CORVALLIS, Ore. – Health care reform is sweeping the nation, and Oregon State researchers recently received a grant to find out if the reform will improve the health of low-income women and children.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) granted Oregon State University and the Oregon Health Authority a $1.5 million grant to study the health changes in low income women and children in Oregon.
“The Affordable Care Act will expand eligibility for the Oregon Health Plan starting in January of 2014,” said Jeff Luck, one of the primary researchers at OSU.
For the next five years, researchers at the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU will track results across the state.
“This provides us an opportunity to see – to actually test, whether continuous enrollment in Medicaid, and expanded enrollment in Medicaid over time, really does improve women’s health and the health outcomes for infants,” said Jocelyn Warren, one of the co-investigators of the study.
The researchers will team up with others in the health care field who are interested in improving the health of women and children.
“It’s an exciting time for collaboration,” said Marie Harvey, one of the principal investigators. “And we’re really excited that we have a lot of stakeholders and community partners in addition to the Oregon Health Authority.”
Researchers say they do not have a hypothesis yet.
“That is an open question at this point in time,” Warren said. “We really don’t know. So that’s something we’re able to test with this data. So it’s a fairly exciting opportunity.”
If the study finds that low-income women and children are not enrolling or are not receiving better treatment, the data can be used to improve the system in Oregon and throughout the country.
“One important objective of the study is to stimulate our results for other states,” said Jangho Yoon, one of the co-investigators. “So that our findings may be applicable throughout the United States.”
Governor Kitzhaber says the findings will provide data that will improve the health care of low-income women and children.