Rural Health Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

Rural Health Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

Monday, June 27, 2011, 12-1 p.m.
Rural Health Conference in Duluth, MN

Members Present: Margaret Kalina, Jode Freyholtz-London, Diane Muckenhirn, Nancy Stratman

Members Absent: John Baerg, Tom Boe, Deb Carpenter, Ray Christensen, Tom Crowley, Rep. Steve Gottwalt, Jeff Hardwig, Tom Nixon, Sen. Julie Rosen

MDH Staff Present: Paul Jansen, Mark Schoenbaum, Kristen Tharaldson

Guest: Rebecca Lewis, DSGW Architects


Margaret Kalina – The Douglas County Hospital in Alexandria is experiencing low patient census. With health reform, the hospital is anticipating a broader focus on patient and community wellness.

Nancy Stratman – Nursing home in Cokato is at 100 percent occupancy.

Jode Freyholtz-London – Jody remains engaged in mental health work through the Consumer Survivor Network and seven-state Agriwellness initiative.

Rebecca Lewis (guest), DSWG Architects in Duluth – She is engaged with the American College of Health Care Architects and other national leaders in health campus architecture. Several executive boards (AIA, ASHI, etc.) determine building codes for health care. Forty-four states enacted these codes through legislation. Minnesota has not and currently uses these codes as guidelines with a waiver system for project approval. Rural leadership may be required to introduce legislation updating the building codes in statute.


ORHPC is tracking the reports and recommendations from the Rural Telemental Health Work Group and the Rural General Surgery Work Group. Currently, the Essentia Health System is looking into developing general surgery residency slots in a rural location. There is also a lot of momentum at the national level to revise training for new general surgeons who plan to practice in rural areas. RHAC member Ray Christensen is a co-presenter on a rural general surgery session at the Rural Health Conference.

Members reviewed current RHAC work. The project plan for the RHAC work group on obstetric services in rural Minnesota was highlighted. It is logical to follow up the general surgery work group with this issue since workforce and infrastructure challenges are similar. RHAC staff Paul Jansen and RHAC member Nancy Stratman are co-presenting on the newly released Rural Health Status Report at the Rural Health Conference.

The work plan for future RHAC-related work will be updated at the September RHAC meeting. New RHAC members will be included in the discussion to create an updated list of rural health issues and concerns.


Seven new members will be appointed to RHAC soon. We plan to talk or meet with these new members to orient them to this committee.

ORHPC plans to hold a community forum this fall in Park Rapids and in a southeastern Minnesota location to be determined. These forums will highlight needs and concerns of rural community members. RHAC members will be asked to help promote the events or host if they are near your community. Results of the forums will inform RHAC and FLEX planning as well as the next Rural Health Plan.


The meeting adjourned at 12:45 p.m. Attendees were encouraged to go to conference sessions RHAC members are presenting on Rural General Surgery and the recently updated Rural Health Status Report.

Updated Wednesday, August 17, 2011 at 03:10PM