ORHPC News Update July 2022 - Office of Rural Health and Primary Care



Office of Rural Health and Primary Care News

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July 2022

Update Index

MDH news

Creating pipelines of primary care to rural areas

According to the Minnesota Department of Health’s 2021 Rural Health Care in Minnesota: Data Highlights, not only do a majority of health care providers work in urban areas, many rural providers are older and closer to retirement. Like so many other parts of the country, Minnesota’s rural areas face a shortage of all provider types, especially in primary care and mental health.

licensed health care provider working in metro areas

In rural parts of the state, there is one primary care physician for every 2,512 residents as compared to 865 urban residents for every one urban primary care physician.[1] This disparity can lead to shortages in access to care and longer wait times for appointments. Rural residents are more likely not to get an appointment with a primary care provider as soon as needed as compared to their urban counterparts.[2]

One solution to address these disparities in primary care access and health outcomes for rural residents is to invest in rural training of primary care physicians, especially in family medicine. Supporting Rural Residency Track (RTT) programs is one pathway to growing our own rural family medicine doctors.

In an RTT program, urban and rural hospitals form partnerships to train residents to practice in rural areas. RTT residents typically spend their second and third year of residency embedded in a rural community. This gives these residents an opportunity to get to know the community and develop ties, and increases the likelihood they will establish their practice where they trained. Studies show that RTT graduates are more likely to practice in rural areas as compared to their counterparts who train in traditional family medicine residency programs.[3]

Placing a primary care doctor in a community leads to positive health impacts for the patients who live there and generates economic activity in the region by supporting other jobs and economic growth.

An RTT program is one strategy Minnesota is taking to address the physician shortage in our rural communities. Minnesota recently received a federal Rural Residency Planning and Development (RRPD) award to develop a rural training track in family medicine. ORHPC is working with the awardees to launch the state's first RTT. We are also exploring more RTT-ready sites that could be developed in Minnesota. 

[1] Minnesota Board of Medical Practice. Primary care physicians include general family medicine, general internal medicine, and general pediatrics specialists, as defined in Minnesota statute. Population data on which these calculations are based come from the Minnesota State Demographic Center, release date 2018; data from 2017.

[2] Minnesota Health Access Survey, 2019 https://www.health.state.mn.us/facilities/ruralhealth/docs/ruralhealthcb2021.pdf

[3] Rural Training Track Programs: A Guide to the Medicare Requirements, AAMC. 2017. Page 2.


National Rural Health Day

2022 MN Rural Health Awards OPEN for nominations

Rural Health Awards are given annually to individuals and groups who have made a significant contribution to improving rural health in Minnesota.

Nominees may have contributed to rural health in any capacity - in a volunteer or paid position, as a health care provider or not, and/or through policy or practice.

Applications are due August 31. Please email your completed Rural Health Hero, Team and Lifetime nomination form to: health.orhpc@state.mn.us. Feel free to include up to two additional 8 ½ x 11 pages (such as letters of support and/or news articles).

Please email the completed Rural Health Emerging Leader nomination form to: mark@mnruralhealth.org by August 31. Feel free to include up to two additional 8 ½ x 11 pages (such as letters of support and/or news articles).

Nominate a 2022 Community Star from Minnesota

Nominate a 2022 Community Star

Help the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) identify individuals, consortiums, or organizations making a positive health impact in their rural communities by nominating them to be featured in the 2022 Community Stars ebook. This annual publication will be released on National Rural Health Day, November 17, and will honor rural health stars from all 50 states! Nominations for the 2022 Community Star Recognition Program are open through August 1. Nominators must reside, work or volunteer in the same state as the individual or organization they are nominating as a Community Star.

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Grants and other funding

New: C2DREAM Pilot Grant Program

The NIMHD–funded Center for Chronic Disease Reduction and Equity Promotion Across Minnesota (C2DREAM) is inviting applications for the mentored research project Pilot Grant Program for post–doctoral fellows and early–stage investigators to address chronic disease health disparities in Minnesota communities. Visit the Pilot Grant Program website for more information.

Reminder: Mental Health Cultural Community Continuing Education (MHCCCE) Grant - Individuals

The next round of Mental Health Cultural Community Continuing Education (MHCCCE) - Individuals grant applications is due August 1.

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Supporting people with epilepsy in rural communities

The National Rural Health Association and the Epilepsy Foundation have established a collaboration to reach people living with epilepsy in rural communities. The goal is to raise awareness and ensure people with epilepsy and their caregivers have access to programs and services that can help them better manage this chronic condition. More than 3.4 million people are living with epilepsy in the U.S. Many live in rural and underserved communities and don’t have access to specialty care. In addition, some people with epilepsy have complex needs that are not easy to treat. Many primary care providers cannot address the challenges of difficult–to–control seizures, comorbidities, or rare epilepsy syndromes. Patients with these issues require access to epilepsy specialists. As part of the collaboration, the Epilepsy Foundation will offer its virtual seizure recognition and first aid certification training to rural health leaders, including practitioners, facilities, educators, state and federal agencies, and other professionals dedicated to advancing health care in rural America. Trainings are ongoing.

Rural Emergency Hospital (REH) Model

In 2020, Congress created a new type of Medicare provider called the Rural Emergency Hospital (REH) in response to loss of services due to rural hospital closures. The new designation will allow a Critical Access Hospital or small rural hospital with no more than 50 beds to convert to an REH with 24–hour emergency services, but no inpatient care. With this funding opportunity, HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy will award up to $2.5 million for one national center providing expertise to help rural hospitals determine if the REH model is right for their community and, if so, facilitate a successful transition. Read the policy brief on the Rural Emergency Hospital with recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services.

ERS State Fact Sheets

The Economic Research Service (ERS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture released an update to its collection of state– and county–level data on agricultural data as well as population, income, poverty, food security, education, and employment. The Minnesota State Fact Sheet was updated June 2022.

Control Your Diabetes for Life Toolkit

Download the Control Your Diabetes for Life Toolkit today. This resource is designed for anyone willing to guide a patient through the material, like health educators, health care providers, community health workers, family members and others. It contains instructional sheets on 26 self–care topics, a patient action plan for setting goals, and a one–page self–care checklist. Topics include A1C, blood sugar, insulin, heart health, blood pressure, eating, physical activity, checking eyes and feet and more. Also included: the 10 Simple Steps handout, an outline of steps to take for enjoying a healthy life with diabetes. For feedback or questions, contact: health.diabetes@state.mn.us or 651–201–5434.

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Read this

Randomized Study Will Test Effectiveness of ‘Home Hospitalization’ for Rural Patients, The Daily Yonder, April 2022.

Trends in Revenue Sources Among Rural Hospitals, Rural Health Research Gateway, June 2022.

The Racial and Ethnic Diversity of the Family Physician Workforce in Non-Metropolitan and Metropolitan Counties, 2022, Rural & Underserved Health Research Center, June 2022

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Save the date

The virtual Many Faces of Community Health Conference will be held August 18–19. Registration is now open.

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

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