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An Open Letter From Regence

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OPINION – November 22, 2011 -- Recent articles and blog postings have indicated some questions and confusion regarding our structure and recent internal capital movement. I hope the following will help clarify.

For many years, Regence has been structured as a nonprofit holding company system. This means that none of our capital is paid out to shareholders, but instead stays within the holding company system to grow and improve the business and to provide value to our members and the communities we serve.

Northwest Mothers Milk Bank Halfway to its Fundraising Goal

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The group needs to purchase lab equipment before it can start processing donations locally

November 22, 2011 -- The Northwest Mothers Milk Bank is halfway toward its fundraising goal of $400,000 – the amount the organization needs to open a physical location to process donations.

The bump is thanks to a $125,000 donation from Oregon Health Insurers Partnering for Prevention (OHIPP), a group of health insurers convened by the Oregon Public Health Institute.

Mental Health Organization Takes up Challenge to Create CCO

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GOBHI, which provides mental health benefits in 17 rural counties, has been leading discussions with physical and dental organizations, to create a coordinated care organization

November 21, 2011—A mental health organization is leading the charge toward transformation. Greater Oregon Behavioral Healthcare, Inc., (GOBHI), based in The Dalles, is in active discussions with a multitude of healthcare providers to become a coordinated care organization (CCO) by next July.

CEO Kevin Campbell has been meeting with federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics, public health departments, hospitals, county commissioners and primary and dental care providers in 17 rural counties -- many of which are east of the Cascades.

Healthcare Advocates Urge Supercommittee to Oppose Medicare Cuts

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They’ve sent a letter to Congressman Greg Walden urging him to protect Medicare spending

November 17, 2011 – Nine healthcare organizations – most of which advocate for people with chronic illnesses – are speaking up about proposed cuts to Medicare.

A federal deficit “supercommittee” has one week left to cut $1.2 trillion within the next decade. While that committee may or may not meet its November 23 deadline, Medicare cuts are on the table.

Provider Groups Ask for Inclusion in Coordinated Care Organizations

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They think a prescriptive list of providers needs to be part of the legislation going to the Legislature in February

November 17, 2011—Not mincing words, provider groups worried they’ll be left out of the coordinated care organizations (CCOs) took their case to the Oregon Health Policy Board last week. But they came away without any assurance.

Insurance Commissioner Calls Regence Article Misleading

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OPINION – November 16, 2011 – I wanted to follow up on your article titled “Regulators Didn’t Question $56 million payout by Regence BlueCross BlueShield” because I am concerned the article is misleading and does not provide the public with accurate information.

Less Paperwork, More Patient Focus Can Dramatically Improve Care, Expert Says

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Inefficiency continues to plague the medical system, according to Dr. David Reuben director and professor geriatric medicine at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine

November 16, 2011 -- Surveys of doctors show that now more than half think that providing higher-quality medicine may lead to losses in their earning power, a belief that may help explain why an exceptionally high number of patients don’t get recommended care, according to Dr. David Reuben MD, who spoke at the OHSU Foundation for Medical Excellence annual lecture earlier this week.

Jack Friedman Suggests Single Payer System Would Be Ideal

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Speaking at a conference organized by the Healthcare Information and Management System Society, the CEO of Providence Health Plans said it’s not going to happen

November 17, 2011 -- As healthcare costs spiral out of control, “Medicare makes Social Security look like chump change in terms of what it's going to take to get future liabilities funded,” said Jack Friedman, CEO of Providence Health Plans, the keynote speaker at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference earlier this week.

Regulators Didn’t Question $56 Million Payout by Regence BlueCross BlueShield

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Five months before Regence asked for a 22.1 percent rate increase, the insurer paid a $56 million dividend to its holding company; some of those funds were used to launch Sprig Health

November 10, 2011 – When state regulators approved a 12.8 percent rate increase for Regence BlueCross BlueShield earlier this year, they were aware that the insurer had dipped into its surplus account and given a $56 million dividend to its holding company just five months earlier.

Central Oregon Sees Early Successes in Coordinated Care Model

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As it prepares to become a coordinated care organization in 2012, Central Oregon’s pioneering coordinated care model proves there are cost savings in coordinating care

November 10, 2011—A wide variety of organizations representing Central Oregon’s healthcare community were talking about creating a coordinated model of providing health care before the Legislature even began thinking about it.

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