How Oregon governor will reduce health costs

Governor Kitzhaber is using alternative health care providers as part of a team approach to reducing health care costs in Oregon. Photo: Peter Lind

WASHINGTON, DC, February 27, 2013 - Oregon Governor, Dr. Kitzhaber, a medical physician, has delivered what may seem the best answer to the catastrophic health care debacle. He enlists alternative health care providers, licensed by the state, to provide primary care services.

Enter the Coordinated Care Organization.

The Coordinated Care Organization or CCO, is a network of all types of health care providers (physical health care, addictions and mental health care and sometimes dental care providers) who agree to work together in their local communities to serve people who receive health care coverage under the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid). 

CCOs are focused on prevention and helping people manage chronic conditions, like diabetes in a coordinated effort. This will help reduce unnecessary emergency room visits and gives people support to be healthy.

CCOs will be able to support new models of care that are patient-centered and team-focused, and reduce health differences. CCOs are be able to better coordinate services and also focus on prevention, chronic illness management and person-centered care. 

Screenings and surveys are not prevention. Prevention and personal management has been fabulously missing in the current healthcare system. A new system that focuses on healthy diet, health goal-setting, and yes, alternative health care.

CCOs will have budgets to provide services with the goal of better health, better care and lower costs for the population.

Illegal to Discriminate Against Health Care Providers

Governor Kitzhaber’s philosophy and current Oregon law says that CCOs cannot discriminate against complementary and alternative health providers (CAM) such as chiropractic physicians, naturopathic physicians, licensed acupuncturists, and licensed massage therapists. Governor Kitzhaber has said repeatedly that CAM providers cannot and will not be discriminated against in the new health care system and that chiropractic and naturopathic physicians will act in the capacity of primary care providers for those who wish to practice at the top of their licensure. These providers will help address the primary care provider shortage that is only going to grow when Oregon’s CCOs come fully online.

Here is a sample of the procedures that are in the scope of practice of a chiropractic physician: 

  • Annual physical exams 
  • Wellness annual counseling  
  • Screening and wellness blood work 
  • Resting electrocardiograms 
  • Lung function testing 
  • Nutritional counseling 
  • Obesity prevention and treatment 
  • And many other non- pharmacological treatment of some of the 60 most common health conditions presenting to a primary care office.

Members of a CCO must have a choice of providers within the coordinated care organization’s network. A CCO would be in conflict with these provisions if the CCO refused permit any of its members to select a chiropractic physician as a primary care physician if that physician is licensed to provide primary care services.

How Coordinated Care Organizations work

CCOs are local. They have one budget that grows at a fixed rate for mental, physical and ultimately dental care. CCOs are accountable for health outcomes of the population they serve. They are governed by a partnership among health care providers, community members, and stakeholders in the health systems that have financial responsibility and risk.

In other words, there is a budget allowed and the best, most effective, cost-contained services to be used. If a health team can help improve the health of a diabetic or the complications of chronic sciatica patient and reduce the costs involved, these providers get the job. The expensive procedures, images, surgeries, medications, and the like may not be needed or even funded.

The responsibility will be on the provider teams to get results and to offer support to their patients that they serve to get well and stay well. 

Today, there are 15 CCOs operating in communities around Oregon. 

Reducing costs while improving care

Oregon has committed to meet key quality measurements for improved health while reducing the growth in spending by 2 percentage points per member over the next two years.

The CCO is an idea whose time has come. 

Dr. Peter Lind practices metabolic and neurologic chiropractic in his wellness clinic in Salem, Oregon. USA. He is the author of 3 books on health, one novel, and hundreds of wellness articles. His clinical specialty is in physical, nutritional, and emotional stress. 

 

For more health tips go to http://www.wellnessreport.net

 


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Peter Lind

Dr. Peter Lind has written five books about healthy lifestyle and specifically subjects such as food, diet, nutrition, exercise, and stress. He has written one thriller about agriculture genetic engineering that has been written into a screenplay. 

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