The 2012 legislative session begins Wednesday. For our agency, it's a session of both opportunities and challenges.
One of the top agenda items for lawmakers is approval of the implementation proposal for Coordinated Care Organizations, Senate Bill 1580.
On Tuesday the Oregon Health Policy Board approved the proposal unanimously after months of work and public input.
As laid out in the proposal, CCOs will be locally governed entities that will deliver health care coverage and care to approximately 600,000 Oregonians on the Oregon Health Plan. CCOs will have one budget that grows at a fixed rate for behavioral, physical and ultimately dental care. CCOs will bring forward new models of care that are patient-centered and team-focused. They will have flexibility within the budget to deliver required outcomes. CCOs will be governed by a partnership among health care providers, community members and stakeholders within the health system who hold financial responsibility and risk. You can see the proposal at health.oregon.gov.
If approved, CCOs will replace today's fragmented system with one that will bring better health for our clients and lower costs to the state.
At the same time, we do have a challenge. During this one-month session, lawmakers will also be facing a revenue shortfall. As it stands today, based on revenue forecasts, the shortfall is approximately $300 million. The next quarterly forecast will be released February 8. Given the state of our economy, we should not expect that there will be additional dollars for services and frankly, there may be fewer.
Although this is a difficult situation, last November lawmakers began preparing for it. They requested a reduction list from all state agencies so that they can prioritize services and take a statewide approach to keeping the budget balanced. It is always difficult to be considering potential budget reductions – particularly after the reductions of the last budget cycle – but it is a reality being faced by every public service in the state.
And it also points to the importance of the work we are doing to transform the health care delivery system not just for our clients and providers but for the entire state. Every dollar saved through a better and more efficient health care system is a dollar that can be used for other services.
I will keep you updated as we move forward this legislative session and as always, thank you for all you do.