Kitzhaber Signs Health Care Transformation Bill

Mar 2, 2012

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber signed one of his top legislative priorities into law Friday. The Democrat was surrounded by lawmakers from both parties as he signed the so-called "health care transformation" bill.

The measure will overhaul the way the state delivers health care to low-income Oregonians. Kitzhaber, a former emergency room doctor, called the day "historic" and "personally significant."

"By focusing on prevention and wellness, by focusing on community-based management of chronic conditions, by better coordinating care, we can create a health-care system that actually produces health, that can improve the health of our population, and can save us millions, if not billions of dollars," Kitzhaber said.

The measure will give locally-managed health care agencies more flexibility in spending Medicaid dollars. The concept requires a waiver from the federal government. Kitzhaber says he hopes the waiver will be granted sometime this spring.

On the Web:

Oregon 'coordinated care' bill:

Health Care 'Transformation' Would Buy Low-Cost Innovations:

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network