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



Office of Rural Health and Primary Care News

View this as a webpage

August 2022

Update Index

MDH news

A business case for RTT programs

The economic strength of our rural areas is a critical determinant of the state’s overall well–being. When rural areas experience health inequity, it is critical to strengthen and support solutions to close those gaps. Educating, recruiting and supporting rural primary care physicians is an important goal for the health of our state. Not only do additional family physicians benefit the health of rural and underserved communities, physicians also bring economic benefits to their communities.

One measure of economic health for any population is, quite literally, access to high quality primary health care. Unfortunately in Minnesota, according to 2017 data, there is one rural primary care physician for every 2,512 rural residents as compared to one urban primary care physician for every 865 urban residents.1

The 2018 American Medical Association (AMA) Economic Impact Study2 reported that a total of 13,401 physicians provide patient care in Minnesota. Each of those physicians supported an average of 12.8 other jobs and each generated an average of $2.3 million in economic activity. Physicians bring not only much needed health care to the areas they practice in, but much needed economic health as well.

Placing a primary care doctor in a community leads to positive health impacts for the patients who live there and it generates economic activity in the region. Rural Training Tracks (RTT) are one method of generating additional rural doctors.

In a Rural Training Track, urban and rural hospitals form partnerships to train residents to practice in rural areas. The training of physicians is expensive and requires federal and state support as well as the commitment of communities themselves. Recently, the University of Minnesota was awarded a federal Rural Residency Planning and Development award to develop and invest in a first-of–its–kind RTT to increase the number of primary care physicians practicing in rural and underserved areas of the state.

[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] Physicians' Impact (physicianseconomicimpact.org).

The Minnesota Study of Telehealth Expansion & Payment Parity

The 2021 Minnesota Legislature passed the Minnesota Telehealth Act, which expands telehealth in Minnesota and extends payment parity to include telephone-only visits through June 30, 2023.

The legislation also directs the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to conduct a study of the impact of these policies under private sector health insurance.1 The qualitative component of the study is underway, and Minnesota residents, providers, and payer organizations will be interviewed about their experiences with telehealth. If you or your organization is interested in participating in an interview, please contact Sera Kinoglu at Wilder Research by email or phone: sera.kinoglu@wilder.org or 651-210-2921.

For further information about the MDH Telehealth Study, please contact the MDH Health Economics Program, health.hep@state.mn.us, 651-201-4520.

1 A parallel study, led by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), focuses on the impact of these policies for Minnesota Health Care Programs, including Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare.

2022 MN Rural Health Awards OPEN for nominations

Green leafRural Health Awards are given annually to individuals and groups who have made a significant contribution to improving rural health in Minnesota. Applications are due Wednesday, August 31.

Please email the completed Rural Health Hero, Team and Lifetime nomination form to: health.orhpc@state.mn.us by 11:59 p.m., Wednesday, August 31. You may include 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 11:59 p.m., Wednesday, August 31. You may include two additional 8 ½ x 11 pages (such as letters of support and/or news articles).

National Health Center Week, August 7–13, 2022

National Health Center Week, Aug 7-13

National Health Center Week (August 7–13) is an annual celebration with the goal of raising awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s health centers over the past five decades. Community Health Centers serve as the beacon of strength, service, and care in their communities. In moments of pain and loss, they offer support and love. In moments of triumph, they offer hope and a vision for the future. Let’s come together this week to celebrate the roles Community Health Centers have played in both our recent moments of loss and triumph.  This National Health Center Week honors those front line providers, staff, and beloved patients who lost their lives during the (ongoing) COVID–19 pandemic. From the very beginning of the crisis, Community Health Centers began finding innovative ways to provide preventative and primary care to their patients. #NHCW2022

Top of page

Grants and other funding

New: Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention – Registered Nurse Training Program

Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention – Registered Nurse Training Program: HRSA–22–168 To enhance the nursing workforce to meet the needs of the nation’s diverse communities, this program aims to increase the number of nursing students trained in acute care settings to address and manage social determinant of health factors and improve health equity among underserved populations. Eligible applicants include accredited schools of nursing, health care facilities, or a partnership of such a school or facility. The application deadline is Friday, August 19.

New: Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention-Clinical Faculty and Preceptor Academies Program

Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention-Clinical Faculty and Preceptor Academies Program: HRSA–22–170 To increase the nursing workforce, this program aims to create academies consisting of academic-clinical partnerships that will develop and implement a formal curriculum to train clinical nursing faculty and preceptors. The program will increase the nursing workforce by recruiting, training and producing skilled clinical nursing faculty and preceptors. Eligible applicants include accredited schools of nursing, health care facilities, or a partnership of such a school or facility. The application deadline is Monday, August 22.

Ongoing: HRSA Payment Program for RHC buprenorphine-trained providers

In June 2021, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) launched an effort to improve access to substance use disorder treatment by paying for providers who are waivered to prescribe buprenorphine, a medication used to treat opioid use disorder. Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) still have the opportunity to apply for a $3,000 payment on behalf of each provider who trained to obtain the waiver necessary to prescribe buprenorphine after January 1, 2019. Approximately $1.2 million in program funding remains available for RHCs and will be paid on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are exhausted. Send questions to DATA2000WaiverPayments@hrsa.gov.

Top of page


National Rural Health Association's Fellows program

The National Rural Health Association's (NRHA) Rural Health Fellows program is a yearlong, intensive training program that develops leaders who can articulate a clear and compelling vision for rural America. Each year, NRHA selects 10 to 15 highly motivated individuals who have proven their dedication to improving the health of rural Americans through their educational or professional experience. The submission period for 2023 Rural Health Fellows applications is now open through September 15.

The following are the 2022 Rural Fellows from Minnesota:

  • Jeanne Edevold Larson, founding and current director of Northern Dental Access Center in northwest Minnesota. With a commitment to community collaboration and cultural empathy, Jeanne works to encourage rural systems and organizations to reframe challenges in order to leverage the resiliency and assets of Minnesota's rural communities.
  • Alyssa Meller oversees operations at the National Rural Health Resource Center (The Center) in Duluth. In addition, Alyssa works with rural communities to understand the critical components of care coordination and community collaboration, and how they are essential parts of the new value-based payment models.

Climate change and human health fact sheet

Research conducted at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), seeks to better understand how climate change–related environmental factors may affect people’s health. NIEHS is leading a new Climate Change and Health Initiative to coordinate solutions-focused research throughout the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with an aim to reduce health consequences associated with evolving climate conditions and extreme weather. Examples of the ways that climate change may affect people’s health are listed in the Climate change and human health fact sheet.

Online sessions on navigating transitions for youth with medical complexity to adult careMMA Project Echo

With a grant from the COPIC Medical Foundation, the Minnesota Medical Association (MMA) is hosting a series of 15 noon–time online sessions intended to develop a sustainable and collaborative knowledge–sharing community to improve the transition from pediatric to adult care for youth with medical complexity. The project aims to improve the competence and confidence of Minnesota adult primary care clinicians to manage youth with complex conditions, thereby increasing the capacity and number of such clinicians willing to accept new patients. The next session, Devices of the Medically Complex: Cecostomy/ACE, will be held on August 15. It will be presented by Katie Nelson, NP, from Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare, Adult Urology Clinic. Register here for sessions.

Age Variations by County

new interactive map based on the 2020 Census Count provides a county’s population and its median age – the midpoint at which one-half of the population is older and one-half is younger.

Top of page

News from our Partners

Nursing partnerships established between Essentia Health and colleges

Essentia Health announced Academic Practice Partnerships with Northwood Technical College in Superior, the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Lake Superior College in Duluth and Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe College in Hayward to invest in the future of nursing at Essentia. One of the main goals of these partnerships is to address nursing workforce needs at Essentia by supporting a smooth transition of graduates into practice.

Free dental care event in St. Cloud

The Minnesota Dental Association and Foundations opened the doors to 1000+ who showed up needing dental care. A large group of volunteers gathered over a weekend in St. Cloud to provide care for those who cannot afford dental care.

Top of page

Read this

Urban–Rural Differences in Drug Overdose Death Rates, 2020, National Center for Health Statistics, July 2022. 

Gas prices hurt people going to the doctor, but interstate telehealth can help, Forbes, July 2022.

Has telehealth democratized care? It’s complicated, North Carolina Health News, July 2022.

Combating a crisis by integrating mental health services and primary care, HealthAffairs Forefront, July 2022.

Tackling America’s mental health and addiction crisis through primary care integration, Bipartisan Policy Center, March 2021.

UCF Health Leaders Academy helps teens chart path to medicine, University of Central Florida, July 2022.

Mobile health clinic training for Seton Hall nursing students, College of Nursing, Seton Hall University, July 2022.

Types of rural and urban hospitals and counties where they are located, North Carolina Rural Health Research Program, July 2022.

Top of page

Save the date

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

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

National Rural Health Day

Top of page