Eileen Brady Insists Healthcare Contributions Won’t Influence Her Decisions
February 14, 2012 -- Money talks – particularly in the million dollar race that Eileen Brady is waging to become the next mayor of Portland. Brady, who had raised $566,568 as of February 13, is well on her way to meeting that goal. By then, her competitors – Charlie Hales had raised $333,666 and Jefferson Smith, $220,113.
But Brady’s the only candidate who’s received a significant amount of money from the healthcare industry -- $42,630 – according to an earlier report in Willamette Week. None of those donors have supported her competitors, according to Orestar, the website run by Oregon’s Secretary of State.
In an interview with The Lund Report, Brady insisted that if elected mayor, her healthcare decisions would be based on how to bring the most cost-effective, high quality and accessible healthcare to everyone in Portland, “not on where my campaign contributions came from.”
“And to put the numbers from Willamette Week in perspective,” she said, “only 8 percent of my campaign contributions have come from the healthcare world, compared to the 92 percent from elsewhere.
“As the former vice chair of the Oregon Health Fund Board, I helped bring hospitals, doctors, labor, business and community activists together to develop the Oregon's Healthy Kids program, which expanded healthcare to 94,000 Oregon kids. I will bring this same strong leadership on healthcare to City Hall - an approach of getting all the key stakeholders to work together to lower cost, increase quality and expand access. “
Among the healthcare industry, FamilyCare gave Brady the largest contribution, $10,000 while the political action committee run by Regence BlueCross BlueShield donated $5,000.
Brady’s also managed to attract campaign funds from some of the leading healthcare executives in Portland, none of whom contributed to her competitors, including:
Jared Short, president of Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon ($500)
Dave Ford, CEO of CareOregon ($1,000)
Jack Friedman, CEO of Providence Health Plans ($500)
Jeff Heatherington, CEO of FamilyCare ($1,000)
Bart McMullan, former president of Regence who’s on the board of Salem Health ($1,000)
Dr. Joe Robertson, president of Oregon Health & Science University ($1,500)
Andy Davidson, president of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems ($500)
Martin Taylor, director of public policy and member centricity at CareOregon ($894), and
Denise Honzel, executive director of the Oregon Health Leadership Council ($500).
Brady also has high hopes for the movement to create coordinated care organizations that’s expected to integrate physical, mental and dental care for about 600,000 people on the Oregon Health Plan and reduce costs by focusing on primary care medical homes and fewer hospital admissions.
She envisions that movement spreading to state, city and county employees and, eventually, the commercial sector.
“As mayor, I will certainly be a very strong proponent of having our city becoming a lead player in the coordinated care organization structure,” she said. “We have to go from our fee for service system to an outcomes based model. We have to make sure we have a fair and equitable system and get better healthcare outcomes.
“I want this city to be the best city in the country where small businesses can grow; one thing that can help is by having reduced healthcare costs,” she added. “Great cities are ultimately measured on their ability to care for and help the most vulnerable. From a healthcare perspective, we all know that to have a strong system we need to have everyone in the boat, and a work force that matches the people you’re serving. Right now our employees are leaving dollars on the table, and those dollars are going into their benefit package. I want to change that.”
As a member of the Oregon Health Policy Board the past four years, Brady believes the lessons she learned will be extraordinarily useful in other aspects of public policy.
“It gave me an important glimpse into how we measure health and how it really contributes to the population health of the community,” she said.
Brady also intends to bring the concept of a global budget – a fixed amount of dollars – to other aspects of city government such as public safety. “If we had more of a global budget and outcomes based approach, we could have a more targeted and effective public program,” she said.
Dealing with mental health issues, Brady believes the lack of such services is driving many of the problems with the city’s public safety system.
“As mayor, there are two things I will do to take on this problem,” she said. “First, I will work with the police bureau to create a mental health unit specifically trained to respond to crises calls. Second, I will work directly with the county to develop a joint public safety budget and will get more money into vital mental health services. A joint budget will take a holistic approach to community safety by coordinating upstream programs for reducing and preventing crime, mental health intervention, probation, the court system, neighborhood watch, as well as community policing and incident response.”