January 2016




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Logo for the MN Rural Health Conference
Propose a breakout session or learning station
for the 2016 conference! Proposals due by January 21.

Minnesota Rural Health Conference Session Proposals Due January 21
This year's theme for the Minnesota Rural Health Conference is "Cultivating Resilient Communities." There are three formats for presentations this year:
    • Traditional breakout sessions are 60 minutes long with time for audience participation
    • Learning stations are 12 minutes in length but will be repeated four times in one hour
    • Facilitated roundtable/peer sharing is a 60-minute facilitated discussion on a particular topic of your choice
Proposals are invited for the following learning tracks: workforce, technology, value-based models, community partnerships and health equity. Proposals are due no later than 4 p.m. CST, January 21.

New Social Worker Data from the Health Workforce Analysis Program
Social workers are diverse, younger and central to Minnesota’s mental health workforce. New data presenting the demographics, geographic distribution, employment, practice areas and more are now available. Below is a screenshot of the data dash board.
example of the Data Dash Board: Minnesota's Social Worker Workforce, 2012-2013


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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. 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. Final applications are due in WebGrants@MDH 11:59 p.m. January 20. Contact Deb Jahnke at 651-201-3845 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. Final applications (if invited) are due in WebGrants@MDH by 4:00 p.m. February 5. Contact Lina Jau at 651-201-3809 for more information.


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OTHER GRANTS And funding

The Flex Rural Veterans Health Access Program (RVHAP) Grants
The Flex Rural Veterans Health Access Program grant, sponsored by HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, will increase the delivery of mental health services or other healthcare services to veterans living in rural areas through the use of health IT. The main goal is to use telehealth and health IT including electronic health records (EHRs) to help coordinate care for veterans that are seen by both the VA and private healthcare providers and need to share clinical information. Eligible applicants for funding must be current “Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program” grantees in states with certified Critical Access Hospitals. Special consideration will be given to states where veterans make up a high percentage of the total population. Applications are accepted up to February 8. For more information, email Anthony Oliver at


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Avoiding Deficiencies in Rural Health Clinic Surveys Webinar
The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) Partnership has developed educational webinar sessions to provide rural health care professionals opportunities to learn new techniques and best practices from industry experts. Avoiding Deficiencies in Rural Health Clinic Surveys is sponsored by the Compliance Team. Listeners will learn what to avoid and how to avoid deficiencies on survey day. Kate Hill and Gail Nickerson have joined together to bring listeners a presentation that includes real world scenarios found in rural health clinics. The target audience: Critical Access Hospital Chief Executive Officers, Chief Nursing Officers, Director of Nursing and Rural Health Clinic providers and staff. It will be held January 14 at 2-3 p.m. CST. Registration is free.

Integrating Behavioral Health Training into Primary Care Webinar
The Bureau of Health Workforce's Division of Medicine and Dentistry is presenting a webinar on Clinical Tools for Behavioral Health Integration on January 19, 1:00-2:30 p.m., CST. Registration is free.

NOSORH Announces Partnership for Rural Primary Care Benchmarking
The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health has partnered with Lilypad, LLC to implement the Practice Operations National Database (“POND”) program, a web-based data collection, reporting and benchmarking application for rural providers including rural health clinics, community health centers, health system satellite practices, and independent physician or advanced level clinician practices. POND is differentiated from other benchmarking programs by its focus on rural relevant financial, operational, productivity and compensation measures for which no systematic data sets currently exist. A web demonstration will be scheduled soon.

Rural Health Information Hub Models and Innovations
The latest Models and Innovations project example posted this January is Avera LIGHT. Be sure to read about the previous models and innovations Minnesota listed for as well. The RHI Hub would appreciate recommendations of additional Minnesota rural health programs that could be featured in the Models & Innovations Hub. Suggestions can be sent to

Share Your Ideas for the 2016 Greater Minnesota Transit Investment Plan
Planning for the 2016 update to the Greater Minnesota Transit Investment Plan is underway, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation welcomes your ideas on how to improve transit in Greater Minnesota. The goal of the plan is to improve mobility for the general public with emphasis on seniors, low income populations, the homeless population, individuals with disabilities, veterans, New Americans and commuters. Share your ideas, learn more about the plan and view the latest updates. There are several ways for everybody, not just transit users, to participate! The better response the department receives, the more informed their strategies will be. For questions about this process, please contact Sara Dunlap at 651-366-4194 or


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Integrating Mental Health Services at New Beginnings
New Beginnings in Waverly has hired four mental health therapists for their fully integrated co-occurring programming which is up and running at both their men’s and women’s residential programs. In conjunction with their chemical health services, their program will now offer a variety of mental health services including screening and assessment, education and coping skills, group and individual counseling, case management, and access to medication management. For more information, contact Lane Elmer at or 763-658-5800.

Granite Falls Municipal Hospital and Manor Announce New CEO
George Gerlach retired as CEO at Granite Falls Municipal Hospital & Manor at the end of December 2015. His replacement is Tom J. Kooiman.

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ORHPC Staff News

Welcome Marty Forseth to the ORHPC Team
Marty Forseth recently joined the Trauma Program as a second hospital designation coordinator. He and Tammy Peterson will manage 129 hospital designations including adult and pediatric centers. Marty comes to ORHPC with over 30 years of experience in hospital and EMS administration and leadership, 22 of those years with HealthEast Care System. Marty also has seven years of public health preparedness experience, coordinating various community programs, effectively collecting and using public data, and leading advisory committees. He will be a great addition to the entire office.


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Health Equity
Regional hospitals adopting new alert notification system (WANE, Fort Wayne, IN).
What children with medical complexity, their families, and healthcare providers deserve from an ideal healthcare system (Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health).

Health Reform
Faculty member talks rural public health with policy makers (East Tennessee State University).
Final report: Environmental scan of programs and policies addressing health disparities among rural children in poverty (The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).
Medicare value-based payment reform: Priorities for transforming rural health systems (RUPRI Health Panel).
Amish and Mennonite patients push an experiment in health care price transparency (Mid-Missouri Public Radio ).

Health Technology
Access to health information technology training programs at the community college level (Rural Health Research Gateway).

Critical to care: Course offers training to rural physicians, staff (Grand Forks Herald).
Opening of new Health Science Education Complex top education story of the year (Kearney Hub).
The rural obstetric workforce in US hospitals: Challenges and opportunities (

Primary Care
Helping primary care doctors contain costs (Harvard Business Review).
Primary care, urgent care or ER? It all depends on what ails you (USA Today).
AAFP supports integration of oral health into primary care (American Academy of Family Physicians).
This primary care office in Friendship Heights wants to prescribe you vegetables (Washington Business Journal).
Filling in the gaps: Connecting behavioral health data and primary care (Healthcare Informatics).
Primary care physicians to lose 10% Medicare bonus — 5 takeaways (Becker's ASC Review).
Primary care is a team sport (The Lancet).
How US primary care is falling behind the developed world (The Fiscal Times).

Estimated costs of rural freestanding emergency departments (Rural Health Research Gateway).
Cleveland pressures hospitals to keep ERs open to all ambulances (Minnesota Public Radio).
Rural reality: City transit, rural transit (Center For Rural Policy and Development).

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This year's Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Statewide Celebration The Power of Telling Your Story: 30 Years of Us will be held January 18 at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, St. Paul.

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

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 Minnesota Rural Health Conference will be held June 20-21 in Duluth.

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) annual conference Cultivating a Culture of Health Equity will be held July 19-21 in Phoenix, AZ.


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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.