Remarkable Collaboration Nets over $4 Million for Local Health Improvement

Thanks to the joint efforts of health departments from Benton, Lincoln and Linn Counties, along with InterCommunity Health Network Coordinated Care Organization (IHN-CCO), local communities will reap the benefits of over $4 million in grant funding received to date to support a regional approach for health improvement.

Working under the title of Regional Healthy Communities Steering Committee, this unique partnership has brought together a diverse group of public and private organizations that support the health of local residents across the three counties. In addition to the counties and IHN-CCO, committee membership ranges from community and faith-based groups to providers, educators, tribal organizations, health equity concerns, and neighborhood housing amongst others.

“We are being rewarded for ignoring organizational and geographical boundaries,” said Kim Whitley, COO for InterCommunity Health Network CCO, the entity responsible for coordinating care for Oregon Health Plan members in the three counties. “Our collaboration ensures that whatever we do will have a broader impact and it will be more effective both in financial and clinical terms.”

The Regional Healthy Communities Steering Committee has cooperatively hired a full-time project coordinator to be responsible for the multiple grants received.

“We have taken the time to develop an infrastructure that can support the successful integration of multiple grants to not only reduce the administrative overhead, but also to take advantage of any overlap in our programs’ goals,” said Tatiana Dierwechter, Healthy Communities Program Manager with Benton County and Steering Committee Co-Chair.

Sara Hartstein, Health Policy Specialist for Benton County, explained, “We know, for example, connecting a program that addresses tobacco prevention and one that focuses on mental health can mean a better outcome, since data has shown a greater prevalence of tobacco use among persons with mental illness. We truly believe our communities will benefit in very real ways as a result of our collaboration and joint management of these grant funds.”

For more information about InterCommunity Health Network CCO and the grants managed by the Regional Healthy Communities Steering Committee in Benton, Lincoln and Linn County, visit samhealth.org/IHN-CCO.

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