Regional Health Improvement Plan comes to fruition


By Sue Cody

After 18 months of intensive efforts in Clatsop, Columbia and Tillamook counties, the Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization, along with many partners, has adopted a Regional Health Improvement Plan.

“Getting agreement on the priority areas and sharing the decision-making process is a huge step forward,” says Nancy Knopf.

By coordinating with behavioral health, primary care providers, area hospitals and county health departments, we can make a much greater impact on the region’s health, Knopf says.

CPCCO serves Oregon Health Plan members on Medicaid in Columbia, Clatsop and Tillamook counties.


Through community engagement, 1,200 micro-narratives were collected and added to current health data and to get a clear picture of where the health care strengths and challenges are in each county.

The micro-narratives asked people to share experiences of health and well-being, positive or negative. The narratives revealed a need for ongoing supports and improved access to care outside the health care setting.

The CCO and advisers considered services provided by public health departments, hospitals, clinics, community safety net providers, behavioral health organizations and education systems.

They compiled data on diabetes, obesity, tobacco use, physical activity, vaping, consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, prenatal care, teen pregnancies, oral health, mental health, alcohol consumption, insurance, income, housing, transportation and health care access.


Chronic diseases are the leading causes of death in the region.

“Overall, the majority of deaths in this region are due to causes that can be associated with lifestyle factors such as tobacco use, obesity and physical activity,” the Regional Health Improvement Plan states.

In the micro-narratives, many reported a need for more and better social services to meet their needs such as housing, transportation and food.

Flexibility of care received more positive responses than extremely structured options.

Respondents reported a need to be heard and supported by people in the health care system.

The 2020-2024 plan

The regional health improvement plan makes the commitment to increase health and well-being through shared investment in health care, social services and community-based supports.

The plan for 2020-2024 will take into consideration the opinions of those who gave their time and efforts during the planning as well as population health indicators.

This Regional Health Improvement Plan is divided into eight priority areas for improving health in the region:

  • Community Resilience and Trauma Informed Care Access to Care
  • Primary Care
  • Access to Care: Behavioral Health
  • Access to Care: Oral Health and Dental Care
  • Access to Care: Social Safety Net
  • Chronic Disease Prevention
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Housing

Each priority area has goals, objectives and strategies outlined in the Regional Health Plan report.

For instance, the Community Resilience and Trauma Informed Care priority area goals include improving trauma informed supports and implementing best practices that create resilience in children and families.

The objective is to increase the number of programs, organizations and sectors using trauma informed care by 2024.

The Regional Health Improvement Plan will focus on supporting the reduction of chronic disease risk factors, such as using evidence-based strategies to reduce initiation of tobacco use, education around healthy choices and better access to affordable healthy foods and exercise.

The plan addresses the needs expressed by the community and the way public health provides improved health care. It makes a commitment to invest in health and well-being through the intersection of social services, health care and community support systems.

Partners with the CPCCO in the Regional Health Improvement Plan are:

  • Clatsop County Health Department
  • Clatsop Behavioral Health
  • Columbia Community Behavioral Health
  • Columbia County Health Department
  • Columbia Memorial Hospital
  • Providence Seaside Hospital
  • Tillamook County Health Department

You can see the health needs assessment and the 2019-2024 Regional Health Improvement Plan here: