March 2016




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Logo for the 2016 MN Rural Health Conference
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New Appointments: State Trauma Advisory Council (STAC)
In January, MDH Commissioner Dr. Edward Ehlinger re–appointed three State Trauma Advisory Council (STAC) members. John Fossum, Gayle Williams and Dr. Robert Roach were all re-appointed to four-year terms. Commissioner Ehlinger also appointed Dr. Sharon Moran from Essential Health St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth to the Level 1 or 2 Trauma Surgeon seat; Dr. Craig Henson from Lakewood Health System in Staples as the STAC Rural General Surgeon representative; and Alan Johnson, PA-C, from RC Hospital in Olivia to the Rural Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner seat. Three STAC members’ terms expired in January. Dr. Kurt Martinson completed his four-year term; and Dr. Chad Robbins and Peter Lindbloom, PA-C, each completed their second four- year term. Their contributions and expertise have helped to shape the future of the trauma system. Thank you for your service!

Crush Childhood Cavity Day Proclamation
Governor Mark Dayton declared February 29, as Crush Childhood Cavity Day in Minnesota. The proclamation states that dental caries, caused by an infectious process that is largely preventable, are the most widespread and chronic infection in childhood; it is more common than asthma and hay fever. Children's oral health can be improved through stronger collaborative efforts between primary medical care providers and dental providers by ensuring caries prevention services are provided as part of well/ill child care visits, and referrals to dental providers for restorative care are accepted. Community service organization members equipped with the appropriate education can leverage their knowledge about the needs of their communities and become vocal advocates, educating community members about the caries crisis, and how it can be prevented. Visit the MDH Oral Health Program webpage to learn about the department's current efforts to achieve oral health for all Minnesotans .


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The Hospital Safety Net Grant Program
The Hospital Safety Net Grant program provides grant funding to help defray underpayments to hospitals for high-cost services provided to Emergency Medical Assistance (EMA) enrollees. Eligible applicants are licensed hospitals in Minnesota who serve EMA enrollees. Funds will be awarded proportionally among all eligible hospitals that apply, based on the total dollar amount of qualifying EMA claims of over $50,000 between April 1 and March 31 of this year. Up to $1,340,000 is available in Fiscal Year 2016. For more information, view the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care Grants and Loans webpage. Applications are due April 8. For more information contact Lina Jau at 651-201-3809.


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OTHER GRANTS And funding

CMS Extends the Attestation Deadline for the EHR Incentive Programs to March 11
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) extended the attestation deadline for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs to Friday, March 11. The original deadline was February 29. Eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) participating in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program can attest through the CMS Registration and Attestation System. Providers participating in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program should refer to their respective states (Minnesota) for attestation information and deadlines. Certain Medicaid eligible professionals may use the Registration and Attestation System as an alternate attestation method to avoid the Medicare payment adjustment (80 FR 62900 through 62901.

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. Applications are due by March 14.

Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants
The SAFER Grant Program outlined in the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2015 provides $340,000,000 directly to fire departments and volunteer interest organizations to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, "front line" firefighters available in their communities. The SAFER Grant Program seeks to assist local fire departments with staffing and deployment capabilities in order to respond to emergencies and assure communities have adequate protection from fire and fire–related hazards. The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) and technical assistance documents for this program are available at the federal Grants.Gov website and at the Federal Emergency Management Agency´s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants webpage. Applications are due March 25.

National Safety Net Advancement Center Grant Awards
The National Safety Net Advancement Center is proud to issue this first–of–its–kind call for proposals (CFP) to facilitate safety net organizations in overcoming challenges posed by payment and care delivery reform. The goal of the CFP is to contribute to the growing evidence base on how to implement successfully payment and care delivery reforms in safety net organizations. For the purposes of this CFP, a safety net health system is defined as one that provides a significant level of care to low-income, uninsured, and vulnerable populations. The health care safety net encompasses the following six sectors: 1) Federally Qualified Health Centers, 2) Community Mental Health Centers, 3) Public County Hospitals, 4) Tribal Health Centers, 5) Critical Access Hospitals, and 6) Safety Net Oral Heath Providers. Awards will be available up to $80,000. Applications are due April 1.

National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program (LRP) Open
The 2016 NHSC LRP application cycle is now open to support primary care medical, dental and mental/behavioral health clinicians committed to caring for underserved people where they are most needed. Health centers are strongly encouraged to participate in the NHSC to help recruit and retain qualified health care providers. View the 2016 Application and Program Guidance. The competitive application cycle will close April 5.

Network Grant Program for Funding Opportunity
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced the Telehealth Network Grant Program (TNGP), with the objective of demonstrating how telehealth programs and networks can improve access to health care services in rural, frontier, and underserved communities. The TNGP networks are used to expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of care services; improve and expand the training of healthcare providers; and/or expand and improve the quality of health information available to health care providers, and patients and their families, for decision making. Applications are due April 8. More information about this opportunity is available on the federal Grants.Gov website.

Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grants
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has announced $500 million will be made available for transportation projects across the country under an eighth round of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) competitive grant program. Like the first seven rounds, FY 2016 TIGER discretionary grants will fund capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure and will be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant impact on the nation, a metropolitan area, or a region. The grant program will focus on capital projects that generate economic development and improve access to reliable, safe and affordable transportation for communities, both urban and rural. The Notice of Funding Opportunity has been released and $500 million has been appropriated for grants in this round of TIGER. Be sure and take part in the upcoming informational webinars about applying for a TIGER grant. The minimum TIGER grant amount for rural areas is $1 million. Applications are due April 29.


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Call for Papers: Health Care Among Rural U.S. Veterans
The Journal of Rural Health is soliciting articles on rural health and health care among rural U.S. veterans for an upcoming issue of the journal. All manuscripts will be evaluated according to the journal’s standard review process and must be submitted electronically. The deadline for submission is March 15.

Migrant Health Scholarship
The Migrant Health Scholarship offers funds to individuals pursuing or continuing their career in the migrant health field and/or are employees at a Community/Migrant Health Center. Applications are due March 18. For more information, please contact Janie Favre at (512) 312-5460.

Rural Health Grant Writing Specialist Training
The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) Grant Writing Institute is a four–month training series (Thursday, April 14—Thursday, August 11) designed to help rural health professionals build grant writing and grant management skills. All classes are offered through an online portal. Class size is limited and there is a $500 registration fee. Register online by April 7. For more information contact Kassie Clarke at 503-504-0900.

Discrimination in Healthcare: What Can be Done?
Celebrate National Public Health Week by participating in the Health Disparities Roundtable at the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health, April 8, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon. The Roundtable program is an annual lecture and forum about culturally responsive public health practice. This year's theme is "Discrimination in Healthcare: What Can be Done?" The program features a lecture and panel discussion with Gilbert Gee, Monica Hurtado and Michelle van Ryn. Registration is requested but the event is free and open to the public.

2016 Innovations in Rural Health Award
The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust announced the 2016 New Rural: Innovations in Rural Health Award. They are seeking original, innovative solutions that have the potential to drive health improvement in rural communities. They encourage submissions from around the country that highlight new ideas and emerging work. Individuals, for-profits, nonprofits and government agencies are welcome to apply. Finalists will receive a $7,500 award and one innovative and inspiring idea will win the New Rural Award and a total of $25,000.

Water Quality Online Survey
As part of the Governor's recent Water Summit, Governor Dayton and Lt. Governor Smith would like to hear about your ideas for improving water quality in both rural and urban areas of the state. Water in Minnesota’s rural areas faces unique challenges as we balance economic development with the increased demand on our water and as we manage potential pollutants. What strategies help us achieve these goals in a way that allows businesses to grow and thrive while ensuring the protection of our water? To ensure that all Minnesotans’ voices are heard on this important statewide issue, stakeholders and other interested members of the public are also encouraged to take this online survey. The information and input gathered from this survey will help inform the Administration and Legislature on Minnesota’s water quality challenges and possible solutions.


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Becker's Hospital Review: 50 Rural Hospital CEOs to Know, 2016
Two Minnesota leaders were named in Becker's "50 Rural Hospital CEOs to Know, 2016":

Rachelle H. Schultz, President and CEO of Winona Health, has worked in healthcare management for more than two decades. She currently oversees a system that includes a 99-bed acute care hospital, physician clinics, a nursing home and other care sites. Ms. Schultz earned a master's degree in healthcare administration from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. She is the chair-elect of the American Hospital Association's Section for Small or Rural Hospitals Governing Council.

John Solheim, CEO of Cuyuna Regional Medical Center in Crosby, was named CEO of Cuyuna Regional Medical Center, located approximately 100 miles northwest of Minneapolis, in 2012. Prior to his current role, he was president and CEO of St. Peter's Hospital in Helena, Montana. He earned a master's degree in healthcare administration from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

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ORHPC Staff News

Trauma System Team
Julie Hoffer rounds out the Trauma System Team by accepting the position of Research Scientist. She has previous experience as a visiting professor at Macalester College teaching epidemiology and study design, along with various research positions at the Minnesota Department of Health. Julie most recently worked for Medtronic where she provided data analysis and support for the investigation of neuromodulation devices. She is experienced in working with varied data sources to build reports for analysis. Julie will assist the trauma system with its performance improvement initiatives.

Critical Access Hospital Site Visits
Judy Bergh, Flex Coordinator, made site visits to Lakewood Health Center in Baudette, Warroad Rescue in Warroad, and LifeCare Medical Center in Roseau.

Rural Health Advisory Committee (RHAC) Site Visits
Darcy Dungan-Seaver, Rural Health Advisory Committee Coordinator and Policy Planner, made site visits to RHAC members in Butterfield and Mankato.

Former Minnesota Commissioner of Health Honored
The National Women's History Project has chosen Minnesota's Mary Madonna Ashton, CSJ, to be among the 15 women who will be honored during this year’s National Women´s History Month in March. The theme for 2016 is "Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government." These women have shaped America´s history and its future through their public service and government leadership.


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Health Equity
Community voices: Reducing tobacco-related health inequities (Minnesota Department of Health).
Child poverty higher and more persistent in rural America (Carsey School of Public Policy).
What is equity? (Amherst H. Wilder Foundation Research).
Mortality and life expectancy in rural America: Connecting the health and human service safety nets to improve health outcomes over the life course (National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services).

Health Reform
Health care 'homes' save Minnesota $1 billion (Minneapolis Star Tribune).
How the rise of private insurance exchanges will affect hospitals (Hospitals & Health Networks).
Rural hospitals face unusual circumstances within the shared evolution of the field (Hospitals & Health Networks).
Safety net population health management means doing more with less (Health IT Analytics).
Pilot testing a rural health clinic quality measurement reporting system (Maine Rural Health Research Center).
Health care stewardship case studies (Urban Institute).

Health Technology
Digitizing the safety net: Health tech opportunities for the underserved (California Health Care Foundation).
10 apps increasing health care access for low-income patients (Mashable).
Using health information technology to improve minority health outcomes (Minority Nurse).

Primary Care
Characteristics of early recipients of patient-centered outcomes research institute funding (Academic Medicine).
Pay primary care doctors what they're worth (Medpage Today).
How to improve clinical behavior in primary care (McKinsey & Company).
Mayo Clinic changes policy at Wabasha facility (Post-Bulletin).
At Stanford Medicine, a virtual primary care clinic designed around the patient (Healthcare Informatics).

Student finds passion in rural research (National Rural Health Association).
Not enough doctors? Nurses fill the gap after earning online degrees (STAT News).
Which assistant training programs produce rural PAs? A national study (Rural Health Research Gateway).
MSU study finds nurse practitioners more likely than medical doctors to work in rural areas (Montana State University).

Franken talks rural health care woes (Worthington Daily Globe).
Prediction of financial distress among rural hospitals (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).
Access to rural home health services: Views from the field (WWAMI Rural Health Research Center).
Rural reality: City transit, rural transit (Center for Rural Policy and Development).
Little bus on the prairie: Rural transit, faced with demographic change, adapts and evolves (MinnPost).

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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.

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 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 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.