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Medicare payments for a single procedure also vary widely across the state, according to a detailed analysis by The Lund Report.

An unprecedented release of Medicare payment data is beginning to shine light on how doctors and other medical professionals are compensated for their work – and The Lund Report has started to join in the examination.

Over time, the newly available data is expected to provide insight into overtreatment, overbilling and disparities in care and costs. But experts are also cautioning the curious to take care when drawing conclusions from the dataset, which was released as a result of legislation jointly championed by senators from opposite sides of the political isle – Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon and Republican Charles Grassley of Iowa.

Apr 17 2014
During the same time span, the assets of its five hospitals grew by 3.1 percent, reaching $34.8 million.

How well are Oregon’s hospitals meeting local needs? Are they making smart decisions about their money? Today, The Lund Report runs the fourth in a series of stories exploring hospitals across the state.

This project begins with a review of more than 50 hospitals licensed to operate in Oregon. These stories look at profit margins, hospital size and reach, and touch briefly on executive compensation. Part 1 profiled Providence Health System’s eight hospitals. Part 2 examined Legacy Health’s four Oregon hospitals. Part 3 visited with hospitals owned by four small chains: Kaiser, Asante Tuality and Salem Health. Today, we dig in to Samaritan Health Services. Click on the accompanying Excel spreadsheets for a look at the data collected: a breakdown of Samaritan's finances and a list of what Samaritan top brass were paid in 2012.

After examining the details of every Oregon-licensed hospital, The Lund Report will follow up with stories that dive deep into the facts we’ve uncovered. We’ll ask about profits, compensation and the cost of caring for the poor.

Apr 10 2014
As the website faltered, Cover Oregon has been ever more reliant on the hard work of community organizations to sign people up. The Interface Network in Salem, which works heavily in the Latino community, has one more open house scheduled for April 19.

The Cover Oregon rollout has been notoriously plagued by a terrible website, but the state has consistently ranked in the middle of the pack compared to other states, and reported 63,000 private enrollments on April 10.

One key reason for this? Community partners, who have taken a more grassroots approach to getting people enrolled. These groups, along with insurance agents, can sit with a consumer face-to-face and guide them through the application process. Agents have been given the ability to enroll people immediately in a subsidized health plan, without waiting for Cover Oregon to take days to process the application.

State officials attribute the success to the Healthy Kids program whose numbers grew from 19.4 percent in 2008 to 33.6 percent in 2012.

Since October, Cover Oregon has been toiling through technological hiccups to make sure more Oregonians have affordable and quality health insurance. Behind the scenes, even before the Affordable Care Act became law, efforts to have more children covered by health insurance have been quietly successful, especially in Oregon.

According to a new report, "For Kids' Sake: State-Level Trends in Children's Health Insurance - A State-by-State Analysis," the percentage of uninsured children in the U.S. dropped from 9.7 percent in 2008 to 7.5 percent in 2012. The report, conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health's State Health Access Data Assistance Center and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, also documents recent coverage trends at the state level using data from 2008 through 2012, the most recent year available.

The latest enrollment numbers continue to show that Moda Health is leading the pack, followed by Kaiser and Providence Health Plan, while legislators received an annual report from Cover Oregon, including the status of its finances, enrollment along with conclusions reached by an independent auditor.

Small businesses need not fear – even though Cover Oregon can’t get its SHOP program off the ground, employers can still qualify for a federal tax credit.

The Oregon Nurses Association is going all out to support one of its own in a race for the Oregon House, but a six-way primary has the Democratic Party split on its support to succeed Rep. Jules Bailey in liberal southeast Portland.

Rob Nosse has witnessed first-hand the uplift in the healthcare system over the past decade, observing Oregon’s Medicaid healthcare transformation and now the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

OHSU and PSU are reviewing applications for PhD programs in epidemiology, community health and health systems and policy

Officials at Oregon Health & Science University and Portland State University are reviewing applications for three new doctoral programs in public health – and are hoping to create a School of Public Health to administer the growing number of programs in the discipline.

“It's sort of a natural evolution of what has been a highly functional and really rigorous MPH program that we already share,” said Elena Andresen, PhD, an OHSU professor who was instrumental in creating the curriculum for the doctorate in epidemiology.

The author contends we’re at a defining moment and becoming victims of biotech recklessness in our own back yards and school yards.

OPINION -- Out-of-state biotech corporations and their allies have contributed $600,000 out of a total of more than $800,000 to fight Jackson County’s May 20 initiative to ban the growing of genetically engineered (GE or GMO) crops, an eye-popping amount for a small county election. Monsanto has given over $183,000, DuPont Pioneer nearly $130,000 and Syngenta $75,000. The Oregon Farm Bureau has donated over $50,000, much of which could be pass-through money, since it receives thousands of dollars from biotech firms.