I know that many of you have seen news stories and announcements about the statewide hiring freeze. This freeze will last at least through the February legislative session and perhaps longer depending on the state of Oregon's economy. While there is an exception process for this freeze through the Department of Administrative Services, as an agency we will be requesting exceptions infrequently and only for positions that are critical for our mission.
You can read details about the state hiring freeze on the Inside DHS|OHA intranet as well as on the DAS website.
This hiring freeze is not markedly different than the one we have been operating under but it does call attention to the fact that now, more than ever, we have to be deft and strategic in how we allocate our human resources to meet top priorities. It may mean that tasks or jobs could change to meet the demands before us. And all of us will need to be both flexible and supportive in the months to come.
There are also discussions happening about how to reduce costs in other areas, including direct client services. Over the coming weeks we will be working closely with the Department of Administrative Services to determine the extent.
I know that uncertainty is very difficult, but I will do my very best to keep you updated every step of the way.
In the meantime, I want to thank all of you who have been working so hard through these difficult times. Many of us have been here since the beginning of the recession and many through prior budget cuts. It can be deeply disheartening.
And yet, each piece of bad news about the budget affirms that we are on the right path in our state to help create a health care system that helps improve health and lower costs. Every dollar we spend on wasted health care is a dollar not going to the right services, to education, to public safety, or to ensuring that we have adequate staff to get the job done.
Today is difficult. Tomorrow will be better. I look forward to that day.