Rural Health Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes
RURAL HEALTH ADVISORY
Tuesday, May 23, 2006, 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Minnesota Department of Health Snelling Office Park, Red River Room
1245 Energy Park Drive, St. Paul, MN 55108
Members Participating: Darrell Carter, Ray Christensen, Chair, Maddy Forsberg, Dianne Muckenhirn, Michael Mulder, Nancy Stratman, Rhonda Wiering, Senator Betsy Wergin.
Members Absent: Representative Brad Finstad, Steve Hansberry, Paul Iverson, Representative Mary Ellen Otremba, LaVonne Schlieman, Senator Jim Vickerman.
MDH Staff Present: Lynda Boudreau, Linda Norlander, Mark Schoenbaum, Kristen Tharaldson, Carol Woolverton.
Audience: Virginia Barzan, Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians; Ann Gibson, Minnesota Hospital Association.
WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS
Ray Christensen, chair, introduced Rural Health Advisory Committee members, presenters and participants in the audience.
ELECTION OF CHAIR-ELECT
Dianne Muckenhirn was elected by acclamation and will begin RHAC chair duties in September of 2007.
Issues and updates discussed by members included:
- Report on prevention activities
- Reduced payments from Medicare Advantage plans that affect critical access hospitals and rural nursing homes
- Reports of nursing and other health professional workforce shortages and work being done in higher education to fill the gaps
- Continued lack of mental health bed capacity and mental health services.
Deputy Commissioner Lynda Boudreau and Assistant Commissioner Carol Woolverton reported on emergency preparedness planning and provided an overview of MDH-related items passed in this year’s legislative session. Areas of interest include:
- Funding to promote statewide development of electronic health records (e-health.)
- Requirement that MDH do a study on uncompensated care for the
- Assisted living licensure and definition.
MINNESOTA TRAUMA SYSTEM
Tim Held, State Trauma System Coordinator presented on the Minnesota Trauma System including the history of its development, the need for a system and the current status of the system.
OFFICE OF RURAL HEALTH AND PRIMARY CARE REPORT
The vacancy on RHAC for a hospital representative due to the resignation of Rick Failing has been posted. A new representative will be appointed by the governor this summer.
Legislative update includes approval of a hospital bed moratorium exception for Cass County, and appropriations for a dental clinic in Willmar. Federal Flex grant application has been submitted and includes support for quality care improvement initiatives.
Reported on submitting an Active Living Research grant to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to study activity-friendly rural environments. Notification of grant awards will occur in September.
ORHPC is actively engaged with Minnesota Board on Aging and Department of Human Services on aging issues. Attended a roundtable discussion about elder-friendly communities on how to build momentum for planning and assessment.
REVIEW RHAC WORKPLAN
Reviewed 2005-2007 RHAC work plan developed last year. RHAC members noted that some of the priorities have changed. Would like to see telehealth and related rural issues as a larger part of the plan. Discussed how telehealth affects many of the other priority areas. Ray Christensen suggested that technology and telemedicine become an overarching priority in the work plan. RHAC members agreed to this idea.
Further discussion on priorities included the continued importance of the aging issue. Also health professional workforce—which is not specifically addressed in the current plan. Would like it added. RHAC members also noted a growing concern with rural uninsured and underinsured. Finally, added the importance of emergency preparedness, especially with the scarce resources in many rural areas.
The RHAC work plan will be updated with these priority items and discussed at the September RHAC meeting.
Mark Schoenbaum presented a recognition award to Ray Christensen for his service as RHAC chair. Nancy Stratman is now chair of RHAC for the next year. She thanked Ray for sharing with RHAC his art of caring for rural Minnesota.