Feb. 24, 2012 OHA Director's messages on the web
To: All OHA employees
From: Bruce Goldberg, M.D., Director

Legislative update: Health reform passes

The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you're willing to pay the price.
~Vince Lombardi

Senate Bill 1580, which implements Coordinated Care Organizations, was approved with overwhelming bipartisan support in the Oregon House of Representatives Thursday afternoon. The vote was 53 to 7. The bill now goes to the Governor for his signature.

Across the state, communities are already bringing together health care organizations, providers and other stakeholders to move forward on the implementation of CCOs. We will be working closely with communities and will do all we can to support their work as health system transformation takes shape.

While nothing is changing for Oregon Health Plan members right away, information for staff, clients, stakeholders and providers will be available soon. OHA and DHS employees can also get information from the Transformation Blog on the OHA/DHS intranet. And of course, there is also www.health.oregon.gov.

Passage of the bill allows the state to submit necessary requests to the federal government to allow greater flexibility on how Oregon Health Plan dollars are used for care in CCOs. We will also be seeking federal investments to help ensure that health system transformation moves forward quickly and effectively. Meanwhile, the Oregon Health Authority is preparing for emerging CCOs to be certified and we will be working on temporary rules to guide CCOs. More information, including the public processes involved in the coming steps, will be available soon. Work is moving forward to allow qualified CCOs to launch in July.

In other words, now the real work will begin. With CCOs we are going to be asking our partners in health care to think and act in new and different ways. We will be doing the same. We must strive to be flexible, innovative and creative as we reorient ourselves to meet the challenges of this new world.

It's going to be an exciting time for the agency. And before we launch next week into the critical phase of implementing CCOs, I want to stop and take a moment to recognize the thousands of hours of work it has taken OHA staff to get us to this point. There have been late nights, long hours, weekend phone calls, evening work groups, drafts and redrafts, and an unrelenting drive to make health care transformation a reality. I have been so proud to be a part of it and I hope that each of you who own a piece of this success take a moment to be proud and also to give a "high five" to those who have worked side by side with you over these many months.

Please enjoy your weekend. You deserve it. And come Monday, let's get to work to fulfill the vision of better health, better care and lower costs for Oregon.

OHA on the web