With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Columbia Pacific CCO is keenly aware of the additional burdens and challenges for everyone. We are so thankful for the dedication and response from health care providers and our local safety net organizations that are working to keep our communities safe during this unprecedented situation. We are also grateful for the tireless efforts of local first responders, grocery store employees, delivery drivers, educators and all essential workers who are doing what they can to continue to serve the community.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many organizations and individuals have come up with innovative ways to take care of all of those in need. With more residents filing for unemployment and for coverage under the Oregon Health Plan, there is a higher number of people who need help. Their needs can range from food security to housing, from access to physical, dental and mental health care to needing medical equipment, rides to the doctor and more.
Our hope is that, with more telephone and video appointment options, our members can stay connected to the health care they need right now. Our staff continues to work closely with federal and state officials to allow payments for such visits, whenever possible, to keep members and clinic staff as safe as possible. These new ways of delivering services allow members to continue getting the care they need when they need it, while reducing barriers that result from social distancing.
These innovations in care, driven by the current pandemic, are a silver lining to these dark and cloudy days. Just as we partnered with providers and communities in the early days of this crisis, we are looking forward to working together to help our health care systems start to restore services in a safe and responsible way, enhancing and improving the way services are delivered. We have found that many are amenable to receiving some services via telephone and video; we will work with providers to keep or enhance these services to the extent possible. To further support providers during this time, we also provided stabilizing payments to help try to fill the gap clinics are experiencing with the decrease of member appointments.
We have also worked closely with the safety net providers in our community to further support them during this pandemic. We have offered funding assistance to critical partner organizations to help them secure the resources our communities need most. We will continue to assess the needs of our community partners as we move from crisis to a new normal; it will take time and creativity.
Columbia Pacific CCO — part of the CareOregon Medicaid and Medicare family — has been dedicated to serving members since 2012. Every day, we strengthen our communities by making health care work for everyone, and now is no different. I hope that we all continue to work together, striving for new ways to serve our community during this time, while continuing to take care of one another, our families and our loved ones.