Integration Of DCOs Into CCOs Delayed Until June 2013

According to an Oregon Legislative Update dated September 30th, a tricky issue for Oregon is the integration of Dental Care Organizations (DCOs) into Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs).

In fact, as pointed out in the update, a CCO must have contracts with all of the DCOs in its service area by July 1, 2014. It gives both organizations time for the implementation.

However, some DCOs and CCOs want to start the integration of services immediately – in response Oregon Health Authority (OHA) claimed that IT system is not ready yet, and the earliest that integration can take place is January 1, 2013.

According to an October 11th article in the Lund Report, Mike Shirtcliff, DMD, president and CEO of Advantage Dental Services (the second largest DCO in the state), Sen. Alan Bates (D-Medford) and Rep. Tim Freeman (R-Roseburg) signed a petition asking for an extension of the deadline. They are concerned that the new CCOs would hurt dental care organizations. Shirtcliff explained his uneasiness of moving too quickly and was able to slow down the process:

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m very supportive of what Governor Kitzhaber is trying to do with healthcare in Oregon,” he said. “We’re not trying to be an obstacle, but are concerned about our patients and want to do things in an orderly fashion so we don’t end up having a disaster”

“We all do want to be integrated into one organization called a CCO with oral health being part of the governance structure, but it’s pretty complicated with 16 CCOs and will take some time” he said.

The Oregon Health Authority announced that July 2013 is a new timeline for integrating dental care, after they received the petition.

As the Lund Report states, the ultimate decision is in the hands of Dr. Bruce Goldberg, director of the Oregon Health Authority. If he decides to turn down the petitioner’s request, Shirtcliff will most likely take this issue to the legislature next February.