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Think Out Loud

Legislature May Intervene In Salem CCO Dispute

Willamette Valley Community Health, the Salem-area coordinated care organization (CCO), is having trouble getting Salem Health to agree with the financial details of its healthcare plans. Salem Health runs the Salem and Dallas hospitals. Last fall it sued the CCO over what it saw as low reimbursement rates. Now a bill in the legislature could kick Salem Health out of the CCO. But stakeholders in other CCOs worry the law may hurt providers in other parts of the state. We'll check in on the disagreement that could threaten the future of the CCO in Salem.

Think Out Loud

Remembering Booth Gardner

Booth Gardner served as the governor of Washington State from 1985 to 1993. He passed away over the weekend from complications of Parkinson's disease. Having only served as state senator and Pierce County executive before running for governor, he was known for a campaign slogan that winkingly acknowledged his relative statewide anonymity: "Booth Who?" But he overcame his lack of name recognition to become a two-term governor that brought changes to education, healthcare, and land use. After leaving office, he lived a quiet life, until reemerging into political view to advocate for Washington's Death with Dignity Act.

Think Out Loud

Using Universal Screening And Assessment In Schools

After the shootings at Clackamas Town Center and the Sandy Hook massacre of 20 elementary school children, we've been exploring various responses and approaches to preventing such violence in the future. The idea of early assessment and intervention was an aspect of prevention that came up briefly in our show about getting mental health care to transition age youth (16 -24). The basic idea is that along with reading tests grade school kids get, there would also be a formal behavior evaluation. But what would that look like? Who would do it? How early would it start? What are the benefits? We'll ask those questions and more of Jeffrey Sprague, from the University of Oregon, one of the principal researchers in the area. And we'll check in with one of the early adopters of this idea in Corvallis to see how it's working there. 

Think Out Loud

Candidate Conversation: Portland City Commissioner

We'll talk with the two leading candidates for Portland City Commissioner Position No. 1: incumbent Amanda Fritz and challenger Mary Nolan. Fritz has held the job since 2008. Nolan has spent the last 12 years in the state legislature. They've both made efforts to highlight their leadership in local government during the campaign. Nolan focused on education and healthcare as a state representative from SW Portland. She was also majority leader for the House Democrats. Before being elected to the legislature, she served as head of the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services and co-founded a GPS technology business. She's been criticized for her blunt communication style. Nolan is originally from Chicago. She moved to Portland in 1976. Fritz heads up the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, the relatively new Office of Equity and Human Rights, among other bureaus. She also championed a cheaper way to comply with the EPA regulation requiring Portland to treat its water, a move that's in line with her image as a fiscal watchdog. Fritz has faced some criticism over the Office of Equity, which has a $1 million budget and not much to show for it yet. She has a background as a nurse and a neighborhood activist. She's originally from Yorkshire, England and she moved to Portland from New York in 1986. Fritz successfully used the city's public financing system when she was first elected. This time around, even though that system is no longer in place, she's imposing a $50 limit on individual campaign donations and she's not accepting donations from PACs or corporations. Nolan, who began fundraising last summer and has not set donation limits, has raised far more than Fritz at this point.

Think Out Loud

What's the Holdup?

If you're a regular Think Out Loud listener, you already know that the legislature has passed its self-imposed deadline of February 29 for this year's short legislative session. They're now dangerously close to the actual deadline, which is written into the state Constitution. They can only go until March 6, when they have to drop those gavels and declare "sine die" once and for all (until 2013 that is). So, what's the holdup? Lawmakers passed a controversial bill to protect concealed handgun licenses from public records requests and the governor signed his healthcare "transformation" bill Friday. But one of his education policy bills are still on the table, along with a much-discussed law to create a tax credit for compensation to ranchers for livestock killed by wolves.

Think Out Loud

Supreme Court Hears Health Care Challenge

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to the Obama administration's health care overhaul. Lower courts around the country have heard the case and decided different ways, with the 11th Circuit Court finding it unconstitutional. The high court will take up the 11th Circuit's decision. In a remarkable move, the Supreme court scheduled five and a half hours (instead of the usual one hour) for the arguments in March. Before the Supreme Court term began, we discussed the possibility of the case being heard with law professor and Supreme Court watcher, Lisa McElroy. Now that the justices have indeed taken the case, we'll check back in with her about the specific issues they'll be looking at and the impact their ruling — one way or the other — is expected to have.

Think Out Loud

Candidate Conversation: State Treasurer

Our series of Candidate Conversations continues with a look at Oregon's Office of the State Treasurer which is responsible for managing 68 billion taxpayer dollars.  The Treasurer also issues state bonds, serves as the central bank for the state, serves on the State Land Board and administers Oregon's 529 College Savings Network.  As Oregon struggles with financial crisis, incumbent Democratic candidate Ted Wheeler and his Republican opponent Chris Telfer are campaigning on their financial expertise.  Ted Wheeler was appointed State Treasurer by Governor Kulongoski last March after the death of Treasurer Ben Westlund. Wheeler touts that since taking office he has reformed the travel policy by Treasury's investment managers, relaunched Oregon's college savings program and supported timber harvests on state lands.  Prior to becoming State Treasurer, Wheeler was chairman of Multnomah County.  Chris Telfer points to her credentials as a certified public accountant for nearly 30 years as a uniquely valuable asset for becoming the cheif financial officer of the state.  Telfer, a resident of Bend, is a small business owner, and is currently serving her first term as the Republican State Senator for District 27 where her healthcare bill passed unanimously in both House and Senate.

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Million Dollar Ideas?

After giving out more than $500 million over the last 32 years, the Meyer Memorial Trust has decided that it will now let a village (or, actually, a state) take a crack at figuring out how it should spend its next million. The foundation has opened up a contest of sorts. The plan:

[T]o jumpstart Oregon's historically innovative initiative in the face of the state's multitude of challenges by looking for a million dollar idea proposed by the state’s collective brain.... We begin by inviting all Oregonians and others to help us identify funding opportunities to create a better future for Oregon. Tell us what you think is the most pressing issue facing Oregon that an investment of up to $1 million could provide meaningful support and leverage over the next two years. Give us your best ideas about the form that support and leverage might take.
Over 200 ideas have come in already, and they're all over the map. There are plenty of economic development suggestions, along with ideas for environmental issues, social services, and healthcare. And then there are the pitches that are harder to categorize, like one that aims to create 100% Oregon-sourced beer, or the one that would help people slow down daily life and teach them "to simplify and then prioritize what's really important."

Health | Think Out Loud

Oregon Could Go Back To State-Based Health Exchange

Costs will go up if Oregon sticks with the federally run So, the state is exploring other options.

Think Out Loud

Should Doctors Be Using Their Smartphones In The Operating Room?

Do smartphones help or hinder healthcare professionals?

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Other Results

Oregon Senators on Trump Nominees & Walden on Healthcare

Both of Oregon's U.S. senators are working against President Trump's nominees, including his pick for the Supreme Court. Host Julie Sabatier and senior political reporter Jeff Mapes talk about the stands Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley are taking against the nominees. We talk about the lone Republican in Oregon's Congressional delegation — Rep. Greg Walden — and his approach to health care reform.


Oregon Healthcare 'Lottery' Draws Names

Oregon's so-called healthcare "lottery" is drawing names Friday.


Board Seeks Solutions To Healthcare Problems

Oregon’s Health Fund Board began meeting Tuesday to develop a comprehensive health reform plan for the state.  One of the goals of the board is to ensure access to healthcare for all Oregonians.

News | Health | local

Study Suggests Housing Homeless Could Lower Healthcare Costs

When homeless people are housed, the cost of their health care drops by 55 percent. 


Healthcare Act Ends 'Lifetime Limits' For 1.3 Million Oregonians

The nation's new health reform law has ended "lifetime limits" for more than 1.3 million Oregonians, according to a new federal report.

Tuberculosis And Rural Healthcare In America

Alabama's tuberculosis epidemic and what it shows us about rural healthcare in America.

News | Politics | Parents | Economy | Family | local | Business | NW Life | Health

Insurance Customers Shop For Deals At

New data from the feds show most Oregonians who buy individual health insurance are shopping around for the best deal.

News | Health

Feds Say Consumers Could Save Hundreds On

The health insurance open enrollment season opens this week.

News | Health | local | Vital Signs

Oregon Counting On Numbers To Help Track Healthcare Reform

A year from now, how will the state know if health care reforms are working? By tracking a host of measures, and watching to see if they improve.


Kitzhaber Hopeful About Waivers From Federal Healthcare Law

Governor John Kitzhaber says Oregon will soon test the Obama Administration’s flexibility in healthcare policy.

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