Christopher David Gray

Health Co-Op Leads Market in Low Rates, but Hospitals Appear to Be Pocketing Savings

None of the insurers are passing on any savings in health insurance costs now that hospitals are offering less free care. Oregon’s hospitals traditionally passed the cost of that so-called charity care onto consumers, but the ACA has provided them with a windfall revenue stream, as insurers and consumers are unable to share in that savings.

The Insurance Division has wrapped up its public hearings for proposed health insurance plan changes, with the last ones on Monday. The hearings and a review are required for all individual and fully insured small business health plans sold in Oregon.

PEBB Still Looking for Permanent Administrator to Oversee New Contract

A search for a replacement for Joan Kapowich has come up dry, leaving Kelly Ballas atop the public employee health plan administration as an interim for now. Meanwhile, Kaiser’s medical claims are rising faster than Providence, and both PEBB and OEBB have rehired their consultants.

The state will be taking more time to find a full-time replacement for Joan Kapowich, the ousted head of the Public Employees Benefit Board and the Oregon Educators Benefit Board.

FamilyCare Moves to Pay Primary Care More Than Commercial Insurance for Medicaid

The move by the CCO’s president, Jeff Heatherington, runs counter to the prevailing practice for the Medicaid program nationally, which has been to pay primary care providers much less than commercial insurance simply because the government can.

The Portland-area coordinated care organization FamilyCare will be raising its primary care rates in August to match those of commercial insurance -- a remarkable decision given Medicaid’s historical practice of reimbursing physicians less than all health insurance types.

Campaign Money from Healthcare Groups Tops $1 Million in Early Spending

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A review of the spending records of a dozen key healthcare players shows spending coming along, much of it for Kitzhaber’s election campaign but also sizable amounts to legislative leaders and election races that are sure to be close, like Sen. Alan Bates’ in southern Oregon.

The money from the healthcare industry continues to flow like pinot noir into the casks of Oregon politicians this election season, with a review of 12 key players showing receipts of nearly $1.3 million designed to influence elections as well as policy and budget decisions made by our powers tha

Legacy Emanuel Workers Picket for Living Wage Increase

While Legacy CEO George Brown collects an estimated $1.8 million, Emanuel front-line workers in SEIU Local 49 say they rely on food stamps to make ends meet. One employee says she was sent to collections after she was unable to pay $1000s of dollars in hospital bills from her own employer.

Dozens of Legacy Emanuel employees and their supporters picketed outside the hospital Wednesday, hoping to boost worker morale while putting the heat on Legacy Health as the Service Employees International Union Local 49 bargains for a better contract for the powerful health system’s front-line w

Health Authority Floats Idea of New Law for Primary Care Homes

The Health Policy Board may consider legislation for 2015 that would enact official, uniform rules for private insurance companies contracting with family physicians and nurse practitioners to turn their practices into primary care homes. The law would cement an agreement made last year between health insurers and the Oregon Health Authority.

The 2015 Legislature could see a bill codifying an agreement made last year between health insurance companies and the state that created uniform rules for patient-centered, primary care homes, the state’s much-touted vehicle for enhancing basic healthcare services.

State Hires Deloitte to Salvage Oracle Technology for Oregon Health Plan

The British consulting giant will be paid $18.4 million and tasked with taking the crippled technology infrastructure and making it usable for the state’s Medicaid program. Deloitte has been one of the more successful IT contractors working with the Affordable Care Act and worked as the systems integrator for Washington state’s successful exchange.

The state of Oregon has inked an $18.4 million contract with Deloitte LLP to oversee its attempts to salvage the flawed Oracle technology for use in enrolling people for the state’s Medicaid program, the Oregon Health Plan.

Moda Health’s Double-Digit Rate Increase Faces Scrutiny

Price-conscious consumers would be well advised to do some shopping this fall before signing back up with Moda Health. Several health plans, including Atrio and Oregon’s Health Co-Op, are not only offering cheaper rates than Moda, they’re asking for reductions in price that would set them below Moda’s 2014 rates.

Moda Health may have some more explaining to do if it’s going to get the full 12.5 percent rate hike it’s requested from Oregon’s Insurance Division for its 2015 individual health plans.

Oregon Medical Board Has New Office Rules in Place to Protect Patients

The rules, set by level of anesthesia, regulate office settings for procedures for the first time in Oregon. Crafted in the wake of a tragically botched plastic surgery, the plastic surgery society president believes they don’t go far enough.

Four years ago, a patient died after an unqualified physician botched a tummy tuck operation late at night at a Portland doctor’s office.

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