New committee to provide guidance on reimbursement rate setting for Family Connects Oregon program


Shane Ersland


A program that supports Oregon families with newborns will now get guidance on its reimbursement rate setting process from a recently created committee.

The Family Connects Oregon program offers voluntary nurse home visiting services to all families with newborns to support healthy child development and strengthen families. It was launched by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) in February 2020 after the passage of Senate Bill 526 in 2019


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Data shows that about 70% of families choose to access the program’s services, and an evaluation of the Family Connects International program (which provides one to three nurse home visits per family) shows that participating families have numerous benefits within six months of utilizing it, including:

  • More connections to community resources
  • More positive parenting behaviors with their infant
  • 28% less clinical anxiety reported by mothers 
  • Higher quality home environments
  • Reduced emergency medical care

Newborn nurse home visiting services must be reimbursed by health plans. OHA announced the convening of the Newborn Nurse Home Visiting Program’s Reimbursement Advisory Committee in January. It will help OHA define requirements for reimbursement, and define the reimbursement rate for Family Connects Oregon services. 

Cate Wilcox, manager of OHA’s Maternal and Child Health Section (which oversees the Family Connects Oregon effort) spoke with State of Reform about some things the committee will consider while helping OHA determine program reimbursement rates.

“The committee reviewed (state budget standards), as well as the cost template used by Newborn Nurse Home Visiting providers to document allowable program costs,” Wilcox said. “For example, budget standards documents standardized staffing levels to be used by local sites in accordance with the Family Connects model.”

Wilcox said committee members have met three times to review documents associated with the process.

“They helped OHA identify areas where the budget standards could be more specific related to a particular line item,” she said. “They also provided input into the process for conducting the cost study.”

Wilcox also discussed some of the committee’s long-term goals for the Family Connects Oregon effort.

“OHA will convene a reimbursement advisory committee every two years with members selected by an application process,” she said. “The goals of the committee are to help OHA improve the tools and process used in rate determination for Family Connects Oregon for the subsequent biennium.”