Minnesota Hospital Association


July 06, 2015

MHA Newsline: July 6, 2015

In this issue 

Rural Health Hero, Rural Health Team awards honor service to rural Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Health, the Minnesota Rural Health Association and the National Rural Health Resource Center on June 30 presented two awards honoring outstanding service to rural Minnesota communities at the Minnesota Rural Health Conference in Duluth. 

Maureen Ideker, RN, director of telehealth at Essentia Health, Duluth, was honored with the Rural Health Hero award for her more than 20 years of leadership developing telehealth services to improve health care access for rural Minnesotans. Ideker became an early and enduring advocate of telehealth and the infrastructure needed to maintain it, including broadband capacity, funding and training services in rural areas. Ideker’s extensive experience has made her the state’s ‘resident expert’ on telehealth and how to make it work for rural Minnesota. 

The 2015 Rural Health Team award was given to the board of directors of the Angel Fund, a volunteer-run organization supporting individuals with cancer in communities on the Iron Range. Nominated by Deb Boardman, president and CEO of Fairview Range Medical Center, Hibbing, the Angel Fund supports individuals and families by holding multiple fundraisers to supply nontraditional items such as gas cards for transportation, medical supplies not covered by insurance and assistance with other daily living expenses. In 2014, the Angel Fund helped over 138 individuals in over 30 northern Minnesota communities. Congratulations to the honorees! return to top   

Sen. Franken releases report highlighting findings and solutions from rural health roundtables

Last week, Sen. Al Franken released a report outlining challenges Minnesota’s rural health care providers face, potential policy recommendations and innovative approaches providers are taking to ensure residents have continued access to high-quality care.   

Stepping Up to the Challenge: Keeping Rural Communities Healthy” is the result of 28 roundtable discussions Franken and his staff led around the state with almost 300 health care stakeholders and community leaders.    

The report highlights the four most common challenges the senator’s office found during the tour: 

  • Barriers to accessing care – such as the inability to offer a full array of services; limited transportation for patients; limited broadband service for providers; changing demographics; and navigating a wide array of complicated federal, state and local regulations. 
  • Critical workforce shortages – unique recruitment and retention challenges, especially in mental health, long term care and primary care. 
  • Fragile funding – rural providers rely heavily on government funding and public and private grants that are not adequate to sustain the delivery of needed services. 
  • Health care regulations – health care regulations that result in administrative burden and strain resources. 

The potential recommendations to address each challenge include: 

  • Expanding scope of practice for cross-sector training 
  • Increasing early exposure to health professions 
  • Using emerging professions such as community health workers and community paramedics 
  • Providing loan forgiveness in targeted fields 
  • Achieving mental health parity 
  • Rewarding prevention efforts 
  • Funding to support location based services 
  • Finding opportunities to advance telehealth and other technology 

The report also contained innovate approaches rural health care providers are deploying, including: 

  • Participating in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), or adopting similar ACO concepts 
  • Finding flexible grants for population health where human services professionals and health care professions are working together 
  • Offering mobile and location-based mental health and dental care services 
  • Employing community health workers to help patients access and use the health system appropriately, provide healthy lifestyle coaching and help coordinate transportation 
  • Developing flexible training programs that bring high school, college and medical students together to participate in basic levels of care 

Franken plans to share this report with his co-chair on the Senate Rural Health Caucus, Sen. Pat Roberts from Kansas, as well as other members of the caucus and use it to help inform future rural health policy proposals.   

For more information please contact Ann Gibson, vice president federal relations and workforce, MHA, 651-603-3527. return to top   

17 hospitals met PAC fundraising goal by July 1

Congratulations to the 17 hospitals that have met their Minnesota Hospital Political Action Committee (PAC) fundraising goal for 2015. 

  • Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center 
  • CHI St. Joseph’s Health, Park Rapids 
  • Cook County North Shore Hospital, Grand Marais 
  • Cuyuna Regional Medical Center, Crosby 
  • Fairview Ridges Hospital, Burnsville 
  • Fairview Southdale Hospital, Edina 
  • FirstLight Health System, Mora 
  • Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare, St. Paul 
  • Johnson Memorial Health Services, Dawson 
  • Lakewood Health System, Staples 
  • LifeCare Medical Center, Roseau 
  • Maple Grove Hospital 
  • North Memorial Medical Center, Robbinsdale 
  • Ortonville Area Health Services 
  • Redwood Area Hospital, Redwood Falls 
  • RiverView Health, Crookston 
  • Sanford Jackson Medical Center 

These hospitals demonstrate the importance of supporting the PAC. For more information about the PAC or your hospital PAC goal, contact Carol Eshelman, PAC coordinator, 651-603-3539 or Kristin Loncorich, director of state government relations, 651-603-3526. return to top   

MHA welcomes new communications manager

Emily Lowther joins the MHA communications team as the new communications manager. Emily will be the editor of Newsline, work with member communicators on the “Minnesota’s Hospitals:  Strengthening Healthy Communities” campaign, manage MHA’s website and social media and work closely with MHA’s patient safety team.    

Emily is a strategic communications and public relations professional with expertise in leadership counsel, writing and editing, media relations, marketing, internal communications and social media. She most recently served as a senior communications and public affairs specialist with Minneapolis Public Schools, where she was employed since 2005. Emily holds a bachelor's degree in English and anthropology from Harvard College and a master's degree in public policy and leadership from the University of St. Thomas. 

Emily lives in St. Paul with her husband and their two cats. She enjoys reading, practicing yoga and traveling. Email Emilyreturn to top   

MNCM 2015 Annual Seminar early bird registration deadline

MN Community Measurement’s 2015 Annual Seminar, “Motivating Through Measurement: Catalyzing Improvement in Health Equity, Cost and Patient Outcomes,” will be held Thursday, Sept. 24, at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Minneapolis. Participants will hear from inspiring and thought-provoking speakers, receive practical information to apply to their organization and engage in community conversation on health care measurement priorities.   

Early bird registration ends July 24; click here to register. For more information, visit the event website or contact Erin Ghere, manager of communications and engagement, MN Community Measurement, 612-454-4827. return to top   

Healthiest State Summit registration available

Presented by the Twin Cities Medical Society and the Minnesota Public Health Association, the “Healthiest State Summit: Reclaiming Minnesota’s #1 Health Ranking” will explore the current status of health policies, the culture of health matrix, socio-economic realities and other essential health quality facets. 

This program will be held Thursday, Aug. 6, at the University of Minnesota Continuing Education and Conference Center in Minneapolis. Health care professionals, educators, policy makers, students and health and human services professionals are encouraged to attend. For more information and to register, visit www.metrodoctors.com. return to top