Mental Health, Long-Term Care Targeted for $30 Million in Innovative Ideas

The money in Governor John Kitzhaber’s budget is intended to support the goals of healthcare transformation

January 2, 2013 – The money trail for healthcare transformation is nowhere close to the end. In fact, Governor John Kitzhaber has set aside $30 million in his budget for 2013-2015 to foster collaborations between mental health, long-term care providers and the coordinated care organizations.

“The money’s intended to support innovative ideas in the community that will advance the goals of healthcare transformation,” Dr. Bruce Goldberg, administrator of the Oregon Health Authority told The Lund Report. ”We want to identify the best practices out there, and support a broad set of ideas and partners around the state to create a shared opportunity between CCOs, community mental health programs and providers and long-term care services to identify pressing problems in their communities.”

If the legislature approves that budget, the OHA would begin divvying up those dollars next fall and put together a competitive process to solicit ideas.

Currently the CCOs do not have long-term care under their mandate, and the legislature would have to take action before that could happen. In previous sessions, long-term care advocates have strenuously objected to joining the CCO movement.

Since August, the CCOs have been integrating physical, mental and dental services for nearly 650,000 people on the Oregon Health Plan. When the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented in 2014, another 200,000 people are expected to qualify for Medicaid benefits.

Goldberg’s office is also awaiting word on a federal grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to establish a transformation center and provide technical assistance to CCOs, share best practices and set up learning collaboratives, Goldberg said.

”CMS wants to support innovations and changes in how healthcare is delivered to support the Triple Aim,” Goldberg said – better health, better care at lower cost.

The governor’s budget includes $10.2 billion for the Oregon Health Plan next biennium, $531.9 million for the Public Health Division that includes funding for school-based health centers and $1 billion for the Addictions and Mental Health Division – which represents a 43% increase in Oregon’s community mental health and addiction treatment system.

That fund includes:

  • $1.5 million for the Oregon Psychiatric Access Line for children

  • $1.8 million to expand the early assessment and support alliance

  • $5.2 million to increase supported housing services, and

  • $1.5 million to expand supported employment services, and

  • $2.6 million to expand the intensive treatment and recovery services program that helps reunite and keep families together when parents enter treatment for drug and alcohol addiction.


To learn more about the Governor’s budget, click here and here.

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Like proposed education reforms, the governor's plans sound good on paper. Yet Medicare has seen health care costs rise with the highly touted implementation of electronic billing and medical records. Presumptions that savings will evolve through integration and through preventive care are just that. Can hospitals, doctors and allied health care providers deliver innovations that compete with fee-for-service health care? And if so, how can quality be maintained, without burdensome cost-sharing? I am skeptical that until we have a single payer system of financing health care delivery, tiered health care will mean tiered outcomes.