The Lund Report

Columbia County Commissioners Await Court Date in Asset Transfer

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Fate of the proposed hospital site is still uncertain

February 9, 2012 – The Columbia Public Health District and members of the Columbia County Board of Commissioners are awaiting a trial date to decide the fate of the district's assets, which include the public health building and the land in St. Helens where officials had hoped to build a hospital.

The public health district was formally dissolved after voters rejected its proposal to build that hospital.

Salem Health Closes Down High-Risk Pregnancy Clinic

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The Family Birth Center Clinic has been providing prenatal care to indigent women with high risk pregnancies since 2005

February 9, 2012 -- Indigent women in Marion County are about to lose an invaluable resource following the closure of the Family Birth Center Clinic run by Salem Health, which has provided prenatal care to indigent women with high-risk pregnancies since 2005.

Foundation for Excellence in Mental Healthcare Begins Funding First Projects

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The foundation's mission is to advocate for a more holistic approach to treating mental illness

February 6, 2012—The Foundation for Excellence in Mental Healthcare and its executive director Gina Nikkel are off to a running start, funding its first projects that Nikkel hopes will begin creating a more holistic understanding and way of treating mental illness.

Nikkel, who was previously executive director of the Association of Oregon County Mental Health Programs, has been participating frequently in international calls, and has racked up 4,000 minutes of phone calls in one month. “That’s two solid weeks of being on the phone,” she said.

Electronic Health Records Face Rapidly Changing Technology

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State could challenge Microsoft’s de-facto monopoly on provider-to-provider database

February 6, 2012 -- Technology is changing so quickly that state officials and advocates overseeing more streamlined transfers of health information in Oregon are scrambling to keep up.

2010 may not seem like that long ago, but from the perspective of a computer, it’s already the Stone Age. That was the year that the Community Leadership Council of the Archimedes Movement made recommendations on the state’s Strategic Plan for Health Information Exchange, which the federal government approved a few months later.

Douglas County’s Collaborative Pre-Natal Clinic Reduces Number of Low Birthrate Babies

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Success is attributed to the clinic's ability to provide wrap around health and social services to its clients

February 3, 2012— Despite taking care of pregnant women who have some of the highest risk factors for giving birth to low-weight babies, the women seen at Douglas County’s Prenatal Clinic beat the odds – and had the lowest rate of giving birth to low-weight babies compared to the rest of Douglas

Insurance Exchange’s Request to Pursue Its Own Health Coverage Met with Skepticism

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Rocky King, executive director of the exchange, wants to try out some innovative coverage models prior to small businesses purchasing coverage through the exchange

February 2, 2012—An unexpectedly heated debate transpired in the House Health Care Committee yesterday over whether the Oregon Health Insurance Exchange’s 11 staff members should be able to seek their own healthcare coverage rather than be covered by the Public Employees’ Benefit Board (PEBB), which provides benefits to state employees.

Medical Liability Reform Unlikely to Happen This Legislative Session

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Sen. Alan Bates (D-Medford) says he doesn’t want to do anything during the February special session that would stop the evolution of coordinated care organizations

February 2, 2012 -- Despite pressure by Republicans to include tort reform in legislation that will transform Oregon’s healthcare system during the February legislative session under way, that issue will have to wait until 2013, predicted Sen. Alan Bates (D-Medford.

Komen Decision to Sever Ties with Planned Parenthood Doesn’t Impact Oregon

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Nevertheless, it’s sad that Komen has allowed itself to be bullied, according to David Greenberg, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Columbia Willamette

February 2, 2012 -- Oregon-based Planned Parenthood affiliates will continue to provide cancer screening services despite a decision by Susan G. Komen For the Cure®, a national organization that raises funds for breast cancer screenings and research, to officially sever ties with Planned Parenthood.

Constitutionality of Patenting Gene Sequencing Reaches Supreme Court

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Its decision could affect whether private companies can charge inflated prices for tests such as the BRCA gene for breast cancer

OPINION -- February 2, 2012 -- The Supreme Court is going to rule on the case of whether it is constitutional for biotech companies to be able to patent gene sequences. This will be a landmark patent case, since currently about 20 percent of the human genome is patented for various diseases. 

If the lower court is overturned, it means that a lot of companies that have spent a lot of money making sure they have exclusive rights to commercialization of treatments and testing for specific disease genes, could stand to lose big.

Dental Care Organizations Express Concern About Transformation

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Because dental organizations aren't required to participate in the coordinated care model until 2014, some feel left out of the discussions

February 1, 2012—Dental care organizations are growing increasingly vocal about the future relationship they’ll have with the coordinated care organizations (CCOs) that are expected to provide healthcare to Oregon Health Plan members in July.  


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