May 2010 Newsletter

May 2010 Newsletter
In this Issue:


On the road again…
Archimedes is hittin’ the road again! This time as part of a series of film viewings and discussions across Oregon. From May 24th through 28th, Matt and Liz will head east starting in Sweet Home and ending in Baker City.

We’ll be visiting some communities that we’ve wanted to get to for some time – places that we know are anxious about what reform means to them. We’ll be showing sections of the film series Unnatural Causes and listening to community members share their thoughts on what would lead to better health in their locale. The meetings are made possible by a targeted grant we received from Community Health Priorities, an initiative of the Northwest Health Foundation. It was a great match for our goal of reframing the discussion of health reform to include talking about health! Many thanks to NWHF for their continued support of our efforts.

We’ll be reaching out beyond existing Archimedes Movement supporters to connect with everyone from frontline health professionals & community agencies to local senior centers and faith communities. Please take a look at the dates below and help us to promote these meetings. If you have friends or family in any of the communities, then please let them know. We’re looking forward to seeing you, meeting lots of new faces and having some great discussions along the way!

Here’s a YouTube clip from Unnatural Causes. We’ll be showing parts of the film at each stop.

May 24th – Sweet Home
May 25th – Prineville
May 26th – Burns
May 27th – Baker City

Part II of the tour will take place in July when we head to Brookings, Bandon, Reedsport and Florence. Dates and times to come…

Executive Director’s Update:
Liz Baxter

There is hardly a day that goes by without someone asking about the federal health insurance reform bill and what it will mean to them as it gets implemented. When people learn that Oregon also passed legislation, there is often surprise – and curiosity about whether Oregon’s reform will get trumped by the federal legislation.

Americans know our health care system is broken, but they fear the unknown and losing what they have now. The best summary of the past few months in relation to knowledge and fear was this one from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), “Americans remain divided on health reform but are confused about the law and how and when it will affect them. Many provisions that take effect in 2010 are popular and have bipartisan support.” That statement summarizes a poll KFF did in April of 2010. In other words, when you ask Americans about the passage of federal health reform it is confusing; when you ask them about specific things that are contained in the legislation there is often strong support. KFF has a great website devoted to health reform, with an incredible amount of timely information. We need to help Americans get a handle on health reform. We have a lot of work to do.

So, we thought we’d give you an idea of what’s happening right now in Oregon. The federal legislation, when fully implemented and combined with Oregon’s Healthy Kids program, will provide access to care for some 500,000 Oregonians, or about 85 percent of the state’s uninsured. With access significantly improved, that gives Oregon the opportunity to focus on the part of health reform that really pays dividends: improving health. According to Bruce Goldberg, M.D., director-designee of Oregon Health Authority, “Increasing access to care was ‘job one’ for the Oregon Health Authority. With the passage of the federal legislation we can now focus on improving the way that care is delivered, the quality of the care, and lowering the cost of care for everyone in Oregon.”

Below we cover some highlights and links to what is going on in Oregon, but there is a lot more. Your input is really needed; implementation of Oregon’s legislation is moving full steam ahead. Hopefully, something in this list will spur you to find out even more. On each linked page there is a way to get on an email update list, and get notices of upcoming meetings. You can see past meetings and materials that were shared. These are also examples of how you – and others in your community – can get involved. The people on these committees and work groups are volunteers who are giving their time, trying to make Oregon’s system work better, smarter and more efficiently. Your input can help them in their work, or perhaps next time it will be you who applies and is appointed to one of these important groups.

Oregon Health Policy Board (OHPB)
The nine-member citizen Board serves as the policy-making and oversight body for the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). It is responsible for improving access, cost and quality of the health care delivery system, and the health of all Oregonians. OHPB was established through House Bill 2009.

Oregon’s Department of Human Services (DHS) and the newly formed Oregon Health Authority are working through a transition period to figure out what responsibilities will stay with DHS, what responsibilities will shift to the OHA, and which responsibilities the two entities will continue to share. These range from day-to-day responsibilities of the Oregon Health Plan, purchasing insurance for public employees and those on the Medicaid program, public health activities, mental health and addiction services, and services to reduce disparities among underserved populations. There is a transition team that is providing input to the administrators of both DHS and OHA and you can follow their updates on these pages:

The Oregon Health Policy Board has committees that are meeting, and each has opportunities for public input. Here are some of the groups that are currently meeting:

  • Health Care Workforce Committee: focused on issues of recruiting, educating and retaining a quality workforce
  • Health Incentives and Outcomes Committee: looking at standards to be used by purchasers of health insurance and health care, plus identify ways to provide incentives for patient-centered, cost-effective care
  • Medical Liability Task Force: look at how current medical liability laws and policies impact the cost and delivery of healthcare, and will develop a range of medical liability reform proposals for the Oregon Health Policy Board and the Legislature to consider
  • Oregon Health Improvement Plan Committee: working to identify evidence-based interventions that incorporate policy, systems and environmental approaches to promote population health so that we can do a better job at prevention, early detection and management of chronic diseases.
  • Health Information Technology Oversight Council is tasked with setting goals and developing a strategic health information technology plan for the state, as well as monitoring progress in achieving those goals and providing oversight for the implementation of the plan. They are holding a public forum on May 25th in Portland to hear thoughts about electronic medical records from stakeholders and consumers.
  • Cost Sharing Workgroup: is discussing appropriate levels of deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums for individuals and families at different income levels as well as copays/coinsurance amounts for different services and within different benefit packages
  • Administrative Simplification Workgroup: standardizing administrative transactions between health plans and healthcare providers.

The Oregon Health Care Quality Corporation is a non-profit working to increase access to measurements of the quality of health care in Oregon and working to improve information sharing and collaboration among stakeholders who can collect that measurable data. Q Corp is hosting a free workshop on June 10th on how patients can play roles in improving quality in health care. They are also part of a national project on health care quality that has begun posting quality scores for doctor’s offices. You can check out their data here.

Get in the Loop
If you sign up for the
Oregon Health Authority email updates you’ll get emails with links to the materials they’ve been developing which explain the intersections and overlaps between the state and federal reform bills. As they update the materials you would get an email letting you know that something new has posted on the site. It’s a great system, so that you don’t have to keep checking in, they’ll automatically notify you when there’s a meeting coming up, when new information is available, etc.

Lastly, on our Facebook page we post many links to current readings in the media that focus on health – from activities in parks, to farmer’s markets, to making the best smoothies! But we also post opinion pieces and articles from around the nation related to medical care and upcoming changes to the current health system. If you’re on Facebook, please visit our page and “like” the Archimedes Movement!

Thanks, take care, and remember, we’re all in this together.

Liz

OHA Podcast
Corvallis Archimedes Movement member Roberta Hall has been wonderful about not only convening some great conversations around health and health reform, but she’s also been recording them as part of a series of podcasts. Her latest posting is from an April 15th public meeting with Amy Fauver, Director of the Legislative and Government Affairs Office of the Oregon Health Authority. The talk was focused on the newly passed federal legislation and how it will affect Oregonians individually and how it fits into Oregon’s health planning. Follow this link to listen to or download the conversation You can find all of her podcasts at her main site. Way to go Roberta!

Portland Sunday Parkways & You
A 2-way route of city streets – open to walk, bike, roll, run, jump and skip – without having to watch out for cars!
Sunday Parkways

Volunteers Needed! The Archimedes Movement will have a table at this month’s Sunday Parkways event in Alberta Park in NE Portland. Shifts to help staff our table are available between 9 am and 3 pm. We’d love for you to stop by and say, “Hi.”

Not familiar with Portland Sunday Parkways? Here’s what the City of Portland has to say about it: “PSP is about connecting neighborhoods and people: walkers, runners, bicyclists, seniors, adults, and children all enjoying streets filled with surprises, performers, physical activities and food – and traffic-free. The 6-8 mile routes connect Portland’s beautiful parks and offer a chance for participants to listen to music, try other activities, such as hula hooping, or just relax and enjoy the smiling faces.” Sounds pretty cool huh? We’ll be participating at each PSP event this summer (June 27, July 18, Aug. 15, Sept. 26) so if you would like to volunteer and help us table – please email Matt@wecandobetter.org.

Check out this video footage from 2008 and download a map of this Sunday’s route.

Archimedes Movement Conference this Fall?
We’ve begun pulling together the planning team for our fall 2010 conference, and wondered if you had any ideas of someone we should invite as a keynote speaker. Or maybe you want to be part of the planning this year? You can volunteer or submit your ideas and let us know if you have some secret knowledge of how to get on that someone’s calendar. When we get some possibilities we’ll post them on the site and on our Facebook page and see what we can make happen. For example, anyone know Jon Stewart or anyone who knows someone who knows him? Got a better idea? Let us know…