March 19, 2012—The Oregon Health Authority is racing against the clock in order to have coordinated care organizations (CCOs) certified and providing care to Oregon Health Plan patients by August 1st amid growing concern that the tight timeline doesn’t leave enough time for a thorough vetting public process.
March 15, 2012—Legislation requiring state agencies to purchase their prescription drugs through the Oregon Prescription Drug Program (OPDP) once again was unable to overcome staunch opposition from the pharmaceutical industry and insurance lobbyists.
March 15, 2012—Alternative health providers, including naturopathic doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists and acupuncturists, are turning to the Oregon Health Authority’s rule making process for coordinated care organizations (CCOs) to make certain their provider groups are on board.
March 12, 2012—A bill that would have required the state to continue paying for drugs used for mental illnesses, HIV/AIDS, cancer, and immunosuppressant drugs until 2016 died in the last days of the Legislature, blocked by the House and facing a veto threat from Governor Kitzhaber.
March 7, 2012—The recently resolved $300 million deficit in Oregon’s budget meant tough cuts. But the ongoing recession means an ongoing need for funding social programs. One of the programs that fell between those proverbial rock and hard spots this legislative session was the Senior Farm Direct Nutrition Program, which helps low-income seniors purchase fresh fruit and vegetables.
March 2, 2012—After weeks of being stuck in the Legislature’s budget committee, the bill allowing Oregon’s health insurance exchange to proceed toward implementation is moving toward a House and Senate vote —along with a little baggage in the form of a completely unrelated amendment supported by Republicans.
The legislation is expected to easily pass both chambers.
March 1, 2012—By July, the Oregon Health Authority is expected to begin providing real-time data to the Central Oregon Health Council, which coordinates the care of Oregon Health Plan patients in Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties, on the mental health drugs used by people living in that area.
February 29, 2012—A workgroup charged with studying how doulas could be incorporated into the Oregon Health Plan told legislators earlier this week that doing so could help improve birth outcomes, particularly in minority communities.
Last year, the Legislature passed House Bill 3311, which required the Oregon Health Authority to investigate how doulas and other community health workers could improve the birth outcomes of underprivileged and underserved women.
February 24, 2012—A bill that colloquially became known as “the Zoomcare bill” passed the House with 58 votes on Wednesday, paving the way for the clinic chain’s physician assistants to begin dispensing bottled, non-narcotic medication starting in June.
Senate Bill 1565 already passed the Senate unanimously earlier this session, and now awaits Governor Kitzhaber’s signature.
February 22, 2012—Both the House and Senate have unanimously passed a bill that will make HIV testing a part of routine blood work and other lab tests performed by a physician or hospital.
That change is expected to reduce the social stigma associated with HIV, transmission of the disease, as well as increase the number of people who are tested, according to legislators, providers and advocates of those living with HIV.