As Portland Business Journal writer Sean Meyers reports in the Sept. 13 issue:

Two of Portland’s biggest names in healthcare formed a partnership that has been awarded the Portland Business Journal’s “Innovation in Philanthropy Award.”
Providence Health & Services and Kaiser Permanente Northwest joined forces to direct their combined resources to nonprofits that can help provide much-needed behavioral health care in our region.  To that end, Meyers writes, “Providence and Kaiser Permanente Northwest created “Behavioral Health Services for Vulnerable Communities,” a $1.2 million, three-year project funded equally by both companies and administered through the Oregon Community Fund.” CODA was one of the fortunate recipients of grant funding through this partnership. Lifeworks NW, Oregon Primary Care and Volunteers of America also received grants.

 The Providence Health & Services website posted news of the award as well, saying in part:

“The partnership between Providence and Kaiser is changing the dynamic of our programs,” says Tim Hartnett, executive director, CODA, Inc., whose grant supports creation of “health homes” for patients to receive primary medical care in the same clinic where they receive treatment for their opioid addiction. “Raising awareness and putting resources into these projects will help reduce the adverse impact of substance abuse on our community.”

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When CODA announced the grant in this news blog, we included this quote from Hartnett: “When talking about “recovery” for opioid addicts, it is natural that healthcare providers focus on addressing the addiction that brought the patient to us. Yet we also now know that these patients have higher prevalence rates of diabetes, liver, heart and respiratory disease than the general population.” Often these patients are without primary care providers or they worry about being judged for their addiction, so are less likely to seek help and articulately describe their symptoms, he added.

 Among other services, the grant will:

  • Strengthen the relationships between CODA patients and their current primary care providers. For those without care providers, CODA will work to help them establish treatment relationships in the community.
  • Provide assistance to patients seeking medical care via appointment reminders, transportation assistance and by advocating on the patient’s behalf.

Providence and Kaiser each contributed $600,000 to a dedicated fund with the Oregon Community Foundation providing grant administration. As the OCF Winter 2013 newsletter put it when writing about this partnership: “As health care continues to transform, health systems and safety net providers face daunting challenges. Responding to these challenges requires innovative solutions, partnerships and processes.”