County leads state in meeting health care enrollment goals
Despite the troubles that have plagued the federal online health insurance registry, Wahkiakum County is doing well, officials report.
Wahkiakum has had the highest percentage in the state in reaching its enrollment goal, Health and Human Services Director Sue Cameron reported this week.
Fifty-nine people from the county have enrolled in health care plans, the state Health Care Authority has reported. This is 11 percent over the county's goal for January 1.
San Juan was the only other county to surpass its goal, at 108 percent.
Overall, 56,862 adults who had been uninsured have found insurance statewide, the Health Care Authority reported.
"We've all been working very hard," Cameron commented at the Tuesday meeting of the board of commissioners. "We went past our goal faster than anyone else.
"It's nice to say, 'We're number one!'"
The health department has people trained to assist with enrollment, as does the Cowlitz Family Health Center Clinic. The two have been working together well, Cameron said.
Cowlitz County has enrolled 910 adults, 37 percent of its goal. Pacific County has enrolled 250 people, 62 percent of its goal.
In other health news, the Family Health Center serves a large portion of low income, uninsured people in its service area, which includes Cowlitz, Wahkiakum and southern Pacific counties.
Executive Director Dian Cooper said the clinic serves 16 percent of health care patients in the service area, 42 percent of the uninsured persons, and 68 percent of the low income uninsured population.
In wellness, the system's patients exceed the national average in having well controlled diabetes, high blood pressure and behavioral health.
The health center continues to recruit for a physician for the Cathlamet clinic, Cooper said. The Cathlamet clinic is staffed by a nurse practitioner and visiting doctor from another clinic.
While they have been talking to a physician interested in moving to this area, the center is going to hire a staffing firm to assist in recruiting.
Overall, the Cathlamet clinic is doing well and met its financial goals while other clinics in the system haven't done so, Cooper said.