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Oregon's Coordinated Care Organizations Are Seeing Some Successes

After one year of operation, Oregon’s Coordinated Care Organizations are seeing some success. The state says ER visits are down nine percent, while doctor visits are up 18 percent.

Oregon’s 16 Coordinated Care Organizations are regional groups that were set up to both reduce the state’s Medicaid costs, and improve quality.

A key goal was to get people to visit a doctor regularly, rather than go without care and end up in the ER — the costliest place to be treated.

Tina Edlund of the Oregon Health Authority says in addition to an 18 percent increase in doctor visits and fewer ER admissions, CCO’s appear to have reduced rising health care costs by two percent.

“These are really encouraging trends in our Medicaid program and I think it is early evidence that Coordinated Care is working,” Edlund said.

The report looked at 240,000 patients. It follows on the heels of a study that found people newly covered by Medicaid increased their use of the ER by 40 percent.

That study was based on data from 2008.  Since then, the state has dedicated staff to coaxing new Medicaid recipients away from ERs and into doctor offices.

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