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November 8, 2013 OHA Director's messages on the web
To: All OHA employees
From: Bruce Goldberg, M.D., Director

Measuring our progress

"If you can't measure something, you can't understand it. If you can't understand it, you can't control it. If you can't control it, you can't improve it." ~H. James Harrington

Every year for Veterans Day we take a moment to remember and thank those who have served our country. There are many events happening this weekend around the state to honor Oregon’s veterans. View the full list of Veterans day events.

This week the Oregon Health Authority released our quarterly Health System Transformation Progress Report that shows how well coordinated care organizations (CCOs) are doing at improving health and lowering costs. The early results are encouraging.

CCOs, which began serving members in August 2012, are showing improved care in several key areas:

  • An 18 percent increase in primary care and a 9 percent decrease in emergency department visits compared to the baseline year 2011.
  • Hospitalizations for chronic illnesses such as congestive heart failure have also gone down.
  • Spending for emergency department use is decreasing as spending for primary care is increasing.

These indicators show a shift toward more preventive, patient-centered primary care.

Of course, measuring our progress is also about seeing where more work is needed. One area we know we need to work on is decreasing health disparities in our state. The November report for the first time gathers baseline data comparing the health performance measures by race and ethnicity. This information helps point the way to where CCOs can focus efforts to increase health equity.

Additionally, as part of the state’s agreement with the federal government, Oregon committed to reducing per capita growth in Medicaid spending by 1 percent in the first year and 2 percent by 2015. Current data show that the state has reduced per capita growth by more than 1 percent in the first year of CCO implementation.

While these data are incredibly promising, we know progress will not be linear. This is really just the beginning. As we move forward with coordinated care, there may be times when we see great gains and times when we don’t. The important thing is that we keep moving forward and continue to publicly report outcomes and make improvements where we need to.

OHA on the web