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Oregon's Medicaid System Adds Members, Reduces Emergency Room Visits

Chris Bradshaw/FeaturePics.com.

Despite Oregon's decision to abandon its own health exchange system in favor of the federal portal, the State's Medicaid program is doing well.

A new report from the Oregon Health Authority says costs for inpatient hospital services decreased by about 5.5% since 2011. And there are 380,000 Medicaid enrollees in the new system. CareOregon's Director of Public Policy, Martin Taylor, says developing the State's Coordinated Care Organizations, or CCO's, helped ease the changeover to the federal exchange.

Taylor: "I think there has been stress on the system in the last year, the reason we were able to make a successful transition of that large a new population was because we'd spent several years putting together CCOs, improving the navigation system, and having a more efficient system."

Taylor says Oregon's improvements to its CCO's predated the Affordable Care Act. The report says emergency visits by Medicaid members are down 21% since 2011. He says more people are taking advantage of preventative help, drug and alcohol treatment, and developmental screenings for children.

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