Medical and Health Access

There are many ways to define health access, from cultural and language needs to transportation, provider and service availability, insurance coverage, socioeconomics, community design, and other factors. In this section, we’ll provide an overview of a few metrics.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) began implementation in late 2010. At that time, an estimated 16.7 percent of Oregonians were without health insurance. In the region, the number was close to 16 percent. According to the data sourced above, the percent of people who were uninsured in Oregon dropped 11 points between 2010 and 2014. The region saw a more dramatic decrease: The number of uninsured dropped 12.6 percentage points. As of 2014, only 3.3 percent of the region’s residents are uninsured. This means that over 31,000 more people in the region are estimated to have medical insurance now than did so in 2010.

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Cascades West Ride Line

ride-lineCascades West Ride Line, a program of OCWCOG, coordinates transportation services for eligible Oregon Health Plan and Medicaid clients traveling to and from covered non-emergency medical services. Demand for services spiked in July 2013 when two significant program changes were implemented. One was the addition of a mileage-reimbursement program enabling clients to use their own vehicles and receive reimbursement for qualifying trips. The other change involved contracting with the InterCommunity Health Network Coordinated Care Organization (IHN-CCO) to better coordinate services. Additionally, eligibility expanded under the Affordable Care Act starting in 2014. Ride Line’s services have increased dramatically since implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The program served 2,300 clients in the third quarter of 2013 and slightly more than 3,300 in the second quarter of 2015, a 41 percent increase. The number of trips provided to these clients more than doubled during that time, from almost 25,000 trips in the third quarter of 2013 to slightly more than 41,500 in the second quarter of 2015.

Adult Care Facilities

This chart shows that the number of adult care facilities in our region has remained fairly steady over the past ten years.

Bed Counts

There are 598 adult-foster-home beds in the region, 1,175 assisted-living-facility beds, 800 nursing-facility beds, and 309 residential-care-facility beds, according to June 2015 data from the Oregon Department of Human Services. Our region’s population is aging. (To explore our region’s demographics, visit Who We Are.) According to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7.2 percent of non-institutionalized people age 65 and older in the U.S. need help from other people for their personal care. The population age 65 and older in the region was 45,700 in 2014, according to the Portland State University Population Research Center, and the number of non-institutionalized people age 65 and older estimated to need help with personal care was 3,300.

Emergency Services

Fire Department Coverage

The population centers of our region are well covered by urban and rural fire districts, while broad swaths of rural areas are covered by Oregon Department of Forestry Protection Districts.

Emergency Services

Ambulance Coverage

As indicated in the map below, population centers and rural areas are all covered by ambulance services. Ambulance response times will vary based on service area size, required travel distances to/from incidents, and modes of transportation (ground or air).

Access to Exercise, Clean Air, and Clean Water

The percentage of people in the region potentially exposed to water exceeding a violation limit for contaminants in the past year is estimated to be three percent, far better than the state overall where an estimated 16 percent are potentially exposed.

The average daily density of fine particulate matter in the air throughout the region is estimated to be 8.6 micrograms per cubic meter, below the state’s estimated 8.9 average. Sources of fine particulate matter (also referred to as PM2.5) can include forest fires, power plants, industrial processes, and automobiles. Consequences of ambient air pollution include decreased lung function, chronic bronchitis, and asthma. Particulate counts in the region are declining as of the latest estimates.

The estimated percentage of people in the region who have access to exercise opportunities (82 percent) is slightly lower than the statewide estimate (89 percent).

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Physical Education in Schools

According to the Oregon Department of Education, in 2013-15, K-5 public school students in Benton County received an average of 70 minutes per week of Physical Education. In Lincoln County, K-5 students received 80 minutes per week on average. Linn County leads the region with 98 minutes per week for K-5 students. The state average is 72 minutes per week for K-5 students. Oregon law ORS 329.496 calls for 150 minutes per K-5 student per week by 2017.