The future just got healthier for millions of Minnesotans, thanks to being one of seven states to receive a $45 million State Innovation Model (SIM) testing grant through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). “We are very excited to receive this grant,” said Mark Schoenbaum, Director of the Minnesota Office of Rural Health and Primary Care. “It’s a great opportunity for rural communities to get new support and build on the kinds of innovations that already take place in rural areas.”

The grant was awarded to Minnesota in February 2013 and will be used over a three year period ending in October 2016.  The grant will be used to test new ways of delivering and paying for health care using the Minnesota Accountable Health Model framework. The goal of this model is to improve health in both rural and urban communities, provide better care, and lower health care costs. Up to three million Minnesota residents are expected to receive care through this model over the three year period.

“The grant component the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care is most directly involved in is the emerging professions project, which we administer,” Schoenbaum said. “Funds have been made available for a rapid expansion of emerging professions like community health workers, community paramedics and dental therapists. We expect over the next couple years, that rural Minnesota will see more professionals working in these fields.”

Funds will also be used to bring additional state certified healthcare homes to rural areas. “We currently have more than 300 state certified healthcare homes in both rural and urban areas of our state. Through the grant, that model will spread even farther and reach more rural Minnesota practices,” Schoenbaum said. “The grant will be used statewide, in rural and urban areas. Every community is unique and the grant is supporting solutions that fit each area’s characteristics.”


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