Fiber Construction Begins Monday; CCO’s Celebrate 5 Years; Gas Prices Roll Lower

October 11, 2017 9:42 pm News

Fiber Groundbreaking

It will rival the fastest internet in the state.  Robbie Wright with Siuslaw Broadband says the arrival of fiber optic internet service will bring 1 gigabyte speeds to homes and 10 gigabyte service to some businesses and at a price that is in line with current internet charges for other providers.  Wright says his company is ready to break ground on Monday for the installation of the latest in service technology.

“We’ll be starting in the business park for this particular pilot project we’re doing all the business park, Park Village and then some of the residences up fifteenth.”

Wright says he hopes the pilot project will be able to begin service as soon as Thanksgiving.  At Monday night’s city council meeting the council approved the acquisition of property for Wright to begin construction on the fiber hub.

“We will be able to start our build on our fiber hut in the business park.  We’re gonna place a little 10 by 20 concrete shed that will house all of our equipment.”

Wright says even though initially they were unsure of when construction would begin they have been preparing and building systems that are standing by waiting to go into service when the fiber is in the ground.  The price to outfit each house will cost around $1500 but he expects that price to drop as they move past the pilot phase and beginning planning for city wide fiber service.

Oregon Health Plan Enters Sixth Year

Oregon’s unique approach to bringing together health coverage for state residents is celebrating five years. Coordinated Care Organizations, or C-C-O’s, are the umbrellas to an array of services for people on the Oregon Health Plan, the state’s version of Medicaid. Erin Fair Taylor is executive director of legal affairs at CareOregon, a group that provides health plan services to four of these organizations in the state. She says in the pre-C-C-O world, physical, mental, and dental coverage were all separate and didn’t work together.

“CCO’s now have to really look across and think about what does a whole person’s care look like and how can we coordinate that so it’s easier to access and that members can have better outcomes and hopefully that we have cost savings as a result of reducing unnecessary care or unnecessary services.”

Fair Taylor says the biggest hurdle going forward will be the state’s budget. As Oregon tightens its belt, C-C-O’s have to as well. She says organizations will do that in part by promoting preventive care services.

“If we can keep people healthy that’s much less expensive than paying for emergency room visits or conditions that could otherwise have been prevented. So that’s where we’re going first to manage our budget concerns.”

Since C-C-O’s were created – and the Affordable Care Act was passed nationally – Oregon’s uninsured rate has plummeted from 17 to five percent.

Gas Prices Declining

Gas prices continue to slowly decline across the nation including in Oregon.  The price of a gallon of regular gas in Oregon is down 3 cents to $2.79 a gallon.  Which is still 32 cents above the national average.  Locally in Florence the average price is 2.54 a gallon.  Public affairs Director with AAA Oregon, Marie Dodds say fuel demand is at the lowest point since hurricane Harvey. And this signifies a downward trend that should see prices going even lower over the next several weeks.

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