Oregon's Coordinated Care Organizations Integrate Care for Drug Use Disorders
Extensive evidence shows that young children’s health and behavioral development are intertwined and that failure to nurture children at a very young age results in a developmental trajectory that culminates in sometimes lifelong drug abuse, risky sexual behavior, and related psychological and health problems.
Oregon has created 16 Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs) to provide healthcare to 600,000 members of the Oregon Health Plan—Oregon’s unique program to provide healthcare to low income Oregonians. The CCOs are encouraged to take a population health perspective and support community preventive interventions. At the same time, Oregon’s Early Learning Council (ELC) is implementing a strategic plan to improve supports for young children’s development. Because it is recognized that health and development are intertwined, the ELC and the Oregon Health Policy Board formed a joint committee to integrate healthcare system efforts with social and educational services for young children and their families. The joint committee granted six awards to create local Early Learning Hubs, which have responsibility for strengthening and integrating screening and services to young children and their families. The local Hubs will work with CCOs to ensure that organizations responsible for the wellbeing of young children collaborate in support of child development.
The key outcome is the proportion of children who arrive at kindergarten with the social, behavioral, and cognitive skills needed to succeed academically and socially. Achieving improvements in this outcome would have numerous long-term benefits, not only for young children, but for entire communities.