November 2016
    Office of Rural Health and Primary Care graphic



National Rural Health Day 2016

This year's National Rural Health Day is Thursday, November 17.

For the sixth year in a row, join the
National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH),
the State Offices of Rural Health (SORHs) and our partners
to celebrate the great things that are happening in rural health!

Looking for ways to celebrate National Rural Health Day?

Answer your phone on November 17 by saying
"Hello... Happy National Rural Health Day!"

Thank a rural health provider for all that they do!

Link to the National Rural Health Day website from your website

Plan a field trip to a local hospital or rural health provider


National Rural Health Day WebSights
On Thursday, November 17, join NOSORH for a a special line–up of free, web–based learning sessions. Connect with experts and rural health stakeholders across the U.S. on the issues that matter to rural health. All of the topics presented are free but registration is required.


Minnesota Health Care Workforce Snapshot
The chart below provides a view of the geographic distribution of physicians, showing the size of the population for every one physician in urban, micropolitan, small town, and rural areas. The chart includes both primary care and other physicians. (Approximately one-third of all physicians practice primary care medicine.) As shown, there are 277 people for every one physician in urban areas of Minnesota, compared to nearly eight times that many in the most rural areas of the state. This pattern is typical of other healthcare professions, and reflects the relative inaccessibility of care in sparsely populated areas of Minnesota.

Minnesota Population-to-Physician Ratio

Chart showing Minnesota Population to Physician Ratio

Data source: Minnesota's Physician Workforce, 2015, Published August 2016

Note: Minnesota Department of Health analysis of November 2015 Minnesota Board of Medical Practice address data. Percentages above are based on 15,991 valid Minnesota addresses.

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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Immigrant International Medical Graduates (IIMG) Primary Care Residency Grant Program
The Immigrant International Medical Graduates (IIMG) Primary Care Residency Grant Program provides grant funding to support residency training for immigrant international medical graduates. This program is one aspect of a comprehensive program authorized by Minnesota State Statute 144.1911 to address barriers to practice and facilitate pathways to assist IIMGs to integrate into the Minnesota health care delivery system, with the goal of increasing access to primary care in rural and underserved areas of the state. Eligible applicants are programs, sponsors and potential sponsors of primary care residency positions located in Minnesota that propose to train IIMG medical residents in the primary care specialties of Family Medicine, General Internal Medicine, General Pediatrics, Internal Medicine/Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Obstetrics and Gynecology. Download the 2016 IMG Residency Grant Program Request for Proposals. Applications are due 4 p.m. November 11. For more information contact Yende Anderson at 651-201-5988.

Minnesota J-1 Visa Waiver Program
The Minnesota J-1 Visa Waiver Program applications for FY 2017 are due 4:30 p.m., November 30. Physicians who wish to be considered for a waiver slot must submit their application by the due date. For more information about the J-1 Visa Waiver Program, contact Workforce Grants Administrator Darwin Flores Trujillo at 651-201-3850 or

Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program
The next annual cycle of the Minnesota Health Care Loan Forgiveness Program is currently open until January 6. Review each of the program links for detailed information and application deadlines.


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OTHER GRANTS And funding

Funding Opportunity Announcement: Rural Health Network Development Program
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) is accepting applications for the Rural Health Network Development Program. The purpose of this program is to support rural integrated health care networks that have combined the functions of the entities participating in the network in order to: achieve efficiencies; expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of essential health care services; and strengthen the rural health care system as a whole. Applications due November 28.

National Training and Technical Assistance Cooperative Agreements (NCA) Funding Opportunity
HRSA has released the FY 2017 National Training and Technical Assistance Cooperative Agreements (NCA) funding opportunity announcement (FOA – HRSA-17-058). NCAs provide training and technical assistance (T/TA) to health centers nationally to improve health center operational and clinical outcomes, both directly and through coordinated activities with other HRSA-supported T/TA providers. An estimated $18.5 million is expected to be available annually to fund approximately 19 awards. NCA applications are due in by 11:59 p.m. EDT on December 12 and in HRSA’s Electronic Handbook (EHBs) by 5 p.m. EDT on January 23, 2017. Applicants must meet BOTH deadlines. Contact with questions.

State and Regional Primary Care Association (PCA) Cooperative Agreements Funding Opportunity
HRSA has released the FY 2017 State and Regional Primary Care Association (PCA) Cooperative Agreements funding opportunity announcement (FOA – HRSA-17-057). PCAs provide training and technical assistance directly and through collaborative partnerships to assist health centers to increase access to care, achieve operational excellence, and enhance health outcomes and health equity within their state or regional contexts. An estimated $53.6 million is expected to be available annually to fund approximately 52 awards. PCA applications are due in by 11:59 p.m. EDT on December 12 and in HRSA’s Electronic Handbook (EHBs) by 5 p.m. EDT on January 23, 2017 Applicants must meet BOTH deadlines. Contact with questions.


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Addressing the Etiology of Health Disparities and Health Advantages Among Immigrant Populations
The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to support innovative research to understand uniquely associated factors (biological, behavioral, sociocultural, and environmental) that contribute to health disparities or health advantages among U.S. immigrant populations. Applications are due January 7.

Bill for Behavioral Health and Primary Care Services on the Same Day
Integration of physical and behavioral health care is critical to improving access to care, improving health outcomes, decreasing unmet need for services, and lowering costs. The ability to bill for both behavioral health and primary care services on the same day is an essential part of integrating care. Federal same-day billing restrictions do not exist and here are no restrictions from the Department of Health and Human Services on billing for medical and behavioral health services on the same day, but there may be some state-level restrictions as well as misperceptions in the field about restrictions. Because the state agency is the only verifiable source for Medicaid billing information, providers should reach out to their state Medicaid agencies directly to get accurate information. For further information on which states allow same day billing by Health Centers and additional billing information for safety net providers visit Paying for Primary Care and Behavioral Health Services Provided in Integrated Care Settings.

Virtual Job Fair
Thursday, November 17, join the federal Health Resource and Services Administration's (HRSA) Virtual Job Fair to connect and network with prospective employers and find job vacancies in all National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and NURSE Corps eligible disciplines from the comfort of your own home. The Virtual Job Fair offers real-time interaction with representatives from NHSC sites and NURSE Corps critical shortage facilities. Learn more about the Virtual Job Fair and register today. It will be held from 6:45 - 10:15 p.m. ET.

CT Scanner Initiative
The Helmsley Charitable Trust's Rural Healthcare Program has launched a CT Scanner Initiative, a funding opportunity for qualifying hospitals in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. This initiative follows a similar Request for Proposal launched in summer 2015, to which over 100 hospitals applied and 37 were awarded grants. Qualifying hospitals may apply for up to $400,000 to purchase a new 32 slice or higher CT scanner through a two-year grant. For more specifics on eligibility, please read the full Request for Proposal. Letters of Inquiry are due 5 p.m. EST, December 9.

Rural Health Information Technology Workforce Program Curriculum Resources
The Rural Health Information Technology Workforce Program Curriculum Resources pages are now live on the Rural Health Information. From 2013-2016, fifteen Rural Health IT Workforce grantees were supported by Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) to focus on activities related to the recruitment, education, training, and retention of health IT specialists. To help other communities adopt best practices, this section of RHIhub offers a complete inventory of curriculum resources, including detailed course descriptions and training materials. The resources can be used as examples for rural and rural serving communities, vocation, and technical colleges that wish to offer similar trainings in their educational institutions.


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Living the Vision Award
The American Hospital Association presented the Carolyn Boone Lewis Living the Vision Award to Saint Elizabeth's Medical Center, Wabasha, for its work in improving the health of the communities it serves through actions that go beyond traditional hospital care. You can read more about the award and Saint Elizabeth's work in their press release.

The Heart of New Ulm (HONU) Project
The Heart of New Ulm (HONU) Project is a partnership between New Ulm Medical Center, Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation and Allina Health, and the community of New Ulm. The project, which began in 2009, is designed to reduce the number of heart attacks that occur in the New Ulm area over a 10-year period. To achieve this goal, multi-sector, multi-pronged approaches were deployed across the community to reduce health risks through physical activity, healthful eating, smoking cessation and maintaining a healthy weight. The project involves community education, medical interventions and environmental changes.

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ORHPC Staff News

ORHPC Director Mark Schoenbaum attended the annual strategic planning meeting of the Minnesota Rural Health Association in Fergus Falls. ORHPC has been a member of the Association’s board since it was formed in the mid–1990s.

The Trauma staff—Chris Ballard, Marty Forseth, and Tammy Peterson—are just about done doing their fall site visits. Fifteen hospitals will undergo a re-verification site visit during this timeframe. There will be one Level 3 hospital site visit and fourteen Level 4 site visits conducted. The Level 3 facility is Lakeview Hospital, Stillwater. The Level 4 facilities include: Rainy Lake Medical Center, International Falls; Windom Area Hospital, Windom; Murray County Medical Center, Slayton; Ortonville Area Health Services, Ortonville; Sanford Wheaton Medical Center, Wheaton; Sanford Bagley Medical Center, Bagley; LifeCare Medical Center, Roseau; RiverView Health, Crookston; Olmsted Medical Center, Rochester; CentraCare Health – Melrose, Melrose; Unity Hospital, Fridley; Maple Grove Hospital, Maple Grove; Mayo Clinic Health System – New Prague, New Prague. 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. As a result of recent legislative changes both Level 3 and Level 4 trauma hospitals now follow the same designation process and must undergo a verification site visit prior to receiving their re-designation status. On average a trauma system site visit is about 6 hours in duration.

Grants Supervisor Will Wilson, Policy Planner Darcy Dungan-Seaver and Rural Health Advisory Committee (RHAC) Consumer Member Ann Bussey attended the inaugural Rural Community Health Worker conference in Bemidji organized by Northwest Technical College. Will gave a presentation titled "CHWs in Minnesota: Status, Trends and Opportunities."

Senior Research Analyst Teri Fritsma presented ORHPC Health Care Workforce's most recent data on Minnesota's psychology workforce to a group of psychologists at the University of Minnesota Student Counseling Services office. The presentation emphasized trends such as the aging of the workforce and career satisfaction. Teri was also invited to showcase workforce data we collect on Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs), Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCCs), and Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors (LADCs) to the Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy's Executive Board. She presented new information on the workforce such as demographic characteristics and workforce participation as well as comparing these particular professions with other mental health professions such as social workers, psychologists, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFTs) and psychiatrists.

Flex Program Coordinator Judy Bergh attended the MDH Stroke and STEMI Regional Workshop in Grand Rapids. Judy and Rural Health Policy Researcher Emma Distel accompanied staff from the National Rural Health Resource Center and the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy on a site visit to Mercy Hospital, Moose Lake. Judy and Emma also joined Reimbursement Fiscal Analyst Craig Baarson for a site visit to Cass Lake Indian Hospital, Cass Lake and Essentia Health Deer River Hospital, Deer River.

Reimbursement Fiscal Analyst Craig Baarson attended the Aiming High PrimeWest Health 2016 Fall Providers & Partners Conference in Alexandria.


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Health Equity
Does structural racism exist in our health care system? (KSTP Channel 5 Eyewitness News).
Health equity plan 2016-2018 (Saint Paul-Ramsey County Public Health).
Collaborative study aims to reduce racial disparities in nursing homes, improve quality of life (University of Minnesota Health Talk).

Health Reform
Health systems tackling social determinants of health: Promises, pitfalls, and opportunities of current policies (American Journal of Managed Care).
'Safety-net' hospitals ask for federal probe of possible EpiPen overcharges (CNBC).
Hospitals see dramatic drops in both bad debt and charity care in 2015 (Minnesota Department of Health).

Primary Care
Speakers tout population health, primary care integration success (American Academy of Family Physicians).
Column: It’s time for primary care providers to embrace treating addiction (PBS News Hour).

Rural Health
The White House Rural Forum focuses on rural opportunities and results (The White House).
Trends in risk of financial distress among rural hospitals (North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center).
Telemedicine penetration and consultation among rural trauma patients in Critical Access Hospital emergency departments in North Dakota (Rural Telehealth Research Center).
Bringing law and medicine together to help rural patients (The Rural Monitor).

Health Technology
Expanding emergency telemedicine (Federal Telemedicine News).
Connected to care: Federal office aims to expand telehealth, p. 25 (Rural Roads).
Using data to track patients, Twin Cities clinics save millions while improving care (Minneapolis Star Tribune).
Data sharing and the death of government silos (Government Technology).

Can ordinary citizens help fill gaps in U.S. health care? (PBS News Hour).
Pharmacists are part of the primary care ‘dream team’ (American Pharmacists Association).

Holistic approach to opioid epidemic at Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center (WTNH News 8).
State to increase capacity of mental health care (Brainerd Dispatch).
MDH finds drugs given in medical settings are big drivers of costs (Minnesota Department of Health).
MDH highlights health benefits of going to a hospital after a sexual assault (Minnesota Department of Health).

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The Equity in Action Summit will be held November 17 in Saint Paul.

The Opportunity Conference Advancing LGBTQ Health will be held February 27-28 in St. Paul.

The fourth annual Comprehensive Advanced Life Support on Rural Emergency Care will be held September 29, 2017 in St. Paul.


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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.