Bill promoting vaccinations advances

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

oregon health update banner

Issues and actions in Oregon health today

March 20, 2019

Bill promoting vaccinations advances

A critical bill in the effort to promote life-saving vaccinations advanced last week. On Thursday, March 14, the House Health Care Committee voted 7-4 to pass SB 3063, which removes the personal exemption that allows many children to attend school without being vaccinated against common diseases. Previously, OHA Director Patrick Allen and  Paul Cieslak, MD, medical director for the Public Health Division’s Communicable Disease and Immunization programs, testified on the safety of vaccines and the importance of high vaccination rates across the entire community to protect those who are medically unable to receive a vaccination.

dotted line for divider

OHA hires behavioral health director

man in a tie

The Oregon Health Authority announced this month that it has appointed Steve Allen, a skilled clinician, national expert on behavioral health policy and state government reform, and experienced behavioral health administrator, as the new state behavioral health director. He will begin work April 29.

Steve Allen will fill the role created in July 2018, when OHA reorganized its behavioral health program. His current position is senior policy advisor at the Council of State Governments, where for the past four years he has worked with 10 states, including Oregon, to develop strategies to improve behavioral health services and outcomes for individuals involved in the criminal justice system. It was through this work that Steve Allen and OHA Director Patrick Allen crossed paths in 2018.

"He knows how to look under the hood of a state’s behavioral health system, diagnose its weaknesses and set a strategic road map to ultimately improve the accessibility and effectiveness of a state's behavioral health system," OHA Director Allen said. "I have full confidence that Steve has the experience and leadership qualities that we need to build a person-centered and recovery-oriented behavioral health system."


Medicaid funding: Step One complete!

Four people standing and one person seated at a desk

Governor Brown at signing ceremony for HB 2010. With her are (from left) Janell Evans, OHA budget director; Patrick Allen, OHA Director; Jeremy Vandehey, Health Policy and Analytics director; and Holly Heiberg, OHA government relations director.

The first big piece of sustainable Medicaid funding for the next six years is now in place. On Thursday Governor Brown signed HB 2010, which renews provider and insurer assessments. Legislators are expected to turn their attention soon to a tobacco tax and an assessment on employers who do not cover health insurance for their employees, to complete the funding that supports health care for 1 million Oregonians.


Legislative priorities focus of March OHA stakeholder meeting

Video of the March OHA Stakeholder Meeting is now available on the OHA website.

The monthly stakeholder webinar March 13 covered OHA's legislative priorities including Medicaid funding, health care transformation, behavioral health, public health modernization, healthy starts for all children in Oregon, and vaccinations. Moderator Matthew Green of OHA Government Relations also covered other legislative topics including ongoing OHA budget presentations.

The webinar presentation document is available on the Government Relations webpage. Watch the webinar video on the OHA YouTube channel.

presentation page