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Lynne Saxton Reveals Her Top 10 List

The director of the Oregon Health Authority mentioned the One Eligibility system, controlling pharmacy costs, modernizing public health and regulating marijuana when she spoke at the Health Policy Board last week.
January 12, 2016

The “One Eligibility” enrollment and eligibility for Medicaid system which replaced the old Oracle system tops Lynn Saxton’s priority list. “We have to be excellent in this space. This is not the glamour stuff. If we don’t have the right information, if we have duplicate files, we can’t budget.”

Behavioral health system integration was No. 2 followed by pharmacy costs. “We’re not saying we’ll fix this,” Saxton said of skyrocketing drug costs, “but this is the thing that could turn us upside down.” Oregon is collaborating with Washington and private health providers which face the same challenges.

Saxton is also “profoundly committed to the idea” of public health modernization because it goes “hand-in-glove with health transformation” to improve the health of all Oregonians.

Regulating medical marijuana made the top 10 list because of Saxton’s “serious concerns about preventing youth use,” and the resources needed to implement such a program.

Next on the list – the federal 1115 waiver – which comes up for renewal in 2017 and has allowed Oregon to develop an integrated healthcare system for the 1+ million Oregonians on Medicaid.

Health system transformation ranked No. 7. “Successes can buried in the data,” said Saxton, and the Oregon Health Authority needs to identify “where we’re not advancing fast enough.”

Reducing health disparities, creating fiscally sustainable budgets that are transparent and employee empowerment finish out the Top 10 list.

Saxton also told the Health Policy Board that she's made a concerted effort to establish a working relationship with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as director of the Oregon Health Authority.

"Oregon conintues as a star for transformation of healthcare in the United States," she said. "We've been told by CMS that we are clearly advancing transformation successfully. But we need to make progress every year and live up to their expectations." 

At its February retreat, board members will discuss the achievable outcomes and also consider how other policy boards work with their health authorities, along with ways to empower stakeholders.

Jan can be reached at [email protected]