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OHSU responds to Medicaid agreement that will benefit countless Oregonians

When finalized, the state-federal agreement will help ensure health care for Oregon's most vulnerable citizens

Oregon Health & Science University applauds the announcement today by Gov. John Kitzhaber of an agreement with the Obama administration to help ensure Medicaid support for Oregonians.

The agreement comes in the face of an approaching Medicaid shortfall that amounts to an approximate 30 percent reduction in funding. When fully secured, this newly announced funding will address serious concerns by all Medicaid health providers in the state facing tough decisions about caring for Oregon's most vulnerable population in the face of shrinking Medicaid support.

"This tremendous news is a testament to the leadership of the Oregon Legislature and the vision of Governor Kitzhaber," said Joe Robertson, M.D., M.B.A., OHSU President.

"In Oregon, particularly in health care, I believe we will remember this day for a long time to come. It is a monumental step in Oregon's health care reform and helps ensure that all providers can do their part in caring for at-risk Oregonians.

"This is a transformational achievement in the state of Oregon to help create a much more efficient and effective heath care system in the state. However, there is a lot of hard work ahead of us to achieve $11 billion in savings. Today's news is encouraging, but we must always focus on long-term solutions.

"We and our partners in the Tri-County Medicaid Collaborative – and other potential Coordinated Care Organizations around the state – are now in a better position to work together to move forward the reforms that will increase quality, improve population health and reduce costs. This is a smart investment by the federal government and a big boost to Oregon and Oregonians."

As an academic health center, OHSU has always played a significant role in caring for the underserved. In 2011 alone, OHSU provided $29.8 million in charity (uncompensated) care and $25 million in Medicaid care. In total, OHSU provided $106 million for health services to the underinsured and uninsured. These efforts combined with dozens of other OHSU programs provided $307 million in community service last year.

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