Joanne Scharer

Future of Tobacco Settlement Funds Faces Legislature

The Lund Report
Coalition urges lawmakers to devote those funds to prevention and has the support of former Attorney General Hardy Myers

December 4, 2012 -- An advocacy coalition of healthcare and public health organizations is seeking legislative support next session on a proposal to spend Oregon’s share of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) funds on prevention and community based-health initiatives.

The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, signed by Oregon and 45 other states in 1998, was designed to help states recover some of the tobacco-related healthcare costs and to prevent tobacco from taking even more lives.

Suicide Strikes Physicians at Alarming Rate

The Lund Report
Dr. Pamela Wible, who admits she was suicidal herself, has written a book to help other physicians enjoy practicing medicine once again

November 15, 2012 -- Doctors have a far higher suicide completion rate than the general public. In fact, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention estimates that on average the United States loses as many as 400 physicians to suicide each year, that’s at least one a day and the equivalent of two to three entire medical school classes.

Member Insists OEBB Overpays for Prescription Drugs

The Lund Report
Its policy of mandating that only mail order companies can provide a 90-day supply of drugs is increasing insurance costs, she says

October 30, 2012 -- Tamara Weaver questions why the Oregon Educators Benefit Board (OEBB) is paying more for prescription drugs through its mail order company than at Costco, her local retail pharmacy. OEBB is responsible for selecting the health plans for the majority of Oregon’s public school teachers, community colleges and state universities.

Advocates Want Legislature to Spend Tobacco Agreement Funds on Prevention

The Lund Report
They’re also enlisting the support of coordinated care organizations to help them sway legislators next year

October 11, 2012 -- Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in Oregon and comes with an expensive bill. The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, signed by Oregon and 45 other states in 1998, was supposed to help the state recover some of the states’ tobacco-related healthcare costs. According to the Oregon Partners for Tobacco Prevention, formerly known as the Tobacco Free Coalition of Oregon, the state has yet to use the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement funds as they were intended, something they hope will change when the legislature convenes next February.

Tobacco Prevention Bolstered by Partnership

The Lund Report
Trillium Community Health Plan and Lane County work together to achieve the triple aim

October 2, 2012 -- When it comes to reducing the incidence of smoking, Trillium Community Health Plan, has come up with a novel approach. As one of 13 coordinated care organizations around the state, Trillium is integrating physical and mental healthcare for people on Medicaid to improve outcomes and keep costs sustainable.

Salem Resident Talks About Breaking the Smoking Habit

The Lund Report
She says what helped her the most was an advertising campaign launched by the Center for Disease Control

June 28, 2012 -- After 28 years of smoking, a TV commercial from the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) new advertising campaign convinced at least one Oregonian, who lives Salem, to try to quit.

Tobacco tax revenue projections off by as much as 20 percent

The Lund Report
Cigarette tax increases in Washington drive sales in Oregon, making accurate predictions difficult

May 23, 2012 -- Smoking and tobacco use currently provides Oregon with approximately $260 million in tax revenue each year, not nearly enough to account for the $2.4 billion that tobacco products cost the state each year. Still, the tobacco tax is a revenue stream, one that is expected to provide the general fund with $132.3 million for the 2011-13 budget. While that is only slightly less than 1 percent of the general fund budget, it would be a lot of money to scramble for if that revenue source ran dry.

Oregon's Missed Opportunity for Tobacco Prevention; Master Settlement Agreement Monies Spent Elsewhere

The Lund Report
Brett Hamilton, executive director of the Tobacco Free Coalition of Oregon, hopes the Legislature will redeem itself in 2013

May 15, 2012 -- Tobacco costs Oregonians at least $2.4 billion a year in direct and indirect costs related to smoking and tobacco use. That’s over $13 per pack of cigarettes sold, nearly three times what the smoker pays. A recent report by the American Lung Association and Penn State University estimates that tobacco costs Oregon even more at $3.3 billion a year or $18.83 per pack.

Oregon Health Plan Members Still Puffing Away

The Lund Report
But, at the same time, Oregon is known nationally for helping people quit the habit

April 12, 2012 -- Oregon has one of the strongest programs in the country to help people stop puffing on cigarettes, yet its preponderance of low-income smokers remains high. A survey conducted last year found that 31 percent of people on the Oregon Health Plan are smokers, roughly 201,000 Oregonians, compared to a 15 percent rate among the general public.

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