Christopher David Gray

Regence Claims It's Been Underpaid $10 Million by High-Risk Pool

A large portion of the remaining account balance of the Oregon Medical Insurance Pool may end up in the pockets of Regence BlueCross BlueShield after the insurer alleged in a letter that accounting errors had shorted the company for expenses paid as it administered the program. OMIP chairman Robin Richardson has indicated he’d like a third-party audit to verify the account transactions.

The Oregon Medical Insurance Pool may have to pay Regence BlueCross BlueShield $10 million more than it expected after the insurer informed the OMIP board late last month about a number of previously unseen accounting di

Q&A with Cover Oregon Director Aaron Patnode

Cover Oregon’s latest director, Aaron Patnode, sat down with The Lund Report this week and gave insights into how the state could operate a SHOP exchange while avoiding more IT catastrophes. He maintained that Cover Oregon still has important functions despite the shift of enrollment responsibilities for health insurance on the individual marketplace to the federal government website, healthcare.gov. The Cover Oregon board meets again on Oct. 9 to continue the debate on the future of the marketplace.

The Lund Report: Let’s start off the top with the most pressing issue for Oregon consumers. How prepared will the exchange be for Oregonians to re-enroll through healthcare.gov on November 15?

Keny-Guyer to Try for Oregon Healthcare Dream Act for Immigrant Children

Legislative policy underway from Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer would extend healthcare coverage to 20,000 Oregon children who were brought here without federal approval. Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Heyward wants to require tobacco retailers to be licensed with the OLCC, just like alcohol and possibly, marijuana.

Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer, D-Portland, will make expanding healthcare to all Oregon children a top legislative priority, she told an audience at the State of Reform conference Wednesday at the Portland Hilton.

New Labor Rules for Home Care Workers Stoke State Budget Fears

The U.S. Department of Labor ruled last year that home care workers are entitled to more rights than had been long assumed, including overtime. Oregon, which is heavily invested in these workers to care for seniors and people with disabilities, might have to increase pay for this work by $38 million a year.

Oregon is heading toward a huge budget challenge because of new rules from the U.S. Department of Labor that boosts the rights of home care workers and aligns them with other sectors of the work force.

Martin Outlines $56 Million in State Spending on Community Mental Health

Note: Due to an error in a handout outlining the investments, the original headline was wrong. The actual figure is $56 million, not $353 million. With the state under pressure to reform and improve its mental health system from the federal government, the state director of the Addictions and Mental Health Division, Pam Martin, told legislators about a long list of investments the state has made across the state.

Oregon’s efforts to improve community mental health services came into focus at this week’s quarterly legislative days, with the director of the Addictions and Mental Health Division at the Oregon Health Authority discussing a long list of investments the state has made into county-base

Health Authority Buckles to Hospital Pressure on Rules for Self-Referral Law

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A bipartisan law designed to ensure that patients know their choices during a referral has not taken full effect more than a year after it passed because the Oregon Health Authority has allowed opponents of the law to exert control over the administrative process.

The Oregon Health Authority has caved to pressure from Providence Health System and others and has prevented a 2013 law designed to offer patients greater knowledge of their choices for referrals from taking full effect.

State Punts Medicaid Enrollment to Federal Website with Cover Oregon

State Punts Federal Enrollment to Federal Website with Cover Oregon
State official Tina Edlund told legislators Monday that the state has given up trying to conduct most enrollments for the Oregon Health Plan itself. Like the private insurance consumers, low-income Oregonians will be directed to healthcare.gov to get coverage. Cover Oregon Director Aaron Patnode also explained that a recent error means consumers with certain subsidized insurance plans will owe about $20 more than they were first told.

The state is backing away from any involvement with new Obamacare health enrollments come Nov.

Bates Gears Up for Southern Oregon Rematch Against Republican Dotterrer

The healthcare establishment has come out solidly behind the doctor and 14-year-veteran of politics from Ashland, but Republican business interests are backing Col. Dave Dotterrer in a rematch of the closest race from 2010, when Democratic Sen. Alan Bates held on by fewer than 300 votes.

One of Oregon’s healthcare leaders is in the political fight of his life this fall, with a rematch against a formidable Republican opponent who came within 300 votes of knocking off Bates in 2010.

Internal Memo Grants Autism Coverage to Providence Employees

Separately, proposed rules from the Insurance Division on Friday to make insurance companies comply with the recent court decision against Providence forces insurers to pay for claims back to 2008 and lifts a 25-hour cap on coverage for applied behavior analysis.

Providence employees will now have comprehensive autism treatment covered, according to an internal memo to “Providence caregivers” obtained by The Lund Report.

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