July 8, 2013 OHA Director's messages on the web
To: All OHA employees
From: Bruce Goldberg, M.D., Director

What’s next for OHA and where to learn more

Where to learn more

www.health.oregon.gov
has more information about OHP 2014. There you will learn more about who will be eligible for OHP beginning in January of 2014 and what these changes mean for our state.

OHA|DHS staff intranet
Has staff toolkits and information specifically for OHA and DHS employees.

CoverOregon.com
Oregon’s new health insurance marketplace. It’s a one-stop shop for Oregonians to apply for OHP or for private-market health care coverage.

Webinar

July 19 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
OHA budget summary and OHP 2014
Bruce Goldberg, OHA Director
Leslie Clement, 2014 Medicaid Alignment director

Register today:
www2.gotomeeting.com/
register/432232194

For the past several years, Oregon has been building a health system based on three simple goals: better health, better care and lower costs.

In the just-completed 2013 legislative session Governor Kitzhaber and state lawmakers continued moving forward on those goals. We will have more detailed information about the budget and policy bills passed by lawmakers in the weeks to come. To start, here are some highlights of the 2013 session for OHA:

Oregon Health Plan coverage will be available to more people. Beginning in January 2014, low-income adult Oregonians without coverage will be able to join the Oregon Health Plan. This will be a profound change for families, communities, and our state. Today, 17 percent of Oregonians are without health insurance. By opening OHP to more people and making options for commercial insurance affordable through Cover Oregon, we can dramatically reduce that number. Projections show that by 2016, about 95 percent of Oregonians could have health care coverage.

Imagine what that will mean. People living on the edge of our society will have mental, physical and dental health coverage. Strain will be eased on our social safety nets. Accidents or illness won’t bring crippling medical debt to families. Cost shifts to the private market will be reduced.

Across OHA and DHS we are working closely with Cover Oregon so that when open enrollment starts in October, we’ll be ready. In the months to come we will keep you updated every step of the way.

The OHA budget holds the growth of per capita health care spending for Medicaid two percentage points below national rates. This is important because it keeps our promise to lower health care costs and it also creates a more sustainable budget into the future. Oregon’s health system transformation means we are focused on reducing waste and inefficiency in the health care system rather than cutting benefits to our state’s most vulnerable.

Beginning to close gaps in community behavioral health. Governor Kitzhaber and the Legislature made substantial and targeted investments in community-based behavioral health services – especially those for children and adolescents. This is an investment that will reap human and financial dividends for years to come. Pam Martin and her team in the Addictions and Mental Health Division will be pulling together a plan about how we will be working with local communities and more information will be coming soon.

A step forward in eliminating disparities. As I wrote a few weeks ago, House Bill 2134 and House Bill 2611 are two important bills passed by the Legislature. The first improves the collection of data so it is more meaningful and will help us better understand the needs of  people in Oregon. The second helps us gain a better understanding of where we can help improve cultural competency among providers. I am very proud of the work our agency did on these bills and look forward to implementing them to fruition.

Health improvement. Lawmakers also approved investments and policy initiatives to promote and improve health, including new funding for tobacco cessation and prevention.

Again, more information about all of these initiatives and how we will be supporting them will be available in the weeks and months to come. In the meantime, please spend time on the websites we have created (see links in the sidebar, “Where to learn more”) and join me and other OHA leaders in a live webinar July 19.

OHA on the web