Columbia Pacific CCO Celebrates Five Years of Collaborating to Improve Health and Wellness

Clatsop, Columbia and Tillamook counties, Oregon — Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization (CCO) is celebrating five years of working as a collaborator with local Oregon Health Plan (OHP) members, providers, county governments, schools, law enforcement, nonprofits and community partners to make Clatsop, Columbia and Tillamook counties healthier places to live, play and work.

“People are healthier when their physical, mental and oral health works together,” said Debbie Morrow, board chair for Columbia Pacific CCO and community organizer in Clatsop County. “Integrating care has meant changing the way communities work together. We listen to members and providers for ideas and make local investments to help make these changes. We do this by focusing on coordinating care, encouraging innovation, improving community health and promoting healthy choices – these choices allow our communities to shine.”

“We recognize that your mind is as important as your body when it comes to health, so we invest a great deal of effort to help our community cope with behavioral health and addictions, as well as physical and dental care,” Morrow continued. “By looking at the whole person, we can help improve lives, not just deal with individual illnesses.”

The CCO works closely with schools and other organizations to expand health across the community.

“The Columbia Pacific CCO has been a critical partner with the Tillamook School District in trying to meet the needs of our students who have been impacted by trauma in their lives,” said Randy Schild, Tillamook County school superintendent.  “The CCO has brought community partners together, generated resources and helped develop new programs that will provide wrap-around services to the students in our district who need it the most.  It takes a community to raise all children, and the Columbia Pacific CCO has become a valuable part of the Tillamook community.”

“The population we serve all needs special attention, each person is in a critical situation,” said Alan Evans, executive director of Helping Hands Re-Entry Outreach.  The nonprofit has received funding for three years through the CCO.

“Having a crisis worker at our table was a game changer for us,” Evans said. “We could figure out what people need instead of just giving them a bed and a meal.  Having a case manager meant that as a team we could help people overcome obstacles to being sustainable. We eliminated an expensive piece of the process – making people have to be in crisis and go to a hospital to get services. We showed a return of nine dollars for every dollar spent. When we work collaboratively to provide the best services possible, everybody wins.”

“In Columbia County, the CCO invested in expanding the Pathways Rehabilitation program to Bridge to Pathways, a treatment and rehab program,” said Kim Krause, director of Pathways and Bridge to Pathways. “We now offer medically-assisted treatment to help people recover from addictions and this local program means people from this region might not have to travel across the state to get treatment.”

The CCO partners with local providers to improve health care, and creates opportunities to listen to people across each community.

To encourage clinical innovation, Columbia Pacific CCO has a Clinical Advisory Panel – a group of local providers – that works on ways to meet Oregon’s quality measures.

 “Preventive care is the focus, such as reminding pregnant women to visit their providers and making sure that babies get fully vaccinated,” said Safina Koreishi, MD and medical director for Columbia Pacific CCO.

“Columbia Pacific CCO also has funded equipment, care teams and clinical education to foster innovation and create better care for all clinic patients, not just our members,” said Koreishi. “This effort has included an investment in recruitment to attract providers to our area.”

Community Advisory Councils (CACs) comprised of members, residents and local leaders provide feedback to the CCO in each county. “The Councils have developed a Community Health Plan to look at the most pressing health issues,” said Nancy Knopf, Community Health Partnership manager.

The Councils have identified three areas of concern: obesity, substance abuse and mental illness. The councils review and approve community wellness investment grants to local nonprofits working to improve health in those areas.

Columbia Pacific CCO has provided grants for Food Bank Fresh Initiatives and Mobile Produce Pantry in Clatsop County, Food Bank grants in Columbia County to increase the distribution of fresh produce by 70 percent, and a local Homeless Relief Shelter in Tillamook.

“Healthy choices need to be learned, practiced and supported,” Knopf continued. “The younger we start promoting healthy choices, the better. We fund local nonprofits that help people make healthy choices for life.”

Projects include supporting Clatsop Kids Go; training more than 300 school personnel, mental health providers, parents and others in Columbia County in trauma-informed care; and promoting Tillamook County’s Year of Wellness high school challenge.

Columbia Pacific CCO is making a difference in the lives of members:

  • More than 85 percent of members have a patient-centered primary care home. This means that their care is better coordinated to enhance overall wellness and quality of life. This also reduces the number of emergency room visits, which cost much more.
  • More than 58 percent of children from birth to three years get developmental screenings, an increase of 17 percent.
  • More than 85 percent of pregnant women have access to timely prenatal care, an increase of 25 percent.
  • By helping members manage chronic pain through alternative means, it’s been possible for the CCO to reduce the number of members receiving continuing opioid prescriptions by more than 18 percent in the last year.

“We are so proud to be collaborating with Clatsop, Columbia and Tillamook counties on this work,” said Mimi Haley, executive director for Columbia Pacific CCO. “We have made enormous progress and are honored to work with such amazing people.  The CCO can only be as effective as its partnerships and we couldn’t have a better set of providers, community leaders, hospitals and health care clinics, schools, law enforcement and community volunteers to create health together.” 

Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization is a CareOregon company.

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