NIMHD features CHSE research on Oregon health-equity reforms

09/21/18  Portland, Ore.

The National institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities interviews CHSE’s John McConnell about the center’s four-year study

This September the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) features CHSE’s research on whether Oregon's coordinated care organizations are effective at reducing health disparities within the state's Medicaid program. 

The institute interviewed CHSE director John McConnell about the four-year study, which investigates the potential for a state Medicaid reform model - in this case Oregon’s CCOs – to reduce disparities. The research is supported through NIMHD, and a manuscript with findings from the study was published in the March 2018 edition of Health Affairs

NIMHD’s feature provides background information and statistics on why Oregon’s government identified health equity and elimination of disparities as a central goal for the rollout and transformation of Oregon’s Medicaid program in 2012, and describes some ways CCOs planned to reduce health disparities (e.g. providing health-related services close in location to Medicaid enrollees, resources to train staff from underrepresented groups, and promoting the use of community health workers). 

McConnell explains that the work happening in Oregon’s Medicaid program is innovative and exciting, and says that the chance of “finding large-scale policy efforts that could help in other states” is why he’s interested in studying the program. 

He further explains that studying Oregon’s Medicaid program is not just exciting – it’s also a challenge, partially because it’s “a giant program that’s not well understood, that isn’t as widely studied as the Medicare or commercial programs,” and for McConnell, the challenge of studying the unknown is a welcomed motivating factor. 

You can read more of McConnell’s interview here, and about what CHSE’s team is trying to garner from data collection and investigating health equity in Oregon.