From NPR’s Shots blog, Kaiser Health News, and Oregon Public Broadcasting:
The things that Amy Vance does for James Prasad are pretty simple: She calls doctors with him, organizes his meds, and helps him keep tabs on his blood pressure, blood sugar and weight.
These simple things — and the relationship between a health coach like Vance and a chronically ill Medicaid patient like Prasad — are a big part of a $2 billion health care experiment in Oregon.
Gov. John Kitzhaber, a Democrat and a former emergency room doctor, has convinced the federal government that he has a way to make Medicaid treatment better, and cheaper, by completely changing the way the sickest people in Oregon get health care.
Here’s how it will work: Each city, like Portland, Salem and Eugene, will have its own umbrella group for caring for the Medicaid population, known as a “coordinated care organization.” Under these umbrellas will be most of the big hitters in the health sector: hospitals, doctors, mental health providers and dentists.
Kitzhaber’s vision is that all those health care businesses will stop competing so directly and will be linked electronically so that the systems can talk to each other — and patients can go wherever they need to get the best care.
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