Rural Health Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes Summary
RURAL HEALTH ADVISORY
Tuesday, September 19, 2006 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Minnesota Department of Health Snelling Office Park
1245 Energy Park Drive, St. Paul, MN 55108
Members Participating: Darrell Carter, Tom Crowley, Maddy Forsberg, Dianne Muckenhirn, LaVonne Schlieman, Nancy Stratman, Senator Jim Vickerman, Rhonda Wiering
Members Absent: Ray Christensen, Representative Brad Finstad, Steve Hansberry, Paul Iverson, Michael Mulder, Representative Mary Ellen Otremba, Senator Betsy Wergin
MDH Staff Present: Doug Benson, Jay Fonkert, Commissioner Dianne Mandernach, Linda Norlander, Mark Schoenbaum, Kristen Tharaldson, Karen Welle, Assistant Commissioner Carol Woolverton.
Audience: Virginia Baarson, Academy of Family Physicians; Ann Gibson, Minnesota Hospital Association.
WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS
Nancy Stratman, chair, welcomed members, audience and staff. She introduced Tom Crowley, president and CEO of St.Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Wabasha. Tom is the new RHAC hospital representative.
Issues and updates members discussed include:
- Report on a number of initiatives in southern Minnesota including planning grants for transportation, technology and telemedicine.
- Workforce concerns around shortage of dentists and growing shortage of family practice and primary care physicians. More medical students are training in specialties because of better pay and better hours. Discussion of ways to keep older workers—especially registered nurses—in the workforce.
- Concerns regarding mental health services including problems with payment to hospitals for patients placed on 72 hour holds. Questions in rural areas regarding the new state operated mental health units.
- Need for more support in working with the new rural immigrant populations especially with language and cultural barriers.
- Aging issues including a report on the RHAC subcommittee on building healthy communities (see RHAC motions.)
Commissioner Dianne Mandernach reported on a number of topics including emergency prepardedness, the Governor’s Q-Health initiative, preparation for returning Iraq veterans and the Governor’s Fit Cities initiative.
- Preparedness—Noted that no matter how much effort is put into emergency preparations, we will never be able to say that we are fully prepared for a pandemic flu or other emergencies. However, over 6,000 exercises at the Minnesota county level have occurred. Focus continues on individual and
- A major new state initiative out of the Governor’s Healthcare Cabinet is Q-Care with a focus on comparison of health outcomes with available standards. Areas for emphasis include diabetes, cardiac care, patient safety and prevention (immunization rates and obesity prevention).
- A veteran’s summit will take place this Thursday to acknowledge the 2,600 National Guard veterans returning from the Gulf region. The purpose is to take down any barriers to health care, family services, education, etc. Differences from past wars include many female returnees and many amputees. Mental health issues are and will continue to be a challenge.
- The Fit Cities and Fit Schools initiative is well underway. There are currently 27 cities designated.
RURAL HEALTH WORKFORCE: AGING OF THE WORKFORCE AND WORKFORCE FOR THE AGING
Jay Fonkert, Workforce Analyst, ORHPC discussed health care workforce trends. [See powerpoint handout]
OFFICE OF RURAL HEALTH AND PRIMARY CARE REPORT
Discussed a number of ongoing activities within the ORHPC:
- Leading a healthy aging initiative within MDH and working with the Minnesota Department of Human Services and the Minnesota Board on Aging on a statewide plan to address the aging population
- Convened a statewide forum on telehealth. Participants developed recommendations noted in the E-health Committee recommendations. (See handouts)
- Received continued funding for the Minnesota Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program to provide grants to hospitals and communities to improve access to health care
Seven RHAC terms expire in January 2007. Vacancies will be listed by the Secretary of State in November with application deadline of November 28. Positions open include registered nurse (Rhonda Wiering), consumer (Maddie Forsberg), consumer with a mental health focus (Steven Hansberry), volunteer EMT (Mike Mulder), health professional (Paul Iverson) and three legislative positions (Senator Jim Vickerman, Representative Brad Finstad and Representative Mary Ellen Otrema.) Appointments will be made by the governor and current members will serve until appointment are completed.
TELEHEALTH FORUM/RECOMMENDATIONS TO e-HEALTH COMMITTEE
Martin LaVenture, Director of Health Informatics, MDH
Mark Schoenbaum, Director, ORHPC, MDH
Karen Welle, Assistant Director, ORHPC, MDH
Barb Wills, Director of Center of Data Initiatives, MDH
Discussed e-Health Committee including four themes that recommendations are based on:
- Empowering consumers
- Informing and connecting providers
- Protecting communities
- Developing core infrastructures.
Telehealth recommendation to e-Health Committee—ensure that e-Health system development is integrated and supports statewide telehealth services. Action steps include establishing a coordinating organization, addressing telecommunication regulatory and policy barriers, creating a directory of services, identifying business models to sustain network infrastructure and developing an interoperable network.
Following discussion, RHAC members gave consensus approval to the e-health Advisory Committee recommendations.
Creating Healthy Communities for the Aging Population Recommendation
RHAC members discussed recommendation from the RHAC subgroup on healthy aging to promote an initiative that would provide grant funding for communities to assess community regarding healthy aging and innovations that would support a healthy aging population. Members gave consensus approval to recommendations. (See handout for complete recommendation.)
The next meeting of RHAC will be on Tuesday November 21, 2006 and will include a legislative panel.
MEETING WAS ADJOURNED AT 1:42 p.m.