Chris Gray

Senate Passes Bill to Help CCOs Deal with OHA

The Legislature is considering a number of bills to improve the operations of the Oregon Health Authority. SB 833 gives CCOs time to review contracts. HB 2950 allows CCOs to assist their members with re-enrollment. SB 7 requires better oversight of new IT projects at the agency.

The Senate passed a bill Thursday that serves as exhibit A into how badly things were going last year at the Oregon Health Authority, requiring the agency to give the coordinated care organizations at least a month to review contracts before the deadline to sign them.

Privacy Concerns Force Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Bill From Senate Floor

Sen. Alan Bates asked the Democratic leadership to pull his own bill modifying the prescription drug monitoring program after he discovered that SB 626 allowed county health officials and state epidemiologists to receive personally identifiable information.

The Senate was ready to pass a bill modifying the state’s controversial prescription drug monitoring program but Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum, D-Portland, pulled the bill unexpectedly after some Democrats objected to provisions that would have allowed public health officials to receive

Tobacco Lobby Wins Last-Minute Delay on Bill Banning Flavored Products

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The Senate Health Committee stripped a ban on flavored e-cigarettes from Senate Bill 415, and an 11th hour appeal from tobacco lobbyists about the potential loss of revenue from a ban on candy-flavored snuff and little cigars compelled the committee to move the bill to the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee for further analysis.

Lobbyists from the tobacco industry managed to gum up the passage of a bill that would ban Oregon sales of their flavored tobacco products, many of which have been shown to be appetizing to teenagers, perhaps deliberately.

Buehler Shepherds Right-To-Try Bill to House Floor with Limitations

The libertarian measure would give patients access to unapproved drugs if they have been given less than a year to live. Patients would be on their own with the drugs and have to assume responsibility for any complications, which insurers would not have to cover.

The House Health Committee greenlighted the libertarian “right-to-try” initiative, sending an amended House Bill 2300 to the floor on a unanimous vote.

Hospitals Try to Avoid Price Transparency by Advancing Phony Bill

The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems appeared to outmaneuver the efforts of Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, SEIU and consumer advocates to demand the right to know what patients are being charged by getting the ranking members of the Senate Health Committee to sign onto a competing measure that does not disclose individual hospital information and provides only outdated average statewide data from the all-payer, all-claims database.

The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems is moving aggressively to stamp out legislation that would force its members to be transparent about their prices, and the association has introduced a transparency bill that provides them with political cover while doing little to help consu

Ban on Flavored E-Cigarettes and Flavored Tobacco Could Shut Down Shops

Public health advocates on the Senate Health Committee want to protect children with a ban on candy-flavored tobacco that’s clearly targeted to minors, but their bill also seeks to ban flavored e-cigarettes, which are far and away the most popular type for adults, who say the devices help them quit smoking tobacco.

The Senate Health Committee could be poised to pass a bill that could shut down the e-cigarette vaping shops that have puffed up on the Oregon landscape and offer a product that’s built on nicotine addiction but which could be less harmful than older sources of nicotine, like tobacco cigarettes.

Naturopathic Docs Want Bill to Ensure They are Classified as Primary Care

Many patients see a naturopath as their primary care provider and clinics such as ZoomCare use them interchangeably with nurse practitioners. But a quarter of the insurance companies charge special copayments for naturopaths or don’t allow them to bill for preventive services.

The Legislature may be stepping in to settle a dispute between health insurance companies and naturopathic physicians, who argue that the companies are misclassifying many of their providers as speciality care and subjecting patients to hire out-of-pocket fees.

Hayden and Health Committee Ponder Ways to Ensure Dental Care for Pregnant Women

Women who are eligible for state medical assistance because they are pregnant are not covered by the coordinated care organizations, leaving them with benefits but no speciality providers to take them. This leaves them unable to get access to dentists who can fix painful root canals or other procedures more complicated than what a primary care dentist can offer.

Oregon has some of the most generous health benefits for pregnant women, borne of the policy decision that ensuring a healthy start for new citizens will be one of the best investments steering a child toward a healthy, productive life.

Bipartisan House Votes to Mandate Nurses at Blood Drives

The 42-16 vote in favor of HB 2541 came over the objections of the Red Cross and Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer that there’s no evidence that blood drives with nurses are always safer than those without one.

The House approved a bill Monday that will require a nurse or physician at all blood drives with just a few exceptions.

Oregon House Wants School Kids to Be Free to Lather on the Sunscreen

House Bill 3041 makes clear that schools must allow children to use sunscreen and not treat it as a drug requiring a physician’s note.

It may seem like common sense. But Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer, D-Portland, told her colleagues Wednesday that in reality, they needed to pass a law to let schools know it was OK for kids to bring sunscreen to class and use it when they go outside for recess or field trips.

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