Lawmakers are working out the final aspects of the 2013-2015 budget. When it is final in the weeks to come, I will share details about what is in the budget, new legislation, and our plans to implement this work over the next few years.
As we start to get ready and look to the future, I want to take a moment to reflect on the past.
This summer marks four years since the creation of the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Health Policy Board by the 2009 Legislature. From the moment the ink was dry on that founding legislation, this agency and the board have been operating at full throttle. And we have had invaluable assistance from our partners, dedicated individuals and committees in communities throughout the state, in laying the groundwork for health system transformation.
Together we have helped shape – then implemented – the policies that have made Oregon a national leader in remaking the health system to better serve the people. We are on our way to showing that barriers between public health and the health care system are artifacts of the past and that better population and individual health comes when everyone is working together. On the mental health front, we have remade Oregon State Hospital into a place of hope and recovery and are taking steps to create a community system where everyone can get the care that they need. More kids have health care coverage today than four years ago and we are moving toward a time when everyone can get the care they need. And we are committed to ensuring that "everyone" truly means everyone, as we identify the disparities in health that exist across our state and focus on eliminating them.
That's not the complete list. There are many more accomplishments and more that needs to be done. It's been four years of intensely hard work by incredibly dedicated people.
So let's pause and remember the role that each of us has played over the past four years, the roles of our community partners, and the work we have done together. Be proud of all that each and every one of you have accomplished.
And thank you.