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Governor John Kitzhaber made it clear that a “transformation” of the Oregon Health Plan was a top priority for him in the short 2012 legislative session. As lawmakers wrap up the second week in the month-long session, it looks like a key piece of the overhaul known as “coordinated care” is quickly making its way to a floor vote. Coordinated care is a plan to establish primary care “homes” for patients, especially those with chronic conditions. The idea is to reduce costly hospital visits for Medicaid patients by creating a team approach and increased communication among doctors, dentists, therapists and other providers working with the same patients. Kitzhaber’s longterm goal is to extend this model beyond the Oregon Health Plan.
The Senate and the House each have a version of the bill that would create coordinated care organizations and one of them is likely to make it out of the Ways and Means committee by the beginning of next week. Some say the fast track could mean important amendments are left out of this landmark legislation. While coordinated care has bipartisan support, Republicans have expressed concerns about omissions such as an amendment to address medical malpractice.
Do you use the Oregon Health Plan? Have you been following the bills that would change how the plan is administered? What questions do you have?
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