Oregon Health Authority Director's Message
May 6, 2011 OHA Director's messages on the web
To: All OHA employees
From: Bruce Goldberg, M.D., Director

OHA and DHS - Two agencies connected

"Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean."
~Ryunosuke Satoro

This week the Senate confirmed Erinn Kelley-Siel as the director of the Department of Human Services and myself as the director of the Oregon Health Authority. This marks another step as we transition into two agencies and so I thought it an appropriate time to update everyone as to how we will continue to work together.

I am looking forward to continuing the great partnership as our two agencies move forward together building even stronger health and human services agencies. While we are two agencies, we will continue to share the same clients. We also share the desire to ensure that policies both old and new serve those clients well. That work will be led by the Joint Policy Steering Committee, headed by Erinn and Tina Edlund. Through that group we will be looking at matters such as how our budgets affect each other and how to ensure we are working collaboratively for our clients when they apply for any of our services, from TANF to the Oregon Health Plan.

As we look to internal processes, I am proud to report that we have been successful in meeting our goal of doing the transition within budget, with current staffing and without duplication of work or processes.

To that end, the shared services model will replace the administrative services division and, we believe, is the best structure to serve the needs of both agencies efficiently and effectively.

That means there will be some changes. Operations that were in the Administrative Services Division of DHS will be housed in one agency or another but will serve both. Neither agency will have an ASD office.

When making the decision about what should be a shared service, we looked at whether the service truly was unique to each agency or whether the resource could be shared. More than 14 services or offices will be shared between the two agencies. Twelve will be housed in DHS, two in the OHA. These include things like information services, facilities, and some parts of human resources, for example. And of course, we continue to share office space.

Governing of the shared services will happen through the Joint Operations Steering Committee, which has representatives from both agencies. Staff who work in the shared services offices have been working on making these changes, some of which already have been completed.

A key tool we will use is a "service level agreement." This is essentially a contract between the two agencies about each body of work that defines what they do and how they do it, and just as importantly, metrics for measuring our performance across the Shared Services units.

The OHA transition website has more information about the organization of the shared services.

It has been nearly two years since the Oregon Health Authority was created. In that time an extraordinary amount of work has gone into setting up our separate - but connected - agencies. I want to thank everyone who has been involved in that and also their coworkers and managers who supported them. This has truly been a team effort and one that we should call a success.

OHA on the web