Chris Gray

State Quietly Pulls Medicaid Enrollment from OHA and Gives it to DHS

Public pressure from legislators and the media appears to have caused the state to move enrollment for the Oregon Health Plan to the Department of Human Services, where case workers are already assisting low-income and disabled residents with other public benefits.

The Department of Human Services is taking over the responsibility for enrolling people in the Oregon Health Plan from the embattled Oregon Health Authority, a move that comes after outcries from the state legislators that vulnerable people may be losing out on health benefits due to a difficult

Legislature Paves Way for Organ Transplants for People with Disabilities

OHSU and Providence Health & Services stepped to the plate to make sure people with disabilities are not discriminated against when it comes to receiving a life-saving organ transplant.

The Senate on Monday unanimously passed House Bill 2839, which will protect Oregonians living with disabilities by preventing medical providers from discriminating against them for organ transplants.

Legislature Unleashes $934 Million Health Deal for OHP, Insurance Market

Meanwhile, Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward repeats the dubious argument from OHA Director Lynne Saxton that a large number of people are losing Medicaid because of the improved economy rather than the health authority’s own byzantine application process.

Oregon state officials finally released their $934 million package to eliminate the budget hole for Medicaid and the Oregon Health Authority, raising about $520 million in taxes and restarting a reinsurance program to stabilize the individual health insurance market.

Republican Senator Wants More Veteran Psychiatric Facilities, but Health Leaders Balk

SB 1054 would allow new hospitals for veteran services to bypass the rigorous state regulatory process, but mental health advocates argue that without proper safeguards limiting it to veterans in crisis, the waiver could allow a for-profit hospital chain to disrupt the mental health system and poach the civilian patients with private health insurance, leaving those on Medicaid worse off.

McMinnville Republican Sen. Brian Boquist wants Oregon to cut the red tape and allow for the construction of for-profit, private hospitals dedicated to veterans’ psychiatric services, but he faces opposition from an unlikely quarter -- leading mental health advocates.

Senate Health Committee Passes Bills to End Balance-Billing, Protect Insurance Market

A Medicare index was scrapped, but physicians will no longer be able to go after patients when an insurer doesn’t pay for non-contracted emergency work. A sweeping measure allows state insurance regulators to set aside state law if federal officials upend the national health laws.

The Oregon Senate Health Committee on Tuesday cleared two insurance measures designed to protect consumers, one stopping physicians from “balance-billing” their patients, and the other giving state insurance regulators the power to avoid a collapse of the insurance market triggered by federal cha

Senate Approves Keny-Guyer’s Bills Closing Mental Health Gaps

The two bills require funding for a behavioral health assessment and direct hospital emergency rooms to give behavioral health patients and their supporters instructions on how to treat their condition and follow-up with outpatient treatment upon discharge.

The Senate gave its unanimous seal of approval to two measures on Thursday that will create new patient protections for people in a mental health crisis.

Bipartisan Bill Passes House To Revamp State’s Blind Vending Program

Blind vendors and workers will get first priority for any food contracts on state and local government properties, hoping to boost employment for blind people, most of whom are left out of the workforce.

The House unanimously cleared a bill from Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer, D-Portland, on Wednesday that will revamp the state’s vending machine program to increase jobs and business opportunities for blind people and encourage healthier snacks.

OHA Routinely Keeping Medicaid Members out of CCOs

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As they jump through a difficult re-enrollment process, 147,000 Medicaid members have been caught outside coordinated care organizations with little access to care, which could cause the state and CCOs to lose $200 million per year in Medicaid funding, mostly from federal sources.

The Oregon Health Authority’s Medicaid renewal plan is marooning recipients for weeks or months in a separate system outside the state’s coordinated care organizations, limiting members access to care and keeping funds away from the local CCOs

Legislation to Boost Dental Clout on CCO Boards Hits Rough Waters in Senate

A bill passed the House unanimously in April to give dental care providers a seat on the governance boards of CCOs, to help improve Medicaid dental care. The bill had been amended to allow CCOs to make the appointment, after DCOs nominate, but the CCOs are now fighting the bill in the Senate.

Lobbyists from coordinated care organizations successfully derailed new transparency requirements last week and now the clout-heavy organizations are aiming to kill a bill in


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