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Jackson Care Connect celebrates the connections that are improving health care

MEDFORD, Ore. —  It takes a dedicated network of medical providers, nonprofit organizations, health plans and community leaders to improve health care for all. Jackson Care Connect, a Coordinated Care Organization providing care for Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid) members in Jackson County, celebrated those connections in its third annual spring conference last week, with the theme “Connected for Better Health.”

Dawn Jagger, chief of staff with the Oregon Health Authority, updated the conference attendees on the upcoming work around CCO 2.0, the next phase of Oregon’s coordinated care model.  

“We’ve laid the foundation to take reforms to the next level,” Jagger said.

“In our complex and evolving health care landscape, one thing is clear and constant: we are all in this together,” said Jennifer Lind, CEO of Jackson Care Connect. “Our many overlapping partnerships help us all provide more integrated care, and offer robust wellness and support programs for our members. Together we are improving the health of our community.”

The conference’s keynote speaker was Heidi Allen, associate professor of social work at Columbia University and a native Oregonian. Allen was a lead investigator in the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment and spent several years working on health policy in Oregon. Speaking on Oregon’s progress in health care reform, Allen said “there’s a lot to celebrate and be proud of, and a lot of reason to be hopeful for the future.”

“Oregon has found ways to innovate,” Allen said. She encouraged conference attendees to keep having the challenging conversations that can lead to innovation and quality improvement.

Conference speakers also included Susan Kirchoff of the Oregon Health Leadership Council, who addressed how to improve efficiency and work environment in health care through better collaboration and communication.

In 2017, Jackson Care Connect shared $7.5 million with local providers and organizations to support the well-being of members, build capacity for the provider network and increase innovations in care. These grants supported clinics, organizations and projects with the dual goals of improving quality of care and maximizing cost savings:

Community Health Improvement Grants – These projects address the underlying conditions that affect the health of members and the community. The local Community Advisory Council, made up of Jackson Care Connect members and local health supporters, plays a key role in choosing projects.

Alternative Payment Methods – Recipients are primary care clinics that deliver high-quality and cost-efficient care, based on quality improvement measures.

Integrated Behavioral Health Capacity and Sustainability Funding – Clinics receive support to implement behavioral health care in primary care settings, to provide better overall patient care and contain costs through early intervention.

Social Determinants of Health – These projects and organizations create environments to improve health equity, with a priority on helping members with their recovery, addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences, creating social connections and supporting healthy activities.

Jackson Care Connect also presented awards to people in recognition of their contributions to community health:

  • Jared Cox of Southern Oregon Pediatrics, for Advancing Primary Care through Behavioral Health Integration
  • Christy Brooks, for her commitment to family and health improvement
  • ShyAnne Woods, for her leadership work on Jackson Care Connect’s Youth Leadership Council

The conference included panel discussions on building members’ resiliency and sustaining health care transformation. Participants included representatives from Rogue Retreat, La Clinica, Advantage Dental, Southern Oregon Head Start and Rogue Community Health.

Leaders from clinics, nonprofit organizations and community programs, as well as representatives from Jackson Care Connect’s Community Advisory Council and Youth Advisory Council, led roundtable discussions in how to sustain improvements in health care, focusing on integration, innovation, quality improvement and health equity.

For information about Jackson Care Connect, contact Sara King Cole, 503-416-7791, or Jeanie Lunsford, 503-416-3626,

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