Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward

Health Leaders Look Beyond 2016 Session to Fulfill Policy Goals

A group of four Democrats and one Republican discussed their policy ideas in Portland on Wednesday, but aside from a few modest proposals for the upcoming February session, goals from single-payer to improved consumer product safety and better Medicaid regulations may wait until 2017 and beyond.

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Private Homecare Agencies Worry About Competition from State

worker combing senior woman's hair
Some businesses that offer in-home care services have grave concerns about their ability to compete with the state’s home care workers, which nearly derailed SB 1542. But the leader of the Oregon Health Care Association believes that the state won’t be able to compete with his agencies’ cheaper, more comprehensive services.

A new law that will expand the state home care Medicaid registry onto the open market has some private agencies who offer this kind of care worried that the state is butting in on their business.

Other observers maintain that the public option will have little or no effect on their ability to provide quality care to seniors.

Oregon Senate Frees Small Businesses to Offer Self-Insured Health Plans

couple going over paperwork
HB 4050 allows small businesses to buy stop-loss health insurance coverage and gives them the option of self-insurance as opposed to the state fully-insured small group market.

The Senate voted Tuesday to make it easier for small businesses to provide self-insured health coverage for their employees, eliminating a barrier that kept those employers from buying stop-loss coverage.

Colonoscopy Bill Prohibits Extra Charges for Removing Polyps

piggy bank
Kaiser Permanente, Health Net, Cigna and Regence BlueCross BlueShield had been among the insurers to charge fees, though Regence said the charges had been a mistake and now supports the bill.

A divided Senate Thursday found an election-year issue it can get behind -- free colonoscopies, even if a physician has to remove polyps during the screening.

Prescription Drug Synchronization Bill on Breezy Path through Legislature

prescription drugs
Sen. Alan Bates has pushed a bill that will help eliminate unnecessary trips to the drug store by allowing pharmacists to develop prescription drug plans with patients when chronic medications are refilled on the same date each month. The coordination of drug refills should save money and lives by making it easier for patients to adhere to their medication regimens.

The House Health Committee passed a bill Wednesday that will help consumers with multiple medications cut down on their trips to the drug store and allow them to get all of their long-term medications filled at the same

Hospitals, Along with Providence and Regence, Stop Bill Requiring Telemedicine Payments

The Lund Report
Portland clinic chain ZoomCare pushed a bill with the Telehealth Alliance of Oregon to require private insurance companies to pay for Skype diagnoses, but the hospital association succeeded in delaying the bill for another session. If the law were enacted, its members could end up with fewer emergency room visits, and a significant loss of revenue.

Update: This article was updated on Feb. 12 to reflect the legislative developments in SB 1560.

Steiner Hayward Wants to Let Parents Take Kids Out of OHP and onto Cover Oregon

The Lund Report
Senate Bill 1526 would order the state to seek a federal waiver to let Oregon redirect money from coordinated care organizations to private insurance companies and help bail out Cover Oregon by allowing it to collect a commission.

Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, D-Portland, released a bill Tuesday that could allow parents who qualify for Cover Oregon subsidies to take their kids out of the Oregon Health Plan and instead buy subsidized insurance on the exchange for them.

Senator Accuses Dentistry Board of Racking up Violations in Money Grab

The Lund Report
Sen. Fred Girod, R-Stayton, has proposed a bill that would mandate that dentists test the cleanliness of their equipment weekly, but forgive dentists who have been disciplined and fined by the board for overlooking a rule ordered by the Board of Dentistry.

The Legislature’s only dentist and the director of the Board of Dentistry traded barbs in a hearing of the Senate Health Committee, with Sen.

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