Launched in May 2012 with the help of a $1.9 billion federal grant, the CCO program aims to lower Oregon Medicaid expenses by $11 billion over a 10-year period.
The new report includes information collected between July and September 2013 and nine months worth of data in all. It uses baseline data from 2011 to measure progress.
A recent study in the journal Science found that, between March 2008 and September 2009, Oregon Medicaid beneficiaries were 40% more likely to seek care in hospital emergency departments. Critics of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act used the study as ammunition in their arguments against Medicaid expansion. A column on the report appeared in Forbes magazine under the headline “Oregon study exposes another Obamacare falsehood.”
But the new quarterly report shows that, between January and September of last year, there were 13% fewer ED visits than in 2011 among the 600,000 people covered by Medicaid CCOs. That's a continued improvement over six-month figures which showed a 9% decrease.
“Emergency department visits and spending are decreasing under the coordinated-care model,” Tina Edlund, acting director of the Oregon Health Authority, said in a news release. “There are also reductions in hospital readmissions, largely due to community efforts to achieve the highest quality care and to keep people at their healthiest.”
According to the report, hospitalizations for some chronic conditions were down significantly. Admissions for congestive heart failure were down 32%; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease admissions decreased 36%; and adult asthma admissions went down 18%.
All-cause readmissions dropped only 1 percentage point, from 12.3% to 11.3%, but the report noted that this represents an 8% reduction in the readmission rate.
Spending on primary-care services was up 18%, which the report linked with the lower hospitalization rates and interpreted to mean that CCO members “are receiving better and more appropriate care.”
The next report, which will include October-to-December data, is expected to be released in May. The more interesting report, however, will come out in August. That one will include data from the first quarter of 2014 and will reflect the addition of 180,000 new enrollees who joined the program Jan. 1.
Follow Andis Robeznieks on Twitter: @MHARobeznieks