Top Official Leaves Oregon Health Authority

The news comes amidst the audit by the Secretary of State’s office showing $88 million in avoidable expenses

Leslie Clement, the interim chief of the Oregon Health Authority’s health services division, is leaving the agency.She plans to retire on Dec. 29.

Her departure is not related to the audit conducted by Secretary of State Dennis Richardson or the payment and patient eligibility issues that together resulted in more than $100 million in Medicaid overpayments.

Clement joined the agency in 2012 as director of health policy and analytics, and helped with the start-up phase of the coordinated care organizations. She also led preparations for the 2014 Medicaid expansion. Clement became interim chief of the health services division after Varsha Chauhan resigned.

Jeremy Vandehey is now the director of health policy and analytics. Earlier he had been Governor Brown’s health policy advisor.

Pat Allen, director of the OHA, has not named Clement’s successor but intends to make a leadership announcement before she leaves the agency.

In a memo obtained by The Lund Report, Allen told his staff:

“Now, I’m sure you’re wondering what’s next for the health systems division. The leadership team and I have been evaluating this question since Sept. 1. Leslie has been a key part of this process. Leslie told me about her plans to retire when I first started at OHA. So, I gave her an easy assignment as a send-off gift: Help me evaluate the best organizational structure for delivering effective Medicaid and behavioral health programs. Last week, we sent out a survey to staff and stakeholders to seek feedback on what is working well and what needs improvement in our agency’s organizational structure. This work and others will help inform the future direction of our agency and help us put in place a leadership team that reflects our priorities of transparency, accountability and wise use of public resources. I expect to have a more detailed leadership announcement for you before Leslie’s departure.”

Before joining the OHA, Clement spent six years as Medicaid director for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

In other staff news:

Jeston Black, who had been director of government relations at the OHA, stepped into a similar role for Multnomah County in October, saying he left because of the “great opportunity.” His position has not been filled.

Mike Hlebechuk, who was the director of the Office of Consumer Activities, has also resigned.

Diane can be reached at diane@thelundreport.org.

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