By Amanda Waldroupe, Staff Writer
Starting in September, the Portland metropolitan area’s largest private and public health care providers will forge a new way of delivering health care to some of the neediest and most vulnerable patients in the state, and they’ll do it in a way that seems impossible: by working together.
The organization the providers have created is called the Tri-County Medicaid Collaborative. It is one of dozens of coordinated care organizations, or CCOs, forming throughout Oregon to change how patients on the state’s Medicaid program, the Oregon Health Plan, receive health care.
Coordinated care organizations form the backbone of ambitious changes to the Oregon Health Plan pushed by Governor John Kitzhaber and bipartisan legislation the Oregon Legislature passed during the 2011 and 2012 sessions—an effort to not only provide higher quality care, but also to drastically reduce the state’s Medicaid expenditures by millions of dollars.
The Collaborative, like the rest of the state’s CCOs, does not have time to dally. CCOs are expected to save the state $239 million dollars in 2013 alone; if those savings are not made, it could be catastrophic for the state’s budget. Continue reading