September 2015




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Rural Health Advisory Committee (RHAC)
The Rural Health Advisory Committee issued a new brief: Nurse Practitioners in Rural Minnesota: Results of an Employer Survey. The report summarizes responses from 102 rural clinics and Critical Access Hospitals throughout the state regarding how nurse practitioners (NPs) are being deployed in these facilities, their use in care coordination and Health Care Homes, and experiences with retention and recruitment. For more information, contact Darcy Dungan-Seaver at or 651-201-3855.

Health Workforce Snapshot
Minnesota dentists are concentrated in urban areas. Eighty percent of dentists are in urban areas compared to 70 percent of the overall Minnesota population, leaving rural areas more underrepresented by this profession. Dental assistants are most closely aligned with the Minnesota population distribution.

As a group, dentists are the oldest of the oral health professions. Just 17 percent of dentists are 34 and under and nearly half are over 55. While two out of every five dentists are 55 or older, the age range of the other oral health professions is more variable and they will not be reaching possible retirement age at the same rate. Dental hygienists and assistants have similar age distributions with about a third 34 and younger and half between 35 and 54. While there are only a small number of dental therapists, as a group they are the youngest of the oral health professionals, with over half under the age of 35.

Rural-Urban Distribution of all Oral Health Professionals, December 2013
Type of Area Profession Distribution Population
Dental Assistants (N=5,594) Dental Hygienists (N=3,864) Dental Therapists (N=26) Dentists (N=2,885) Minnesota Population, 2010 U.S. Population, 2010
Large Rural
Small Rural

Source: Minnesota Board of Dentistry, December 2013.

This table includes all professionals who have an active license and report practicing in Minnesota and had a valid Minnesota mailing address. Population distribution information for Minnesota and the U.S. comes from MDH calculations, and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, AHRQ Pub No. 12-P001-4-EF, respectively. It is broken out by Rural-Urban Commuting Areas (RUCA) which measure the "rurality" of a location based on a number of factors.



Age Distribution of Oral Health Providers, 2013
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: Minnesota Board of Dentistry, December 2013. Analysis by Minnesota Department of Health. Includes all professionals who have an active license and report practicing in Minnesota ("active practicing in state").


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.

Office of Medical Cannabis
MDH's Office of Medical Cannabis will hold a series of community sessions around the state this fall offering members of the public the opportunity to learn more about the state's medical cannabis program. Participants also will have the opportunity to provide input on the question of adding intractable pain to the list of medical conditions that qualify people to participate in the program.


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Emerging Professions Integration Grant Program
MDH has awarded five $30,000 grants to test the potential for emerging professionals to strengthen health care teams and improve access to care. The following organizations were awarded 12 months of start-up funding for round three of the Emerging Professions Integration Grant Program: Community Dental Care, Maplewood (serving Robbinsdale Clinic) - Advanced Dental Therapist; Hennepin County Public Health Department, Minneapolis - Community Health Worker; North Memorial Health Care, Golden Valley (serving Crow Wing County) - Community Paramedic; Northwest Indian Opportunity Industrial Center, Bemidji - Community Health Worker; Open Door Health Center, Mankato (serving Marshall, Gaylord, Dodge Center, and Worthington) - Community Health Worker. Each organization is also contributing funds toward the emerging professional they plan to hire.

Community Clinic Grant Program
Application materials for the Community Clinic Grant Program are now available. These grants support clinical capacity to serve people with low incomes, reduce current or future uncompensated care burdens, or improve care delivery infrastructure. Pre-applications due October 12. If invited, full applications due January 20.

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. Applications are due October 16.

Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Scholarship Grant Program
The 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. Applications are due October 30.

Medical Education and Research Cost (MERC) Grant Program
The Medical Education and Research Cost (MERC) Grant program is accepting grant applications for clinical training that took place in Minnesota in fiscal year 2014. Applications are open to Minnesota sponsoring institutions applying on behalf of their accredited teaching programs and eligible clinical training facilities for the following trainee types: advanced practice nurses, clinical social workers, community health workers, community paramedics, dental students or residents, dental therapists or advanced dental therapists, doctor of chiropractic students, doctor of pharmacy students or residents, medical students or residents, physician assistant students and psychologists. Applications are due October 31.

State Innovation Model - Emerging Professions Learning Community
The State Innovation Model - Emerging Professions Learning Community (SIM EPLC) brings together community paramedics (CPs), community health workers (CHWs) and stakeholders to discuss pressing issues facing these evolving fields and opportunities to address challenges. The Kick Off Event: Benefits of Emerging Professions will be held September 24, from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, contact Kati Fogel.


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The Foundation for Rural Service
The Foundation for Rural Service provides grants for programs in rural communities served by the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) members. Grants are awarded in the areas of business development, community development, education and telecommunications. The deadline is October 1. The application and more information are available on their website.


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Advancing Racial Equity in Grantmaking: A Long Table Discussion
The Advancing racial equity in grantmaking: A long table discussion is a facilitated roundtable discussion conceived by artist Lois Weaver to encourage informal conversation on serious topics. Participants will explore barriers to racial equity and more inclusive grantmaking. All grantmakers are invited to join the gathering September 10, 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. For more information contact Ben Rue at 612-465-0717.

Healthcare Professionals Serving Rural Areas Survey
A research team from the University of Kansas is conducting a study to better understand the various aspects of patient-centered care in a rural health care context. Follow this survey link to access the survey and get more information. Contact Cheryl Holmes at 785-864-6493 with any questions.

Minnesota Homelessness Study
Every three years the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation conducts a triennial statewide homelessness study to better understand the prevalence, causes, circumstances and effects of homelessness, and to promote efforts toward permanent, affordable housing for all Minnesotans either urban, suburban or rural. On October 22, 1,000 volunteer interviewers are needed for about a 4-hour time commitment at over 300 shelter locations throughout Minnesota. For more information contact Chris Lindberg at 651-280-2728.


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Ciresi Midwest Fetal Care Center
The Ciresi Midwest Fetal Care Center will be the first advanced fetal care center in the Upper Midwest.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Affordable Care Act Funding
HRSA announced $63.3 million in Affordable Care Act funding to 1,153 health centers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 7 U.S. Territories to recognize health center achievements in providing high quality, comprehensive care. Health centers will use these funds to expand current quality improvement systems and infrastructure, and improve primary care service delivery in the communities they serve. View the list of health care centers in Minnesota.

Zumbro Valley Health Center
Zumbro Valley Health Center is Minnesota's first community mental health center to become a health care home. MDH certified the health center in May after it completed required certification steps.

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ORHPC Staff News

Paia Vang
Paia Vang joined ORHPC as our new Loan Forgiveness Administrator, working with Brenda Flattum. Paia brings extensive accounting and budgeting experience to the position, including work at the Department of Human Services, the Wilder Foundation, in private practice, and most recently in the Office of Statewide Health Improvement Initiatives at MDH. Contact Paia Vang at 651-201-3895.

Lina Jau
Lina Jau will be joining ORHPC as the new Home and Community Based Services Scholarship grant manager. Lina brings a wealth of grant management experience from the Department of Corrections, and we are very happy to have her on board. She will be taking over the Capital Improvement grant and the Safety Net grants as well. Contact Lina Jau at 651-201- 3809.


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Health Care Facilities
To survive, rural hospitals join forces (The Pew Charitable Trusts).
Many rural hospitals remain at risk nationwide (PBS New Hour).
Help from the Obama administration for community health centers (The New York Times).
HRSA Awards $2.7 million to improve rural health (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).
Kansas plan would convert many rural hospitals into primary health clinics (Healthcare Finance).
Data affirms it: Health centers key to healthcare access (HealthLeaders Media).
Vegas health clinic gambles on a new brand of primary care (USA Today).
Critical access hospitals losing money, but credit ratings safe over political support (Healthcare Finance).

Health Reform
Act to save rural hospitals introduced to Congress (9WNCT, NC).
Can health care be cured of racial bias? (Kaiser Health News).
Behind higher physician fees, a big problem lurks (HealthLeaders Media).
Early impacts of the Medicaid Expansion for the homeless population (Kaiser Family Foundation).
Rethinking mental health's role in the rural health care system (Kansas Health Institute).
Under "direct primary care" plan, patients would pay flat rate in lieu of health insurance (Scottsbluff Star Herald).
Primary care providers' views of recent trends in health care delivery and payment (The Commonwealth Fund).
Kaiser Family Foundation/Commonwealth Fund 2015 National Survey of Primary Care (The Commonwealth Fund).

Health Technology
The "no smartphone" patient video (Stanford Medicine X Conference).
Finishing the task of broadband access (The Sleepy Eye Herald-Dispatch).

New facility will train hundreds for rural care (Kearney Hub).
Regional universities and rural clinical schools contribute to rural medical workforce, a cohort study of 2002-2013 graduates (Rural and Remote Health).
Police paramedics improve EMS response for Minn. community (EMS1).

Novel MDH study yields first statewide estimate of potentially preventable health care events (Minnesota Department of Health).
What have we learned from 30 years of studying homelessness in Minnesota? (MinnPost).
Rural programs help spread mental health care from door to door (The News & Observer).
Primary care docs pan hospital quality metrics (HealthLeaders Media).
Survey: Patients pleased with medical providers, but want easier access (Minnesota Department of Health).
Hospital to home: Early success serving high-needs patients (Amherst H. Wilder Foundation).
Having a rural impact on poverty and child abuse: Hope and care for the future (The Rural Monitor).
A greater understanding of "Greater Minnesota" (and "Metro" areas) (Minnesota State Demographic Center).

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The Rural Palliative Care Networking Group Webinar/Teleconference will be held September 22 in Litchfield, MN.

The 14th Rural Health Clinic Conference will be September 29–30 in Kansas City, MO. Immediately following is the 14th Rural Health Critical Access Hospital Conference held September 30 – October 2 in Kansas City, MO.

The 29th Annual Mental Health Conference Mental Health Treatment: What's in our Future? will be held October 2 in St. Cloud, MN.

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.

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.