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Oregon Health Authority Health eNews | Updates from the Oregon Health Policy Board

JUNE 18, 2013

In this month's edition of Health News from OHA and OHPB:
Oregon Health Authority releases Oregon's health care starting points and goals
Oregon Health Policy Board receives Governor's direction for coordinated care next steps
DHS-OHA Joint Stakeholder Committee
In the news

Oregon Health Authority releases Oregon's health care starting points and goals

The Oregon Health Authority released its first quarterly progress report on Oregon's Medicaid transformation last month. The report shows Oregon's starting point on key measurements of the care Oregon Health Plan clients receive in every part of our state. Each quarter the report will be updated to show changes at the statewide and coordinated care organization levels — and how we are doing compared to national benchmarks. The ability to measure our progress will help drive improvement and innovation via the state's health system transformation plan.

The report focuses on a set of measures that were chosen in an open and public process to represent the health care needs and challenges of the Medicaid population. The metrics show statewide data on diverse benchmarks, from timeliness of pre-natal care to appropriate follow-up care after hospitalization for mental illness. By focusing on services that we know improve health, and by integrating physical and mental health services, we will lower costs and create a more efficient health care system that works better for everyone.

Quarterly reports also will showcase some of the innovative actions happening on the ground that are designed to meet these goals. From community health workers in Salem to emergency department diversion in Grants Pass, our state's coordinated care organizations are taking patient-centered care to new levels to the benefit of us all.

"The data in this first report largely describe where we are starting – our baseline," says Bruce Goldberg, M.D., Director of the Oregon Health Authority. "This is how we transform the health care system. Set clear goals to improve the quality of care and let each local community work together to meet those goals in the way that works best for the people they serve."

The full report can be found on

Oregon Health Policy Board receives Governor's direction for coordinated care next steps

In his message last week to Oregon Health Authority staff, Director Bruce Goldberg, M.D., said that Oregon's coordinated care vision is pretty simple and it can be broken down into six basic concepts:

  1. Do what works. Use best practices.
  2. Have shared responsibility for health among providers, patients and the health plans.
  3. Measure performance.
  4. Pay for outcomes and health.
  5. Provide information so that patients and providers know price and quality.
  6. Maintain costs at a sustainable level.

This is the model that the coordinated care organizations are using. If this model works for them, it should work for others. And we believe it will, which is why Governor Kitzhaber is asking the Oregon Health Policy Board to look at how best to align the public and private insurance markets to ensure our goal of better health, better care and lower costs for all Oregonians.

Specifically, the Governor asked the board to make recommendations in these areas:

  • How to lower cost shifting and decrease health insurance premiums;
  • Opportunities to enhance the Oregon Insurance Division's rate review process;
  • Using the coordinated care model within PEBB, OEBB, and Cover Oregon's qualified health plans.

Over the next month, the board will develop a work plan that examines opportunities to achieve the Governor's goals of lowering costs and aligning health care markets.

"This is about making sure we're all moving forward together, to create a better health care system in Oregon," said board member Felisa Hagins.

DHS-OHA Joint Stakeholder Committee

The Oregon Health Authority and Department of Human Services work with stakeholder groups from communities across the state. These partnerships are critical to ensuring that our services meet the needs of everyone we serve.

To ensure that clients and members are at the center of the objectives for both agencies, directors Erinn Kelley-Siel and Bruce Goldberg have established the DHS-OHA Joint Stakeholder Committee.

Dr. Goldberg said the committee will help determine how best to coordinate across programs, both internally and externally. "As two agencies that work closely together, it is critical that we coordinate and become clear about policy objectives," Dr. Goldberg says.

The committee has been tasked with focusing on clear objectives and deliverables to improve outcomes for clients. Key goals of the committee include developing strong channels of communication and building solid working relationships on critical policy and program design.

The Joint Stakeholder Committee meets quarterly at the Barbara Roberts Human Services Building in Salem. The next meeting is August 5, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.* For more information, please visit the committee's webpage.

*Date has been corrected from original: July 30.

In the news

Oregon Public Broadcasting
How Oregon health reform got 'frequent flyer' out of ER
"Lisa Pearlstein was tasked with guiding patients like Jeremie Seals through the medical maze — away from repetitive and expensive ER visits and towards regular doctor visits — to stabilize their health."

The Oregonian
Two Oregon insurers rethink 2014 premiums as state posts first-ever rate comparison
"The new health insurance marketplace envisioned by federal health reforms …is taking shape – and consumers for the first time can compare, premium by premium, identical plans by different insurers."

The Washington Post
Is the future of American health care in Oregon?
"What we're doing is instead of putting our budget into the ER and paying for congestive heart failure after congestive heart failure, we're putting it into care coordination and community health workers. We're investing in health," says Governor John Kitzhaber.

OHPB's next meeting

Tuesday, July 2, 2013
8:30 a.m. - noon

Market Square Building
1515 SW 5th Avenue
9th floor
Portland, OR

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OHA logo The Oregon Health Authority is overseen by the nine-member citizen Oregon Health Policy Board working toward comprehensive health and health care reform in our state.