OCTOBEr 2015




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National Rural Health Day

The 5th annual National Rural Health Day is Thursday, November 19. This celebration allows the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH), the State Offices of Rural Health (SORH) and our partners to showcase rural America and highlight the unique healthcare needs of rural communities. View the Celebrating the Power of Rural website to learn more.

Do you know a real "Doc Hollywood?"
Do you have a healthcare provider in your state that exemplifies a "Real Doc Hollywood"? The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) would like to use National Rural Health Day to honor "Real Doc Hollywoods" or other healers who have made a positive impact on their local community, brought services that may not have been there before, have shown local leadership, or have been a dependable partner that has helped made a change for the better. Help NOSORH promote all of the amazing physicians around the nation. Please take the time to fill out The Real Doc Hollywood survey online. NOSORH will be choosing entries to feature.

Rural Health Community Forum – Preston and Wabasha
Join ORHPC in gathering information and making recommendations about rural health care in Minnesota. Interested citizens, hospital administrators and staff, emergency medical services personnel, health care providers, and community organizers and leaders are encouraged to attend a regional forum in Preston on October 12 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at F&M Community Bank, and in Wabasha on October 13 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the National Eagle Center. Your input will help shape state and national health care policies and activities. To attend, please register online. For more information, contact Judy Bergh at 651-201-3843.

Rural Health Advisory Committee (RHAC)
The Rural Health Advisory Committee issued a new brief: Nurse Practitioners in Rural Minnesota: Results of an Employer Survey. For more information, contact Darcy Dungan-Seaver at or 651-201-3855.

Health Workforce Snapshot
Physician shortages remain a concern in Minnesota and the nation as a whole, as the healthcare system works quickly to adapt to a changing demographic and health reform landscape. Access to primary care has long been a concern, but in recent years, Minnesota policymakers have also begun to focus more attention on access to mental health services, particularly in rural areas of the state. As the chart below illustrates, there are more than 10,000 residents for every one licensed psychiatrist. In the more sparsely populated regions of the state, that ratio is nearly doubled (in the Southwest, Central, and Northeast, for example) or tripled (in the Northwest).

Psychiatrists are not the only professionals providing mental health services to Minnesotans—licensed psychologists, social workers, counselors, advanced practice psychiatric nurses, and marriage and family therapists also offer counseling and related therapeutic services. However, like psychiatrists, the majority of these professionals are clustered in the metropolitan regions of the state potentially leaving our rural residents with long wait times or long drives in order to access needed care.

To help address these shortages, the 2015 Minnesota Legislature expanded the State Loan Forgiveness Program to support more psychiatrists and added other mental health professionals to the program. Other initiatives are underway to increase the mental health workforce including conducting outreach to high school and college students to consider these careers, expanding postsecondary training options in these fields, and making use of peer support specialists and care coordinators to help fill the service gaps.


Twenty-sex percent of Minnesota-based licensed practical nurses are less than 35 years of age; nineteen percent are 35-44 years of age; twenty-three percent are 45-54 years of age; twenty-five percent oare 55-64 years old; seven percent of them are 65 years of age or older

Source: Data source: Board of Medical Practice, May 2014


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Community Clinics Grant Program
The Community Clinics Grant program provides funding to plan, establish or operate services to improve the ongoing viability of Minnesota’s clinic-based safety net providers. Grants support clinical capacity to serve people with low incomes, reduce current or future uncompensated care burdens, or improve care delivery infrastructure. The level of funding will be approximately $561,000 for fiscal year 2016. An eligible community clinic means a nonprofit clinic, government entity, Indian tribal government or Indian health service unit; or a consortium of these entities. Applicants must provide or plan to provide clinical services and use a sliding fee scale or other procedure to determine eligibility for charity care or to ensure that no person will be denied services because of inability to pay. This funding is for one year: April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017. Applications are due by October 12. Contact Deb Jahnke at 651-201-3845 for more information.

Dental Safety Net Grant Program
The Dental Safety Net Grant program assists dental providers who treat the uninsured. Eligible providers must be nonprofit Critical Access Dental providers who offer free or reduced cost oral health care to low-income patients under the age of 21, and must also demonstrate that at least 80 percent of patient encounters are with uninsured patients or patients covered by Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare. Funds will be distributed based on the number of individual uninsured patients under the age of 21 served by the applicant. Approximately $100,000 is available in Fiscal Year 2016. Applications are due by October 30. Contact Will Wilson at 651-201-3842 for more information.

Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Scholarship Grant Program
The Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Scholarship Grant provides funding to HCBS providers to support in-house scholarship programs for their employees. The goal of the grant is to bolster and improve the education of the HCBS workforce by enhancing or creating incentives for employees to obtain degrees and training that will improve patient and client care. Eligible applicants are licensed home care providers and adult day facilities, and registered housing with services establishments. Approximately $950,000 is available, and the maximum award per grant is $50,000. Applications are due by October 30. Contact Will Wilson at 651-201-3842 for more information.

Immigrant International Medical Graduates (IIMG) Primary Care Residency Grant Program
The Immigrant International Medical Graduates (IIMG) Primary Care Residency Grant Program provides grant funding to support residency training for immigrant international medical graduates. This program is one aspect of a comprehensive program authorized by Minnesota State Statute 144.1911 to address barriers to practice and facilitate pathways to assist IIMGs to integrate into the Minnesota health care delivery system with the goal of increasing access to primary care in rural and underserved areas of the state. Eligible applicants are programs, sponsors and potential sponsors of primary care residency positions located in Minnesota that propose to train IIMG medical residents in the primary care specialties of Family Medicine, General Internal Medicine, General Pediatrics, Internal Medicine/Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Obstetrics and Gynecology. Funds are available for up to $150,000 per year, per IIMG residency slot for up to four years. Applications are due by November 2. Contact Yende Anderson at 651-201-5988 for more information.

Indian Health Grant Program
The Indian Health Grant helps eligible applicants establish, operate or subsidize clinic facilities and services to offer health services to American Indians who live off reservations. Nonprofit organizations, governmental and tribal entities are eligible to apply. The amount of funding for the program is $174,000 per year. Grants will be awarded for a two-year project period: January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2017. Applications are due by October 19. Contact Deb Jahnke at 651-201-3845 for more information.

Mental Health Safety Net Grant Program
The Mental Health Safety Net Grant program assists mental health centers and clinics that treat the uninsured. Eligible providers must be Community Mental Health Centers or Clinics designated under Minnesota Statute 245.62, or nonprofit Mental Health Clinics designated as Essential Community Providers under Minnesota Statute 62Q.19. Eligible providers must also offer free or reduced-cost mental health care to low-income patients under the age of 21. Funds will be distributed based on the number of individual uninsured patients under the age of 21 served by the applicant. Approximately $350,000 is available in Fiscal Year 2016. Applications are due by October 30. Contact Will Wilson at 651-201-3842 for more information.

Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program
The Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program will be opening up 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.

Primary Care Residency Expansion Grant Program
The Primary Care Residency Expansion Grant program provides funding to expand the training of primary care physicians. Primary care residency programs may apply for funding to create and maintain additional residency positions for up to three years. Eligible residency programs train medical residents in the following specialties: family medicine; general internal medicine; general pediatrics; psychiatry; geriatrics; and general surgery. Approximately $1,500,000 is available. Grants may be awarded for up to three years and the maximum award is $300,000—up to $150,000 in year 1, up to $100,000 in year 2, and up to $50,000 in year 3. Eligible residency programs not seeking expansion funds may apply for up to $75,000 for one year to plan program expansion. Applications are due by October 16. Contact Will Wilson at 651-201-3842 for more information.

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, outside the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area. Pre-applications are due November 13.


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Affordable Care Act Funding Awarded
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell recently announced nearly $500 million in Affordable Care Act funding to support health centers nationwide in providing primary care services to those who need them most. The awards include approximately $350 million for 1,184 health centers to increase access to services such as medical, oral, behavioral, pharmacy, and vision care. Nearly $150 million will be awarded to 160 health centers for facility renovation, expansion, or construction to increase patient or service capacity. Minnesota had 15 Expanded Services awardees as well as two Health Infrastructure Investment Program awardees.

American Heart Association Minnesota Mission: Lifeline Program Grant
The Minnesota Mission: Lifeline Initiative is offering a grant opportunity for Minnesota rural non-PCI (percutaneous coronary intervention) hospitals to support identification, communication, and recognition of emergent acute MI (myocardial infarction) patients across rural Minnesota. Referring hospitals are eligible for grants up to $12,000. These dollars are primarily for the purchase of Lifenet Receiving software to receive 12-lead ECGs from emergency medical service agencies. For hospitals that choose not to purchase Lifenet, hospitals can choose to use the funds towards the purchase of one of the following: 1) Physio-Control Lifepak-15, or 2) stand alone ECG cart. Funds are available for the next five months on a first come, first serve basis. For more information, contact Mindy Cook at 952-278-7934.


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Call for Presentations for Creating Hope and Healing for Youth and Families
Evergreen Youth & Family Services is calling for presenters for their 11th Annual Conference "Creating Hope & Healing for Youth and Families Conference" which will be held March 24 and 25 in Bemidji, MN. This annual conference is for professionals and organizations serving youth, as well as parents and caregivers, across Northern and Central Minnesota, North and South Dakota, and Southern Canada. The conference contact is Kari Bloomquist at 218-441-4562.

National Equity Atlas
The National Equity Atlas is a first-of-its-kind data and policy tool that provides indicators of demographic change, racial and economic inclusion, and the economic benefits of equity for all 50 states. By 2044, the majority of Americans will be people of color. Explore the Atlas to get data on changing demographics, racial inclusion, and the economic benefits of equity in your region and state.

IT Trainer and/or Health IT Analyst Training
The Lac qui Parle Health Network(LqPHN) partnering with Normandale Community College, Medi-Sota Health Care group, Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council and Healthland have been awarded a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant to fund the MENTOR Health IT Project. LqPHN will be recruiting unemployed, underemployed and currently employed individuals in the healthcare field to receive training services, apprenticeship opportunities and job placement assistance in these rural communities. Particular effort is being made to reach out to the current employees of the LqPHN and Medi-Sota healthcare groups. For those who qualify, the online training for IT Trainer and/or Health IT Analyst is free of charge. Training will begin October 25 and February 1, 2016. You can find more information about the program and how to apply on the Lac qui Parle Health Networks website. If you should have specific questions about the program, please contact Lisa DuFrane at 320-698-7199 or Tracy Mastel at 952-358-8035.

Million Hearts Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction Model
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is pleased to announce that the Million Hearts Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction Model letter of intent (LOI) and application deadline have been extended to October 8 in response to strong program interest. Hundreds of applicants, ranging from small to large size practices, from across the country have already expressed interest in this innovative model. CMS is allowing a short extension to assure that all interested practices have an opportunity to complete their applications to become part of this important initiative.


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2015 Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals List
There are five Minnesota Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) listed in the 2015 Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals by iVantage Health Analytics: Lake View Memorial Hospital, Two Harbors; Mayo Clinic Health System—St. James, St. James; Ortonville Area Health Services, Ortonville; Pipestone County Medical Center, Pipestone; and New Ulm Medical Center, New Ulm. New Ulm has been listed for the last five years. The designation of "Critical Access Hospital" (CAH) is given out by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

CHI St. Joseph's Health, Park Rapids and New Ulm Medical Center, New Ulm
Both CHI St. Joseph's Health and New Ulm Medical Center were named among the 50 Critical Access Hospitals to Know by Becker's Hospital Review. To qualify, they met all of the requirements of being a Critical Access Hospital (CAH) and demonstrated excellence in caring for their communities. St. Joseph's also received a Minnesota Hospital Association Award for Superior Performance in Patient Safety Improvement in 2015.

Johnson Memorial Health Services, Dawson
Johnson Memorial Health Services is one of the first rural health care facilities to offer patients a way to review what their insurance coverage and out-of-pocket costs will be prior to a visit through a new Patient Liability Estimator tool located on the front page of the Johnson Memorial website.

Renville County Hospital and Clinics, Olivia
Renville County recently dedicated its new $25 million RC Hospital and Clinics facility. CEO Nathan Blad said, "The new Medical Center represents an investment in the continuity of local patient access, a platform to leverage state-of-the-art medical technologies and a bridge to foster new collaborations for the expansion of service offerings and coordination of care." Hundreds of community members came to tour the new 65,000-square-foot facility and the expanded health care services that will be available. Judy Bergh from ORHPC was able to attend and was impressed by the community involvement and support which helped ensure their new facility will remain an independent and locally-owned entity.

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ORHPC Staff News

Yende Anderson
Yende Anderson has joined the ORHPC as the Program Coordinator for the new International Medical Graduate Assistance Program established by the 2015 Legislature. Yende will be leading MDH´s efforts to improve the success of refugee and immigrant physicians living in Minnesota who seek to enter medical practice and contribute to Minnesota´s workforce and health equity goals. Yende and the ORHPC team have begun planning the International Medical Graduate Assistance Program, developing a broad stakeholder group to address practical and policy barriers, and assisting more immigrant physicians to move into residency, medical practice or other rewarding health careers.

Yende has been dedicated to working on this issue for many years in both volunteer and staff capacities. She comes to MDH from serving as Executive Director of New Americans Alliance for Development, where she led the organization´s support services to refugee and immigrant physicians and its public policy efforts. She has been an attorney in private practice and also has administrative and grants management experience for both government and private organizations. She has been a Humphrey Policy Fellow and a participant in the Center for Health Equity´s Community Research Institute, both at the University of Minnesota. Contact her at, 651-201-5988.

Ed VanCleave
After many years of dedicated service as a senior research analyst, Ed has decided to retire. He has been a tremendous asset to our Workforce team and has contributed much to the field of health services research in his years here. We wish him well as he moves on to new adventures!


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Health Care Facilities
In some primary care offices: The social worker will see you now (The CT Mirror).
Letter: Program integrates mental health professionals into primary care (Grand Forks Herald).
This tiny CAH says "no excuses" (HealthLeaders Media).

Health Equity
Defining health equity (Health Equity Institute).
Feds to focus on health inequities among minority, rural and poor seniors (USA Today).
Minnesota early childhood risk & reach: Summary of key indicators of early childhood development in Minnesota, county by county (Amherst H. Wilder Foundation).

Health Reform
Primary care providers' views of recent trends in health care delivery and payment (The Commonwealth Fund).
Q&A: Why one doc made the switch to direct primary care (Physicians Practice).
Performance measurement for rural low-volume providers (National Quality Forum).
Health insurers face little enforcement of federal mental health parity law (National Public Radio).
Issue brief: Hospitals see significant drop in need for charity care in 2014 (Minnesota Department of Health).

Health Technology
Mobile health and patient engagement in the safety net (The Commonwealth Fund).
Texting for better care toolkit (Center for Care Innovations).
Would you be willing to see your doctor through a computer screen? (Michigan Radio).
Policy recommendations to guide the use of telemedicine in primary care settings: An ACP position paper (American College of Physicians).
Net gain for rural operators (McKnight's).
Hancock County health project goes online (The Telegraph).
The promise of telehealth: States push for insurance coverage as support for virtual healthcare services swells (International Business Times).
Telemedicine can't help the people who need it the most (Wired).
To unite the earth, connect it (The New York Times).
Klobuchar sponsors rural health legislation (Brainerd Dispatch).

RN role reimagined; How empowering registered nurses can improve primary care (California HealthCare Foundation).
Without action, a shortage of doctors stands to get worse (Michigan Radio).
Many rural Minnesota counties lack immediate child abuse aid (Grand Forks Herald).
Interactive nurse practitioner (NP) scope of practice law guide (Barton Associates).
Nurse practitioners fill Siouxland primary care shortage, support hospitals (Sioux City Journal).

Startup hopes to help children with autism in rural areas (Deseret News).
Serving low-income seniors where they live: Medicaid's role in providing community-based long-term services and supports (The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation).

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Minnesota Department of Health's 2015 Community Health Conference Everyone, Every Day, Everywhere! will be held October 7-9 in Brainerd, MN.

The 3rd Annual Comprehensive Advanced Life Support (CALS) Hospital Conference Risks and Rewards in Rural Emergency Care will be held October 9 in St. Paul, MN.

The 31st Annual Minnesota Policy Conference will be held October 14 in St. Paul, MN.

The Minnesota American Heart Association Mission: Lifeline Fall Regional STEMI Workshops will be held October 13 in Alexandria; October 27 in Bemidji; November 4 in Duluth; and November 17 in Mankato, MN. For more information contact Ngia Mua, Project Specialist at the Minnesota American Heart Association at 952-278-7934.

The 10th annual Many Faces of Community Health Conference Community Centered Care and the People We Serve will be held October 22-23 in Minneapolis, MN.

The 13th Annual American Indian Health Research Conference The Changing Face of Research in Indian Country will be held October 23 in Alerus Center, Grand Forks, ND.

The 4th Annual Women Impacting Health Conference Broadening Our Leadership will be held November 6 in Minneapolis, MN.

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

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, MN.


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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.