OHA's legislative priorities for 2019

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Issues and actions in Oregon health today

Jan. 28, 2019

OHA releases application for 2020-2024 coordinated care contracts

The Oregon Health Authority last Friday released the request for applications (RFA) that lays out the requirements applicants must meet to serve Oregon Health Plan members for the next five years of coordinated care contracts, also known as "CCO 2.0." Letters of intent to apply will be due to OHA February 1 by 5 p.m.

OHA released a draft of the RFA for public comment January 4. The agency received nearly 50 public comments on portions of the draft RFA ranging from the role of traditional health workers to open enrollment for members. Each public comment received is posted on the CCO 2.0 website along with a summary of the changes made to the RFA in response to public comment.

The RFA advances the policy recommendations approved by the Oregon Health Policy Board in October, which addressed Governor Kate Brown’s four priority areas for improvement:

  • Improve the behavioral health systems and address barriers to access to and integration of care.
  • Increase value and pay for performance.
  • Focus on social determinants of health and health equity.
  • Maintain sustainable cost growth and ensure financial transparency.

Responses to the RFA are due April 22 by 3 p.m. OHA expects to announce the awards for the CCO contracts in July.

OHA will continue to provide updated information about the CCO 2.0 RFA process on the CCO 2.0 page on the OHA website.

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Monthly stakeholder webinars

OHA will host webinars during the 2019 legislative session to provide updates on agency priorities. These stakeholder meetings will take place the second Wednesday of each month, 11 a.m. to noon.

  • February 13
  • March 13
  • April 10
  • May 8
  • June 12

You can register for the Feb. 13 webinar here. You only need to register once to attend any or all of the five sessions. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


OHA's legislative priorities for 2019

More than 1,600 bills have been introduced as this session gets underway, hundreds of which will affect the Oregon Health Authority. Of those, 21 were introduced at the request of OHA.

This session, OHA's priorities are to:

  • Close the more than $830 million funding gap in the state health budget and put Medicaid on a sustainable funding path.
  • Support the transformation of health care delivery and reduce the cost of care through CCO 2.0.
  • Help more Oregonians get the mental health and addiction treatment they need, in the right place at the right time.
  • Help more families give their children a healthier start in life.
  • Modernize public health to protect people against disease outbreaks, emergencies and environmental health problems.

Here are some highlights of last week’s activities:

Session began Jan. 22. Director Allen presented background on OHA and its work to the House Health Committee. His testimony described the roles OHA's functions have played in Oregon's efforts to increase health coverage, transform health care delivery and reduce health care costs.

House health care committee hearing

Of OHA's 21 bills, five received a committee hearing in the first week.

The week ahead

  • Today, Senate Health Care, Universal Home Visiting: Home visiting programs help improve health and educational outcomes for children. Governor Brown’s budget proposes an initial investment to create a home visiting program in Oregon for all new parents who want a home visit, over the next six years.  
  • The Legislature will begin scheduling pharmacy-related bills in House Health Care by Jan. 29. Rising pharmaceutical costs are a primary driver of increased costs for CCOs and for commercial insurance rate-payers. While states have limited tools, this will be a major focus for legislators this session.

Health funding is a key driver of Governor's budget

Sustaining the Oregon Health Plan is one of the main priorities of the Governor's Recommended Budget (GRB). That means closing the state's $830 million gap in health care funding, which will be done in part by:

  • Continuing current reimbursable hospital assessments ($98 million) and insurance taxes ($320 million) for six years.
  • Ensuring fair and equitable health care funding by assessing self-insured plans and employers who do not offer health coverage ($120 million).
  • Increasing the price of tobacco and vaping by $2 per pack ($95 million) to reduce consumption, save lives and prevent tobacco-related disease.

The GRB also:

  • Promotes better health outcomes for Oregonians through its support of CCO 2.0 implementation ($1.9 million), expanding hepatitis C treatment ($107 million), and modernizing our public health system ($13.9 million in state tobacco funds)
  • Strengthens Oregon's behavioral health system by boosting OHP's behavioral health services budget ($5.7 million), expanding community services for people with mental illness who commit misdemeanors ($7.6 million), and expanding in-home behavioral health services for youth ($19.6 million).
  • And expands services to children to help ensure they reach their potential, by expanding home visiting for moms with newborns ($8.7 million), increasing suicide prevention efforts ($13.1 million), and creating an Office of Child Health in OHA ($900,000).
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Director Allen addresses health equity

In an op-ed column in The Sunday Oregonian Jan. 20, OHA Director Patrick Allen discussed the need to address inequities in our health systems. He said, " A health care system made by and for people who look like me – a middle-aged, college-educated white guy – must change to better meet the needs of everyone." You can read the full op-ed here.