August 2016
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Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Program (MBQIP) Certificate of Excellence
For the second year in a row, the Minnesota Flex Program has received an award from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) at the federal Health Resources and Services Administration for excellence in MBQIP (Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Program). Minnesota is among the top ten MBQIP performing states. It is an award that is shared by all the Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) in Minnesota for their hard work in quality improvement and quality reporting. The honor is also the result of the hard work provided by Stratis Health and the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA)—especially Marilyn Grafstrom and Robyn Carlson (Stratis) and Lori Skinner (MHA) who, under contract with the Minnesota Flex Program, do CAH technical assistance and training in MBQIP. This year's award was presented by Yvonne Chow, MBQIP Coordinator, FORHP, at the annual Flex Program Reverse Site Visit in Rockville, MD.


Flex Coordinators from the 2016 top ten MBQIP states in Rockville, MD. Our Minnesota Flex Program Coordinator is Judy Bergh, second from left.
Photo courtesy of the National Rural Health Resource Center, Duluth.



Share of Minnesota Health Care Employment by Specialty

Data source: 2013, Occupational Employment Statistics, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. There are an estimated 246,300 health care workers in Minnesota, not including mental health workers.

For more information on Minnesota's health care workforce, visit the Health Workforce Analysis, Office of Rural Health and Primary Care website


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Minnesota State Loan Repayment Program
The Minnesota State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) for primary care providers practicing in rural and urban health professional shortage areas in Minnesota is open for applications. For the 2016 cycle, applications must be faxed or postmarked by August 19. For more information, contact Deb Jahnke at 651-201-3845.


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OTHER GRANTS And funding

Rural Capacity Building for Community Development
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will make five Rural Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing Grants of up to $2.5 million to national organizations with ongoing experience in rural housing and community development. Applications are due September 13.

Dual-training grants application available
Employers can now apply for grants to help create or expand dual-training programs in advanced manufacturing, agriculture, health care services and information technology industries. Dual-training grants are part of the Minnesota PIPELINE Project, which was established by the Minnesota Legislature in 2014 to expand dual training and apprenticeship programs. Grant funds can be used to cover student/employees' tuition, fees and required materials for the related instruction training. View the request for applications and other grant materials online. Employers must submit completed applications by September 23. For more information, email

Minnesota Border to Border Broadband Development Grants
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Office of Broadband Development, will be soliciting proposals from qualified organizations for Minnesota Border to Border Broadband Development Grants. The grant application period opened July 22. The application deadline is 4:00 p.m., October 3


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Additional meetings set on new disability services rule
Additional meetings have been scheduled by the Minnesota Department of Human Services to solicit input from people with disabilities on a new federal rule for home and community-based services. Please review this list of sites and dates.

Cultural resources for addressing trauma
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has created a number of resources for working cross-culturally on the topic of trauma. Visit their Culture Counts webpage for more information and resources.

Diabetes Prevention Program
The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) has added a new Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) section to the Minnesota Health Care Program’s (MHCP) Provider Manual. The DPP can be offered in a clinic, outpatient hospital or community setting. The covered code is 0403T which was effective January 1, 2016.

Direct Care/Support Worker Survey or Persons Receiving Services Survey
The Minnesota Department of Human Services is seeking the opinions of two groups: 1) direct care/support workers about the work that they do, and 2) people who need daily, hands-on care to continuing living and working. We are asking for this information to help address and develop creative solutions to the current and growing shortage of direct care/support workers. Both surveys will be open through August 27. A summary of the results will be shared in the summary of solutions identified at the Direct Care/Support Worker Summit held July 26. If you are either a worker or person (or family, spouse, significant other, or guardians of such people receiving supports), please provide your opinion by completing either the Direct Care/Support Worker Survey or Persons Receiving Services Survey.

Health Care Homes seeks input on program enhancements
Minnesota's Health Care Homes (HCH) program is soliciting stakeholder feedback on recommended program enhancements over the next few years. Public comment is invited through two online surveys in response to a Request for Information (RFI) and at three public meetings. Responses will be accepted through September 9.

Health disparities of immigrant workers in agriculture webinar
This webinar will focus on the health and safety of immigrant workers in agriculture. It will explore disparities in health and safety outcomes for immigrant workers compared to non-immigrant workers, and attempt to describe some reasons for those disparities. Case studies as well as descriptive and analytic data will be presented. The focus will be on immigrant workers in the U.S., but the same phenomena exists in developed and developing countries around the world. The webinar will be held August 24, 12-1 pm CDT. It is free but you must register.

New health information technology and EMS resources
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) recently developed two documents for Health Information Exchange (HIE) organizations and emergency medical services (EMS) officials to share with their state and community partners. These resources promote a better understanding of the importance of HIE and EMS.

In February, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services provided a guidance letter to states that allows the use of Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) funds for expenditures related to electronically connecting Eligible Providers to other Medicaid providers, including EMS, to share health information and help Eligible Providers meet the Meaningful Use objectives.


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Grants totaling $1 million awarded across Minnesota
With $1 million in first-year funding awarded in June, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation is fueling 13 community health-focused projects across the state. The projects focus on social and economic factors that significantly impact health outcomes for Minnesotans. The following organizations were selected to receive grants: Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, Minneapolis: Asian Economic Development Association, St. Paul; Centro Campesino, Owatonna; Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha, Minneapolis; Children's Defense Fund, St. Paul; Immigrant Development Center, Moorhead; Juxtaposition Arts Inc., Minneapolis; Lakes and Pines Community Action Council, Mora; MAP for Nonprofits as fiscal sponsor for RISE: Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment, Brooklyn Center; Northland Foundation, Duluth; Urban Homeworks, Inc., Minneapolis; Voices for Racial Justice, Minneapolis; Youthprise, Minneapolis. A description of each is available on the Foundation’s website.

2016 Health Workforce Grant awards
Health Resources and Services Administration awards more than $149 million to grow the nation's primary care workforce and expand health professions. Advanced Education Nursing Traineeship, College of St. Scholastica Inc., Duluth; Advanced Nursing Education, Regents of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Nurse Anesthetist Traineeship, Regents of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Nurse Faculty Loan Program, Regents of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, Regents of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. View this map of the United States to see award amounts by program.

HHS funds for health center adoption of health information technology
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced more than $36 million in funding for 50 Health Center Controlled Networks (HCCNs) in 41 states and Puerto Rico. This increase in health information technology support will impact the following health centers in Minnesota: Cedar Riverside People's Center, Minneapolis; Indian Health Board of Minneapolis, Inc., Minneapolis; Native American Community Clinic, Minneapolis; Neighborhood HealthSource, Minneapolis; Open Cities Health Center, St. Paul; Southside Community Health Services, Minneapolis; United Family Practice Health Center, Inc., St Paul; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; West Side Community Health Services, St. Paul; and Universal Medical Services, Inc., Minneapolis.

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ORHPC Staff News

New Office of Rural Health and Primary Care staff
ORHPC has a new Rural Health Policy Researcher. Emma Distel will be working with both the Rural Health Advisory Committee and the Flex Program. Emma has a Master's of Public Health from the University of Minnesota. Welcome!


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Health Equity
Racial disparities in employment outcomes after college (Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development).
Mental illness in stressful times: An Asian-American family's story (National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
Kiowa transforms former hospital into a pink beacon of hope for expectant mothers in need (The Hutchinson News).
Senior LinkAge Line video campaign now available in Hmong, Somali, Spanish and Russian languages (Minnesota Department of Human Services).

Health Reform
So what are ACOs anyway and why do they matter in healthcare? (West Virginia Public Broadcasting).
Are we there yet? Efforts to balance long-term services and supports (AARP).
Savings from Minn. Medicaid reform top $150 million (Minnesota Department of Human Services).

Primary Care
Three Minnesota organizations receive funding to improve diabetes care (EurekAlert).
Affordable health care under one roof (Mankato Free Press).
Psychiatry and primary health care: Beyond integration, toward fusion? (Psychiatric Times).

Rural Health
Does ACA insurance coverage expansion improve the financial performance of rural hospitals? (Rural Health Research Getaway).
Rural hospitals face unique challenges (The Eagle, Sauk Prairie).

Health Technology
Wound care market on the rise (Federal Telemedicine News).
Bringing behavioral health into the care continuum: Opportunities to improve quality, costs (Trend Watch).
UTHealth upgrading mobile clinics (Federal Telemedicine News).
Health care providers embrace telemedicine (Twin Cities Business).
People with hearing loss can try new, helpful tech equipment (Minnesota Department of Human Services).

Community health worker numbers boosted by Affordable Care Act (PBS Newshour).
Loan forgiveness for doctors: A changing landscape (MD Magazine).
RiverView Health offers up to $20,000 to 'community recruiters' in fight against physician shortage (Grand Forks Herald).
Grant allows hire of RRCC nursing instructor (International Falls Journal).

Navigating care for mental health is a challenge, even for an expert (MPR News).

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The 2016 MN Community Measurement Annual Seminar will be held September 15 in Minneapolis.

The National Rural Health Association's Rural Health Clinic and Critical Access Hospital Conferences will be held September 20-23 in Kansas City, MO.

The 2016 Community Health Conference Principle to Practice: Walk the Talk for Health Equity People in Minnesota will be September 28-30 at Breezy Point.

The eighth annual Rural Behavioral Health Practice Conference webcast will be held October 21.

The annual Many Faces of Community Health Conference will be held November 3-4 in Minnetonka.


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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.