Transforming behavioral health

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Issues and actions in Oregon health today

April 13, 2017

In this issue ...


OHA announces plans to transform Oregon's behavioral health system

Behavioral health touches every Oregonian. Everyone has a friend, a loved one, or a neighbor who has experienced a mental health issue or substance use disorder – and many Oregonians experience these challenges themselves. Although Oregon has made progress related to the behavioral health system, there is still much work to do integrating behavioral health with the physical and oral health systems in the coordinated care model, and making sure that every Oregonian has easy access to the services they need.

behavioral health chart

OHA convened the Behavioral Health Collaborative (BHC) last summer to develop a set of recommendations to identify and address the systemic and operational barriers that prevent individuals and their families from getting the right support at the right time.

Behavioral Health Collaborative

The BHC comprised nearly 50 members from throughout the state that represent every part of the behavioral health system. The BHC worked for more than six months to develop a set of recommendations that will transform Oregon’s behavioral health system, move toward a coordinated care model, and create a financially sustainable, results-driven model. The four recommendations include:

Recommendation 1 – Governance and finance: A single point of shared responsibility for local communities through a regional governance model.

Recommendation 2 – Standards of care and competencies: A minimum standard of care for all behavioral health workers.

Recommendation 3 – Workforce: A needs assessment of current workforce and a comprehensive plan that results in a well-trained behavioral health workforce, inclusive of certified, licensed and peer support specialists and community health workers throughout the state.

Recommendation 4 – Information exchange and coordination of care: Strengthen Oregon’s use of health information technology and data to further outcome-driven measurement and care coordination across an integrated system.

When taken together these recommendations will help transform Oregon’s behavioral health system from one that is fragmented and unable to serve everyone in need, to one that is integrated and providing better health and better care at a lower cost.

Oregon’s tribes are reviewing the BHC recommendations and working with OHA to create recommendations specific to behavioral health services for the nine federally recognized tribes of Oregon and the urban Indian Health Organization.

Behavioral health mapping tool

Released in coordination with the BHC recommendations is the behavioral health mapping tool. It is a series of maps used to display interactive information about the behavioral health system in Oregon. This mapping tool:

  • Provides a comprehensive look at Oregon’s behavioral health system including identifying behavioral health service locations in each county, the numbers of Oregonians with behavioral health conditions and the state funding being spent on behavioral health in each county.
  • Can be used to identify gaps in Oregon’s behavioral health system and help the state and local communities begin to find solutions.
  • Provides information to local services for Oregonians looking for help.

BH mapping tool

You can find out more about the key features of the mapping tool and access the maps on the Behavioral Health Collaborative website.

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Oregon State Hospital superintendent retires

Greg Roberts retired as superintendent of Oregon State Hospital April 1 after leading OSH for the past six years.

In his tenure, Greg oversaw a dramatic transformation of the hospital. As a result of Greg’s pragmatic and collaborative approach, OSH is recognized by many around the country as the best state psychiatric hospital in the nation. Part of Greg’s legacy is the culture of solution-focused teamwork across OSH, as well as the strong leadership team that came together under his leadership.

OHA continues the recruitment for a new permanent OSH superintendent; however, we have an interim leadership team that will oversee hospital operations and sustain its high performance. John Swanson will serve as interim superintendent with Derek Wehr serving as deputy superintendent, Kerry Kelly serving as deputy superintendent for the Junction City campus and overseeing the Pendleton Cottages, and Nicole Mobley will serve as chief of nursing.

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OHA seeking applications for Metrics and Scoring Committee

The Oregon Health Authority is seeking applicants for open positions on the Metrics and Scoring Committee.

The Metrics and Scoring Committee was established in 2012 by Senate Bill 1580 for the purpose of recommending outcomes and quality measures for coordinated care organizations (CCOs). The nine members are appointed by the director of the Oregon Health Authority and serve two-year terms. Membership must include:

  • Three members at large
  • Three individuals with expertise in health outcomes measures
  • Three representatives of coordinated care organizations.

The committee is responsible for identifying outcome and quality measures, including measures of outcome and quality for ambulatory care, chemical dependency and mental health treatment, oral health care and all other health services provided by CCOs.

Specifically, six seats are available: Two CCO representatives, two measurement experts, and two members at large. Terms will begin in August 2017. Committee members serve initial two-year terms and may be re-appointed at the discretion of the OHA director for two additional one-year terms.

Applications must be submitted no later than 8 a.m. Monday, May 15, to Nomination materials should consist of your resume or a brief biographical sketch, and a completed committee interest form. For more information, please see the call for applications​.

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Legislative update

The deadline for policy committees to schedule bills for work sessions was last week and bills must have a work session by April 18 to continue moving forward. As a result of these deadlines, the past week has seen a lot of movement for key legislation and a lot of hearings.

The following bills are scheduled for work session Thursday (April 13):

  • SB 132––Work session: provides that procedures for determining fitness to proceed of criminal defendants are applicable to those with probation violations or have committed contempt of court––will be heard by the Senate Committee on Judiciary. HB 2631 will be rolled into this bill.
  • SB 215–– Work session: directs OHA to operate database for collecting and disseminating orders for rare disease emergencies––will be heard by the Senate Committee on Judiciary.
  • SB 233–– Work session: requires OHA to make publicly available information administration of medical assistance payments to CCOs––will be heard by the Senate Committee on Health Care.
  • SB 235 and SB 998––Public hearing and work session: provides that person cannot sell tobacco product from Oregon location unless person sells the product at or from location where a license has been issued––will be heard by the Senate Committee on Health Care.

The following bills will have either work sessions or public hearings Friday:

  • HB 2518–– Work session: requires pharmacy to report de-identified information for prescription monitoring program after dispensing naloxone––will be heard by the House Committee on Health Care.
  • HB 3391–– Work session: requires health benefit plan coverage of specified health care services, drugs, devices, products and procedures related to reproductive health––will be heard by the House Committee on Health Care.
  • HB 3428––Public hearing and possible work session: enrolls specific public employees in CCOs––will be heard by the House Committee on Health Care.