Two Portland-area provider groups will serve Oregon Health Plan members under state reform plan

Nick Budnick, The Oregonian, May 31, 2012

Two provider groups will compete in the Portland area to serve more than 200,000 Oregon Health Plan members following approval of new organizations at the core of the state's health care reform. [Read full story]

White House makes $1.9 billion bet: Oregon can fix health care

Sarah Kliff, Washington Post, May 4, 2012

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services said it will chip in $1.9 billion of start-up costs to get Oregon’s Medicaid reforms going. In return, Oregon made a big promise: The state says it will keep its Medicaid costs growing 2 percent slower than in previous years. [Read full story]

Gov. John Kitzhaber announces $1.9 billion health care agreement with federal government

Michelle Cole, The Oregonian, May 3, 2012

Kitzhaber announced an agreement with the Obama Administration on a new coordinated health care system intended to reduce costs but provide better care for the state's 600,000 Medicaid patients. [Read full story]

Feds to put up $1.9B for Oregon health overhaul

Jonathan J. Cooper, Associated Press, May 3, 2012

The Obama administration is buying into an ambitious health care initiative in Oregon, announcing Thursday it has tentatively agreed to chip in $1.9 billion over five years to help get the program off the ground.

Central City has head start on new law

Anne Laufe, Portland Business Journal, April 6, 2012

Bringing the behavioral and primary care services together allows multidisciplinary teams of providers, including internists, psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, counselors and addiction specialist, to provide integrated care to their patients. [Read full story]

Portland-area competitors try working together to cut costs for Oregon Health Plan

Nick Budnick, The Oregonian, April 4, 2012

Members of the Tri-County Medicaid Collaborative discuss challenges to forming a coordinated care organization to serve people who are on the Oregon Health Plan/Medicaid. [Read full story]

Medicaid Collaborative Emerges to Create Coordinated Care Organization in Tri-County

Diane Lund-Muzikant, The Lund Report, April 4, 2012

Transforming Oregon’s healthcare system took a decisive step forward when a collaborative led by Dr. George Brown signaled that it’s prepared to take the lead in caring for the Medicaid population in the tri-county area. [Read full story]

  Breastfeeding: A Wellness Issue for African American Families

Lisa Loving, The Skanner, March 22, 2012

State nutrition workers credited Multnomah County’s Women, Infant and Children’s Program for pushing the local breastfeeding rate above 90 percent. [Read full story]

Health reform in Oregon: Coordinated care could improve conditions for all

Mary Monnat, guest columnist, The Oregonian, Feb. 18, 2012

Radical? Yes, Oregon is on the brink of something bold. The passage of Senate Bill 1580, and its call for the creation of coordinated care organizations, represents an incredible opportunity that will benefit all Oregonians. [Read full story]

Oregon health reform bill moves to Senate floor, after malpractice caps fail

Nick Budnick, The Oregonian, Feb. 10, 2012

A bill to revamp the Oregon Health Plan was approved by the Joint Ways and Means Committee today, after a push to limit medical malpractice caps was rebuffed. The bill now heads for the Senate floor, where Republicans, who stand united for malpractice caps, hold 14 of the 30 seats. [Read full story]

State senators say they'll block Oregon health reform over medical malpractice caps

Nick Budnick, The Oregonian, Feb. 9, 2012

A bill to implement the state's long-discussed health reforms is facing a sudden roadblock in Salem: a pledge by 15 Senators to block it unless limits are placed on Oregon Health Plan members' ability to sue for malpractice. [Read full story]

Health Care 'Transformation' Would Buy Low-Cost Innovations

Chris Lehman,  Oregon Public Broadcasting, Feb. 8, 2012

Gov. John Kitzhaber is fond of telling this story: There's a heat wave. A 92-year-old woman suffers congestive heart failure. She's whisked off to the emergency room where a team of highly paid medical professionals saves her life.

"Under our current system that we have in Oregon and in the United States today, Medicare will care for the ambulance and the $50,000 to stabilize her in the hospital," Kitzhaber says. "It won't pay for a $200 air conditioner which is all she needs to stay in her home and out of the acute care system in the first place." [Read full story]

Gov. John Kitzhaber's health reform bill moves forward -- with amendments -- in Oregon's high-speed 2012 Legislature

Nick Budnick,  The Oregonian, Feb. 8, 2012 

Lawmakers are trying to close the session in by the end of February, and say the health care reform bill is needed early so work can begin amending the state budget. [Read full story]

To save money on health care, Oregon Health Plan looks to trim hospital, emergency room visits

Bill Graves, The Oregonian, Feb. 4, 2012

Oregon's health care reform plan, now up for review in the Legislature, proposes to improve patient health, reduce hospital stays and save money. Outreach workers will play a key role in the plan that is to unfold this summer with teams of doctors, nurses, dentists, therapists and other providers in what's called Coordinated Care Organizations. Teams will target the costliest Medicaid patients to reduce hospital visits. If it works, the plan will save hundreds of millions of dollars, and people will have better care. [Read full story]

High stakes, power struggles as Oregon Legislature takes up Kitzhaber's health reforms

Nick Budnick, The Oregonian, Feb. 3, 2012

Lawmakers are expected to set rules for the health care groups that will dominate Oregon's Medicaid program, including on oversight, consumer protections and who controls the groups -- doctors, hospitals or other interests. The stakes are higher than just the Oregon Health Plan, its 600,000 members and more than $3 billion spent a year. Kitzhaber wants to expand the model to cover state employees, school employees and eventually, the entire commercial market.  [Read full story]

EDITORIAL: It's time to OK a new health plan

The Editorial Board,  The Oregonian, Jan. 31, 2012

"Big change is hard. And medical reform won't be neat right away. New thinking is's time for lawmakers to tell the Oregon Health Authority to move ahead with full speed in creating a care delivery system that does two revolutionary things: promotes health and saves money. '' [Read full story]

EDITORIAL: Transforming health care Oregon can save big with a more rational system

The Editorial Board,  The Register-Guard, Jan. 27, 2012

"Oregon’s solution is to seek more effective and efficient ways of providing health care, and conceptually, they’re not hard to find. Everyone knows that treating chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease consumes vast resources; preventing even a fraction of these diseases would bring huge savings." [Read full story]

Despite skepticism, consultant’s savings report gives shot in the arm to Oregon health care reform

Nick Budnick, The Oregonian, Jan. 10, 2012

A consultant retained by the state found changes from Oregon's 2011 health care law should save $58 million to $115 million in its first year, starting in July. [Read full story]

Estimate shows near-term Oregon Medicaid shortfall

Jonathan J. Cooper, Associated Press, Jan. 10, 2012

Oregon could eventually save as much as 50 percent on health care by focusing more on preventative medicine and coordinating care, Doug Elwell, managing principal at Health Management Associates, told the Oregon Health Policy Board on Tuesday. 

Consultant shares financial projections analysis with Oregon Health Authority

Amanda Waldroupe, The Lund Report and Statesman Journal, Jan. 10, 2012

Elwell predicted that a huge proportion of those savings will come by reducing hospital expenditures and, instead, relying on primary care physicians, nurses, community health workers, and other providers who’ve been, until now, at “the bottom of the food chain” in the healthcare system. 

Health Policy Board rolls out proposal

The Hillsboro Argus, Dec. 20, 2011

After months of work groups and community meetings around the state, last week the Oregon Health Policy Board rolled out a preliminary proposal that changes the way the state delivers and pays for health care for low-income Oregonians. [Read full story]

Oregon Health Policy Board races to draft details for transforming health care

Bill Graves, The Oregonian, Dec. 13, 2011

The Legislature passed the health plan reform earlier this year, but wants to see more details on how it will be carried out before it gives it a green light in February. At the heart of the plan is a proposal to foster health care teams called coordinated care organizations. The groups would include hospitals, doctors, dentists, nutritionists, therapists, nurses and other providers. [Read full story]

Oregon races to transform health care in time to balance state budget

Bill Graves, The Oregonian, Sept. 9, 2011

Care teams at Mid-County and other clinics operated by Multnomah County offer a glimpse of the future for the Oregon Health Plan’s 600,000 low-income and disabled people on Medicaid and Medicare. [Read full story]