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Oregon Medicaid program reduces health care disparities

Coordinated Care Organization model increases access to primary care for minorities, study finds

The average life expectancy of Oregonians who identified as black or American Indian/Alaskan Native was at least two years lower than white Oregonians in 2011.

A study published today in the journal Health Affairs says the state’s coordinated care organization model, which includes regional health equity coalitions and a robust community health workforce, shows early signs of reducing some measures of disparity in these minority groups.

By analyzing the health care utilization differences among approximately 740,000 Oregon Medicaid enrollees from 2010 – 2014, researchers in the OHSU Center for Health Systems Effectiveness found that gaps in primary care use and access decreased by more than 36 percent after CCO implementation. However, changes in overall emergency room visits were not apparent, indicating an area of continued focus.

man, gray hair, wearing a suit coat, smiling at camera
John McConnell, Ph.D.

“States that encourage the prioritization of health equity could significantly reduce racial and ethnic disparities for a significant number of Medicaid patients,” said John McConnell, Ph.D., lead researcher and director of the OHSU Center for Health Systems Effectiveness. “Using Medicaid to address these longstanding disparities may be an effective way of improving overall health.”

This research was supported by the National Institutes on Minority Health and Health Disparities, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, grant RO1-MD011212.  



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