Trillium's Coplin says the coordinated care organization has come up with a four-part plan to deal with this unexpected influx.
First, it will pay bonuses to doctors who accept new members.
Second, Trillium is granting Lane County $900,000 to open a new clinic in an existing building. A custom build would take too long. "They have proposed ways that they can get this clinic up and running by mid-year," says Coplin.
Third, Trillium is hiring a consultant to see if existing clinics can increase efficiency, for example, by changing who fills out forms.
"Having physicians do clerical work is really a waste of valuable resources," he explains.
And finally, Trillium is offering half a million dollars to any clinic or group of physicians willing to expand their practice to take on another 5,000 adults. Meanwhile, Trillium has some short-term fixes to help new enrollees find doctors in the area.
Coplin says if they have a serious accident, they can go to the emergency room. If the injury is less serious, they can go to urgent care.
But someone who is suffering with a minor complaint can fall through the cracks.
Lane County Public Health Officer Dr. Patrick Luedtke thinks Trillium's plans will likely work, but he's anxious about those cracks.
"We have a shrinking pool of providers and we have a growing need in an aging population for health care. So that's pretty classic irresistible force meeting an immovable object.” It’s tough to have those two circumstances in the same environment, he says, “so we need to get creative and that's what we're doing."
Cheryl Stumph is pleased to be getting treatment, but it hasn't all been easy. "It took a month I think to get the first appointment for my husband," she says.
They've been for several appointments and the doctor told Stumph she'd have to give up smoking, get a little more exercise and follow all the usual doctor recommendations. She says she is working on it.
This story is part of a partnership with NPR, Oregon Public Broadcasting and Kaiser Health News.
Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
Tue, Apr 08 2014