Amount we invested to strengthen our clinical network
Total trips provided to and from health care appointments through our rideshare program for members*
Calls and texts
to help educate members
about steps to keep their
Oregon Health Plan
coverage during the
statewide renewal campaign**
*as of September 2023
**includes outreach to members and inbound Customer Service calls
In 2020, amid pandemic-related shutdowns, our Regional Housing Impact Fund got to work, making its first-ever grant ($400,000) to an affordable housing project. So, it was a full-circle moment in June 2023 when we celebrated the project’s grand opening. Trillium House added 42 units of affordable housing in Clatsop County, which has the highest rate of homelessness (per 1,000 residents) among Oregon counties. Five units are for community members needing permanent supportive housing. Clatsop Community Action provides onsite services promoting housing stability and self-sufficiency.
Building a healthier future means ensuring that our network has the capacity to deliver care when and where our members need it most. In the fall of 2023, our efforts to expand palliative care services in our region got much-needed support when Housecall Providers (part of the CareOregon family of companies) began offering its Advanced Illness Care program to our members in Clatsop and Columbia counties. The program provides home-based, interdisciplinary clinical services and supports patients with serious illness.
“Our partnership with Housecall Providers helps our members living with complex chronic conditions get the care they need in the place they want to receive it, along with supporting their families and caregivers.”
– Safina Koreishi, MD, Columbia Pacific Medical Director
For years, we’ve worked with community organizations on a shared mission to build resiliency in children and families. In 2023, we deepened our commitment, launching a Community Resilience and Trauma Informed Care Impact Fund and seeding it with a $400,000 investment. Grants support the work of Resilient Clatsop County and the Columbia County Childhood Trauma Informed Network, which measure their impact by monitoring progress on issues ranging from child abuse and neglect to high-school graduation rates. “Their work has the potential to change the trajectory of the families we serve today and future generations to come,” said Angel Escobedo, Columbia Pacific Program Development Manager.
Since our founding in 2012, we’ve listened to community voices. We make a special effort to pay attention to those who have historically lacked equitable access to care and opportunity. In 2023, we launched our third-ever Regional Health Needs Assessment, one of the most important ways that we gather community feedback. We ask community members to share stories about experiences (good or bad) that impacted their health and use those insights to plan for the future.
If you visited a food pantry, senior center or community fair last summer, you may have spotted us. Perhaps you stopped by our table to share a story about an experience that impacted your health.
Over a three-month period starting in May, members of our Community Engagement Team fanned out across our three-county service region to collect stories by asking residents to take our Regional Health Needs Assessment survey (in English or Spanish). They made a special effort to visit community action agencies and other places that are part of the social safety net.
In the late summer, we began to analyze survey responses, identifying community needs that will inform our future work and funding priorities. Story collection is the primary research tool for our Regional Health Needs Assessment, which we conduct every five years to support our Regional Health Improvement Plan. Our next Regional Health Improvement Plan will span 2025-2029.
Since we adopted our current Regional Health Improvement Plan, we’ve worked to address our region’s housing needs, promote trauma informed care, support community-led suicide prevention efforts, strengthen social-safety-net organizations and more.
As with previous Regional Health Needs Assessments, we made a special effort to learn about the experiences of groups that have historically faced health inequities.
For instance, we used a special survey technique to gain insights into the experiences of certain racial and ethnic minority groups. In addition, more than half of survey respondents said “yes” or “in certain circumstances” when asked whether they have a functional need or disability.
And for the first time ever, our survey asked about sexual orientation and gender identity. The many stories we collected will help us gain a better understanding of the barriers faced by members of our LGBTQ+ community.
Not surprisingly, the shortage of affordable housing continues to be a major issue in our region. Language access, discrimination toward patients belonging to minority groups and difficulties accessing care are also top concerns, according to a preliminary analysis of survey responses.
“Everyone is thinking about housing, talking about housing and expressing how the lack of choice in housing impacts their health,” said Heather Oberst, Columbia Pacific Community Engagement Manager.
In February, we will host a series of community-input meetings to share the findings of our Regional Health Needs Assessment as well as data from community health needs assessments conducted by our clinical partners. Attendees will have an opportunity to vote on the priorities of our next Regional Health Improvement Plan.
Later in the year, our Regional Community Advisory Council will vote on the plan, based on the recommendations of our county-level Community Advisory Councils. The adopted plan will be submitted to the Oregon Health Authority by the end of 2024.
After a three-year, pandemic-related pause, we were grateful to bring back our community Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Summit last fall. More than 200 people attended the free, two-day event in Seaside. We heard from clinical experts, state and local public health officials, peer support specialists and young people from our communities. We reconnected, learned from each other, and identified ways to support our friends and neighbors struggling with SUD. As in the past, feedback from the summit will shape our future work and funding priorities.
Our 2023 SUD summit was different from past summits in some important ways.
Peers – professionals who draw on their experiences with SUD to help others become and stay engaged in recovery – had a larger presence. Their contributions to the summit helped elevate the voices of those who are closest to the recovery work in our communities.
Research shows that, for adults with substance use disorder, peer support helps increase their self-esteem; reduce substance use, relapses and hospitalizations; and improve relationships with family members and overall treatment experiences.
“I use my life experience to spread hope to people who are actively using or on the fence and want to cross over,” said Sara Pulver, one of a half dozen peers who spoke at a session called “Lived Experience as Essential Care: The Benefits of Peer Support.”
“I meet people where they are, supporting them in whatever they want to achieve,” added Pulver, who works for Tillamook Family Counseling Center’s Prime+ Peer Program.
The summit also elevated the voices of young people in our communities. Members of the new youth advisory council to the North Coast System of Care participated in a panel called “What we wish the adults knew.”
They weighed in on factors that influence use of vaping, alcohol or other drugs and shared insights on how young people in our communities get access to substances.
They also talked about how to raise awareness among youth about the long-term consequences of substance use and what could be helpful in terms of prevention-and-intervention resources. Many of their ideas centered on adding school-based resources, including counseling services.
(Read the next story in this report to learn more about the advisory council.)
At the closing plenary, Amy Baker, Executive Director of Clatsop Behavioral Healthcare, delivered a call to action.
She asked the audience: What are the small steps we can take right now to make a difference in the lives of those struggling with SUD? And “what are we dreaming big about?”
“You’ve listened to speakers and ideas that have percolated. This is where we take those ideas, record them and make them happen,” Baker said.
Baker reminded attendees that feedback from past summits has given rise to life-changing programs, including Clatsop Behavioral Healthcare’s own medication assisted treatment program.
Following the summit, we began working to digest feedback, recap themes and develop plans for putting ideas into action.
Stay tuned for more information, and please mark your calendars for our next SUD Summit, Oct. 7-8, 2024.
It’s been said that young people hold the key to creating a better future. We couldn’t agree more. In 2023, we took an important step toward elevating the voices of young people in our communities when we partnered with Youth Era to launch a youth advisory council to the North Coast System of Care. Advisory council input is helping break barriers to care and services for young people and families in our region.
One of the first of its kind in the state, the advisory council grew out of a desire by the North Coast System of Care to hear directly from young people.
The North Coast System of Care, convened by Columbia Pacific, is a network of organizations that works to break barriers to care and services for youth and families touched by multiple systems, including schools, juvenile justice, health care, mental health, substance use treatment and social services. Network members include clinical providers, school districts, community organizations, state agencies and our parent company, CareOregon. Youth Era is also a member of the network.
“In our region, there was a huge interest in wanting to hear from youth about what it’s like to navigate the barriers they face every day,” said Qurynn Hale, Behavioral Health Program Manager for Children, Youth and Families at Columbia Pacific.
“If we want to break barriers, we need to hear directly from young people about their experiences, or we run the risk of creating top-down solutions that fall short,” she added.
Youth Era built on its connections in Columbia County (where it provides programs and services for young people) to form the advisory council. The nonprofit worked to create a group made up of youth of different ages and lived experiences, including houselessness, mental health challenges, substance use and respite care. (Respite-care programs provide short mental health breaks for children or adults.)
Youth Era has created what Hale calls “a magical space,” cultivating a level of trust among council members that makes it easier for them to have open, honest conversations about difficult topics.
Since its first meeting in March 2023, the council has taken a deep dive into respite care for youth and families, lack of mental health resources in schools, substance use among young people and other issues.
Feedback from the council has helped system of care members reframe their thinking about respite care and other issues, looking at things through a more-holistic, youth-centered lens, said Hale.
“System of care members have been able to unpack the formal and informal notions of respite to consider what’s possible and how we can support youth in finding a place of respite,” she said.
“It has been beautiful to watch the continuum of care grow and to think about how we can support youth in their communities, where they want to be, versus where we think they should be,” Hale added.
The council has had some unexpected benefits for participants. Because meetings are held virtually, it has served as a platform for young people to get to know peers who attend different schools and live in different neighborhoods.
Council members have also come to appreciate the power they have to make a difference in their own communities. In October, they participated in a panel discussion – called “What we wish the adults knew” – at our community Substance Use Disorder Summit.
“Council members have formed connections to each other and their community,” said Caitlan Wentz, Drop-in Service Director for Youth Era. Wentz co-facilitates the advisory council.
“They see that they get to have a voice in making the fundamental changes they want to see in the place where they live,” she added.
We’re a nonprofit community benefit company, serving more than 36,000 Oregon Health Plan members.
*Clinical Investments do not include distributions from risk-sharing agreements
Note: dollar amounts rounded
ODS Community Dental
Jonathan Betlinski, MD
Director, Division of Public Psychiatry
Oregon Health & Science University
Tillamook County Transportation District
Chief Financial Officer
Providence Seaside Hospital
Columbia Health Services
Medical Services Compliance Officer
Columbia River Fire & Rescue
President and Chief Executive Officer
Peer Support Specialist
Community Advisory Council Member (Clatsop County)
Monica D. Martinez
Vice President/General Counsel, Legal and Regulatory Affairs
Viviana Matthews, Board Chair
Clatsop Community Action
Tillamook County Community Health Centers
Joe Skariah, DO
Columbia County Public Health
Adventist Health Tillamook
Lena Walker, OD
Family Vision of Oregon
Chief Operating Officer
Columbia Memorial Hospital