Aug. 24, 2012 OHA Director's messages on the web
To: All OHA employees
From: Bruce Goldberg, M.D., Director

Working together for health

"The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime." 
~George Herman "Babe" Ruth

The human and financial costs of tobacco use are heartbreaking: chronic illness, shortened life spans and expensive health care.

In Oregon, we spend about $374 million per year for tobacco-related health care costs in the Oregon Health Plan, or approximately 9 percent of the OHP budget. Those dollars treat preventable heart disease, preventable cancers and preventable hospitalizations. The conditions they treat, sadly, often lead to preventable deaths.

To help reduce the human and financial costs of behavior-based conditions, coordinated care organizations will be reporting on and working to lower the prevalence of tobacco use and other metrics and will be expected to report improvements for the populations they serve. This will be a powerful incentive for local CCOs to take extra measures to provide services that reduce high-risk behavior and increase preventive measures.

This idea is already paying off. Less than a month after beginning operations, for example, Trillium Community Health Plan is partnering with Lane County Public Health and funding tobacco prevention, obesity prevention and immunization outreach efforts. Trillium is even funding positions within the county to focus on these issues.

Together, Trillium and Lane County Public Health will be assessing the needs among their member populations and will work with providers on strategies to help people make better choices for their health.

This is just one example of the work happening in Lane County and in local public health departments across the state. This means we are making real progress in having local government and local health care delivery systems work together to improve the health of their communities.

This will lead to even more innovations, early intervention strategies and creative thinking to meet the goals of the triple aim: better health, better care, and lower costs.

OHA on the web