Ore. Senate votes for governor's health changes

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SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- The Oregon Senate has voted to approve Gov. John Kitzhaber's initiative to transform the way the state pays for low-income health care.

The Senate approved it in a 22-7 vote on Wednesday evening after the House voted for it nearly unanimously on Monday. Kitzhaber is expected to sign it this week.

Kitzhaber wants to provide better health care by rewarding doctors and other care providers for keeping their patients healthy, moving away from the existing fee-for-service model of health care delivery.

Some lawmakers have been skeptical that the measure would create the $240 million in savings needed in the next two-year budget. But the initiative has received bipartisan praise for attempting to improve the health care system.

The measure would create community-based organizations to coordinate mental, physical and dental health.