health care

Oregon's Medicaid Expansion Going Well

Jul 7, 2015
National Institute of Health

Oregon began putting its own spin on providing health care to the public even before the Affordable Care Act--"Obamacare"--took effect.  

  The work of the state's version of Medicaid, the Oregon Health Plan, is now distributed through CCOs, coordinated care organizations.  And a recent report from the Oregon Health Authority shows the system working well, despite an influx of newly-insured patients under the federal law.  

Participating In The "Wellness Uprising"

Jan 27, 2015
Midnight Star Publishing

We're not accustomed to quizzing our doctors about specific health issues, but Rob Pell of Grants Pass says we should get used to it. 

In his book Wellness Uprising, Pell makes the case for people taking greater control of their own health. 

That includes moving away from the standard pill-based approach to feeling better. 

Wikimedia

The Oregon Health Plan, Oregon's brand of Medicaid for low-income households, now covers medical procedures for transgender people. 

As of January 1, OHP covers the cost of sexual reassignment surgery. 

The insurance plan will also cover hormone therapies and suppression of puberty. 

Not every Medicaid plan covers such procedures. 

Sharing The Dental Wealth (and Health)

Dec 30, 2014
Wikimedia

There's nothing quite like the pain of a toothache. 

It's remarkable how a problem with one little tooth can affect so much more. 

Actually, it's not remarkable to medical people, who know the many ripple effects of poor dental care. 

Providence Medford Medical Center partners with La Clinica and St. Vincent de Paul to provide dental services to people who can't otherwise afford them. 

A New Approach To Curbing Unwanted Pregnancies

Nov 6, 2014

The ongoing efforts to overhaul health care in America include some decidedly new wrinkles. 

The Oregon Health Authority plans a new strategy to reduce unwanted pregnancies through the CCOs, coordinated care organizations like Umpqua Health Alliance.

Women on the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid) will be asked if they plan to become pregnant in the next year.

Wikimedia

Giving birth is as natural as… well, having a baby. 

Making connections to all the people who can help a mother give birth… that can be trickier. 

Is your family doctor the right person?  Should you find an obstetrician, a midwife, a doula? 

Southern Oregon Birth Connections is all about delivering answers to those questions (and delivering healthy babies, too). 

Closing A Gap In The Blood Supply

Aug 27, 2014
Wikimedia

Autumn is closing in, and blood banks need to close a gap in blood supply. 

Blood supplies frequently dip in the summer, as regular blood donors skip appointments for vacations and other reasons. 

The Red Cross in the Northwest is beating the drum to bring in donors. 

Thierry Geoffroy/Wikimedia

Not all the people who show up at the doctor's office or ER speak English. 

Oregon law recognizes this, and requires certified medical interpreters to be on hand when medical professionals treat non-English speaking patients. 

But that's easier said than done, with interpreters in short supply. 

Results of Oregon's Medicaid Expansion

Jun 27, 2014
Thierry Geoffroy/Wikimedia

Oregon's 2008 Medicaid (Oregon Health Plan) expansion offered a gift to health researchers. 

Since people either got Medicaid coverage or didn't by lottery, large numbers of people--thousands--would be available to test the results of health insurance coverage (or not) on previously uncovered populations. 

Bottom line: the covered people are not a whole lot healthier, but they made more use of health care services and spent less of their own money. 

Doctors As Storytellers

Jun 20, 2014
National Institute of Health

There's a real trend in medicine toward good story-telling. 

A number of medical school programs and practitioners advocate creative writing skills for MDs and other health care workers. 

Because each patient and illness has a story. 

Geriatrician Louise Aronson holds an M.D. and an M.F.A. in writing. 

Jackson County Opens Clinic For Its Workers

Jun 19, 2014
NIH/Public Domain

Out of 11 industrialized countries, the United Kingdom has the best health care, says a recent report. 

And the United States comes in dead last on that list, despite spending twice as much per capita as the UK. 

The dual issues of low quality and high cost are well known. 

Jackson County leaders have an idea for addressing the issues for county employees: a free clinic for county workers. 

Reforming Health Care, Continued

May 7, 2014
NIH/Public Domain

The national debate about reforming the health care system tends to veer automatically into politics. 

But there are important realms left behind when that happens: medicine and economics.

Getting Insured Means Getting To The E.R.

Jan 9, 2014
Thierry Geoffroy/Wikimedia

The name of a recent study make its point clear in its title: "Medicaid Increases Emergency Department Use."

The study is the latest in a series that tracks the effects of bringing previously uninsured people into Oregon's version of Medicaid, the Oregon Health Plan. 

Insurers Restrict Choice Of Doctors To Save Costs

Dec 10, 2013
Pauline Bartolone/CPR

As people shop for new insurance under the federal health law, they’re faced with many choices for health plans at different prices. But the plans they choose also come with different combinations of doctors and hospitals. And some people are confused and frustrated by the new conditions.

Children And Health Insurance: CA/OR Look Good

Nov 26, 2013
U.S. Air Force/public domain

Even before the Affordable Care Act fully takes effect, children in both of our states are getting more health insurance coverage. 

A study from the Health Policy Institute at Georgetown University shows growth in health insurance coverage for children in both Oregon and California. 

We'll hear the reasons for the improvement... and what likely happens next. 

Kelly Piet Photography

New state data show that Oregon Health Plan members are making fewer visits to the emergency room and more visits to primary care providers.

Per-person spending growth fell by 1 percentage point.

guernicamag.org

We do not schedule guests for Wednesday at 8:30, because that's the time for VENTSday, your chance to vent (politely, please) on a pair of topics in the news. 

We bring the topics, you bring the opinions.  It's VENTSday on The Jefferson Exchange.

Kelly Piet Photography

Given the earlier fights, it was probably predictable that the days leading up to the activation of the federal Affordable Care Act--"Obamacare"--would be filled with more fights over the law.

While the Congressional efforts to implement or de-fund the law continue, we bring in guests to talk about some of the specifics of the law and its effect on services just for women.