Shelby Sebens

Dental Hygienists Struggle with Credentialing to Treat Low- Income Population

Current Medicaid law requires dental hygienists who practice independently to be credentialed individually with health insurers which limits their ability to care for people on the Oregon Health Plan.

Some intrepid dental hygienists in Oregon are looking to serve the state’s low-income, non-mobile and rural residents through a state certification that allows them to see patients without a dentist’s supervision.

Two CHI hospitals in Oregon face layoffs, cutbacks

St. Anthony Hospital in Pendleton and Mercy Medical Center in Douglas County cut positions as parent company Catholic Health Initiatives announces cuts across the chain.

Two Oregon hospitals were forced to layoff employees or eliminate positions after their parent company, Catholic Health Initiatives, announced last month it would be making cuts to combat poor financial performance.

Community Mental Health Organizations Look to Improve the System

With Oregon’s mental healthcare system under the microscope, several community-based organizations are hoping new approaches to old problems will create changes.

After decades of failing to properly treat the mentally ill, a forced agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to comply with the American Disabilities Act and a scathing series in The Oregonian last month, Oregon’s mental healthcare system is far from making the grade.

Insurers Ready to Meet Federal Exchange Transparency Requirement

But transparency advocates say 2016 is not soon enough and that this information needs to be available now.

Several insurers in Oregon say they are on board with an upcoming federal requirement that aims to create an easier and more transparent process for finding your doctor on the federal exchange. 

Coalition Aims to Tackle Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic

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A coalition of health professionals, law enforcement, substance abuse workers, civic volunteers and others are planning a big push to try and curb the prescription drug abuse epidemic that is plaguing Oregon.

The Oregon Coalition for Responsible Use of Meds known as OrCRM has been tasked by the National Governor’s Association to implement steps aimed at reducing the number of people addicted to and dying from the overuse of prescription drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone and morphine. 

Salon Workers Face Health Risks from Toxins

Advocates such as Jan Coleman with the Oregon Environmental Council, believe the FDA needs better laws on toxic chemicals found in consumer products and more leeway to enforce them.

Though a national organization recently revealed a study linking long term exposure to chemicals at beauty salons to health problems of employees, the issue has been a topic of concern in Oregon and beyond for years.

Oregon Targets Troubled Teens in Suicide Prevention Effort

Volunteers and Oregon health officials are working to help teenagers at risk of committing suicide, the second leading cause of death for the state’s younger population.

Oregon has historically, with the exception of 2010, had a higher rate of youth suicide deaths - ages 10 to 24 - than the national rate. In 2011, for example, the rate in Oregon was 9.8 per 100,000 people while the national rate was 7.9, according to Oregon health officials.

OHSU’s Global Health Center Expands Its Reach

The center, which educates medical students about global health issues, is preparing to open a program in Southeast Asia.

When Sharon Tissell, a trauma nurse, was working abroad in Uganda last year the skills she learned from the Global Health Center at Oregon Health Science University were invaluable, particularly what she learned about helping women. 


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