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A regional effort to improve the health of Medicaid populations will focus on four areas: the opioid crisis, integrating behavioral and physical health care, addressing chronic disease and transitional care.

After submitting a proposal in November, the Greater Columbia Accountable Community of Health received state approval of its Medicaid transformation project plan. The organization covers nine counties: Kittitas, Yakima, Benton, Franklin, Walla Walla, Columbia, Garfield, Asotin, Whitman and the Yakama Nation.

The plan describes what Greater Columbia will be doing to improve the overall health of Apple Health (Medicaid) populations.

“These ambitious projects address some of the most pressing health issues facing the region, and will require our health partners to coordinate activities and services,” said Rhonda Hauff, president of Greater Columbia.

Carol Moser, executive director of Greater Columbia, said the plan pushes providers in a new direction and encourages them to offer more services to patients when they are seen.

“I think everyone agrees that the cost of health care is unsustainable,” she said. “With the rate of escalation of health care costs, we have to do something to control them. This plan is a big experiment.”

Greater Columbia was granted the full amount that was requested, $24 million, which triggers the release of incentive payments, and marks the beginning of the implementation phase of the Healthier Washington Medicaid Transformation.

The plan is a partnership between Washington state and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Over five years (2017-2021), this partnership intends to improve the health care system, improve the overall health of Washington’s Apple Health population, and use state resources more effectively.

To read Greater Columbia project plan application, visit


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