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Oregon Adopts New Policies For Medicaid

<p>An inside view of one of the exam rooms at Good Samaritan hospital in Northwest Portland. In recent months, they have seen an increase in the number of patients visiting&nbsp;their facility.&nbsp;</p>
Alan Sylvestre
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An inside view of one of the exam rooms at Good Samaritan hospital in Northwest Portland. In recent months, they have seen an increase in the number of patients visiting their facility. 

Oregon’s Health Policy Board has adopted new plans for the use of Medicaid in the state. The plans dictate how Oregon’s 15 coordinated care organizations will work.

The CCOs were set up in 2012 to improve care and save money. Health care analysts agree they were largely successful.

But now the organizations' contracts are ending and the state has adopted new plans, and Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen expects substantial changes.

“I think everybody involved in Medicaid in Oregon will likely to continue to be involved in Medicaid. I think there are all sorts of combinations and structures and geography that go with today’s CCOs, and I think we may actually see some changes in that going forward,” said Allen.

The chair of the Oregon Health Policy Board, Zeke Smith, agrees.

"We’ve taken this opportunity to really look at what’s working with CCOs and where we need to push the system to advance health transformation in Oregon," Smith said.

"Together, these policies have the potential to significantly change how our members experience care and how the state pays for that care."

The Oregon Health Authority says it heard from more than 850 Oregonians at public meetings and forums across the state.

About one million Oregonians get their health care through CCOs.

The state’s new plans focus on four areas: improving behavioral health, controlling costs, addressing disparities and making the system sustainable.

The CCOs can start applying for new contracts in January.

Copyright 2018 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He specializes in health care, business, politics, law and public safety.