APRIL 2016




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Logo for the MN Rural Health Conference

Logo for the 2016 MN Rural Health Conference

Registration for the Minnesota Rural Health Conference is Now Open!
Registration is now open for the 2016 Minnesota Rural Health Conference: Cultivating Resilient Communities, June 20-21 in Duluth. Visit the Minnesota Rural Health Conference registration page to register for the conference before May 20 for the early bird rates. Make sure you are aware of important conference information by subscribing to receive email updates.

Rural Health Award Nominations
Nominations are now being accepted for the annual Minnesota Rural Health Hero and Minnesota Rural Health Team awards. A third category for a Rural Health Lifetime Achievement Award will be added this year. Nominees may have contributed to rural health care in a number of ways. 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. All awards will be presented at the Tuesday Awards Luncheon during the Minnesota Rural Health Conference. Nominate your outstanding individual or team by May 9.

Snapshot from the State of Rural Minnesota Report 2015


Projected population change in the state of Minnesota, age 65+, 2015-2045
Projected population change age 65+, 2015-2045

Source: Center for Rural Policy & Development, 2016

• The core urban counties in the state are expected to see significant growth in their senior populations over the next 30 years.

• Rural counties, which already have a large over-65 population, will see slower growth or a decline.



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Advancing Health Equity Initiative Grant Request for Proposal
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) actively works to integrate health equity in all of its work through a set of practices called the Triple Aim of Health Equity. These practices shift the way MDH, its grantees and other partners can approach public health issues including health inequities. Under the Advancing Health Equity Initiative grant program, MDH is seeking proposals from a non-profit agency (or group of non-profit agencies working as a consortium) to develop and implement an innovative, measurable process which engages communities experiencing health inequities. The Advancing Health Equity Initiative grant is intended to expand the understanding of what creates health by having a community experiencing a significant health inequity identify the relationships between the health inequity and structural inequities. MDH is committed to advancing health equity for Populations of Color (including immigrant and refugee communities) and American Indian populations. For more detailed information, please view the Advancing Health Equity Initiative Request for Proposal. The Intent to Apply form is due April 26.

Clinical Dental Education Innovations
The Medical Education and Research Costs (MERC) Fund supports innovative clinical training for dental professionals and programs that increase access to dental care for underserved populations through grant funding. The Commissioner of Health awards the grants on a competitive basis to qualified applicants. Eligible applicants for these grants include sponsoring institutions, training sites or consortia that provide clinical education to dental professionals: dentists, dental therapists, dental hygienists and/or dental assistants. Applicants must be affiliated with a training program that is accredited by an organization that meets MERC accreditation requirements as described in Minnesota Statutes 62J.692, and training sites must have a currently valid Medicaid Identification Number at the time of application and throughout the term of the grant. The Clinical Dental Education Innovations Fund operates on an annual funding cycle, with a Request for Proposal (RFP) posted in spring and proposals selected roughly two months later. A review committee, consisting of experts on the dental workforce and on broader health policy issues along with representatives of the dental professions, reviews all qualifying proposals and makes recommendations to the Commissioner of Health for grant awards. Applications are due 4:00 p.m. May 6.


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OTHER GRANTS And funding

Community Economic Development (CED) Projects
The Community Economic Development (CED) Healthy Food Financing Initiative will award funding to Community Development Corporations for projects that implement strategies to address food deserts, increase healthy food access in low-income communities, foster self-sufficiency for low-income families, and create sustained employment opportunities in low-income communities. Bonus points will be given to projects that create jobs in a rural community. The Community Economic Development (CED) Projects provides funding for projects designed to address the economic needs of low-income individuals and families through the creation of employment and business opportunities, including expansion or construction of clinics and health centers. Bonus points will be given to projects that create jobs in rural communities. Both applications are due April 27.

Critical Changes to Mental Health Participation in National Health Service Corps
The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) has made some critical changes to mental health site and clinician participation in the current Fiscal Year 2016 Loan Repayment Program Application and Program Guidance. Starting with Fiscal Year 2016 awards, mental and behavioral health providers must now spend will be required to provide 32 hours per week of direct patient care at approved NHSC obligation site(s). In the past, clinicians were required to provide a minimum of 21 hours of direct patient care with at least 11 hours of patient care-related activities either on-site or at other locations as directed by the approved site. Additionally, mental and behavioral health providers must also practice in a community-based setting that provides “access to comprehensive services”. As a result, a change is also being implemented for mental health private practice sites. Private practice (sole and group) mental health sites must be affiliated with a community-based facility that provides comprehensive services.

National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program
The National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program provides scholarships for students pursuing primary care health professions training in exchange for a service commitment in a Health Professional Shortage Area. Application is due April 28.

Rural Health and Safety Education (RHSE) Competitive Grants Program
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the availability of funding rural communities can use to conduct health and safety outreach around prescription painkiller and heroin abuse. Opioids, including prescription painkillers and heroin, accounted for 28,648 deaths in 2014, and rural communities are affected at higher rates than urban communities. This year the United States Department of Agriculture is expanding its Rural Health and Safety Education (RHSE) competitive grants program to give rural communities the opportunity to use funds for programs that will address the opioid epidemic. Applications are due June 1.


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Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) releases interactive mapping Medicare disparities tool
The CMS Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) released a new interactive map to increase understanding of geographic disparities in chronic disease among Medicare beneficiaries. The Mapping Medicare Disparities (MMD) Tool identifies disparities in health outcomes, utilization, and spending by race and ethnicity and geographic location. Understanding geographic differences in disparities is important to informing policy decisions and efficiently targeting populations and geographies for interventions.

County Health Rankings and Roadmaps
This new report ranks the health of nearly every county in the nation. Defining rural counties as those with less than 50,000 people, the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps Report states on the first line of its key findings that “rural counties have had the highest rates of premature death for many years, lagging far behind other counties.” The rankings use publicly available data to measure health outcomes, health factors and the policies and programs that affect them. Three new measures in this seventh annual edition highlight the impact of racial segregation, deaths due to drug overdoses and the negative effects of insufficient sleep.

Am I Rural?
The Rural Health Information Hub (RHIhub), is funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy to be a national clearinghouse on rural health issues. The goal of the RHIhub website is to provide information, opportunities, and resources for improving rural health. Updated in March, the Am I Rural? tool can be used to help determine whether a specific location is considered rural based on various definitions of rural, including definitions that are used as eligibility criteria for federal programs.

Exploring Rural and Urban Mortality Differences
Funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, the North Dakota and NORC Rural Health Reform Policy Research Center released the Exploring Rural and Urban Mortality Differences study and interactive online tool that explores rural and urban differences in mortality by top causes of death.  Using data from the National Vital Statistics System at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the study includes visual aids and cross-referencing tools for indicators of mortality rates by age group, gender, and region. 

Integrating Oral Health and Primary Care Training Webinar
The Health Resources and Services Administration's Bureau of Health Workforce presents Integrating Oral Health and Primary Care Training Webinar as part of their ongoing Clinical Tools Webinar Series. This session will be held April 12, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. (CDT). The webinar is free but you must register.

Interdisciplinary Research Leaders Program
The 2016 Call for Applications is now open for Interdisciplinary Research Leaders (IRL), a new leadership development opportunity for teams of researchers and community leaders ready to apply health research and policy to meet the pressing needs of communities. Program participants will build bridges between the myriad factors that have an enormous influence on people´s health—education, neighborhoods, transportation, income, faith, etc. They will transform our culture at every level, putting health and equity at the core. The Interdisciplinary Research Leaders (IRL) is one of four national change leadership programs designed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to extend the influence and impact of leaders working to build a culture of health. The IRL is a three–year program led by the University of Minnesota along with program partners Allina Health, ISAIAH, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)-Twin Cities, AcademyHealth, and Minnesota Department of Health. This first call for applications is focused on two topic areas: 1) Early Childhood and Health; and 2) Housing, Community Development, and Health. Applications are open through April 19.

Minnesota Youth STI Testing Day
The second annual Minnesota Youth STI Testing Day is Tuesday, April 12 when clinics around the state will offer walk-in confidential, youth-friendly and low-cost STI testing services. Coordinating services in this way brings awareness to the need for STI testing, decreases stigma of seeking sexual health services, and connects teens and young adults to clinics for on-going care. Minnesota law requires that sexual health services are offered to teens confidentially.

Childhood Poverty Higher and More Persistent in Rural America
Child Poverty Higher and More Persistent in Rural America examines counties with high child poverty and persistent poverty over a 30-year period from 1980 to 2010, with data for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan counties. It includes maps showing regional trends. The document also looks at poverty at the county level related to minority child population distribution.

National Rural Health Association's Annual Rural Health Conference in Minneapolis
This year's NRHA's Annual Rural Health Conference is being held in Minneapolis. The keynote speaker is America’s 18th surgeon general, Regina M. Benjamin, MD. The conference will be held May 10-13. Register by April 7 to save up to $200.


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C.A.R.E. Clinic, Red Wing, Receives CVS Health Foundation Award
As part of their commitment to increase access to health care in communities nationwide, the CVS Health Foundation announced $1.5 million in new grants distributed to 46 community health centers and free clinics in support of chronic disease management and prevention such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and asthma, improved care coordination and increased access to care. C.A.R.E. Clinic in Red Wing was awarded $35,000 to help support the uninsured and low-income residents in Goodhue County that lack sufficient resources to manage their chronic illness.

Hennepin County Mental Health Center Adds Primary Care
Hennepin County Mental Health Center´s most recent innovation is adding a primary care physician to their mental health clinic. The center, which serves over 4,000 people, recognized that many of their patients showed difficulty in navigating the health care system. To assist these patients, Hennepin Health provided funding for a primary care physician, a Registered Nurse care coordinator and renovated space. By integrating primary care with mental health care, both Hennepin Health and the Hennepin County Mental Health Center planned to help patients reduce emergency department visits for basic medical needs, reduce inpatient hospitalizations, and improve their physical health. Hennepin Health is provided in partnership with NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center, the Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health Department, and Hennepin County Medical Center. The Hennepin County Mental Health Center is a safety-net program that sees mental health patients who are not eligible for services elsewhere.

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ORHPC Staff News

Mark Schoenbaum, ORHPC director, and Nitika Moibi, Health Workforce Analysis Unit supervisor, participated in the first meeting of a group invited by the Minnesota Department of Human Services to help plan a Direct Care/Support Workforce Summit on July 26.

Jodi Millner, ORHPC LUCAS Grant coordinator, conducted training sessions and disbursed LUCAS® Chest Compression System devices to all eligible South Central Emergency Medical Services Region providers. In total, one district device, eight hospital devices, and 24 licensed ambulance service devices were distributed.


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Health Equity
Poverty and child health in the United States (American Academy of Pediatrics Gateway).
Housing plan would promote health care for homeless people (Minnesota Daily).

Health Reform
• Hennepin Health doesn't want you in the ER, but does want you to have a phone (MinnPost).
• Doctors ask CMS to push hospitals for better, faster post-discharge communication (Modern Healthcare).
• Geographic variation in the profitability of urban and rural hospitals (North Carolina Rural Health Research Program).
• Medicare costs and utilization among beneficiaries in rural areas (University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center).

Health Technology
The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) sends report to the President (Federal Telemedicine News).
Integrating behavior and primary care: Technology and collaboration (Social Work Today).

Primary Care
Transforming care: Redesigning primary care for those who need it most (The Commonwealth Fund).
All in the family: Minneapolis teen health clinic grows into new role (MPR News).

• Health matters: Jobs in healthcare: A growth industry (Ukiah Daily Journal).
• What community health workers can teach us (Huffington Post).
• How could nurse practitioners and physician assistants be deployed to provide rural primary care? (Rural Health Research Center).
• Counteracting the darkness of physician burnout (Rural Health Information Hub).
• Health plans should consider paying for doula services (American Journal of Managed Care).

• Guidelines for opioid painkillers may fall short of addressing needs of rural populations: Part I (RAC Monitor).
• Only one country offers universal health care to undocumented migrants (Minnesota Public Radio).  
• Free Medical Clinic turns 45 (The Daily Iowan).
• Fruit and vegetable prescription program (FVRx) (Rural Health Information Hub).
• Critical condition: Can Mark Dayton fix one of Minnesota's most problem-plagued institutions? (MinnPost).
• More rural hospitals are closing their maternity units (Minnesota Public Radio).

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The Minnesota Academy of Family Physician's 2016 Spring Refresher will be held April 14-15 in Minneapolis.

The National Rural Emergency Medical Services Conference Building Integration & Leadership for the Future will be held April 21-22 in San Antonio, TX.

6th Annual Diversity Conference Strategies for Health Equity will be held April 28 in St. Cloud.

The University of Minnesota Medical School’s Program in Health Disparities Research’s Regional Conference Promoting Health Equality: Engage. Inform. Act will be held May 5-7 in Minneapolis.

The National Rural Health Association's Health Equity Conference will be held May 10 in Minneapolis.

The National Rural Health Association's Rural Medical Education Conference will be held May 10 in Minneapolis.

The National Rural Health Association's Rural Hospital Innovation Summit will be held May 10-13 in Minneapolis.

The National Rural Health Association's 39th Annual Rural Health Conference will be held May 10-13 in Minneapolis.

The American Telemedicine Association Annual Conference and Trade Show will be held May 15-17 in Minneapolis.

The 5th Annual Under One Roof Conference will be held May 17-18 in Duluth, MN.

The 2016 Hot Topics in Pediatrics Conference and Annual Dinner will be held May 20 in Bloomington.

The 2016 Symposium on Small Towns Rural Housing: Moving In, Out, and FORWARD will be held June 7-9 in Morris.

The Minnesota Rural Health Conference Cultivating Resilient Communities will be held June 20-21 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.