OPCA engages in public policy with the goal of improving the lives of vulnerable Oregonians and the ability of community health centers to serve them. Our areas of focus include policies to support access to coverage and care, alternative payment and advanced care, care integration, health workforce in rural and other underserved communities, and policies addressing the social determinants of health for the patients and communities served by community health centers.
The social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, learn, live, work and age. These conditions are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels. The social determinants of health account for an estimated 60% of health outcomes and cause disproportionate harm to the underserved populations that receive care at community health centers. In pursuit of our mission to achieve health equity for all, supporting efforts to better understand the social, economic, and environmental contexts in which people live, and developing interventions to address these social determinants of health, is a significant focus of our work at OPCA.
To truly improve health for communities across Oregon, community health centers need to be able to create models of care that match resources with patient needs in the most effective way possible, including providing excellent medical care and partnering with patients to address the social determinants of health impacting patients’ lives. The goal of the Alternative Payment and Advanced Care Model (APCM) program is to detach payment from the face-to-face provider visit so that health centers are able to enhance team and provider capacity, expand their methods for engaging patients, and improve health equity by creating flexibility in how they can care for the segments of their population that are experiencing worse health. Under APCM, health centers are paid on a prospective per-member per-month primary care payment system for health care services and are accountable for reporting on cost, quality, access and population health measures.
The strategic use of data is a key element to improving quality, health center operations and experience for health center patients and staff. OPCA provides technical assistance and training to health centers in support of effective, data-driven quality improvement strategies. Our technical assistance and training on data excellence is facilitated by peer learning and transparent sharing of key performance metrics and best practices between members.
Providing comprehensive, coordinated and whole-person primary care requires the integration of services to effectively and efficiently meet the needs of patients. OPCA provides training, technical assistance and policy support to advance the integration of behavioral and oral health with primary care, as well as health-supporting social services.
Over the past several years, OPCA has fielded many requests from our Primary Care Association partners to share our insights from innovating in the ways that Oregon health centers provide and get paid for the care they deliver. In response to these requests, OPCA launched the APCM Learning Exchange in the summer of 2016, with the goal of building on Oregon's APCM (Alternative Payment and Advanced Care Model) experiences in order to disseminate and improve upon lessons learned in Oregon and across the country. This partnership between Primary Care Associations creates an opportunity for the exchange of ideas and experiences between all of the participating states for the purpose of promoting Alternative Payment Methodologies and Advanced Care practices that support community health center readiness to improve health outcomes and thrive in an environment of value-based pay.