April 27, 2012 OHA Director's messages on the web
To: All OHA employees
From: Bruce Goldberg, M.D., Director

Another milestone met

"Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, and civilization work." ~ Vince Lombardi

Next week, Coordinated Care Organizations will begin submitting applications necessary to begin serving OHP clients by Aug. 1. This will be just the first of several waves of applications we'll see during the next year as we work toward the goal of having CCOs available in every part of the state.

This is another milestone on our path toward health care that is more patient-focused and aligned with the people it's intended to serve rather than the archaic systems currently in place. However, it's important to remember that these changes will not happen all at once, and they must be accomplished in a way that does not disrupt the care OHP clients currently receive.

As CCOs become available in a community, clients and those receiving care on a fee-for-service basis will begin transitioning under their care. This means that clients who are now served by both a managed care organization and a mental health organization will no longer have to navigate two different plans. Some communities may choose to include dental care as well, and by 2014, all CCOs will include dental care as part of their services.

It's also important to remember that the Oregon Health Plan's medical benefits will not change. What will change though is that benefits will be offered in a more coordinated way designed to reduce unnecessary administrative burdens for clients and providers. Under a global budget, which will bring all types of providers together to coordinate care, local communities will have flexibility to provide more preventive and hands-on care that is specific to their needs.

However, the reality is that most OHP clients may not notice much of a change. We know that 80 percent of health care costs come from approximately 20 percent of the population. For the most part, these costs are due to people suffering from chronic illnesses. Though our new system means better care for everyone, its emphasis on increased patient attention and education will be particularly beneficial for those who are struggling daily with chronic problems such as serious mental illness, asthma, and diabetes.

While the benefits CCOs will provide are numerous, for many, change can be unsettling. We are committed to providing clear, timely and accurate information to all OHP clients and providers about CCOs. You can find a fact sheet and other materials at health.oregon.gov and our frontline staff who work directly with clients are ready to answer questions our clients may have.

In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to share information and develop materials, as we work closely with local communities and their emerging CCOs.

Each of us has a role in helping clients and their families understand what this change will mean for them. Please take a moment to read the information and do not hesitate to let us know if you have questions that have not been addressed. Email us at CCO.info@state.or.us

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