OHA welcomes Pat Allen as acting Director

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Issues and actions in Oregon health today

September 5, 2017

OHA welcomes Pat Allen as acting Director

pat allen

Pat Allen, who has 25 years in public service, comes to OHA after six years as the director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, where he oversaw the regulation of the commercial insurance market, worker safety and health, the financial services industry, building codes and other services. Pat is a native Oregonian and a member of Governor Kate Brown’s health care cabinet.

“When Governor Brown appointed me, she gave me a charge to promote transparency, the wise use of public dollars, and integrity throughout OHA’s many programs,” Pat told OHA staff in an email. “Those will be my guiding principles as I step into this job and I know you share those priorities too. We will work together to consistently put them into practice every day, in every decision we make, and in every interaction we have with the public, partners, and policymakers.”

Pat became acting Director Sept 1.


OHA meets Governor Brown’s call to complete Medicaid renewals

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has completed the eligibility clean-up of 115,233 Medicaid members, meeting the August 31 deadline set for the agency by Governor Kate Brown. These members represent a subset – and the final phase – of a total 951,186 Medicaid eligibility renewals OHA completed since March 2016.

Under the Action Plan review:

  • 60,353 Medicaid members were found eligible
  • 31,895 were closed due to non-response
  • 22,937 were found to no longer qualify. 

    The number of case closures will fall. Federal law provides a standard 90-day period in which Medicaid members who fail to respond or have changed circumstances can return to the caseload and qualify for retroactive benefits.

    The 20 percent of member cases found no longer qualified for benefits represents less than 2 percent of the total Oregon Medicaid caseload.

    The federal government in September 2015 allowed Oregon to defer Medicaid eligibility renewals until a reliable replacement for Cover Oregon was in place. Under federal law, every child and adult on Medicaid remains eligible for coverage until the state completes an administrative renewal. Once OHA replaced Cover Oregon with the ONE Eligibility System, the agency restarted renewals.

    All Oregon Health Plan members are now on a regular cycle for annual renewal review.

    Post-Cover Oregon, the new eligibility system has showed improved eligibility rates and improved contact rates. Fewer people are found ineligible. (See chart below).

    For more details on the Action Plan work, a preliminary report is available online.

    chart v2line

    Behavioral Health Collaborative work groups drive implementation plan

    OHA remains committed to improving access, quality and the integration of behavioral health with physical and oral health. To meet this commitment, Behavioral Health Collaborative (BHC) implementation work groups have been convening throughout the summer to meet an August 31 deadline.

    The work groups are tackling topics under these five areas: government and finance, standards of care and competencies, workforce, peer delivered services and health information technologies.

    The work groups are making progress and have completed the majority of tasks. Due to the complexity of the task, some work will continue into the fall.

    “Please join me in extending thanks and appreciation to the individuals serving on these work groups,” said Royce Bowlin, OHA behavioral health director. “Look for a report in September that summarizes the work of these dedicated stakeholders and outlines the next steps. I am excited to see the results of their work.”

    The BHC work group recommendations will drive Oregon's behavioral health system forward. The deep dive the work groups are taking this summer will contribute to a comprehensive plan, which also includes the Oregon Performance Plan, legislative direction and expectations, and addressing the opioid epidemic.