By Kaylan Sisco, Executive Director, Tillamook YMCA & Kelly Benson, Healthy Living Director, Tillamook YMCA

The chances are that you know how exercise affects your health.  As they say “the proof is in the pudding” — just don’t eat too much pudding to find the truth in this case.  One very powerful decision-making group that is starting to recognize the importance of exercise and wellness as a preventative measure are health insurance companies.  Thankfully, they are starting to make their way through the pudding and are finding that creating partnerships and collaborations with wellness organizations, like the YMCA, can curb unhealthy lifestyles and be a catalyst for preventing chronic diseases and health issues.  Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization (CCO) administers of the Oregon Health Plan in Tillamook County, has launched a pilot program to test the impact of YMCA usage on preventable health issues.

This program launched January 1st and is open to any person on Oregon Health Plan through Columbia Pacific CCO.  Columbia Pacific will pay one-third of the cost of a Y membership, the YMCA will subsidize one-third, and the member will be responsible for the balance one-third remaining.  Members taking advantage of this program will enroll in a healthy lifestyle program that tracks their habits for six months.  The member will work closely with a Y staff member to address changes needed to help prevent health related risk factors.

The goal of this partnership is to reduce as many barriers to healthy lifestyle change as possible.  Columbia Pacific and the Y subsidies help relieve the financial barrier.  The Y provides child care while the member is working out to remove any child care barriers.  The Y staff provides knowledge and accountability removing the consistency and health mapping barrier.  The hope is to help identify and eliminate risk factors specific to prediabetic symptoms.

What is “prediabetes”?  With chronic diseases such as diabetes, a person can have risk factors that increase the likelihood they may develop diabetes in the future.  A prediabetic screening is not complicated and can be completed in just a few minutes with no lab testing and no judgement.  It is as simple as answering seven questions.  The fact is, many people will fall into this category, one out of three adults in fact.  It is a good tool to increase your awareness to lower your risk of having a diagnosis of diabetes. Once an individual is diagnosed with diabetes they are at higher risk for other health complications such as blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke, loss of toes, feet or legs, and other ailments according to the Center for Disease Control.

A link to the prediabetes screening we use at the Y is at or you can contact the YMCA at 503-842-9622 or ask your doctor what lifestyle changes you can make to help you fight prediabetes.  For more information about the Columbia-Pacific CCO Oregon Health Plans and YMCA reduced membership program, visit the YMCA at 610 Stillwell Ave., Tillamook or go to


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