February 2016




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Logo for the MN Rural Health Conference
June 20-21, 2016

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Rural Health Advisory Committee (RHAC)
Governor Mark Dayton announced six appointments to the Rural Health Advisory Committee (RHAC) for terms through December 2019: Ann Bussey of Side Lake (consumer member); Ray Christensen of Duluth (higher education member); Thomas Crowley of Wabasha (hospital member); Daron Gersch of Albany (physician member); Jacqueline Osterhaus of Paynesville (midlevel practitioner member); and Nancy Stratman of Crosby (long-term health care member). Ms. Bussey is a new appointment to RHAC; the others are re-appointments. Thanks to all for their service! For more information, email or visit the RHAC website.

New Chartbook on Minnesota's Oral Health Providers
The Oral Health Provider Chartbook include data on Minnesota dentists, dental therapists, dental hygienists and dental assistants from 2012 to 2014. For more information please contact Laura McLain, Senior Research Analyst in the Health Workforce Analysis Program, at 651-201-3886.

Updated Cancer Data Now Available
The American Cancer Society, the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Cancer Alliance collaborated to produce Minnesota Facts and Figures 2015 a comprehensive report on the burden of cancer in Minnesota. The report details cancer incidence and mortality by cancer type, gender, race, geography and other factors of interest to stakeholders impacted by cancer and all those working to reduce the burden of cancer in Minnesota.

Syphilis in Women Throughout Minnesota
Minnesota is seeing a significant increase of syphilis cases among women of all racial and ethnic groups. Cases have increased sixty-seven percent from January through August 2015 compared to the same time frame in 2014. Eighty percent of all female cases are concentrated in the Twin Cities metropolitan area and twenty percent in Greater Minnesota. Native American women have the largest increase of seven hundred fifty percent. Cases of syphilis have occurred in pregnant females. Two cases of congenital syphilis have also been diagnosed in the last six months of 2015. These are the first cases of congenital syphilis reported in Minnesota in four years. Based on the dramatic increase of syphilis in women, in consultation the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MDH is making a change to their recommendation for syphilis testing of pregnant women. MDH now recommends that all pregnant women receive syphilis testing at three points in the pregnancy.


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International Medical Graduate (IMG) Career Guidance and Support Grant Program
The Minnesota Department of Health invites all eligible nonprofit organizations to submit an application for the International Medical Graduate (IMG) Career Guidance and Support Grant Program. This program is one aspect of a comprehensive program authorized by Minnesota Legislature to address barriers to practice and facilitate pathways to assist immigrant international medical graduates (IIMGs) and other foreign trained health care professionals to integrate into the Minnesota health care delivery system. The goal is to increase access to primary care in rural and underserved areas of the state. Eligible applicants are nonprofit organizations located in Minnesota with experience: working with immigrants/refugees in Minnesota; providing career guidance and support, preferably in health occupations; partnering with educational and support service agencies to maximize resources; and collaborating with Minnesota health professionals licensing boards. A total of $220,000 is available to fund initiatives to assist IIMGs with career guidance and support for 12 months. Applications are due February 12. For more information contact Yende Anderson, IMG Assistance Program Coordinator, at 651-201-5988.


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OTHER GRANTS And funding

Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program
The Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program is for licensed registered nurses who are employed full time in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). They may be eligible to apply for payment up to 60 percent of their nursing student loans in return for a two-year service obligation in a HPSA and an additional 25 percent of their original loan balance for an optional third year. Applicants should attend a technical assistance conference call on February 11 from 7-9 pm ET. Dial in 1-888-790-3148; passcode 7775191. Applications are due February 25.

Small Health Care Provider Quality Improvement Program
The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy announced the Small Health Care Provider Quality Improvement Program funding opportunity that supports quality improvement activities for rural primary care providers. A significant change to the longstanding program is an overall goal to demonstrate improvement in patients’ health status and reduce emergency department visits for chronic disease. With up to $200,000 per year over three years, awardees will identify a patient population to track, implement an evidence-based quality improvement model and use health information technology (HIT) to collect and report on cost and quality. Applications are due March 4.

USDA Rural Development’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Program
The Rural Development’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) program helps rural communities use the unique capabilities of telecommunications to connect to each other and overcome the effects of remoteness and low population density. This program can provide grant funds to assist educational and medical facilities with purchasing equipment to link students and medical providers in one area to students and patients in another. Grant awards range from $50,000 to $500,000. Applicants are required to provide at least a 15% match. Preregister for the webinar covering grant requirements by contacting Deborah Anderson or Gayle Buckner at (202) 720-0800. Applications are due by March 14.

Strengthening Working Families Initiative (SWFI)
A new U.S. Labor Department program, Expanding on Rural IMPACT, is making $25 million available to enhance services such as child care and job training for at-risk populations. The Strengthening Working Families Initiative is an opportunity for rural communities to test out innovative models to coordinate workforce training with child care services and address local workforce needs and aligns with emerging efforts to address the broader elements of social determinants of health, such as employment. The grant guidance references how this work builds on a number of existing efforts including the Rural IMPACT (Integration Models for Parents and Children to Thrive) Demonstration. The application is due March 16.

Accountable Health Communities Model
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will award a total of 44 cooperative agreements ranging from $1 to $4.5 million to successful applicants to implement the Accountable Health Communities Model. Applications are due March 31.


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Annual Disability Statistics Compendium
The Annual Disability Statistics Compendium is a web-based tool that pools disability statistics published by various federal agencies together in one place. When working on legislative and other matters relating to persons with disabilities, the Compendium will make finding and using disability statistics easier.

Guide to Preventing Readmissions among Racially and Ethnically Diverse Medicare Beneficiaries
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) released a new Guide to Preventing Readmissions among Racially and Ethnically Diverse Medicare Beneficiaries. Racial and ethnic minority populations are more likely than their white counterparts to be readmitted within 30 days of discharge for certain chronic conditions, such as heart failure, heart attack, and pneumonia, among others. Social, cultural, and linguistic barriers contribute to these higher readmission rates.This guide is designed to assist hospital leaders and stakeholders in identifying root causes and solutions for preventing avoidable readmissions among racially and ethnically diverse Medicare beneficiaries.


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Albrecht Receives RPAP Award
Dr. Christine Albrecht, Family Practice Physician at Lakewood Health System, recently received the Rural Physician Associate Program's (RPAP) Preceptor Achievement Award. This award is given every year to a RPAP preceptor who is nominated by a student and awarded by RPAP faculty. The RPAP is a nine-month educational opportunity out of the University of Minnesota Medical School for third-year medical students.

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ORHPC Staff News

Critical Access Hospital Site Visits
Judy Bergh, Flex Coordinator, made site visits to Mercy Hospital in Moose Lake and to Cass Lake IHS Hospital in Cass Lake.

ORHPC Loan Forgiveness Article in MinnPost
Will Wilson, Supervisor of our Financial and Technical Assistance Unit, explained the Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program in the MinnPost's recent article, Loan-forgiveness program encourages mental health professionals to work in underserved areas.

Special Olympic Charity Ride
Diane Reger, Medical Education and Research Costs (MERC) Grant Coordinator, participated in a Special Olympics event, the Northland 300 Charity Snowmobile Ride, in Ely. She rode over 400 miles.


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Health Equity
What is health equity video (Health Equity Institute).
10 charts explain the economic status of Minnesota's cultural groups (Minneapolis Star Tribune).
For America’s Indian nations, an alternative State of the Union (MinnPost).
Promoting health and well-being in the rural veteran population (The Rural Connection).

Health Reform
Can pharmacists help fill the growing primary care gap? (University of Florida).
Would paying your doctor cash up front get you better care? (Minnesota Public Radio).
Rural providers organized under 23 Medicare ACOs receive $46 million AIM funding from CMMI (National Rural Accountable Care Consortium).
Can hospitals heal America's communities? (Democracy Collaborative).

Health Technology
Teleneurology helps rural patients (St. Cloud Times).
Mercy opens first virtual primary care for students at Chaminade College Prep (Mercy Health Systems).
Assessing the Impact of Telemedicine on Nursing Care in Intensive Care Units (America Journal of Critical Care).
Telemedicine Offers New Benefits for Schools (

Primary Care
Wading into the national debate over the delivery of primary care: A basis for optimism (New York University).
New research shows complexity of primary care (American Academy of Family Physicians).
Op-Ed: Improve health in NJ by coordinating behavioral treatment, primary care (NJ Spotlight).

The cure for a doctor shortage: Primary care and teamwork (WBFO Buffalo).
How one school is training students for rural medicine (American Medical Association).
Growing career cuts medical costs, increases access to health care (Fox 9 News).
Loan-forgiveness program encourages mental health professionals to work in underserved areas (MinnPost).

Oil is a bust, but babies boom in North Dakota (Minneapolis Star Tribune).
Chronic conditions in Minnesota: New estimates of prevalence, cost and geographic variation for insured Minnesotans, 2012 (Minnesota Department of Health).

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

The Trauma Performance Improvement Forum Part I Building a Comprehensive Hospital Performance Improvement and Patient Safety Program will be held March 24 in North Mankato.

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

The National Rural Health Association's Rural Hospital Innovation Summit 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 Minnesota Rural Health Conference 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.