) Grant
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has awarded Rochester Community and Technical College a $303,537 Minnesota Job Skills Partnership (MJSP) grant to train 289 health care employees of Comfort Health, Rochester; Spring Valley Senior Living, Spring Valley; and Pine Haven, Pine Island. For more information on the grant, contact Abbey Hellickson, director of Business and Workforce Education, Rochester Community and Technical College, 507-529-2736.

The PIPELINE Project Dual-Training Grant Application
The Pipeline Project dual-training grant application for Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017 is now available. Employers can apply for grants to help create or expand dual-training programs in eligible occupations in advanced manufacturing, agriculture, health care service, and information technology industries. Dual-training grants can be used toward the cost of providing dual-training-related instruction through partnerships with education and training providers. Among the industries and occupations for which competencies are approved are: health support specialist; psychiatric/mental health technician in-patient; psychiatric/mental health technician out-patient. For help with questions about the PIPELINE (Private Investment, Public Education, Labor and Industry Experience) Project dual-training grant request for applications, send an email message to

Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant Program
The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy announced the release of the Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant Program funding opportunity. This is a one-year community-driven program targeted to assist in the planning and development of an integrated health care network. Health care networks can be an effective strategy to address a broad range of challenges unique to rural communities by bringing together rural health care providers and other community organizations. For grantees, this funding provides an opportunity to implement new and innovative approaches to adapting to a changing health care environment that may serve as a model to other rural communities to better align and coordinate local health care services. Previously funded projects supported efforts related to workforce retention and recruitment, behavioral health, telehealth, care coordination and health information technology. To learn more about applying for the FY16 Rural Health Network Development Planning Program (HRSA-16-017), please visit (click the“package” tab) or contact Amber Berrian at  The deadline to apply is January 8.


top of page


Call for Abstracts for Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy is sponsoring a special themed issue of the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved dedicated to exploring innovative models and methods as well as evidence-based practices which have the potential to improve access, health care quality and patient outcomes within rural communities. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, workforce retention and recruitment, hospital closures, health equity, health information technology, care coordination, population health and financing models. We encourage all that are interested to submit an abstract. A variety of manuscript types will be considered. The FORHP editorial team will hold a Technical Assistance Webinar on Monday, November 9, at 1:00pm (EST) to assist authors in preparing their abstract for submission. A Call for Abstracts detailing the process and guidelines will be available for download during the webinar. For questions regarding this opportunity, please email

Case Studies of Eight Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC)
The Oral Health Workforce Research Center (OHWRC) at the Center for Health Workforce Studies (CHWS) at the University at Albany’s School of Public Health completed a research project to understand the barriers and facilitators when integrating oral health services with primary health care delivery in FQHCs. A secondary objective was to understand employment by FQHCs. The report, Case Studies of 8 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC): Strategies to Integrate Oral Health with Primary Care, describes the findings from case studies conducted for the project. One of the eight FQHCs in the report is Lake Superior Community Health Center, Duluth, MN and Superior, WI.

ICD-10 Resource Guide and Contact List
On the first of October, the United States health care community transitioned to ICD-10. Recognizing that providers may still need help with the transition, CMS has issued a new ICD-10 Resource Guide and Contact List to help them find answers to their questions.

Minnesota Crisis Link Website Now Available
Minnesota has launched a Crisis Link website to connect people in crisis, including mental health and substance abuse problems, homelessness, or other crisis health needs. Hospitals and clinics are encouraged to make the Crisis Link website, local crisis line numbers and Fast-Tracker information available to patients and their families. The information can be posted, available as a handout in the waiting room or offered in other ways.

Telehealth Training by Essentia Health
Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation and partners are offering a free training, Learning How to Add Telehealth to Your Healthcare Setting, for any Minnesota healthcare professional who is interested in learning "hands-on" how telehealth is being used and what are some of the best practices for implementing a new telehealth application. This would be a particularly good opportunity if you are thinking of implementing telehealth for your organization. This training will offer 6.5 credit hours for Nursing Education CEUs and will be taught by Maureen Ideker, current director of Telehealth at Essentia Health. The next two trainings are November 10 and November 13, both in Brainerd, MN. For more information and to register contact


top of page


University of Minnesota's Alumni Association Award for Service
Dr. Michael Zakula received a 2015 University of Minnesota's Alumni Association Award for Service. Dr. Zakula is on the Rural Health Advisory Committee as the Licensed Health Care Professional Representative. Congratulations!

LUCAS II Automated Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Devices
The ORHPC received a three-year grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.  This grant provides the funds ORHPC will use to purchase LUCAS II Automated Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) devices for all eligible rural licensed ambulance services and hospitals throughout the seven rural EMS regions in Minnesota. Each region will receive their devices as part of a staged, three-year process.  Jodi Millner, ORHPC LUCAS Grant Coordinator, distributed devices to the first set of eligible providers that included the Northwest EMS Region, the Northeast EMS Region, and the West Central EMS Region. Physio-Control, the LUCAS II device manufacturer, conducted training sessions for those receiving the devices. The remaining rural EMS regions are scheduled to receive their devices in the next year and a half.

Medtronic Partners with Local Organizations and Minnesota Department of Health
Medtronic announced that Pillsbury United Communities, Regions Hospital Foundation and the HealthFinders Collaborative have been selected by Medtronic Philanthropy to implement the HealthRise U.S. program in Minnesota. Additionally, Medtronic Philanthropy and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) have agreed to enter into a collaborative partnership, with HealthRise U.S. contributing to a larger MDH statewide initiative to reduce health disparities for heart disease and diabetes. Through the public-private partnership, MDH and Medtronic Philanthropy will concurrently implement independent health access programs in counties across the state, with the intention of improving health equity for heart disease and diabetes across respective target populations. As partners, both organizations will measure the same outcomes, implement real-time sharing of best practices, and collaborate on program evaluation. Ultimately, it is hoped that the approach taken in Minnesota can be replicated across the United States and around the world.

National Advisory Committee Tackles Delivery System Reform, Child Poverty
This year the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services (NACRHHS) met in Mahnomen, Minnesota for their 78th NACRHHS Meeting. This group serves as a voice for rural health and human services and is tasked with gathering input at the local, grassroots level and taking what they learn to make recommendations to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell. Barbara Fabre, Director for the White Earth Child Care Programs, White Earth, Minnesota, is one of the members on the National Advisory Committee. This year, the committee focused on issues of child poverty and the rural delivery system.

Trauma Hospital Designations
At the last Minnesota State Trauma Advisory Council meeting. St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth was re-designated as a Level 2 Trauma Hospital; Fairview Mesaba Clinic - Hibbing and Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park were both re-designated as Level 3 Trauma Hospitals; Perham Health was re-designated as Level 4 Trauma Hospitals.

White Earth Reservation Tribal Council: One of 10 Communities Named a Rural IMPACT Demonstration Site
The White House Rural Council recently launched " Rural Impact", a cross-agency effort to combat poverty and improve upward mobility in rural and tribal places. The technical assistance portion of that effort is the Rural Integration Models for Parents and Children to Thrive (IMPACT). The goal is to help communities adopt a two-generational approach in order to address the needs of both vulnerable children and their parents. IMPACT will help communities adopt a comprehensive, whole-family framework for addressing child poverty. Ten rural and tribal communities from across the country were chosen to participate. One of those tribal communities is White Earth Reservation Tribal Council (serving Mahnomen County and portions of Clearwater and Becker Counties.

top of page

ORHPC Staff News

Bigfork Valley Hospital
Judy Bergh, Flex Program Coordinator, visited Bigfork Valley Hospital this month.

CALS Conference
Judy Bergh, Flex Program Coordinator, and Chris Ballard, Trauma System Coordinator, attended the third annual CALS (Comprehensive Advanced Life Support) Conference in October and heard speakers from across Minnesota addressing issues rural emergency care teams encounter and the risks, challenges and professional satisfaction that comes from that work.

Health Professions Network
Teri Fritsma, Senior Research Analyst at ORHPC, was invited to present healthcare workforce data at the October meeting of the Health Professions Network in Seattle, WA. The Health Professions Network is a collaborative group of professional associations, educators, accreditors, and credentialing/licensing agencies representing the allied health professions. The theme was “Data in Healthcare.”

Minnesota Statewide Trauma System Education
The Minnesota Trauma System staff sponsored two workshops in Mankato. During the Trauma Program Manager 101 (TPM 101) Workshop, attendees from 35 hospitals learned about Minnesota's trauma system, how to prepare successfully for a site visit and how to develop an effective performance improvement process. During the MNTrauma 101 Workshop, attendees from 36 hospitals learned how to manage and interact with their trauma registry more effectively and how to design and build registry reports. These reports help hospitals evaluate and improve their care.

NRHA Critical Access Hospital Conference
Judy Bergh, Flex Program Coordinator, attended the 14th National Rural Health Association (NRHA) Critical Access Hospital (CAH) Conference in Kansas City, MO. Toby Freier, President of New Ulm Medical Center, gave the keynote address, "Rural health transformation: From surviving to thriving." The top 20 CAHs in the country as determined by iVantage Health Analytics, are honored annually at the conference. The determining factors for the Top 20 CAHS are based on 10 indices of strength including competitive strength, competitive intensity, market size and growth, population risk, cost, charge, quality, outcomes, patient perspectives, and financial stability. Sixty “best practice” designations were also given to facilities that have achieved success in one of three key areas of performance: quality, patient perspective, and financial stability. At the conference this year, New Ulm Medical Center received a NRHA Overall Top 20 Critical Access Hospital and Prairie Ridge Hospital and Health Services, Elbow Lake received the Best Practice Recipients - Quality Award.

Southeast Minnesota Community Forums
ORHPC staff periodically hold regional community forums throughout the state to gather information from a range of health care sectors and consumers. They share successes, challenges and needs related to health care access. The Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Program housed in ORHPC sponsors these forums. This October, two forums were held in Preston and Wabasha. We thank Daniel M. Christianson, CEO of F&M Community Bank, for hosting us in Preston and Don Hauge, Executive Director of the Southeastern Minnesota Emergency Medical Services Joint Powers Board, for welcoming those present. In Wabasha, we thank Rolf Thompson, Executive Director of the National Eagle Center, for hosting us and Tom Crowley, President and CEO of St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, for welcoming participants. Community input will help guide us with health care development activities and help shape state and national health care access policies.



top of page


Health Care Facilities
Rethinking the Critical Access Hospital (HealthLeaders Media).
MedPAC suggests converting rural hospitals to outpatient, emergency facilities (Healthcare Finance).

Health Equity
Who are Minnesota’s new Americans? Here's what the data tell us (MinnPost).
Reducing health disparities by poverty status (Institute for Research on Poverty).
Perceptions of health, mental health, and health care access among immigrants and refugees in the Twin Cities (Amherst H. Wilder Foundation).
Racial and ethnic disparities in access to and utilization of care among insured adults (The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation).

Health Reform
Baseline assessment of ACO payment and performance methodologies in Minnesota for the State Innovation Model (SIM) (Minnesota Department of Health).
In Maryland, a change in how hospitals are paid boosts public health (Minnesota Public Radio).
CMS adopts changes to Medicare & Medicaid EHR policies (Reed Smith).
CMS Issues Meaningful Use Final Rule: Key Facts to Know (HIT Consultant).
Partnering with others to improve care statewide (Minnesota Community Measurement News).

Health Technology
Video: Emerging rural health information exchanges (Hospitals & Health Networks).
Building connected and smart systems (Federal Telemedicine News).
Harnessing tech to transport doctors into rural school nurses' offices (Hospitals & Health Networks).

Want to fix Minnesota’s mental health worker shortage? Start with better pay (MinnPost).
From behind the scenes, Office of Rural Health supports EMT recruitment across Wisconsin (University of Wisconsin-Madison News).
Nebraska Leads Nation in Training Rural Healthcare Workers (Omaha Public Radio).
Having trouble finding a primary care doc? Here’s what med schools are doing about it. (The Washington Post).
How primary-care physicians are handling the influx of uninsured (The Wall Street Journal).
Nurse practitioners fill Siouxland primary care shortage, support hospitalists (Sioux City Journal).

Minnesota state suicide prevention plan: Goals and objectives for action 2015-2020 (Minnesota Department of Health).
Getting to grocery: Tools for attracting healthy food retail to underserved neighborhoods (Change Lab Solutions).
Panel maps out oral health plan for primary care (American Academy of Family Physicians).

top of page


The Minnesota Oral Health Coalition Conference Collaboration: Working Together to Meet Minnesota's Oral Health Needs will be held November 13 in Brooklyn Center.

The Minnesota Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Coalition is holding their 2015 Minnesota Health Impact Assessment Conference on November 16-17 in Minneapolis.

A two-day Professional Grant Development Workshop will be held November 18-19 in Minneapolis.

The State Innovation Model: Emerging Professions Learning Community series Supervision and Management will be held November 19 in Minneapolis.

The Blandin Foundation and the Office of Broadband Development conference Border to Border Broadband: Better Together will be held in Minneapolis on November 18-20 in Minneapolis.

Allina Health, Abbott Northwestern and the University of Minnesota are presenting Climate Change and Public Health: An Interprofessional Review to be held November 21 in Minneapolis.

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


top of page

We invite you to forward this newsletter to your colleagues. Not already a subscriber? Subscribe to receive the Minnesota Office of Rural Health and Primary Care free Monthly and Quarterly e-newsletters.

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.