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CORVALLIS, Ore. - A new, $1.25 million study at Oregon State University is looking at whether expanding the Oregon Health Plan to low-income mothers and their children will improve the population's overall health.
Funded by the Centers for Disease Control, researchers will work with the Oregon Health Authority on the five-year study. Their results will steer the Medicaid policies in other states as more people become eligible under the affordable healthcare act.
The five-year study will evaluate how the health of low-income women and their infants is affected when more of them are eligible for Medicaid health care coverage, i.e., the Oregon Health Plan.
The OSU team will be led by researchers in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, including Marie Harvey, Jeff Luck, Jocelyn Warren and Jangho Yoon.
"Oregon is an ideal state to conduct this study because of its ongoing commitment to Medicaid health care delivery for all, and the commitment of state leaders to collaborate to ensure this program's success," said Harvey, associate dean for research in OSU's College of Public Health and Human Sciences, and one of the grant's principal investigators.
One of the study's goals will be to create an integrated, state-level data system that links de-identified Medicaid information with other existing health care data, such as from hospitals and birth and death certificates. This data system will help answer critical questions about the effect of Medicaid expansion on the use of health services and health outcomes among women and their children. A diverse group of county and community groups in the state with interest in maternal and child health will participate in setting research priorities for the study.
The project has been endorsed by Gov. John Kitzhaber, who has led the state's efforts on implementation of comprehensive reform of Oregon's Medicaid financing and delivery system. The research will also be helpful as Oregon looks towards the adoption of a more coordinated care model across all types of health care delivery systems.
"This project is an ideal complement to ongoing health system innovation and reforms in Oregon," said Mike Bonetto, senior health care policy adviser to Gov. Kitzhaber. "This project will play a key role in our action plan by providing concrete data on how we can improve the health care and health outcomes of Medicaid-eligible women and their infants, a particularly vulnerable population."