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Bringing Health Out of Clinics, Into Communities

March 4, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. - Getting healthy habits out of the doctor's office and into everyday life is the goal of some pilot programs for CareOregon, with potential for expansion beyond the Portland area. The first "Community Innovations" pilot is under way in a couple of Portland neighborhoods.

The goal of "Give to Get" is to reduce social isolation among people with chronic health conditions. It's an informal network of neighbors willing to help each other, from raking leaves and giving haircuts, to checking in on older people.

Rose Englert, senior manager of state and federal regulatory affairs, CareOregon, said the feedback so far is that participants like the combination of handy services and a sense of community.

"We've heard that people, for the first time in a long time, have felt that they have value in their community - particularly folks who maybe have disabilities or aren't working for some reason. We've also heard that people have enjoyed meeting their neighbors," Englert said.

Four teams are each developing different ideas, all with input from CareOregon members. Englert said the proposals range from assisting people with managing their medications, to helping health care providers spot and fight hunger among their low-income patients.

"We all know that, ultimately, a very small percentage of our overall health is what happens in a provider office. And while that's incredibly important, we're very interested in assisting people in that overall well-being, and collaborating with members," she said.

The Community Innovations goal is to look at members' concerns that end up affecting their health, she explained, from their housing situations to food insecurity, and determine what can be done to keep them healthier and prevent more expensive medical care later.


Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR