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Rural Health Information Hub

Minnesota Models and Innovations

These stories feature model programs and successful rural projects that can serve as a source of ideas. Some of the projects or programs may no longer be active. Read about the criteria and evidence-base for programs included.

Promising Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy SD eResidential Facilities Healthcare Services Access Project
Updated/reviewed August 2020
  • Need: To increase local health services to rural elderly populations in long-term care facilities located in four Midwest states near a tertiary care organization.
  • Intervention: A non-profit healthcare organization implemented telehealth services to provide acute care evaluations for long-term residents in their home facilities.
  • Results: The program increased local care as evidenced by improved year-over-year provider-determined available transfer data: 33%, 50%, 63% program years 1 through 3, respectively. From the success of the initial pilot implementation, the program has further matured into a long-term care offering that now reaches many other rural facilities located in 10 states across the nation.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy The Rural Virtual Infusion Program
Updated/reviewed April 2020
  • Need: Allow rural cancer patients in a region inclusive of 26 counties in Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota to have access to tertiary-level chemotherapy regimens in rural infusion centers.
  • Intervention: With telehealth-based oversight from a tertiary care oncology team, 3 rural infusion teams were trained to coordinate cancer treatment plans and administer complex chemotherapy regimens.
  • Results: Almost 130 patients were transitioned to receive chemotherapy in a rural infusion center, translating to over 1,000 infusion visits and saving patients/families nearly 65,000 trip miles, 1,800 travel hours and $71,000.

Other Project Examples

Morrison County Accountable Community for Health
Updated/reviewed September 2022
  • Need: To combat prescription drug misuse in rural Morrison County, Minnesota.
  • Intervention: The Morrison County ACH brought together primary care, social services, law enforcement, and other partners to make sure that patients receive treatment and support.
  • Results: One pharmacy saw a 40% reduction in the number of prescribed opioids, and the ACH was able to taper 684 patients off opioids completely.
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration Implementation of a Nursing Veterans' Initiative to Transform Education (INVITE)
Updated/reviewed August 2022
  • Need: To support rural veterans pursuing a career in nursing.
  • Intervention: The INVITE program improved the curriculum and reworked admission requirements to better support veteran students' experiences in the College of St. Scholastica undergraduate nursing program.
  • Results: The number of veterans pursuing nursing has more than doubled since program implementation, and all students have reported an increased interest in serving rural communities.
Isanti County SafeCab Program
Updated/reviewed August 2022
  • Need: To reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by drunk driving in Isanti County.
  • Intervention: The SafeCab program provides alternative transportation home for bar patrons who would otherwise drive impaired.
  • Results: The program is credited with a significant decrease in DUI (Driving Under the Influence) arrests and the lower average corresponding BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) levels in Isanti County.
Staggered Sentencing for Repeat Drunk Driving Offenders
Updated/reviewed August 2022
  • Need: To reduce the incidences of repeat drunk driving.
  • Intervention: Repeat DWI (driving while intoxicated) offenders were given a staggered sentence, allowing them to serve their sentence in segments of time, typically separated by several months to a year. The offender was able to file a motion to request a waiver for the remaining sentence period(s), if able to show that he/she maintained sobriety.
  • Results: The incidence of recidivism, or crime relapse, has been reduced among offenders given staggered sentences, by comparison to offenders given traditional DWI sentences. The program has also reduced the average cost of jail time that otherwise would have been served from a full sentence.
CAPABLE (Community Aging in Place—Advancing Better Living for Elders)
Updated/reviewed July 2022
  • Need: To help older adults age in place.
  • Intervention: For five months, CAPABLE participants receive home visits from a registered nurse, occupational therapist, and home repair services.
  • Results: There are currently 34 CAPABLE sites across the country, 9 of which are located in rural communities.
FirstLink Care and Support Program
Updated/reviewed July 2022
  • Need: To reduce suicide and substance-related deaths in North Dakota and Minnesota.
  • Intervention: The Care and Support program provides support through phone calls, cards, and texting to those who have called suicide helplines or were referred by a healthcare provider.
  • Results: In 2021, FirstLink made 11,466 calls and sent 1,127 cards to program participants.
The Minnesota Integrative Behavioral Health Program
Updated/reviewed January 2022
  • Need: Out of 79 Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) surveyed in Minnesota in 2015, behavioral health was the most frequently cited service requested.
  • Intervention: In response, Rural Health Innovations launched the Minnesota Integrative Behavioral Health Program. This initiative engaged representatives across all sectors in health integration between hospital, primary care, and community services.
  • Results: Strategy sessions resulted in the creation of resource directories to improve care coordination, evaluation measurements to document results, and an overall better understanding of integrative care challenges.
Targeted Rural Health Education Project
Added November 2021
  • Need: Dual platform to both teach health literacy principles to health professions students and disseminate health information to rural populations.
  • Intervention: Writing project using community-specific public health data in order to write a plain language health education article suitable for publication in a rural newspaper.
  • Results: Since program start in 2017, nearly 30 students have successfully published their plain language health education articles in one or more rural newspapers in 3 states.

Last Updated: 9/7/2022