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Health Policy Board Releases First Report

Oregon’s Health Policy Board released its first quarterly report Thursday on the transformation of the state’s health care system.

It looks like Oregonians will have to wait for the next report, to see if the changes are saving money.

The report looks at 33 different measurements — from the percentage of pregnant women who get prenatal care, to the number of smokers who get medical assistance to quit.

A baseline for each measurement was established — basically wherever the measurement stood in 2011. And a goal was also set. 

An example is: 32 percent of older patients got colorectal cancer tests in 2011. The goal is to get 54 percent of them tested in the future — that’s what the best Medicaid organizations have managed. The goal can be increased if necessary.

The report also looked at financial data. But Kelly Ballas, the chief financial officer of the Oregon Health Authority, says the data are incomplete.

“We really can’t reach any conclusions based on this report.”

He says the next report, due in August, should give an indication of whether all the health system changes are saving money.

In this report, nine of the 14 financial categories saw costs reduce; two had incomplete data; and three saw costs increase.

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