Subscribe Today! Please read: Readers of local content on the Herald and News website – – will require a subscription beginning today. For the first few months, non-subscribers will still be able to view 10 articles for free. If you are not already a subscriber, now is a great time to join for as little as $10/month!
Kate Brown and Tayo Akins

Gov. Kate Brown shakes hands with Tayo Akins, CEO of Cascade Health Alliance, during a visit to CHA in Klamath Falls Tuesday.

As Cascade Health Alliance (CHA) began its new five-year contract with the state, Gov. Kate Brown and Oregon Health Authority Director, Pat Allen, visited the board of directors and leadership team in Klamath Falls on Tuesday to learn about its successes to date and its plans for the coming years.

CHA has set a high bar for coordinated care organizations (CCOs) in Oregon, performing well above average in the state’s Readiness Review process to begin a five-year contract starting in 2020. During the visit, Brown saw first-hand the coordination between the CCO and community partners to address social determinants of health, including housing.

Oregon’s CCOs were created in 2012 to provide locally controlled health care provider networks to serve people covered by the Oregon Health Plan. CHA provides physical, behavioral, and oral health care to more than 18,000 Klamath County residents.

Because CCOs are locally operated private businesses, they are invested in setting and achieving long-term goals of better health and better care at a lower cost within their communities.

“We’re excited to move into a new era of service for Medicaid patients in Klamath County,” said Tayo Akins, CHA CEO. “Given the room to innovate, we’re proud of the services provided with the help of beneficiaries, community partners, social service agencies and providers. Keeping local services in local hands is leading to better health at a lower cost.”

At the end of the visit, Brown spoke about the value of local leadership in making long-term investments.

“I think it is important that the community and region itself set the priorities,” said Brown. “We know this isn’t going to pay off tomorrow, but it will later on in community-centered, patient-focused care.”