May 2016









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Minnesota Rural Health Conference registration

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Register for the Minnesota Rural Health Conference by May 19 for early bird prices!

Remember to nominate your favorite rural health hero
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.

Immigrant physicians advance through unique Minnesota program
Minnesota’s first-in-the-nation program has resulted in two immigrant physicians securing positions in the University of Minnesota Pediatrics Residency Program. Established by the 2015 Legislature, the International Medical Graduate (IMG) Assistance Program (located in the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care) is the first state–level effort in the country that supports pathways to licensure for immigrant and refugee physicians. Funded through the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the program´s ultimate goal is to increase Minnesotans´ access to primary care and eliminate health disparities. The continuum of services provided through grant funding includes career navigation, foundational skill building, clinical preparation and residency positions. Program staff and stakeholders are also developing a process for assessing and certifying the clinical readiness of international medical graduates for residency. The program recently submitted its first year report to the Minnesota Legislature, which can be found at the International Medical Graduate Assistance Program website.

Governor Dayton establishes Mental Health Task Force
Just in time for Mental Health Month in May, Governor Dayton announced the creation of a Mental Health Task Force to advise the Governor and Legislature on improvements to Minnesota´s mental health systems. The Governor has directed the task force to develop comprehensive recommendations to design, implement, and sustain a continuum of mental health services throughout Minnesota.


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Minnesota State Loan Repayment Program
Minnesota State Loan Repayment Program applications are anticipated to be available June 2016. Loan repayments are for primary care providers practicing in rural and urban health professional shortage areas in Minnesota.


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OTHER GRANTS And funding

2016-2107 Miscarriage Care Initiative
The Miscarriage Care Initiative (MCI) is an effort by the Reproductive Health Access Project (RHAP) to expand access to evidence-based, patient-centered miscarriage care in primary care settings. Our vision is to support family physicians and clinic administrators to integrate all three forms of miscarriage management—expectant, medication, and manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) management—into their clinical practice. Over the grant period, five organizations will work closely with RHAP to integrate and expand miscarriage treatment into a primary care practice site. Each applicant organization will identify a “Clinical Champion,” who will be the primary point of contact and lead program implementation at the practice site. Grantees become part of a learning collaborative and receive intensive support that includes refresher training for the Clinical Champion, start-up supplies and equipment, patient education materials, and technical assistance to address administrative and operational needs. The grant period typically ranges from 12-18 months. To apply, the site must be a primary care setting. RHAP will strive to select a diverse cohort of grantees, both in terms of practice setting (community health centers, private practices, academic practices, etc.) and geographic location (regionally and urban vs. rural). Priority will be given to clinics working with medically underserved populations, are federally qualified health centers, and/or have a family medicine residency program. The Clinical Champion should be a board-certified or board-eligible family physician in the United States. Please visit the RHAP website for a full description of the Miscarriage Care Initiative and to access the application. Please email the MCI Manager Laura Riker if you have any questions. Applications will be accepted through June 17.

Dual Training Grants
In 2015, the Minnesota legislature created the Dual-Training Grant program to help employers and training providers deliver dual training to meet industry–developed occupational competency standards. The Minnesota Office of Higher Education is administering these grants in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI). Employers can use Dual-Training Grant awards to train employees in an occupation for which a competency standard has been identified in one of the four PIPELINE industries (advanced manufacturing, agriculture, health care services, and information technology). The employers must have an agreement with a training institution or program to provide the competency training. Employers must submit completed applications by May 22.

NHSC application cycle is now open
National Health Service  Corps logo Clinical practice sites can recruit and retain providers who want to serve in underserved communities by becoming a National Health Service Corps (NHSC)–approved site. The 2016 application cycle will close on June 7 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Review the 2016 NHSC Site Reference Guide to ensure your site(s) meets all the requirements and to gather the required documentation. Certain types of sites, including Health Center Program grantees and look-alikes, are auto-approved and do not need to submit an application during the site application period. Contact the HRSA Bureau of Health Workforce’s Division of Regional Operations to get more information about the auto–approval process.

Two rural long-term care providers team up for training with job skills partnership grant
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has awarded Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical a $260,000 grant under the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership (MJSP) to train 194 long-term care employees. In the two-year project, Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical will collaborate with long-term care providers, Tweeten Lutheran Healthcare Center in Spring Grove and Harmony Community Healthcare in Harmony, to create a Long-Term Care (LTC) Certification Program. Training will be provided to 194 employees at both facilities; and 42 employees are expected to be hired during the two-year grant period. For information on the grant, contact Calli Ekblad, Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical, 651-385-6320.


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DHS requests feedback on future opportunities for Integrated Health Partnerships program
The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) recently released a Request for Information (RFI) related to the Integrated Health Partnerships (IHP) program. Over the past four years of the IHP demonstration, DHS has engaged in alternative payment arrangements directly with provider organizations that serve an attributed population, in an agreed–upon total cost of care and risk/gain sharing payment arrangement. Quality of care and patient experience are measured and incorporated into the payment models alongside cost of care. DHS is interested in advancing this accountable care model to continue to improve the quality of and reduce the cost of care provided to individuals in the state´s public programs, such as Medical Assistance, Minnesota´s Medicaid program and MinnesotaCare, a program for residents who do not have access to affordable health care coverage. DHS recognizes that there are still many opportunities for potential improvements to the model. Examples of areas that DHS is requesting feedback on include: continuing to incentivize efficiency and improvement over time, flexibility of payment mechanisms, inclusion of specialty providers and providers that do not have direct affiliation with a hospital system, attribution methodology, and more. Send responses electronically in PDF format to Mat Spaan by May 27. If you are unable to submit your response electronically, please contact Mat Spaan at (651) 431–2495 for assistance.

MRHA launches Rural Health Advocacy Certificate program    
Beginning this summer, the Minnesota Rural Health Association (MRHA) will offer an eight–month certificate program in Rural Health Advocacy. This is an important new venture of MRHA stemming from strategic planning that identified the need to build more effective capacity among rural health advocates for making a difference on rural health policy issues. Set to begin this summer, the program will feature four face-to-face and four remote learning conferences. Participants will study the fundamentals of effective advocacy, develop their own advocacy projects and engage in hands-on learning resulting in greater understanding and competency.  It is a comprehensive program led by knowledgeable public policy professionals. The cost is $1,000. Registration is limited to the first 15 applicants.

Practice Transformation Networks (PTNs)
The Lake Superior Quality Innovation Network (LSQIN) serves as a local change agent - in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin - to help the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) achieve national health care quality goals. As part of that work, the LSQIN supports the Practice Transformation Network (PTN) program which is designed to help small and safety net providers transition from fee-for-service payment models to advanced payment models. Stratis Health, a member of the Lake Superior Network, will conduct assessments, provide quality improvement expertise and educational programs, and support clinic recruiting efforts by introducing PTNs to organizations that currently have relationships with LSQIN. Please contact Bill Sonterre at 612-584-7902.

Public comment requested on revision of the EMS Agenda for the Future
Agencies, associations and individuals are encouraged to provide input during the 90–day public comment period from April 1 to June 30. Comments may be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal and clicking "Submit a Formal Comment," as well as by mail or hand delivery to: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building, Room W12-140, Washington, DC, 20590. The Office of Emergency Medical Services will lead a webinar during EMS Week on May 16 at 2pm EST to look back at a few of the profession's most significant accomplishments over the last two decades and facilitate a conversation about how the industry can evolve over the next 30 years. Register online.


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Former health center patient returns as pharmacist
Kim Tran first encountered the University of Minnesota's Community University Health Care Center (CUHCC) as a small child in the early 1990s when her family immigrated to the U.S. from Vietnam. Her experiences at CUHCC inspired her to pursue a career in health care: she is now a PharmD and on staff at CUHCC. Many of you heard her tell her story at the October 2015 Many Faces Conference. Read Kim Tran's story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

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ORHPC Staff News

Flex Program Coordinator, Judy Bergh, made a site visit to Essentia Health, Sandstone. She also accompanied staff from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) in Bethesda, Maryland, on a site visit to Lake View Hospital at Two Harbors. Yvonne Chow and Christy Edwards are new project officers at FORHP. Ms. Chow also serves as the federal Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project (MBQIP) Coordinator and Ms. Edwards as the Flex Emergency Medical Services Coordinator. This was the first opportunity for both women to visit a Critical Access Hospital (CAH), where they met with CEO Greg Ruberg, toured the facility, and learned a lot about daily challenges, successes and opportunities in CAHs. Also meeting with the group were Tracy Morton and Caleb Seim of the National Rural Health Resource Center in Duluth.

The spring site visits for the trauma staff – Chris Ballard, Marty Forseth, and Tammy Peterson – began in late March this year and will continue until June 8. Twenty hospitals will undergo a re-verification site visit during this timeframe. There will be three Level 3 and seventeen Level 4 site visits conducted. The Level 3 facilities are: Fairview Southdale Hospital, Edina; Fairview Ridges Hospital, Burnsville; and Cuyuna Regional Medical Center, Crosby. The Level 4 facilities are: New Ulm Medical Center, New Ulm; Mayo Clinic Health System- Albert Lea & Austin, Austin; CentraCare Health System – Long Prairie, Long Prairie; St. Gabriel’s Hospital, Little Falls; Northfield Hospital, Northfield; Sanford Jackson Medical Center, Jackson; RC Hospital, Olivia; Redwood Area Hospital, Redwood Falls; Ridgeview Sibley Medical Center, Arlington; Mayo Clinic Health System – Waseca; Mayo Clinic Health System – Cannon Falls; Owatonna Hospital, Owatonna; Chippewa County Montevideo Hospital – Montevideo; Sanford Canby Medical Center, Canby; Children’s Hospitals and Health Services, St. Paul; FirstLight Health System, Mora; and Prairie Ridge Hospital and Health Services, Elbow Lake. The site visit is one of two components hospitals undergo to obtain trauma hospital verification. All hospitals must submit an application and then undergo a verification site visit. Level 3 trauma hospitals must undergo a verification site visit prior to receiving their re-designation status. Level 4 hospitals undergo their verification site visit within 12 months of receiving their designation. On average a trauma system site visit is about 6 hours in duration.

Deputy Director Tim Held attended the 2016 National Rural EMS Conference: Building Integration & Leadership for the Future in San Antonio. Presentation materials may be accessed on the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health website.

Grants Supervisor Will Wilson attended the National Assocation of Rural Health Clinics Institute in San Antonio. Back in Minnesota, Will made hospital site visits to Pipestone, Tyler and Granite Falls as well as a visit to Gaylord to discuss the new medical school. He also attended the Government to Government Minnesota Tribal and State Relations Training.


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Health Equity
Depression outcomes worse for Minnesota's poor: Report finds clinic performance in state splits along a socioeconomic divide (Minneapolis Star Tribune).
Health Care's hard realities on the reservation: A photo essay (Kaiser Health News and National Public Radio).
New center will address disparities in ‘precision health’ (The Stanford Daily).
Addressing Minnesota's racial inequities (TPT Almanac).

Health Technology
Can telemedicine help address concerns with network adequacy? Opportunities and challenges in six states (Urban Institute).
New Mexico's Project ECHO put forth as national telehealth model for rural care (Healthcare IT News).
Sisu helps rural hospitals endure (Twin Cities Business).

Primary Care
First downtown Minneapolis HCMC community clinic will land in the North Loop (Minneapolis Star Tribune).
How the NHSC provides primary care to those who need it most (HRSAtube).

Rural Health
More rural hospitals are closing their maternity units (Minnesota Public Radio).
Reaching veterans through rural health networks (Rural Roads).

Health matters: Jobs in healthcare: A growth industry (Ukiah Daily Journal).
Programs for lay health advisors can be designed to maximize their impact (Oncology Nurse Advisor).
Students get practical experience in helping children during medical crises (MinnPost).

Minnesota dental providers fight over scarce dollars for neediest (Minneapolis Star Tribune).
Health food access: A view of the landscape in Minnesota and lessons learned from healthy food financing initiatives (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis & Wilder Research).
Washburn Center’s Training Institute teaches mental health professionals how to best help kids (MinnPost).

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The Institute for Healthcare Improvement's HealthcareTransformation: Linking Cost and Quality presentation will be held May 7 in Duluth.

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

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

The 2016 gpTRAC Regional Telehealth "Wedge" Forum will be held May 14 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 Health Equity: Many Voices, Shared Vision conference will be held May 25-26 in St. Paul. The conference is co-sponsored by the Minnesota Public Health Association and the Minnesota Community Health Worker Alliance. The morning of the 26th is the joint session.

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.

The next Joint International Conference of the Community Development Society and the International Association for Community Development, Sustaining Community Change: Building Local Capacity to Sustain Development Initiatives, will be held July 24-27 in Bloomington.


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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.