Environment, education, housing, race, and gender are all factors impacting the health of Oregon’s most vulnerable populations. Care for these groups depends on both social services and health care. Often, these resources are not integrated, creating a barrier to achieving excellent health for each individual. To lead members to excellent health, social care and health care integration is essential.
To better realize that goal of integration, Health Share of Oregon has contracted with Unite Us to help build Connect Oregon. Connect Oregon — serving Oregon and Southwest Washington — is a coordinated care network of health and social care providers, the first of its kind in the region. This shared network enables partners to send and receive electronic referrals, address people’s social needs, and improve health across communities. The partnership with Unite Us to establish the Connect Oregon network here in the Portland metro area is a game changer, transforming the way we integrate healthcare and social care statewide. It empowers our partners and organizations throughout the state to better serve our shared communities.
Research has shown that the social determinants of health contribute to racial inequities in health outcomes. At the same time, structural racism results in unequal access to the health- and opportunity-promoting social determinants that drive the racial health inequities. This reality has been laid even more bare by COVID-19. That’s why it’s more important than ever to align health and social work so solve these complex challenges. Connect Oregon increases the potential for more equitable access to community resources in a meaningful and helpful way. Health Share of Oregon looks forward to harnessing the potential for Connect Oregon to more effectively center member and community voice in the development of interventions, programs, and services.
Kelli Houston, Health Share’s Chief Equity and Engagement Officer at Health Share of Oregon,
So what’s a coordinated care network?
A coordinated care network is a group of health and social care providers linked through Connect Oregon’s shared technology, powered by Unite Us. Partners work together in real time to support the complex needs of our most vulnerable populations. This integrated support includes a broad range of services such as housing, employment, food assistance, behavioral health, utilities, and more. Now, partners have access to real-time, actionable metrics on individuals, outcomes, gaps in service availability, and network performance. This creates better results for the community.
How does it work for partners?
Partners can choose to participate in whatever way works best for them. Partners can also change how they participate in the network over time. Community Based Organizations in Oregon have unlimited access at no cost, creating improved workflows and wraparound support. When youth and families receive wraparound support, it means their care plan was carefully crafted by a team to meet their specific needs using available resources. Improved organizational workflows can help these Community Based Organizations more efficiently tackle the complex challenges they face each day. The HIPAA–compliant technology allows partners to connect their clients with community resources while tracking the status and progress of their clients’ referrals and the outcomes of the services provided. This creates an integrated, accountable system of care that puts the community first. Health Share of Oregon looks forward to realizing the possibilities of this broad collaboration in the coming months and years.