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    Portland Health Care

    Portland Metro Area Health Care

    Before we begin let’s define a few terms:

    • Health Carel Provider  An individual or an institution that provides preventive, curative, promotional, or rehabilitative
      health care services in a systematic way to individuals, families or communities.
    • Health Care (or Healthcare) It is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in humans.
    • Health Care Practitioner  People who deliver medicine, chiropractic, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, allied health, and other care services. It refers to the work done in providing primary care, secondary care and tertiary care, as well as in public health.
    • Primary Care  The term for the health care services that play a role in the local community. It refers to the work of health care professionals who act as a first point of consultation for all patients within the health care system. Usually, this is a primary care physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner
    • Secondary Care  The health care services provided by medical specialists and other health professionals who generally do not have first contact with patients, for example, cardiologists, urologists and dermatologists.
    • Tertiary Care  Specialized consultative health care, usually for inpatients and on referral from a primary or secondary health professional, in a facility that has personnel and facilities for advanced medical investigation and treatment, such as a tertiary referral hospital. Examples of tertiary care services are cancer management, neurosurgery, cardiac surgery, plastic surgery, treatment for severe burns, palliative, and other complex medical and surgical interventions.

    Like most metropolitan areas in the USA, the Portland area has a comprehensive array of health care providers.

    The Portland metro area is not lacking in hospitals and other types of patient treatment. Many health care organizations in the Portland area bill themselves as offering complete health care (e.g., clinics, recovery units, therapy, health insurance, etc.).

    The three main players are Kaiser Permanente, Legacy Health, and Providence Health & Services in Oregon. Another player is the Oregon Health Science University (OHSU) that treats patients and also includes a medical and dental school as well as a hospital. OHSU also runs a children’s hospital.  There is also a well-regarded veteran’s hospital.

    Alternative medicine (e.g. homeopathic, chiropractic, acupuncture, etc.) is big in Portland as some traditional health care providers even offer alternative medicine that is used together with conventional medical treatment in a belief that it “complements” the treatment.

    Kaiser Permanente Northwest

    Kaiser Permanente is an integrated managed care consortium, based in Oakland, California, United States, founded in 1945 by industrialist Henry J. Kaiser and physician Sidney Garfield. Kaiser Permanente is made up of three distinct groups of entities: the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and its regional operating subsidiaries; Kaiser Foundation Hospitals; and the autonomous regional Permanente Medical Groups. Kaiser Permanente operates in nine states and the District of Columbia, and is the largest managed care organization in the United States.

    Kaiser Permanente has 8.9 million health plan members. In its most recently reported year, the non-profit Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals entities reported a combined $1.6 billion in net income on $47.9 billion in operating revenues. Each independent Permanente Medical Group operates as a separate for-profit partnership or professional corporation in its individual territory, and while none publicly report their financial results, each is primarily funded by reimbursements from its respective regional Kaiser Foundation Health Plan entity.

    Kaiser Permanente Northwest serves approximately 480,000 members in the Portland metro area, Salem, and southwest Washington. Only Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon has more members insured with their health plan. The region is home to 27 medical offices, 17 dental offices, and 11 administrative offices as well as Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside Medical Center 196-bed acute care hospital in Clackamas.

    In 2013 Kaiser Permanente Northwest’s health plans are among the top-ranked plans in the nation for quality of care and customer satisfaction, according to the nonprofit National Committee for Quality Assurance. Its private health insurance plan ranked second out of 484 HMO and PPO plans in the nation, while its Medicare plan ranked third best out of 405 plans. Both plans achieved the top regional ranking in the Oregon-Washington area for the third year in a row (e.g., 2011, 2012, and 2013).

    JobDango rated Kaiser Permanente Northwest as number five as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon.”

    Legacy Health

    Legacy Health is a non-profit hospital system located in Portland. It consists of six primary-care hospitals and allied clinics and outpatient facilities. The system employs about 10,000 staff members and is the second-largest system in the Portland metro area, after the Providence Health System. Legacy Health System was formed in 1989 by the merger of Good Samaritan Hospital and Medical Center and four other Portland-area hospitals managed at that time as part of HealthLink. It was renamed in 2010 as Legacy Health.

    Legacy Health operates 21 primary care clinics along with numerous specialty clinics.

    The system’s hospitals are:  Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel, Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center, Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center, and Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center in Oregon, and Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center in Washington.

    Providence Health & Services

    Providence Health & Services is a not-for-profit Catholic health care ministry committed to providing for the needs of the communities it serves – especially for those who are poor and vulnerable. The health system includes 27 hospitals, more than 35 non-acute facilities and numerous other health, supportive housing and educational services in the states of Alaska, Washington, Montana, Oregon and California. Providence Health & Services was founded by the Sisters of Providence and was managed by the Sisters of Providence until 1979, when the first lay-person was made president of the system because of the declining numbers within the religious community.

    Today, Providence Health & Services is the largest health care system in Washington state and one of the largest employers in the state where it is headquartered in Renton, Washington.

    In the Portland area they have eight clinics and three hospitals:

    They also operate five other hospitals in Oregon communities:  Hood River, Medford, Newberg, Seaside, and Willamette Falls.

    Oregon Health Science University

    Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) is a public university in Oregon with a main campus, including two hospitals, in Portland and a smaller campus in Hillsboro. It was formed in 1974 as the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center, combining state dentistry, medicine, and nursing programs into a single center. It was renamed Oregon Health Sciences University in 1981 and took its current name in 2001, as part of a merger with the Oregon Graduate Institute of Science and Technology (OGI), in Hillsboro.

    The main campus, located on Marquam Hill (colloquially known as “Pill Hill”) in the southwest neighborhood of Homestead, is home to the university’s medical school as well as a 534-bed general medical and surgical facility. The OHSU hospital is a Level I trauma center and general hospital; Doernbecher Children’s Hospital is a children’s hospital that specializes in pediatric medicine and care of children with long-term illness. The Casey Eye Institute is also part of OHSU and is located in the same area. The university maintains a number of outpatient primary care facilities including the Physician’s Pavilion at the Marquam Hill campus as well as throughout the Portland metropolitan area. Additionally, the Portland Shriners Hospital for Children is located on the OHSU campus. OHSU shares technology, personnel, and training with the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center to help keep health care costs down.

    OHSU Expands in South Waterfront

    With the Marquam Hill campus running out of room for expansion, OHSU expanded into the South Waterfront District, along the Willamette River in the South Portland neighborhood east of Marquam Hill and south of city center. The Center for Health & Healing earned LEED Platinum certification in February 2007, becoming the largest health care center in the U.S. to achieve that status. As existing surface streets were deemed insufficient to connect the two campuses, the new Portland Aerial Tram was built as the primary link between them and opened December 1, 2006.

    In October 2011, three of Oregon’s universities broke ground on a unique project that will combine the resources of these institutions. The OUS/OHSU Collaborative Life Sciences Building will place portions of Oregon Health & Science University, Oregon State University, and Portland State University under one roof. In doing so, the facility will extend partnerships between the universities, create new employment opportunities, and expand the schools’ teaching facilities, class sizes and research activities. The location of the building is between the Marquam Bridge and the Ross Island Bridge. It will open in 2014.

    The 480,000-square-foot building will include lecture halls, classrooms, labs, specialty research centers, offices and a state-of-the-art facility for the OHSU School of Dentistry. The Collaborative Life Sciences Building will foster collaboration in undergraduate and graduate education between students and instructors from multiple institutions.

    OHSU School of Medicine

    The OHSU School of Medicine confers a variety of degrees, including Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Science, Master of Physician Assistant Studies, and Master of Public Health. In 2013, the US News and World Report ranked OHSU amongst the top medical schools in the country, placing the school third overall in Primary Care Rankings and 31st in Research Rankings. In addition, the publication ranked the school fifth in Family Medicine.

    The School of Nursing at OHSU offers nursing programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels. The graduate nursing program was most recently ranked seventh overall in the nation by the US News and World Report and fifth in the gerontology/geriatric specialty.

    OHSU’s School of Dentistry was merged with the university in 1945. Accredited through the Commission on Dental Accreditation, the school has departments in endodontics, orthodontics, pathology and radiology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, periodontics, and pediatric dentistry, among others.

    The College of Pharmacy offers the Doctor of Pharmacy degree that allows you to work as a pharmacist anywhere in the United States. The Doctor of Pharmacy students study two years at Oregon State University and then spend their third year at OHSU in Portland, helping foster collaboration among the health sciences and a multidisciplinary approach to studying pharmacy theory and practice.

    Research at OHSU

    The Oregon Clinical & Translational Research Institute is the integrated home for clinical and translational research across OHSU and provides a coordinated infrastructure of core services to serve clinical research investigators and staff.

    There are 1,131 principal investigators at OHSU, working on 3,045 research projects. OHSU researchers brought in $359 million in fiscal year 2012. The National Institute’s of Health is OHSU’s most significant source of funding, providing over $226 million last year.

    U.S. News 2013:  Ranks OHSU No. 1 Hospital in Oregon

    U.S. News ranked OHSU nationally in five adult and eight pediatric specialties. It ranked #19 in pediatric cancer treatment and #32 in geriatrics. OHSU is among the top hospitals in the country as far as patient complexity and severity of illness.

    There are 67 hospitals total in Oregon. For the Oregon page of the rankings, click here.

    Other Hospitals and Care Facilities in the Portland Metro Area

    • Adventist Medical Center  Adventist Health Portland is a not-for-profit, faith-based organization that includes Adventist Medical Center, (AMC) a 302 bed community hospital. Located at 10123 SE Market Street, Portland, OR 97216.
    • Tuality Community Hospital  Tuality Community Hospital is a non-profit, general care medical facility located in Hillsboro, Oregon. Tuality is a 167-bed community hospital that was founded in 1918. Tuality Healthcare also operates another hospital in Forest Grove.
    • Portland VA Medical Center (PVAMC)  The VA Medical Center is a 303-bed consolidated facility with two main divisions.  The medical center serves as the quaternary referral center for Oregon, Southern Washington, and parts of Idaho for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  The Portland VAMC is located on 28.5 acres overlooking the city of Portland on “Pill Hill.”  In addition to comprehensive medical and mental health services, the Portland VAMC supports ongoing research and medical education, including nationally funded Mood Disorders and Hepatitis C Resource Centers. The Portland VAMC is connected to OHSU structurally by a beautiful sky bridge and functionally by shared staff, trainees and educational opportunities. The Portland VA opened the Comprehensive Center for Women Veteran’s Health, the first in the Oregon/SW Washington, in September 2010. This new space was completely designed with women veterans’ special needs in mind.
    • Healthy Kids provides no-cost, low-cost and full-cost health coverage options for uninsured Oregon children and teens up to 19 years of age. Coverage lasts for one full year and covers all health needs, including doctor visits, dental care, vision, mental or behavioral health services, prescriptions, and more. Children will not be turned away due to pre-existing conditions or be put on a waiting list. Family income will determine whether a child is eligible for the no-cost, low-cost or full-cost coverage option.

    Clinics and Group Practices

    Medical practices today operate very differently than they did a few years ago due to the economics of health care. There are still a handful of physicians that work as a sole proprietorship, but mainly we have group practices that are staffed with a number of health care practitioners including physicians, physician’s assistants, lab techs, etc. The type of medical care a group practice offers can be primary care as well as secondary care such as ophthalmology, pediatrics, etc. For example, if you have a primary care doctor at one of these group practices and need a knee replacement your primary care person refers you to an orthopedic surgeon at an orthopedic group practice.

    Portland has numerous group practices and a few physicians that operate as an individual practice. So if your insurance plan isn’t tied to an HMO such as Kaiser or Providence you can chose your own physicians.

    Another change is  that your next primary care appointment may be at a drugstore. Walgreens recently announced that the drug chain will have its nurse practitioners and physician assistants begin to diagnose and manage chronic conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes.

    Finding a Doctor at a Group Practice

    Finding a clinic and/or group practice isn’t easy and most often a friend or co-worker will recommend someone.

    You can search for a physician at the Medicare Web site on a page called Physician Compare that has information about healthcare professionals. You can enter numerous parameters and refine your search in many different ways at the Physicians Compare site.  You can search in a city/state or zip code for these three items: Physician, Other Healthcare Professional, or Group Practice. Another useful search is this parameter: “Only show providers who accept the Medicare-approved amount as payment in full.” You can further define this search to show only providers in a city or zip code.

    Alternative Medicine:  Three Schools in the Portland Area

    Portland is home to three nationally recognized institutions: the National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM), the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, and the University of Western States (which graduates chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapists, and nutritionists). Many of these graduates who come to the school elect to stay in the Portland area and practice their newly acquired skills. As a result, there are numerous clinics in the area offering naturopathic medicine and other alternatives.

    Chinese medicine may have originated in centuries-old ancient texts like the Nei-Jing and the Shang Han Lun, but the Americans who now benefit from its two-millennia history should give thanks to President Richard Nixon. During a preparatory trip to China advancing the president’s famed breakthrough visit of 1972, a press corps reporter named James Reston suddenly felt a stabbing pain: appendicitis. His surgery at Beijing’s Anti-Imperialist Hospital went smoothly, but severe abdominal pains followed, which the Chinese treated with acupuncture. Reston praised the ancient technique in the New York Times, and American doctors took notice. Some even traveled to China to experience acupuncture for themselves. Clinical trials followed and, soon after, acupuncture schools.

    Most Chinese medicine schools today teach “Traditional Chinese Medicine” (TCM), the more standardized version popularized by Mao Tse-tung in the 1950s. TCM practitioners use acupuncture, herbs, dietary therapy, moxibustion (burning herbs near certain points on the body), cupping (using heat and a glass cup to create a suction on the skin), and other practices to restore the qi (or “life force”) of the body. Older, more nuanced variations, known as “Classical Chinese Medicine,” are enjoying a renaissance as well at schools like Portland’s National College of Natural Medicine.

    The Colleges:

    National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM) is the oldest accredited naturopathic medical college in North America. NCNM programs in naturopathic medicine and classical Chinese medicine blend ancient healing wisdom with modern science. NCNM offers a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, Master of Science in Oriental Medicine, Master of Acupuncture and Master of Science in Integrative Medicine Research. In addition, a variety of natural medicines certificates are offered. NCNM is located in the Lair Hill area just minutes south of downtown.

    Founded in 1983, Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM) is a single-purpose professional graduate school that offers two specialized degree programs — Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (MAcOM) and Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM). OCOM’s academic programs provide students with a foundation in acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, therapeutic massage, and qi cultivation, as well as a focus on collaboration between Chinese medicine and Western biomedicine. OCOM is located to Portland’s historic Old Town Chinatown district.

    The University of Western States (UWS) offers seven distinctive programs: Doctor of Chiropractic, Massage Therapy, MS in Exercise and Sports Science, MS in Nutrition and Functional Medicine, BS in Human Biology, Prerequisite Program, and Radiology Residency. The University of Western States campus is located in Northeast Portland, just off Interstate-84 at 2900 NE 132nd Avenue.

    The ancient art of Tai Chi and QiGong are taught at a number of centers and health clubs in the metro area. Taoist Tai Chi is a low impact exercise designed to enhance health by doing exercises that emphasize relaxation, stretching, and stress reduction. For more information about chapters in the Portland metro area visit the Web site of the Oregon branch of the Taoist Tai Chi Society.

    Affordable Care Act: Comparing Physicians, Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Home Health Agencies, and Dialysis Facilities

    The Affordable Care Act is designed not just to control health care costs but also to improve quality of care. The federal government has created several tools that allow you to compare a variety of quality measures of health care and service providers. In addition, the Partnership for Patients program highlights hospitals and other providers that have made a commitment to reducing medical errors, improving health care quality, and reducing costs. The Affordable Care Web site has a complete page where you can compare.

    Many of the below sites have an abundance of information and take some time to explore them. Here is the list:

    • Partnership for Patients The Partnership for Patients includes hospitals, medical practices, and others that agree to support programs that improve patient safety, increase health care quality, and lower costs. Use the map to find members in your area and learn more about the Partnership, including information for current and prospective members.
    • Compare Physicians Use this tool to help you search for and compare physicians and other health professionals. It provides information on medical specialty, clinical training, foreign languages spoken, and more.
    • Compare Hospitals This tool can help you compare the quality of care that hospitals provide. It provides a list of U.S. hospitals which includes hospital demographics (location, hospital type) and 44 quality-of-care measures. It also includes data on some Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers.
    • Compare Nursing Homes Use this tool to help you compare the quality of care that nursing homes provide. It provides a list of U.S. nursing homes which includes demographics (location and type of facility) and nursing home ratings, which include health inspection reports, staffing data, and quality measures.
    • Compare Home Health Agencies This tool can help you compare the quality of care that home health agencies provide. It provides a list of U.S. home health agencies, including demographics, services provided and quality measures.
    • Compare Dialysis Facilities Use this tool to help you compare the quality of care that dialysis facilities provide. It provides a list of U.S. dialysis facilities which includes services provided, quality measures, and resources.

    Insurance Exchanges: Cover Oregon

    Given all of the rhetoric about the Obama administration’s health care law, it’s not surprising that many consumers are confused about how the new insurance exchanges will actually work. Some states (Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Missouri, etc.) that oppose the law have gone as far as intentionally limiting the information that trickles out to its residents. But Oregon is not one of them. Rather it has been a leader in setting up the structure and tools to make the transition as smooth as possible.

    Oregon and Washington are among the first six states to get preliminary approval from the Obama administration to operate health insurance exchanges, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced in December 2012. All have Democratic governors and were the first of 14 states to submit their plans to operate an exchange, reported The Hill’s Healthwatch.

    Because the six states have made sufficient progress building their online marketplaces, HHS granted them conditional approval to begin enrolling members in October 2013 and coverage will begin on January 1, 1014. Oregon’s insurance exchange is being marketed as Cover Oregon. Federal officials say Oregon’s application was given conditional approval because the state hasn’t completed all required actions.

    Tax credits will available through Cover Oregon starting in October. They’ll be offered on a sliding scale for those with qualifying incomes — for instance, to individuals earning $45,960 or less, and families of four earning $94,200 or less. The tax credits can be applied up front based on expected income, to reduce premiums throughout the year.

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced in early May 2013 that the application for health coverage has been simplified and significantly shortened. The application for individuals without health insurance has been reduced from twenty-one to three pages, and the application for families is reduce by two-thirds. In addition, for the first time consumers will be able to fill out one simple application and see their entire range of health insurance options, including plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and tax credits that will help pay for premiums. The applications can be submitted starting on October 1,2013 and can be found here:

    Timetable for Insurance Exchange

    • April 30, 2013: Insurers must submit plans and rate requests for state approval.
    • October 1, 2013: Open enrollment begins allowing individuals and small businesses to qualify for a sliding scale of tax credits based on income. Individuals making nearly $46,000 will be eligible for credits, and a family of four can make up to $94,200.
    • January 1, 2014: Coverage begins under the Affordable Care Act and so does the requirement to have health insurance or pay a tax. The tax begins at $95 or one percent of taxable income, whichever is greater but will grow over time. The tax won’t be charged if the gap in coverage is less than three months.

    To see insurers’ proposed benefits and rates click here.  Follow these steps:

    • Click on SERFF search.
    • Then under Product Effective Date plug in January 1, 2014 start and January 1, 2015 for end.
    • Look for open policies. Filings may not clearly indicate how premiums will change.

    Rates for the insurance exchange can be found at the Oregon Health Rates Web site. The site allows you to search for insurers offering coverage in your area, and download a chart comparing proposed premiums for a limited selection of plans. The rate proposals all may be modified by the state after a review of reasonableness. The Web site shows examples that apply to individuals who are buying their own insurance, as well as to businesses with 50 or fewer employees. The proposed rates don’t apply to people with Medicare.

    Co-ops Are Required for Health Care Insurance Exchanges

    The Affordable Care Act called for at least one co-op in every state to boost competition and bring health care costs down. But federal budget woes put a stop to the program after 24 received funding. The only state to receive federal funding for two co-ops was Oregon. These two will have to sink or swim in an insurance market already ranked among the most competitive in the country.

    Armed with federal loans, two startup health insurers jumped into a crowded and confusing Oregon market just as the biggest changes to U.S. health care in generations rolls out this fall. Oregon’s Health CO-OP and Health Republic aim to offer something different: a consumer-run experience. Oregon’s Health CO-OP also is filling a niche for care from naturopathic doctors. It worked with the state Association of Naturopathic Physicians to credential naturopathic doctors to let them act as primacy care providers and bill for procedures other insurers currently don’t allow.

    The two companies filed new policy details and proposed rates with the state, which can be found at  Health Republic proposed premium for a single non-smoker, age 40, is $251 a month. Oregon’s Health CO-OP proposed premium is $234 a month for the same conditions.

    In October, they will go head-to-head with about a dozen established insurers to appeal to small businesses as well as more than 200,000 expected to buy their own insurance next year. Rates and benefits for small business and individual consumers will be easily compared at the state marketplace, Cover Oregon, set up to help people enroll and qualify for new federal tax credits.

    Update on Cover Oregon:  Mid October 2013

    Birthed in optimism and with a head start over other states, Oregon’s health insurance exchange has instead become mired in delays.

    Despite spending $82 million so far — two weeks past its launch date — the online exchange hasn’t enrolled anyone.

    So what happened? Officials cite a number of contributing factors, including higher standards on website functionality than other states, more ambitious vision than most states of how the exchange will work, late-breaking new rules from the federal government, and delays by contractors in meeting quality and testing standards expected by the state.

    With the state’s online health insurance exchange still not able to enroll people, Cover Oregon officials have turned to processing forms by hand rather than electronically.

    On October 22, Cover Oregon staff began processing eligibility applications manually as a first step prior to helping people get enrolled in either a government program or the commercial insurance of their choice.

    The applications are a backup plan to what was intended to be the exchange’s online enrollment function. Applications will now be considered by Cover Oregon employees, rather than its Web site, to determine if people qualify for the Oregon Health Plan, tax credits to reduce premiums, or other government assistance.

    Shop for Health Care

    Web Sites dedicated to revealing hospital prices have appeared all over the place lately. Portlanders have several options if they need to get a price quote for various medical procedures. This kind of information was impossible, to find just a few months ago. Here are five:

    • Health Sparq  The pricing data is only available to health plan members whose insurer contracts with the Portland-based company. What’s unique about this site is that it tailors the out-of-pocket cost to each individual member who searches the site, since not everyone has the same deductible or would have used the same amount of it at any given time. In other words, unlike other sites, this one can be customized for an individual based on their particular plan.
    • Nerd Wallet Health  This San Francisco-based company online tool features the 100 most frequently performed inpatient procedures from more than 3,200 hospitals around the country, including several in the Portland area. It ranks them by most experience, lowest price tag and most recommended. Since NerdWallet’s data source is the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, you can see not only what a hospital charges, but what Medicare actually pays (which is usually less).
    • New Choice Health  This Web Site gives free quotes for 18 different procedures at Portland-area hospitals. You can locate medical facilities and compare accreditations, number of procedures and cost information. Quality scores and service levels are coming soon.
    • OkCopay  This Seattle-based startup just added Portland data to its Web Site in early September 2013. The site shows prices for 72 different procedures, including acupuncture, dental services, lab tests and X-rays, for more than 1,100 providers in the Portland area. It also gives some measures of quality and convenience, such as board certifications and evening and weekend hours. And it features a directory of free and sliding scale clinics throughout Oregon.
    • Pricing Health Care  This Salt Lake City-based is currently gathering pricing data on its Web Site by using crowd sourcing. You are encouraged to add any information you have from your medical bills.

    In the summer of 2013 NerdWallet, working with the Portland Business Journal, analyzed six major hospitals in Portland and found that they offer 96 of the top 100 nationwide hospital inpatient treatments. Providence St. Vincent had the lowest charge for 40 of the 96 procedures, followed by Providence Portland Medical Center, which had the most affordable rate for 30 procedures. In other words, the two Providence hospitals had the lowest charges 73 percent of the time.

    Rating Hospitals


    The Leapfrog Group is a voluntary program aimed at mobilizing employer purchasing power to alert America’s health industry that big leaps in health care safety, quality and customer value will be recognized and rewarded. They rate hospitals and other health care providers.


    Compare Hospitals 
    This tool can help you compare the quality of care that hospitals provide. It’s  a list of U.S. hospitals that includes hospital demographics (location, hospital type) and 44 quality-of-care measures. It also includes data on some Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers. This is part of the Affordable Care Act.




    Hospital Inspections is a Web site run by the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ) that aims to make federal hospital inspection reports easier to access, search and analyze. This site includes details about deficiencies cited during complaint inspections at acute-care and critical access hospitals throughout the United States since January 1, 2011. It does not include results of routine inspections or those of psychiatric hospitals or long-term care hospitals.
    Since Oregon does not put hospital inspections reports online the Web site does not cover Oregon hospitals.



    Hospital-specific data from the Dartmouth Atlas project reflect the treatment of Medicare patients with serious chronic illnesses who were in their last two years of life. The data are not restricted to services delivered in acute care hospitals; they include care delivered in outpatient facilities, skilled nursing and long-term care hospitals, and services delivered by home health agencies and hospice.




    Consumer Reports hospital rating helps you compare hospitals based on their patient safety score, as well as individual measures relating to patient experience, patient outcomes, and certain hospital practices. You must be a subscriber to access the hospital information.


    U.S. News & World Reports evaluates hospitals by specialty, regional hospitals, and children’s hospitals. On their Web site you can search by a specialty within a location, etc. To be nationally ranked, a hospital must excel across a range of tough cases within a given specialty. For example, a hospital nationally ranked in cardiology and heart surgery—one of 16 specialties in which U.S. News evaluates medical centers—can be expected to have doctors with the talent and experience to replace a faulty heart valve in a patient well into his or her 90s. U.S. News also evaluates health plans and nursing homes.
    National Ranking of Hospitals
    by Specialty

    U.S. News surveyed nearly 10,000 specialists and sifted through data for approximately 5,000 hospitals to rank the best in 16 adult specialties. Clickhere to view the results.
    Best Hospitals by Location
    The methodology behind the 2012-13 Best Hospitals national rankings is also used to recognize Best Regional Hospitals. Click here to view the results.
    Children’s Hospitals
    For the 2012-13 rankings, U.S. News surveyed 178 pediatric centers to obtain clinical data in 10 specialties and asked 150 pediatric specialists in each specialty where they would send the sickest children. Eighty hospitals ranked in at least one specialty. Clickhere to view the ratings.








     Rating Physicians & Health Care Professionals

    Top Docs in the Portland
    Metro Area

    Portland Monthly Magazine
    has been rating local doctors since 2006 in their January issue of the magazine. In 2012 they retained a Seattle firm by the name of Avvo to select the best MDs in the area. Avvo’s proprietary algorithm rates all doctors on a 10-point scale, factoring in peer endorsements as well as experience, education, training, research, and awards. These ratings are regularly refreshed based on new information gleaned from doctors as well as from certifying and licensing boards. For the sake of standardization, the magazine defines “doctor” as a licensed medical doctor (MD) or a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO). In 2013 Nurse Practitioners were ranked along with close to 400 physicians. All the results can be accessed on the magazine’s Web site. Click on the “Health” icon.



     Compare Physicians

    The information contained in theCompare Physicians directory comes from a Medicare enrollment data source, if available, and includes the below items.
     >Address where the physician or healthcare pro performs service
    >Foreign language spoken
    >Hospital affiliation(s)
    >Whether or not a physician or other healthcare professional agrees to accept the Medicare-approved amount as payment in full on all Medicare claims
    >Phone number



    U.S. News Top Doctors

    When a patient needs a doctor with specific expertise—a heart specialist, for example—his current doctor may suggest one. If she doesn’t have the name of a trusted cardiologist at the tip of her tongue, she’ll probably turn to her colleagues for their input. Such is the nature of how patients and doctors often find top medical specialists. And it’s the guiding principle behind the peer-nomination process used to compile Top Doctors.
    U.S. News Top Doctors was developed in collaboration with Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., publisher of America’s Top Doctors® and other guides, and was built upon data from Castle Connolly’s Top Doctors™.







    Other Resources

    Healthcare Blue Book

    The Healthcare Blue Book is a free consumer guide to help you determine fair prices in your area for healthcare services. If you pay for your own healthcare, have a high deductible or need a service your insurance does not fully cover, we can help. The Blue Book will help you find fair prices for surgery, hospital stays, doctor visits, medical tests and much more.




    Report Card on State Price
    Transparency Laws

    The report represents a joint effort between Catalyst for Payment Reformand the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute to examine existing transparency laws in all 50 states and grade them on how well they support the information needs of consumers. Oregon along with 28 other states received an “F”.




    AHRQ Rates Oregon
    Health Care Average

    The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality‘s (AHRQ) mission is to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans. As 1 of 12 agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services, AHRQ supports research that helps people make more informed decisions and improves the quality of health care services.


     Physicians Who Receive Money From Pharmaceutical Companies

    A new database posted by the nonprofit investigative journalism shop ProPublica makes it easy to check. The ProPublica database, calledDollars for Docs, was updated in 2012, with an improved search function and more information. But, it comes with caveats. The data is pulled from the Web sites of drug makers, some of them required to post the information based on past legal settlements. But only a fraction of companies do so — 15 in all, covering 47 percent of the U.S. market. Not only that, but doctors have not had a chance to review the data for accuracy. In 2014 the federal government will require all drug makers to report sums paid to physicians.


    Oregon Health Connect
    assists Oregonians who may not know which health program or service best fits their needs. You can also find information about health care reform and how health insurance in Oregon works.
    Oregon Health Connect is a coordinated effort among 211info, the Department of Consumer and Business Services and the Oregon Health Authority.




    Resources on Affordable Care Act and Student Health Insurance

    The American College Health Association (ACHA) is posting resources that will help familiarize you with the tenor and issues that have been discussed nationally.



    Health Data All States

    The Kaiser Family Foundation, an innovative resource for free, up-to-date, and easy-to-use health data on all 50 states.



    The Lund Report

    Educating Oregonians About
    Health Care

    The Lund Report‘s goal is to educate the consumer about the complex health care system, giving you the facts, analysis and action tools to make a difference.
     The Web site is dedicated to educating Oregonians about the inner workings of the healthcare industry.
    You can subscribe to their
    free newsletter.




    The Joint Commission

    An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commissionaccredits and certifies more than 20,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. Joint Commission accreditation and certification is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to meeting certain performance standards.





    Interactive Health Map

    The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, released an interactive map in July 2013 where you can check various metrics — life expectancy, hypertension, obesity and physical activity — on a county-by-county basis for the entire country. It provides both recent snapshots and changes over time.


    Seniors Stay Healthier and Live Longer in Oregon

    Because they stay physically active and eat smart, Oregon’s seniors have more healthy years ahead of them than folks in most other states. The Centers for Disease Control released a report in July 2013 that put Oregon’s healthy-life expectancy after 65 — the length of the time after retirement-age that one can expect to stay healthy — at 15 years, ranking it with the top quarter of U.S. states. Though the report also calculates total post-65 life expectancy — for Oregon it’s 19.3 years — it’s the first government study to give state-by-state data on seniors’ estimated years of sound health.



    Health Law Helper

    Consumer Reports free can cut help you make sense of the new Affordable Care Act. Answer basic questions about your age, household size, income, and where you get insurance now, and it will tell you what you have to do (if anything).