There are times in doing our work at OHA when it becomes clear that we are part of powerful movement in our state. This movement is finally breaking through the barriers that have kept our health system stuck in high costs and inefficient care for decades. One such example is the emerging primary health care homes.
Across the state, local providers are becoming officially recognized for meeting standards of patient care that truly focus on wellness. Through OHA’s Patient Centered Primary Care Home program, providers get a "stamp of approval" so that patients know they have been found to meet several key attributes.
In Oregon to date more than 200 clinics in all parts of the state have been recognized as official primary care homes. You can see the full list here. Any kind of provider, large or small, can qualify if they meet the criteria. Over the past month we have been working with these providers to learn more about the kind of care they offer to their patients. The stories and examples we’ve found are heartening and profound.
In Eugene, for example, Logan and Kyle are brothers who were born prematurely and have multiple health issues. At Eugene Pediatric Associates, a recognized primary care home, they are receiving coordinated, patient-centered care. A team of two doctors, three nurse practitioners and several office staff unite around each of their 8,000 patients. The team is available by phone, email or in person. Because of patient-centered primary care, the Belleque boys are now doing well and have visited the emergency room much less often than before.
In Grants Pass, Richard McClanahan suffered from hypertension, high blood pressure, gout, arthritis and high cholesterol. Rogue Medical enrolled him in its wellness and nutrition program, which included office visits with a certified nutritionist. Through changed eating habits, which resulted in his 40-pound weight loss, McClanahan is feeling healthier and no longer takes the half-dozen medications he used to.
In Klamath Falls, Cascades East Family Medical Center has patient care teams that develop specific care plans for their high-needs patients. They’ve also expanded access to care by making more appointments available, even during evening hours. The care teams consist of a registered nurse, a medical assistant, medical residents and faculty physicians. There is always a team member available for patients; the resident and faculty physicians do home visits and team members are available by phone if needed as a way to prevent health emergencies.
These are just a few of the examples of how the people working in primary care homes are helping Oregonians stay healthier and lower costs for everyone.
This model of care not only helps patients, but it allows providers to do what they do best: help people. They are part of Oregon’s health improvement movement.