Oregon granted five-year waiver for Medicaid services

Today in Salem, Governor Kate Brown announced that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has granted Oregon a five-year waiver, allowing the state’s Medicaid reformation continue.

Waivers that have allowed the state to dramatically reshape the health care system have been granted by the federal government since Oregon Health Plan was launched in 1993. This most recent waiver is effective January 12, 2017, and runs through June 30, 2022.

“Getting Oregon’s Medicaid waiver extended is a huge win for our state,” said Jennifer Lind, executive director of Jackson Care Connect. “Congratulations to Oregon leaders. They helped federal officials understand our success in achieving the Triple Aim — bending the cost curve while improving care and member satisfaction. This approval validates the flexibility and strong accountability of our model. We now have real stability to continue our state’s leadership in transforming health care.”

Securing the federal waiver was a priority for Governor Brown. She and her administration began working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services last year on Oregon's waiver renewal application, which was set to expire in June 2017.
“Today is an exciting day for the 1 million Oregonians who will continue to receive the quality care they have come to know and rely on,” Governor Brown said. “Oregon has continually worked to transform health care for more than two decades because good health is foundational to our well-being. Good health can help students reach their goals, allow their parents to work, and even bring families closer together. I will continue working until every Oregonian has access to high-quality, affordable health care.”


Governor Brown invited Medford resident and Jackson Care Connect member Kelleni Camacho, to address the audience about her personal experience of care through the Oregon Health Plan and the expanded services available in Oregon's model for Medicaid administration. Camacho was able to enroll in YMCA programs under her plan that allowed her to lose over 100 lbs. and significantly improve many of her chronic medical conditions. Camacho also shared her new health knowledge with family members, who lost weight and gained greatly improved health.
The Oregon Health Plan is the largest health plan in the state. It provides integrated health care for 1 in 4 Oregonians who are struggling to make ends meet. In some rural counties, as many as 40 percent of people rely on the Oregon Health Plan.
Oregon operates under a waiver, granted by the federal government, to modify the federal Medicaid program into a state-specific, community-based model. The Oregon Health Plan's aim is to keep people healthy by focusing on patients and their needs and preventative care. Oregon’s model has improved quality and health outcomes and avoided billions of dollars in state and federal health care costs. The federal waiver’s five-year extension to June 2022 allows Oregon to build upon its coordinated care model.
In five years, Oregon has made progress in its delivery of health care.

  • Lower costs: Federal and State government saved $1.4 billion in Medicaid costs just since 2012 and has avoided billions more since the inception of the Oregon Health Plan over two decades ago. Oregon’s health reforms are projected to save a total of $10.5 billion between 2012 and 2022 by holding down cost growth to not more than 3.4 percent per member per year. 
  • Better outcomes and care: Hospital readmissions have been cut by one-third. Substance misuse assessment, developmental screening, and prenatal care have all increased. 
  • Providing care at the right time and place: Avoidable emergency department use decreased by nearly 50 percent over five years.​

For information, contact Julie Raefield, Communications Consultant, 541-380-1154,

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