The Health Share of Oregon Board of Directors has added its support to the effort by the Everyone Deserves Healthy Teeth Coalition to encourage Portland to add fluoride to the city’s drinking water supply.

“Getting an early start on oral health can help a child start down the right path for overall health for a lifetime,” says Janet Meyer, interim chief executive officer. “The board believes that preventive care, including fluoridated water, good hygiene practices and regular visits to a dental care provider, is the best way to start.”

Formerly Tri-County Medicaid Cooperative, Health Share of Oregon will provide physical and mental health managed care services for Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid) members in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties, effective September 1.

Health Share and other CCOs eventually will also coordinate dental care services for Oregon Health Plan members. But it is concern about overall health that has led the Health Share board to support fluoridation.

For centuries physicians have suspected that oral health is linked to overall health. Recent research has confirmed it, with connections noted between dental disease and heart disease, diabetic complications, stroke, pneumonia and more.

Oregonians may be at greater risk for these conditions because of the state’s poor dental health. Oregon’s children don’t fare nearly as well as those in neighboring states when it comes to dental health. More than one third of Oregon children have untreated tooth decay, a rate that’s more than double the rate among children in Washington.

Improving dental health can also help control health care costs and increase health equity. Some 30 percent of health care costs for children are for treating dental disease, with severe cases treated all too often in the operating room. Poor dental health disproportionally affects people struggling with poverty. Poor children are less likely to have preventive care and more likely to miss school because of dental disease.

In more than 3,000 studies, the overwhelming evidence is that optimally fluoridated water has no negative impact on the 200 million Americans who now drink it, and that it improves a community’s dental health by at least 25 percent. It is the most effective and most affordable answer to the dental health crisis.


Another Press Release (August 8, 2012)

Health Share of Oregon is Collaborative’s New Name

By:  Tri-County Medicaid Collaborative

August 8, 2012 — The state’s largest new Coordinated Care Organization (CCO) has a new name—Health Share of Oregon—in time for its launch September 1.

When all the hospitals, county departments and most of the Medicaid managed health plans in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties joined together last winter to form a collaborative, they called it just that: Tri-County Medicaid Collaborative. The collaborative’s first step was to seek a federal grant to support health transformation in the Tri-County area. They received a $17.3 million federal health care innovation grant in June. And throughout the spring, the Collaborative has been working to develop a CCO, the state’s newest method of providing care to members of the Oregon Health Plan.

“This is a unique time in Oregon,” said Janet Meyer, Health Share’s Interim CEO. “The legislature made the decision to ask health providers, counties, plans, hospitals and local agencies to band together to design health plans that will transform health in the state. With our members, communities and other stakeholders, we all share a role in making this the healthiest place in which to live. And, because CCOs are designed to put the member at the center of the health system, people and their providers will be asked to share responsibility for developing a path to health which will be guided by the member’s needs.”

Health Share of Oregon is made up of Adventist Health, CareOregon, Central City Concern, Clackamas County, Kaiser, Legacy Health, Multnomah County, Oregon Health & Science University, Providence Health & Services, Tuality Healthcare and Washington County.