Dave Ford Retires as CEO of CareOregon

November 26, 2012 -- David E. Ford, CEO since 2003, has announced his retirement from CareOregon, and the board has named Patrick Curran as his interim successor. Ford will retire at the end of the year.

When Ford joined CareOregon nine years ago, the company was in financial difficulty and only a few years into independence from its original organizing bodies: Multnomah County, Oregon Health & Science University and Oregon Primary Care Organization. Today, it is not only strong and stable financially, but has become internationally known for innovative training and provider support in the areas of delivery system improvement, as well as its focus on improving member outcomes and satisfaction.

“CareOregon is in a strong, stable and exciting point in its development,” said Ford. “It seems like a good time to turn the reins over to the outstanding staff we’ve spent years putting together, who will move CareOregon in new directions. While I’m retiring from CareOregon, I hope to remain busy, writing and continuing to support innovations in health care that can improve life for people around the globe.”

Under his leadership, CareOregon’s membership grew to 160,000 plus members and added two Medicare Advantage health plans. Innovations included the development of Care Support and Systems Innovation (CSSI) program, begun in 2006 to help providers, hospitals and clinics kick start programs that improve care not only for Medicaid recipients, but all patients. Since its inception, CSSI has sponsored 238 pilot projects, not only through funding, but with process improvement training, and by helping providers across the state collaborate on improvements.

And CareOregon has spread programs such as Releasing Time to Care, a hospital nurse led collaborative, beyond Oregon, engaging providers from Alaska, California and Canada. Most recently, CareOregon joined with hospitals, county systems, federally qualified health centers and most of the health plans in the tri-county area to seek out a Health Commons grant that enables the spread of innovative programs, such as CareOregon’s Community Care Team pilot. 

This program teams outreach workers one on one with the most medically complex members to help them manage both health and life-issues affecting their health. This effort not only improves members’ health outcomes, but reduces costs associated with avoidable hospitalizations and ER visits.

Because of his leadership in improving care while reducing costs and increasing provider and member satisfaction, Ford has been invited to speak to health innovators in the US, Canada and Europe.

“I’m delighted that the board has chosen Patrick Curran as the interim CEO,” said Ford. “I know he and the other fine staff we have here will not only ensure the stability of the organization in the months ahead, but help it prepare for the many changes health care reform are bringing our way.”

Curran, who has more than 25 years experience in health care administration, has been with CareOregon since 2003. Not only has he been key to the development of efforts such as the Care Support and Systems Innovation effort, he has led the efforts to create Coordinated Care Organizations throughout the state. Curran has held a variety of positions throughout his years at CareOregon, including serving as Provider Services Director, Medicare Director and most recently Senior Director of Business Strategy and Development.

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