Rural Health Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

Rural Health Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

Tuesday, September 25, 2007 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center
Wabasha, Minnesota

Members Present: John Baerg (Butterfield), Thomas Boe (Moorhead), Debra Carpenter (Erhard), Ray Christensen (Duluth), Tom Crowley (Wabasha), Margaret Kalina (Alexandria), Diane Muckenhirn, Chair (Hutchinson), Thomas Nixon (Deerfield), LaVonne Schlieman (Morris)

Members Absent: Rep. Steve Gottwalt (St. Cloud), Rep. Mary Ellen Otremba (Long Prairie), Nancy Stratman (Willmar), Sen. Jim Vickerman (Tracy), Sen. Betsy Wergin (Princeton)

MDH Staff Present: Doug Benson, Judy Bergh, Tamie Rogers, Mark Schoenbaum, Angie Sechler, Kristen Tharaldson, Karen Welle

Audience:Joni Lommen, Vice-President, St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, Jenny Schlagenhaft, Director of Communications/Community Relations, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Paul Thompson, Dietitian, Director of Hospital Nutrition Services and Carla Theusch, Director of Wellness Initiative, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center. RN Nursing Students of St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center:  Nicole Estby, Theresa Meyer, Rachel Nyairo, Melissa Rabehl and Kimberly Walsh. 


Diane Muckenhirn welcomed everyone to RHAC’s first offsite meeting, at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Wabasha, MN.

Member Updates:

John Baerg (Consumer Member)
An open house celebrating St. James’ new hospital's grand opening is November 11. Matt Grimshaw has been hired as the new hospital administrator, replacing Dawn Wells.

LaVonne Schlieman (Consumer Member)
Thanks to a $1.6 million grant from U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, e-Health has arrived in Madison, Dawson and Appleton. Grant award was covered in the local press.
Area hospitals need help dealing with the mental health needs of returning veterans and their families.

Margaret Kalina (Registered Nurse Member)
New oncology center is opening at their health facility.

Thomas Boe (Licensed Health Care Professional)
Sen. John Marty recently held a community listening session and discussed the fact that mental and dental care access continue to be major issues of concern. Mobile dental outreach through the West Central Initiative was recently in Fergus Falls. UCare’s mobile dental outreach unit was recently in Thief River Falls. Community dental clinic is up and running at the Minnesota Technical College.

Deb Carpenter (Consumer Member)
The West Central Initiative will work with AHEC on a grant to do LPN leadership training and establish a pre-selection tool for choosing health care as a career. They hope to use the tool in high schools and area workforce centers to help 24 people in the region complete CNA training. Early Childhood Dental Health Access Group continues to meet to address the growing needs of the population.

Thomas Nixon (Volunteer Ambulance Service Member)
A new patient care hospital wing with 80 beds is opening with a focus on intensive care and OB/GYN services. A health internship program coordinated with the hospital will end due to a lack of money and support from the local school board. The program has shown success, including job placement. Starting a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) class for mass casualty response with basic emergency training. A CERT grant will provide equipment for the course. The purpose is to provide 24 hours of education, which will result in a trained voluntary network within the community.

Ray Christensen (Higher Education Member)
MRHA held a successful Midwest Rural Health Policy Summit in Crookston on August 17. AHECs centers and staff are in place and are important for interprofessional education sites to have ongoing training programs. Duluth’s Medical School expanded their class by three students, while the University of MN-Twin Cities campus expanded their incoming medical class by 18. The University of Minnesota’s Med 2010 is up and running. It is a competency-based, rather than a time-based medical program, allowing students to finish medical school in three to six years. Sixty-four students completed this summer’s rural internship program, including 28 students from the Twin Cities campus.

Tom Crowley (Hospital Administrator Member)
A family practice physician was recruited in August 2007. It has become very difficult to recruit, primarily due to low numbers of medical residents in this area. Working with Minnesota Tech schools on providing CNA courses in Wabasha. Trying to create LPN and RN programs as well. Previously 23 students graduated from the program and had higher GPA scores than the classroom students. All passed their boards and have remained in the area. Subsidized salary and benefit packages helps retain these workers.

Diane Muckenhirn (Mid-Level Practitioner Member)
Hutchinson Medical Center has successfully moved to electronic medical records, which was easier than expected despite some minor stumbling blocks in the beginning. Hutchinson Medical Center has also recruited its sixth OB/GYN in the last 22 years, a sign of the growing difficulty of retaining this specialty in rural communities.

Mark Schoenbaum, Director, ORHPC

Trauma program continues and the American College of Surgeons will be reviewing the progress made in Minnesota this fall. Currently, Minnesota’s CAHs are being trained to meet the necessary requirements for trauma designation.

The telehealth registry is up and running and is intended to be a tool for providers to locate the range of existing telehealth options available for their patients.

ORHPC is starting the process of updating Minnesota’s Rural Health Plan as promised under the federal FLEX program. Judy Bergh provided a brief history of the development behind Minnesota’s Rural Health Plan and current plans underway for conducting stakeholder discussions to bring the existing Rural Health Plan up-to-date. RHAC members were asked to voluntarily serve on an advisory subgroup that will assist in the planning of the stakeholder discussions. Deb Carpenter, Tom Nixon and Tom Crowley agreed to be advisory members with Ray Christensen agreeing to serve as an alternate.

RHAC Work Plan: Approval of Draft
The draft of the 2007-2009 RHAC work plan was reviewed and discussed. It was suggested that formal follow-up as to the status of each issue area be provided at future RHAC meetings. Monitoring and tracking RHAC recommendations after the release of new reports would be provided after six months. Names/Web sites of other key stakeholders will be added to the “Outcomes/Actions” column. Members approved the work plan with the suggested changes and the requirement that an update on the status of programs or recommendations be provided at each RHAC meeting.

RHAC Workgroup report on Rural Health Reform: Approval of Draft
The draft of the RHAC workgroup report on Rural Health Reform was reviewed. Additional recommendations were discussed, so follow-up will be done with specific RHAC members in these areas. Members approved the draft report with the suggested changes. Next step is to share the report with the Health Care Transformation Task Force and others.

The next Rural Health Advisory Committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 27, 2007, Snelling Office Park, Red River Room, 1645 Energy Park Drive, St. Paul.


Updated Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 12:28PM