Oregon on front lines of health care innovation

Most Oregonians recently secured access to a new, innovative way of receiving health care, and this little-known success had nothing to do with insurance exchanges or websites.

Nearly all Oregon insurers just agreed to begin paying for care received in clinics that have been re-organized to focus on you, the patient, and providing you the best care possible. This announcement went largely unnoticed, even though these clinics make your health care easier, more connected and more affordable. But getting this high-quality, high-value care all depends on your asking for it.

Oregon is a place of innovation, and this is being demonstrated throughout our state’s health care system.

For the past three years, Oregon doctors have led the nation in creating a new way to effectively keep you well and deliver care when you are sick. Half of our state’s primary care clinics have gone to great lengths to be recognized as Patient-Centered Primary Care Homes; “patient-centered” because they revolve around you, your needs and your schedule, and “primary care homes” because they are your first source of health care. They can house a number of specialists, such as mental health professionals and nutritionists, all under one roof.

These clinics work around your schedule, offering 24/7 support by phone or email and sometimes staying open late or on the weekends. They help you and your family navigate the confusing medical system and play active roles in your health. They focus on the whole person — not just an organ or illness — and they stress prevention to prevent emergencies.

Some clinics have even made going to the doctor fun and engaging by offering peer support, education and healthy tips such as recipes and stress-relievers to keep patients feeling good and in control of their health.

Nationwide, this model of care is just emerging. Oregon doctors have spent years leading efforts to perfect this approach, and so far we’ve been doing it without any guarantee that insurers would support innovation instead of keeping business as usual.

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