April 13, 2012 OHA Director's messages on the web
To: All OHA employees
From: Bruce Goldberg, M.D., Director

New challenges

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." ~ Dr. Seuss

The Oregon Health Authority is at an important milestone. For more than a year we focused on the policies that led to the creation of the Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs) that will serve members in the Oregon Health Plan. It has been an extraordinary effort by extraordinary people within and outside of the agency.

Now the policy proposal is a reality and by August 1, 2012, the first Coordinated Care Organizations should be open for business. Added to this, in 2014 there will be an estimated 200,000 Oregonians newly eligible for OHP through federal health reform.

That means a set of new challenges for us here at the agency.

It also means that implementation of Coordinated Care Organizations and transforming the Oregon Health Plan for better health, better care and lower costs will be our top priority for the foreseeable future.

This work, so critical to our state, is also being done in a time of limited resources. So we will have to do all we can to approach it strategically and creatively.

To that end, we have set up a structure of workstreams to help all of us understand who is accountable for which bodies of work and also provides a means for people to work together in new and, I predict, exciting ways to meet the challenge before us.

Here is the vision this structure is built upon:

  • Focus on health and health equity. Health isn't just about medicine any more. One of the most fundamental changes that Coordinated Care Organizations bring is that they will be accountable for the health of a community. The same is true for us, which means that as an agency we must begin to address the drivers of health and incorporate them in everything we do. Addressing health disparities in the Oregon Health Plan is explicit in the laws that created CCOs. We will be working to ensure as an agency we put that focus front and center.
  • Coordination. As you will see when you look at how we've divided the work before us — into workstreams — they are not separated by divisions. The workstreams are designed to provide a model of coordinated care and to be part of the changes that are happening in the health care system. We cannot ask behavioral health and physical health care providers to work more closely together if we maintain unnecessary barriers between AMH and DMAP. The workstreams are also designed to eliminate redundancies, cut through red tape and streamline operations.
  • Innovation. For CCOs to be successful, OHA must be an agency that stimulates and promotes innovation among our community partners and providers. They will be counting on us to help them figure out how they can make the new delivery system work. This means that as an agency we can and should move beyond thinking of ourselves as just regulators. We are all now innovators.
  • Flexibility. All of us at the Oregon Health Authority will be stretched to accomplish the tasks before us. We will be driven by rapidly approaching deadlines that require fast turnaround times with little room for error. To succeed we will need to reprioritize our work so that the tasks relating to transformation are completed accurately and on deadline. The workstream structure will be nimble and will adapt as we move through the milestones to create Coordinated Care Organizations.

The CCO Implementation project is being led by Judy Mohr Peterson and a very hands-on executive steering committee. There are workstreams devoted to all parts of implementation. You can read more about them on our intranet here or download the memo PDF – the information is in the two tabs at the bottom of that page.

I also want to recognize that while a singular mission can bring focus, it also means that other work is delayed. While large goals can bring out the best in us and allow us to work at the top of our game, it can also mean a temporary shake up of resources that can be confusing or stressful. I encourage everyone to work closely with their supervisors and with the workstream leads to ensure that work is balanced appropriately.

As we focus, coordinate, innovate and remain flexible — we are going to be called upon to work together in new and different ways. I know we are up to this challenge. There is not a state in the country with a health leadership team that has more expertise, dedication and passion.

OHA on the web