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Deschutes County Commissioner Tammy Baney has been heavily involved in a regional effort to reduce costs and in-efficiencies in the local system. She says they studied the data and found that a small number of people are overusing the system. For example some people are going to the emergency room as many as 62 times a year, more than once a week. "We started coming together and deciding to start pooling our dollars because we have the same cachment area; St. Charles, and so we can actually identify those folks who 82% are on the Oregon Health Plan, and so they have insurance we're already paying for it. They're in our emergency rooms so we're paying for it twice.” A new Senate Bill paves the way for a regional health care reform initiative, and Central Oregon is the pilot program. Baney says once those "frequent flyers" were identified, they focused on getting them into the care they needed and better comprehensive services so they wouldn't keep using the emergency rooms for non-emergency needs. This effort started about two years ago. And if the idea works it may be launched statewide.

 

 

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