Kitzhaber signs overhaul of Oregon Health Plan

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Gov. John Kitzhaber has signed a bill implementing his plan to overhaul the Oregon Health Plan to focus more on preventive care.

Kitzhaber signed the bill in a ceremony in Portland on Friday. He says it will lower costs and provide better health care to the patients on Oregon's version of Medicaid, the program for low-income health care jointly funded by the state and federal governments.

Kitzhaber hopes the state can save money by reducing expensive hospitalizations. He applauded the approach at a time when other states are kicking people off of Medicaid.

The bill creates nonprofit coordinated care organizations to oversee the mental, physical and dental health care of patients on the plan.