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Michael Sheets and Annette Fowler

Annette Fowler, Cascade Health Alliance chief operating officer, shakes hands with Michael Sheets, FNP of Bonanza and Merrill Clinics, following an agreement between the coordinated care organization and Sheets to increase access for rural Oregon Health Plan members.

Cascade Health Alliance (CHA) Chief Operating Officer Annette Fowler, and the Bonanza and Merrill Clinics’ Michael Sheets, a family nurse practitioner, shook hands on Friday, Feb. 12, in agreement to increase access for Oregon Health Plan (OHP) members living in rural outlying areas of Klamath County. This includes members living in Merrill, Malin, Bonanza, Sprague River, Bly, Beatty and other outlying communities.

Noticing a need to increase health care access in Klamath County, CHA, the county’s local coordinated care organization (CCO), and Sheets began conversations in early 2018. CHA and Sheets have officially agreed to partner to increase access and remove barriers to care for OHP members in the rural outlying areas.

Sheets stated, “Klamath County’s health issues are solvable if we all work together and increase access to health care services. This partnership ensures rural primary care practices are a part of the OHP model of health care delivery.”

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA), OHP Medicaid services governing division, initiated the CCO health care model in 2012. The CCO model is designed to assist members on OHP get care from local providers who members know and trust.

Tayo Akins, CEO of CHA stated, “We know we have significantly more in common than differences, especially our mutual desire to serve the Medicaid members in these communities within Klamath County. We strive to partner with providers who have an appreciation of our members, can advocate for our members, and provide the highest quality of services.”

In order to do so, CHA works to partner with all types of health care providers like primary care providers, addiction and mental health providers, dental care providers, and specialists to ensure local health care is accessible for all.

Fowler said, “We believe in removing barriers and meeting members where they are. CHA appreciates the partnership with Michael Sheets, to provide access to our members in the rural and frontier areas of Klamath County.”

CHA’s goal is to work with OHA to transition members living in these outlying areas currently on OHP Open Card to the OHP CCO model beginning April 1, 2020. Transitioning members from Open Card to the CCO model ensures the needs of members on OHP are met and cared for locally.

Cascade Health Alliance: CHA is a coordinated care organization (CCO) in Klamath County. A CCO brings together many types of doctors and other health care providers to work together and serve individuals with health insurance from the Oregon Health Plan (OHP).