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Rose's Topic of the Week
State budget provides ‘healthy’ increases

The 2013-2015 legislative biennium produced one of the “healthiest” health care budgets Oregon has seen in years. The base budget for all health care expenditures increased by a whopping 22 percent. However, that figure is misleading, because it reflects the budget for some programs that were previously housed under different departments and are being moved to the OHA to be better coordinated under CCOs.

Rose Englert, senior manager of regulatory affairs
Rose Englert

For example, there were some mental health and addictions funds that were siloed in the state Department of Human Services for programs such as residential addictions treatment.  In short, all dollars for any service provided by a CCO are now in the OHA tally sheet.

All told, medical expenditures in Oregon are being held to 2 percent less than the national trend, which is still far less than the deep cuts and provider payment reductions that the Oregon Health Plan had to implement recently. There are, however, a number of areas that are getting increased funding – many of which help serve our members, provide innovative interventions and address non-medical health determinants.

The legislature created a one-time $30 million CCO Health Transformation Fund, which provides each CCO with at least $1.25 million to fund innovative projects. Our CCO partners are thrilled with this support, which will help them partner with community organizations to tackle big issues that could profoundly improve the health of our communities.

The funds also will provide approximately $4 million each (for a total of $12 million invested) to three areas: expanding school PE programs, doing outreach for tobacco prevention and cessation programs; and enhancing school-based health centers. The budget also boosts community mental health programs by $26.6 million, and children's mental health programs by $21.8 million.

This coming state budget is the most robust we've seen in at least a decade, and represents a huge step in the right direction. CareOregon and all our affiliated CCOs are very happy with this commitment to our members’ health.