Health Care Transformation/CCO Bill Passes Overwhelmingly

February 24, 2012 -- The Coalition for a Healthy Oregon (COHO) praised the State Legislature for its overwhelming and bipartisan approval of landmark legislation that creates the blueprint for health care transformation in Oregon.

The Oregon House passed Senate Bill 1580 on a 53-7 vote, giving managed care organizations the green light to set up Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs) that will strengthen patient-provider relationships and improve delivery of both care and services. Representatives Cliff Bentz, Vicki Berger, Wayne Krieger, John E. Huffman, Sherrie Sprenger, Jim Thompson-, and Jim Weidner, all Republicans, voted no.

The bill was co-carried on the Senate floor by Representatives Tina Kotek (D-Portland) and Tim Freeman (R-Roseburg). Last week, the state Senate passed the bill 18-12, led by Sen. Alan Bates (D-Medford). The measure now goes to the Governor for his signature.

“Lawmakers have given the green light to create CCOs and implement health care transformation,” said Jeff Heatherington, President and CEO of FamilyCare, Inc. and COHO’s legislative director. “Now, it’s up to the entire health care industry and the managed care organizations of COHO to make this work. Cooperation, transparency and enhancing patient-provider relationships are the keys to a successful transformation.”

The opening remarks made by Rep. Freeman focused on the legislative intent of SB 1580: to clarify and put sideboards on transformation, ensuring that CCOs will have the flexibility needed to be successful for years to come. He also stated for the record that OHA will continue to set non-participation rates to be used if no contractual agreement can be reached between a CCO and a major provider in a community. Freeman highlighted the efforts by COHO plans make CCOs work in their communities. He closed by simply saying, "Good bill, should pass."

Rep. Kotek said that SB 1580 is an example of how Oregon should deal with major policy change with hours of public engagement and bi-partisan support. She said that the Legislature must pass the bill in order to close the budget gap though providing better health care and creating an opportunity to bring in much needed federal dollars back to Oregon. She closed by saying that Oregon has been well-positioned by the work of existing MCOs, but SB 1580 will take the next step in delivering better care.

“From Medford to Roseburg from Salem to Portland, our managed care organizations are at various stages of creating CCOs in their services areas. We are looking forward to working with our providers to expand and improve the care to the people in our communities,” Heatherington said.

COHO is an association of Oregon's leading managed care organizations that serve the most vulnerable populations through the state’s Medicaid program, the Oregon Health Plan (OHP).

News source: