Cleaning House At The Oregon Health Authority Is One Issue On Which All Three Candidates For Governor Can Agree

There is little ground on which the three contenders for governor of Oregon can agree. In light of this, it came as a surprise to hear a common refrain when we questioned them about which state agency had the greatest requirement for increased monitoring. (We eliminated the troubled Employment Department from consideration.) Each of the three said that the Oregon Health Authority was at the top of their list.

Tina and I both think that it is OHA. Betsy Johnson stated that it is too large, it cannot be governed, and it cannot be managed.

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In 2009, OHA broke away from the Oregon Department of Human Services to become its own organisation. In addition to having authority over the Oregon State Hospital, this organisation is also in charge of the state’s public and behavioural health initiatives.

Cleaning House At The Oregon Health Authority
Cleaning House At The Oregon Health Authority

The reorganisation has not been successful so far. According to polls conducted across the country, Oregon is in the first place when it comes to the prevalence of mental illness. Because there is nowhere else for patients suffering from serious mental illness to go, the OSH is currently at capacity, and hospitals have begun legal action against the state as a result.

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In the meantime, the agency has been accused of taking an unnecessarily delayed approach to the deployment of more than $300 million in financing for addiction services. This funding was included in Measure 110, the law that would decriminalise possession of small amounts of dangerous drugs in the year 2020.

Tina Kotek has given her word that she will terminate both Patrick Allen, the agency’s CEO, and Steve Allen, the agency’s director of behavioural health. According to Kotek claimed, “There won’t be any more Allens there any longer.”

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