The Lund Report

Sen. Jeff Merkley Urges Physicians, Nurses to Raise Their Voices

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Healthcare reform, environmental legislation wouldn't have been possible without the voices of providers, he told those attending the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility event

January 22, 2013 -- According to public opinion polls, U.S. Senators are less well-liked and less well-respected than cockroaches, Sen. Jeff Merkley told a small crowd of physicians, nurses and community members last week. Doctors and nurses, on the other, consistently rank at the top of public opinion polls – so when it comes to public policy, their opinions often hold more sway.

Oregon Doesn't Make the Grade on Tobacco Prevention

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American Lung Association report shows that Oregon falls short when it comes to tobacco prevention and control funding

January 16, 2013 -- When it comes to tobacco control, Oregon falls short. In fact, according to the American Lung Association’s 2013 State of Tobacco Control Report while Oregon took steps forward to reduce tobacco use in some areas, the state earned a glaring F when it comes to tobacco prevention and control funding.

Public Health Essential to Reducing Healthcare Costs

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Smoking cessation, maternity care and mental health services are focus of coordinated care organizations working alongside public health

January 16, 2013 -- Asking for a show of hands during a breakout session on public health and coordinated care at last week's conference on Transforming Care, Chris Palmedo, director of public affairs at Northwest Health Foundation, said, “How many people believe the current system integrates care in a way that maximizes public health?”

Not a single hand went up among the 150 or so people present.

Medicaid Pays for 47 Percent of Children Born in Oregon

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Also, 20 percent of people on the Oregon Health Plan have chronic conditions, including mental health and substance abuse problems

January 16, 2013 -- After the Affordable Care Act passed, most states waited before taking action, but Oregon went full speed ahead to transform its healthcare system, said Martin Taylor, director of public policy and member centricity for Care Oregon, at the Transforming Care 2013 conference held by CCO Oregon last week.

CMS Approves Accountability Measures

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The coordinated care organizations will be graded on 17 metrics regarding access and quality of care, and be rewarded additional funds from a bonus pool

January 16, 2013 -- The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has given final approval to a waiver that includes a list of 17 accountability measures for Oregon’s new coordinated care organizations, which are providing care to the state’s Medicaid population through the Oregon Health Plan.

CMS ordered a last-minute adjustment that requires the CCOs to monitor the follow-up care for children who receive drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Regence Rate Decision Sparks Consumer Watchdog Approach

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Sen. Chip Shields is proposing legislation that would give consumer groups access to proprietary information before the Insurance Division approves rate requests

January 8, 2012 -- When insurance officials made a decision about a rate request by Regence BlueCross BlueShield after reviewing documents behind closed doors last summer, it raised the ire of Sen. Chip Shields (D-Portland).

A strong proponent of transparency, he’s drafting legislation that would let consumer watchdog groups such as OSPIRG have access to such proprietary information, giving them intervener status.

Alternative Practitioners Could Face Legal Hurdles with CCOs

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Rep. Dennis Richardson might throw a monkey wrench into the mix during the upcoming legislative session

January 8, 2013 -- Oregon statute is quite clear about allowing people on the Oregon Health Plan to receive care from complementary and alternative medical practitioners – acupuncturists, chiropractors, naturopaths, massage therapists and nurse midwives.

A non-discriminatory amendment is embedded in the legislation (Senate Bill 1580) that called for the creation of coordinated care organizations – charged with integrating physical, mental and dental care for low-income people on Medicaid.

Tricia Tillman Says Diverse Groups Need a Seat at the Table

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As administrator of the Office of Equity and Inclusion, she believes coordinated care organizations should form partnerships with culturally diverse stakeholders

January 2, 2013 -- Growing up in southwest Portland – and later studying political science at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. – Tricia Tillman didn't realize public health was an occupation, much less the one where she’d end up.

“I kind of stumbled into public health,” Tillman said. “I didn't know it was a field at all.”

Mitch Greenlick Wants CCOs to get Share of Tobacco Settlement

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Next session, legislators, together with Governor Kitzhaber, will decide how the $120 million from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement should be spent

January 8, 2013 -- Governor Kitzhaber’s proposed healthcare budget taps $120 million from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement as a revenue source for the Oregon Health Plan, but doesn’t indicate how those dollars should be spent. Rep. Mitch Greenlick (D-Portland) would like to convince the Oregon Health Authority, which will appropriate that revenue, to distribute 10 percent -- $12 million -- to the coordinated care organizations and earmarked for tobacco prevention and reduction.

Northwest Mothers Milk Bank Meets Fundraising Goal

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Matching campaign will enable the organization to purchase a pasteurizer and start processing small quantities of donor milk

January 2, 2013 -- The Northwest Mothers Milk Bank is still pressing toward its goal of opening the first human milk processing center in the Northwest – and just completed a matching funds campaign to purchase an automated pasteurizer, said executive co-director Lesley Mondeaux.

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