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Maternal Nutrition and Fetal Development Focus of OHSU’s New Research Center

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Dr. Kent Thornburg, whose research focuses on the developmental origins of disease, will take the helm of the Bob and Charlee Moore Institute for Nutrition and Wellness

February 1, 2012 -- Dr. Kent Thornburg, who teaches in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University and is known worldwide for his research into the developmental origins of disease – has been named interim director of the Bob and Charlee Moore Institute for Nutrition and Wellness, a new research and education center.

Douglas County Providers Form the State’s First Coordinated Care Organization

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A non-profit organization, the Community Health Alliance, has brought together physical, dental, mental health and addiction services

January 30, 2012—A group of nine healthcare providers in Douglas County are forming the state’s first coordinated care organization (CCO), calling it “the Community Health Alliance.”

The provider groups include Douglas County Independent Physician’s Association (DCIPA), Douglas County’s Health and Human Services Department, Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc. (GOBHI), Mercy Medical Center, Umpqua Community Health Center, Advantage Dental, and ADAPT, which provides substance abuse and addictions treatment and recovery services.

Federal Officials Likely to Approve Waivers to Transform Oregon’s Healthcare System

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Once the Legislature approves the business plan setting in motion coordinated care organizations, the state’s on its way to reduce costs and improve health

January 30, 2012 -- Discussions are under way with federal officials to provide Oregon with another $2.5 billion in Medicaid funds over the next five years to help transform its healthcare system and also approve the necessary waivers to implement the new plan.   

Toxics Disclosure for Healthy Kids Act Faces Legislature

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House Bill 4123 would require the Oregon Health Authority to publish a list of high priority chemicals used in children’s products

 January 27, 2012 -- Protecting young children from harmful chemical exposures is a top priority of Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer (D-Portland).

“If we have the data, we can do better planning to reduce our exposures to chemicals that have been shown to cause birth defects, learning disabilities and childhood cancers,” she said. “It’s important for the state to protect its citizens.”

Proposed HIV Test Rules Would Reverse ‘90s Legislation

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Patients will no longer have to give specific informed consent for an HIV test

January 30, 2012 -- New HIV screening rules coming before the February session represent a complete turnaround in the strategy of advocates for people suffering from the 30-year-old virus causing immune system deficiency.

To protect HIV patients from discrimination, state lawmakers in the 1990s passed a series of laws that now require special forms for consenting to an HIV test and extra layers of bureaucracy for transferring HIV-related patient data. Under proposed legislation, patients would no longer have to give specific informed consent for an HIV test.

Ambulatory Surgery Centers Seek Relevance While Lagging in Transparency

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Oregon’s outpatient surgery centers are behind other healthcare organizations in reporting medical errors and infections

January 27, 2012 -- Oregon ambulatory surgery centers want to be an integral part of any newly formed Coordinated Care Organization. But some question just how transparent the 86 freestanding outpatient centers in the state are when it comes to reporting quality.

Policy Board Approves Business Plan for Oregon Health Plan Overhaul

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The Legislature is expected to begin reviewing that plan when it starts meeting next Wednesday

January 25, 2012—Diana Bianco, a consultant with Artemis Consulting, was met with an almost deafening silence after she asked the Oregon Health Policy Board’s members if there were any more suggestions or changes they wanted to make to the business plan that sets the course for the Oregon Health Plan’s transformation.

“My work here is done,” said Bianco, who’s been working with the policy board to develop the business plan.

PeaceHealth Loses Medicaid Contract with Columbia United Providers in Washington

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Columbia United Providers lost its bid to participate in Medicaid by the Washington Health Care Authority

 January 25, 2012 – Regence Blue Shield isn’t the only insurance company in Washington that won’t participate in Medicaid during fiscal 2012-13.

Columbia United Providers and Premera Health Plan, which actually submitted bids on the proposed contract, have been forced out by the Washington Health Authority – unlike Regence which withdrew after providing care to pregnant women and children since 2002.

Stakeholders Criticize Ban on Federal Funding for Syringe Exchange Programs

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Most programs won't see a significant financial impact, but see the move as a step backward for public health

January 24, 2012 -- Syringe exchange programs are unlikely to suffer major financial impact as a result of a Congressional vote in December that halted federal funding.  

“It's actually going to have minimal impact,” said Kathy Oliver, executive director of Outside In, which has been operating a needle exchange since 1989. “It's a giant step backward in terms of public policy.”

Changes in Insurance Plans Confusing for Employees

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Oregon Educators Benefit board makes the decision to give employees more options

January 25, 2012 -- It can be very exasperating when an employer changes health plan options and people no longer have quite the same benefits.

Irma Gentile faced that dilemma. An early retiree, she joined the Oregon Educators Benefit Board in 2008, choosing Providence Health Plan after reviewing the other three choices available to her.

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