Oregon Health Authority Convenes Cultural Competency Continuing Education Curriculum Approval Committee

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA), Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI) is convening a Cultural Competency Continuing Education Curriculum Approval Committee related to the implementation of House Bill (HB) 2611.  This new law requires OHA to provide resources and support for improving the cultural competency of regulated health care professionals in Oregon, and to report to the Oregon State Legislature about the level of participation among regulated health care professionals.

The Authority shall approve continuing education opportunities relating to cultural competency and develop a list of continuing education opportunities related to cultural competency and make the list available to each board specified in the legislation.  This Curriculum Approval Committee will be responsible for:

  • Advising OHA on the development of a process to approve a list of cultural competency continuing education opportunities;
  • Advising OHA on the development of  criteria to approve cultural competency continuing education opportunities for the OHA list; and
  •  Working with OHA to implement the process

If you are interested in being considered as a member of this committee, please email Emily Wang, OEI staff person, at: emily.l.wang@state.or.us your contact info and short responses to the following questions by Friday, December 19th:

1)      What benefits will you gain in becoming a committee member?
2)      How will the committee benefit from your participation?

Final committee appointees will be determined by OHA leadership.

The first meeting will take place:
Wednesday, February 4th, 2-4 p.m.
Oregon Health Authority-Lincoln Building, Ste. 750
Office of Equity & Inclusion Conference Room
Portland, OR 97204

Webinar and conference call option are available for those outside of the Portland metro area. 

Future meeting dates will be determined after the first meeting. Meetings will take place at OEI’s office in downtown Portland, with a call-in/webinar option for those outside of the Portland metro area.

OEI anticipates that the committee will initially meet more frequently (monthly), but will eventually decrease meeting frequency to quarterly/semi-annual.

Thank you for your interest in informing this important work. 

Letter: Medical School’s Possible Expansion Continues Health Care Transition

In the process of gaining true universal health care, we will need many more practitioners. Here is Amy Roy's Letter to the Editor Published in the Corvallis Gazette Times on September 5, 2014.

I was pleased to read that the medical school in Lebanon (COMP-Northwest) is considering adding programs for physical therapy and nurse practitioners (Lebanon medical school considers adding programs, Gazette-Times, Aug. 30). This is good news for Oregon and especially for the three counties served by the InterCommunity Health Network Coordinated Care Organization (IHN-CCO) which is charged with caring for the Oregon Health Plan members of Linn, Benton, and Lincoln counties.

Gov. Kitzhaber’s innovative health care transformation plan revolves around primary care homes which provide the wrap-around services that will help people be healthier and therefore require less expensive care.

The COMP-Northwest expansion will train nurse practitioners who will be able to do much of the routine care so that the primary care physicians can concentrate on the sicker, more complicated cases.

Doctors and nurses tend to stay near where they were trained, so this medical school is a great asset to our community. I am very pleased that so many people in Oregon are finally receiving the care they need thanks to the Affordable Care Act and the innovation the Oregon Health Authority is implementing, and am hopeful that the need for physicians and nurses is going to be fulfilled soon thanks to COMP-Northwest.

Read letter here.

MVHCA's Bobbi Hall reporting on the Cover Oregon Consumers Advisory Committee meeting in Portland

June 6 --I attended the statewide Cover Oregon Consumers  Advisory Committee meetings in Portland. I'm a member, and about 12 or  so of us show up once a month and hear from administrators about changes that are going on, and get updates;  we also ask a lot of  questions and give advice to the Cover Oregon administrators based on  what people in our home areas tell us.Yesterday was special because Clyde Hamstreet (the interim CEO) and  Tina Edlund  (the transitions director) spent an hour and a half with  us. They gave us the report they had given to the Oregon Legislative committee on May 28, and we had lots of questions for them. They have  made many structural changes. Re-structuring means that Oregon will complete the year on a secure  financial base. Many of the working parts of the Cover Oregon website  will be kept. In the future, OHA will be responsible for OHP enrollment, rather than Cover Oregon. Though the Federal website will  be used in November for commercial insurance plans, Oregon will retain  control of how they both are managed, and Oregon's insurance rates  will remain lower than those of most other states. Also, commercial rates in November will NOT be the same as they are now so people interested in changing their commercial plans need to check the Cover Oregon site in the fall.

The Cover Oregon board will meet  Thursday and possibly make some more decisions. Everyone at the meeting spoke very highly about the Community Partners and Navigators,  and the agents, who have helped people to enroll successfully. We also observed that many new enrollees need help in understanding how to use the system. Overall, we on the committee felt good about the meeting and the attitudes of the new managers, who very much want the programs to succeed. My own feeling is that the public attitude toward Cover Oregon is improving and will continue to, once the public learns how many people have been enrolled (more than 400,000 now). 

Report by Bobbi Hall

Oregonians! Don't Be Afraid of the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid)

Many Oregonians who qualify for free health coverage through Medicaid via the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) are refusiing to sign up because they fear that the State will come after their assets when they die.  There was a good deal of confusion early on because the rules had not been updated to reflect the expansion of Medicaid to a larger number of people based on income alone, not assets.  

Here is what the Oregon Health Authority published in November, 2013 when they updated their forms to correct the Medicaid Recovery issue:

Estate Recovery and the Oregon Health Plan

The Oregon Health Authority will no longer implement estate recovery for OHP clients

What is happening?
The Oregon Health Authority is changing the policy on estate recovery for the Oregon Health Plan benefit. The Oregon Health Plan (OHP) is Oregon’s public medical, dental and menta health care benefit.

For any coverage that starts October 1, 2013 or later, members of OHP who are not receiving long-term care services will not be subject to estate recovery. This policy change affects all current and future enrollees on OHP.

Why this is happening?
OHA is making this change because the estate recovery program was not designed for health benefit programs such as OHP Plus. It was designed for long -term care services for people who need them due to age or disability. It allows for reimbursement of public dollars for long-term care services. These are services that go beyond medical care or hospitalization. Long-term care services can include care in a nursing home care, community-based care, such as a Foster Home or Assisted Living Facility, or full-time assistance with daily living in an individual’s own home. Long-term care is not a covered service under OHP Plus.


Here is what FactCheck.Org has to say:

Q: Does the Affordable Care Act allow states to confiscate the estates of seniors on Medicaid when they die?

A: No, but a 1993 federal law requires states to recover Medicaid costs for long-term care from the estates of deceased Medicaid beneficiaries over the age of 55.

The interaction of the federal Affordable Care Act and existing state Medicaid estate recovery laws is a legitimate issue and something that Medicaid recipients need to understand before they sign up. They should know that the rules vary from state to state, with some states dunning the estates of deceased Medicaid beneficiaries for all Medicaid costs and others just for long-term care. And the rules keep changing. AARP’s Moorhead says so far two states (Washington and Oregon) have changed their rules to limit estate recovery to Medicaid costs related to long-term care, as required by the 1993 federal law.

So please do not hesitate to sign up for OHP because of the Estate Recovery Program. If you are worried about the fact that your income fluctuates and you may go in and out of OHP eligibility, you may want to attend an information session about Oregon's Basic Health program on May 8th in either Corvallis or Monroe.


What Went Wrong With Cover Oregon?

In January, 2014, Governor Kitzhaber asked for an independent, third-party review of the Cover Oregon website project. These are the questions that First Data was tasked with asking:
1.  What was the basic oversight and governance accountability as it relates to the multiple parties and the procurement/administration/finances of vendor services?
2.  Who was in the position to make decisions as it relates to the Website Project?
3.  Why were Oracle products and Oracle services chosen for the Website Project?
4.  Did the State or Cover Oregon consider engaging a system integrator to assist with the Website Project?  If not, why not?  Did the Website Project Team or any of its members believe the State or Cover Oregon had the expertise to undertake the Website Project without the assistance of a system integrator?  If so, why?
5.  How was the original scope of the Website Project determined and by whom?  To what degree did the scope of the Website Project delay the implementation?  How was the scope managed?  After the Website Project Team or any of its members realized that the Website was not going to work, would it have been possible to change the scope?  If so, how?
6.  Did the Website Project Team or any of its members have a plan B for operations developed when the Website Project Team or any of its members realized or began to realize the exchange was not going to work?  If not, why not?
7.  When did the Website Project Team or any of its members realize or begin to realize the Website was not going to be ready?  Who first realized the Website was not going to be ready?

Do you want to know too?  Click here for the executive summary and full report.

Cover Oregon (CO) Consumers Advisory Committee meeting Feb. 7, 2014

Because of snow, this meeting was virtual and lasted only an hour and 15 minutes. Director Bruce Goldberg gave a 20-minute update on enrollment: in addition to 123,000 people enrolled fast-track, 67,517 applicants were enrolled in OHP and 35,247 in commercial plans; an additional 35,000 applicants have received information to enroll. Process is “hybrid” – a combination of internet and paper modes (no full internet yet). CO is working with agents and community partners and testing upgrades. CO is restructuring its customer service to improve flow. Also: The cost of hiring additional people is being covered within existing budgets of OHA and CO; it still is possible for CO to be self-funded at the required time; there is an improved online-fillable pdf application; they are looking at contingencies to put into place IF the site is not IT-ready at the end of the open-enrollment period (probably this is Mar. 15—not sure, and they are asking the feds to extend it, but doubt their request will be granted).
Following are answers to a few of the many questions he responded to: MODA has gotten most of the commercial business, and with Kaiser this amounts to more than ¾ of enrollees. After CO determines eligibility for OHP, the files go to OHA, which is supposed to send info to enrollees and OHA has backlogs (he hopes within the next 10 days this will be caught up). An applicant who is determined OHP eligible is covered retroactively to the date of the application, whereas someone enrolling in a commercial plan starts on the first of a month (depending on when the forms come in). Ads for CO have been pulled but a public service campaign will begin toward the end of Feb. to highlight the Mar. 15 enrollment deadline.  –Roberta Hall, CAC member from Corvallis