Proposed changes to the Oregon Health Plan will bring Oregon Health Authority officials to Clatsop County from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Clatsop Community College’s Columbia Hall Room 219, to hear residents’ opinions.

The Oregon Legislature passed the changes last summer as a way of reducing the state’s Medicare and Medicaid payments, while at the same time providing integrated care for the state’s health plan patients. The proposal calls for the creation of what are known as Coordinated Care Organizations. 

The state’s proposed changes have caused some concerns at the county level, however. On Sept.  28, County Commisioner Dirk Rohne sent a letter to Gov. John Kitzhaber’s office outlining these concerns, including the potential for changing eligibility requirements for health coverage.

Margo Lalich, director of Clatsop County Public Health, said she worries the changes could negatively impact how smaller counties provide health care.

“There are lots of questions,” Lalich said. “None of us know ... how the program will work.” 

The Oregon Health Authority said it would use the meeting to determine how the state’s program takes shape in the future. The Oregon Health Policy Board plans to develop the final proposals by the end of the year.

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