OHA Grant to help Tillamook County Wellness Partners Improve Patient Health Outcomes

Tillamook County Community Health Centers, our local public health authority, has been awarded a Sustainable Relationships for Community Health (SRCH) grant from the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). The one-year grant will provide added staff capacity and technical assistance to address chronic disease prevention and management in Tillamook County. Funds from the grant will be used to hire a coordinator who will manage the project in conjunction with the Tillamook County Wellness Health Screening committee.

The OHA SRCH initiative is very aligned to the mission of Tillamook County Wellness, a collective of community partner organizations working together to reduce chronic disease rates, especially type 2 diabetes, by addressing the Social Determinants of Health. SRCH funds are intended to foster collaboration, reduce health disparities and healthcare costs and improve population health outcomes. This includes optimization of community and clinic-based health screenings, program referrals and reimbursement pathways.

Local healthcare partners, including the Tillamook County Community Health Centers (TCCHC), Adventist Health – Tillamook, Columbia Pacific CCO and Rinehart Clinic each play a key role in the Tillamook County Wellness Health Screening committee, with representatives from each organization serving on a core leadership team charged with fulfilling the grant requirements. Additionally, several community-based organizations such as the YMCA, NCRD, OSU Extension and Northwest Senior & Disability Services, among others, will participate in the project.

Together, committee members will:

  • Assess existing health screening practices in clinical as well as community-based settings, including workplaces.
  • Identify current chronic disease prevention and self-management programs and services to which people are being referred.
  • Co-design recommendations for ways to modify or enhance screening and referral practices.
  • Generate agreements for implementing improvements to systems processes and program access.
  • Track and analyze screening, referral and program participation data to determine impact on health outcomes and identify areas for improvement.
  • Develop recommendations for supporting programs and processes that are most effective for reducing chronic disease rates and improving individual health.

“With 90% of all healthcare costs being spent on the treatment of chronic and mental health conditions, it is imperative that we connect people with the resources they need to get and stay healthy,” states Marlene Putman, Tillamook County Public Health Administrator and Tillamook Community Health Centers Director. “There are so many great programs already in place here – the Diabetes Prevention Program, CHIP, cooking classes and fitness programs through the YMCA, NCRD and OSU Extension. We know these programs work. We have data that shows how people who take advantage of these programs improve their health. We just need to be more intentional about how we connect people, programs and processes so that everyone wins.” Putman adds that increasing access to programs by reducing cost and transportation barriers are among the strategies being explored. One of the goals of the project is to better understand the factors that lead to increased program participation and adherence, as well as where people are experiencing barriers. These considerations can then be built into the design of community and clinic-based support networks to optimize system workflows, program delivery and population health outcomes.

To learn more, visit at tillamookcountyhealthmatters.org or follow Tillamook County Wellness on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.