This week NHC celebrates the landmark changes to the Oregon State’s Medicaid program.
The new 1115 Medicaid demonstration waiver — just approved by the federal government — includes Medicaid funding for food and housing and continuous Oregon Health Plan enrollment for young children from birth up to age 6.
Oregon is the first in the nation to make these ground-breaking Medicaid changes that, as they are implemented over the next five years, will go far to eliminate health inequities in our beautiful state.
These changes will have a large impact. Currently, 1 in 3 Oregonians, or 1.4 million adults and children, receive coverage through the plan. NHC alone serves more than 14,000 OHP patients, so we celebrate this expansion for our patients.
“This announcement validates the needs of so many in our state,” says Blain A. West, NHC Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer. “It addresses core needs of our most vulnerable patients, meeting them where they are.”
One major accomplishment of this change is that Medicaid will now provide continuous coverage for Oregon kids through age 6, and two years of continuous coverage for those 6 and up.
Why is this a transformational change?
Previously, parents were required to re-enroll their children each year. This requirement was a hardship for struggling parents. It caused insurance gaps for many of Oregon’s youngest residents due to delays, financial changes, language barriers, and other challenges.
Enrolled children will now get better care with consistent access to medical, dental, and behavioral health services.
Additionally, OHP will now include funding for climate-related health needs, rental assistance, and food support.
This targets Medicaid’s most vulnerable patients— those in transition. That will include youth in foster care, people who are houseless or at risk of houselessness, and low-income older adults, according to the Oregon Health Authority.
This ground-breaking assistance will address Oregon’s houselessness crisis and provide quality healthcare to communities most in need with $2 billion in funding.
Will our patients benefit from these changes?
At NHC, we work to treat the whole person. That means assisting patients who struggle with food and housing insecurity, treating patients with no insurance, and providing solutions or resources to solve other issues caused by lack of access.
We do this because we know that food is medicine and housing is healthcare — and the whole health of our patients relies on both.
“It is amazing to see all the work clinics and community health centers like NHC have done and continue to do be supported through the Medicaid Waiver and the federal government,” says Shae Ballenger, NHC’s Membership Services Manager.
Reducing barriers to healthcare, housing, and food access will go a long way to addressing social-related health concerns and improving our patients’ health. We welcome the changes the next 5 years will bring.
Read more about these groundbreaking initiatives.