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News Releases
Health policy board adopts policy recommendations that shape Oregon Health Plan's future - 10/15/18

October 15, 2018

Health policy board adopts policy recommendations that shape Oregon Health Plan's future

On October 15 the Oregon Health Policy Board (OHPB) voted to approve a comprehensive set of policies that will improve the health of Oregon Health Plan (OHP) members, address health disparities, control program costs, and continue to transform health care delivery in our state. This next phase of health care transformation is known as "CCO 2.0."

"We’ve taken this opportunity to really look at what’s working with CCOs and where we need to push the system to advance health transformation in Oregon," said Zeke Smith, OHPB chair. Together, these policies have the potential to significantly change how our members experience care and how the state pays for that care."

The end of the first five-year contracts with coordinated care organizations (CCOs) marks an opportunity for OHA and OHPB to improve the services that 1 million Oregonians receive through OHP. CCOs are community-governed organizations that bring together physical health, mental health, addiction medicine, and dental health providers to coordinate care for people on the Oregon Health Plan. Since 2012 Oregon’s coordinated care model has saved taxpayers an estimated $2.2 billion, while also reducing unnecessary emergency department visits and improving preventive care for children and adults.

OHA heard directly from more than 850 Oregonians who participated in public meetings and forums held across the state in more than a dozen locations, which were led by OHA Director Patrick Allen. Additionally, multiple surveys and online outreach tools were used to gather perspectives from a diverse cross-section of Oregonians. OHP members and other stakeholders issued support for the policy direction and expressed satisfaction with Oregon’s coordinated care system.

"Our members feel good about the coverage they’re receiving from OHP, but they also let us know that we have areas where we can improve," Allen said. "It was clear that our top focus needed to be improving access to mental health and addiction services. We also heard that CCOs can play a stronger role in working with community partners to help patients with the factors that influence health outside the doctor’s office, particularly access to safe and affordable housing."

The resulting CCO 2.0 policies build on Oregon’s strong foundation of health care innovation and tackle our biggest health problems. They cover four priority areas identified by Governor Kate Brown:

1. Improve the behavioral health system and address barriers to access to and integration of care

CCOs will be accountable for developing a person-centered mental health and substance use disorder (behavioral health) system that OHP members can count on, no matter who they are or where they live. CCOs will remove barriers between behavioral, physical and dental health. The policies include:

  • Require CCOs to be fully accountable for the behavioral health benefit.
  • Address prior authorization and network adequacy issues that limit member choice and timely access to providers.
  • Use metrics to incentivize behavioral health and oral health integration.
  • Expand programs that integrate primary care into behavioral health settings.
  • Require CCOs to support electronic health record adoption and access to electronic health information exchange.
  • Develop a diverse and culturally responsive workforce.
  • Ensure children have behavioral health needs met with access to appropriate services.

2. Increase value and pay for performance

Over the next five years, CCOs will make a significant move away from fee-for-service payments toward paying providers based on value. OHA will incentivize providers and health systems for delivering patient-centered and high-quality care. CCOs will develop value-based payments (VBPs) to improve health outcomes specifically in the areas of hospital care, maternity care, behavioral health, oral health, and children’s health care. The policies include:

  • Require annual, CCO-specific value-based payment growth targets.
  • Each CCO will be achieve an annual VBP growth target and have 70 percent of their payments to providers be VBPs by the end of the five-year period.
  • CCOs will be required to make "infrastructure and operations" payments to patient-centered primary care homes.
  • OHA will work to align VBP efforts in OHP with Public Employees’ Benefit Board (PEBB), the Oregon Educators Benefit Board (OEBB), and commercial payers participating in the Primary Care Payment Reform Collaborative.
     

3. Focus on social determinants of health and health equity

Over the next five years CCOs will increase their investments in strategies to address social determinants of health and health equity. CCOs will align goals at the state and local level to improve health outcomes and advance health equity. OHA will develop measurement and evaluation strategies to increase understanding of spending in this area and track outcomes. The policies include:

  • Increase strategic spending by CCOs on social determinants of health, health equity and disparities in communities.
  • Increase CCO financial support of non-clinical and public health providers.
  • Align community health assessment and community health improvement plans to increase impact.
  • Strengthen meaningful engagement of tribes, diverse OHP members and community advisory councils (CACs).
  • Build CCOs’ organizational capacity to advance health equity.
  • Increase the integration and use of traditional health workers (THWs).

4. Maintain sustainable cost growth

To support sustainability of OHP, CCO 2.0 policies address the major cost drivers currently in the system. OHA will also identify areas where CCOs can increase efficiency, improve value and decrease administrative costs. The policies include:

  • Strengthen financial incentives and set up new tools to reward CCOs for improving health outcomes and containing costs.
  • Ensure program-wide financial stability and program integrity through improved reporting and strategies to manage a CCO in financial distress.
  • Use program purchasing power to align benefits and reduce costs, with a focus on pharmacy costs.

"In order to make these improvements a reality for our members, our team at OHA needs to hold ourselves accountable to monitor and enforce new and existing contracts with CCOs," said Jeremy Vandehey, director of OHA's Health Policy and Analytics Division. "We also need to set clear expectations and support providers and CCOs in making these changes so together we can improve health while containing costs."

The request for applications for the coordinated care contracts for 2020-2025 will be released in January, and the contracts are expected to be awarded in summer 2019.

For more information and to download the complete report, visit the CCO 2.0 webpage at https://www.oregon.gov/oha/OHPB/Pages/CCO-2-0.aspx.

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http://bit.ly/2NI1YSk

Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee application deadline extended to October 31 - 10/12/18

October 12, 2018

Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee application deadline extended to October 31

The Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division has extended the deadline for applications for the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee to Oct. 31 to allow time for additional applications across all the recommended areas of expertise.

OHA invites applications from people who meet the criteria outlined in HB 4133, Section (3).

Board members are appointed by the Governor. Member terms are, in general, four years each. As this is a new committee, initial terms of office will be assigned by the Governor so that terms expire at staggered intervals.

To apply, submit the following to executive.appointments@oregon.gov by Oct. 31:

  1. A completed executive appointment interest form, available on the Governor’s Office website at http://www.oregon.gov/gov/admin/Pages/How_To_Apply.aspx.
  2. A resume or brief biographical sketch.
  3. A brief statement of interest.

Information about the legislation is available on the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee website.

For more information, contact Cate Wilcox, OHA Public Health Division, at 971-673-0299 or cate.s.wilcox@state.or.us.

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http://bit.ly/2NEJdPK

OHA: El cambio propuesto a una regla federal de inmigraciĆ³n puede impactar el acceso a servicios de salud - 10/10/18

10 de octubre, 2018

OHA: El cambio propuesto a una regla federal de inmigración puede impactar el acceso a servicios de salud

Salem, Ore. -- El director de Oregon Health Authority, Pat Allen, emitió la siguiente declaración en respuesta al cambio propuesto a la regla de carga pública por el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional, que fue publicado hoy en el registro federal:

OHA está siguiendo atentamente el cambio propuesto por el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional a la regla de carga pública que puede afectar el acceso a servicios esenciales, como cuidado de salud, de algunas comunidades inmigrantes de Oregon. Es importante saber que la regla aún no ha cambiado y criterios de elegibilidad para nuestros programas no han cambiado.

Sin embargo, estamos conscientes que familias están preocupadas, atemorizadas y enfrentan decisiones difíciles. Nosotros vamos a continuar trabajando con proveedores de salud, defensores que abogan por los derechos de inmigrantes, abogados y líderes comunitarios para hacer frente a sus temores y responder a cambios en el panorama migratorio, mientras manteniendo nuestro enfoque en mejorar la salud de todas las personas que viven en Oregon.

Nosotros sabemos que contar con cobertura de salud contribuye a embarazos, nacimientos y niños más saludables; una mejor educación; y menos visitas a salas de urgencias y hospitalizaciones. OHA continuará centrando su atención en transformar el cuidado de salud para todos los Oregonianos.

Carga pública es un término utilizado en la ley de inmigración para describir a un individuo que puede ser más propenso a depender del gobierno en el futuro. Ser considerado una carga pública puede resultar en la negación de una solicitud para la residencia permanente legal. Actualmente, la única asistencia pública que puede ser considerada cuando se determina si una persona se convertirá en una carga pública es asistencia en forma de dinero en efectivo, como, por ejemplo: Ayuda Temporal a Familias en Necesidad (TANF, por sus siglas en inglés), el Ingreso de Seguridad Suplementario (SSI, por sus siglas en inglés) y cuidado a largo plazo a expensas del gobierno.

El cambio propuesto amplía la lista de programas que están sujetos a la consideración de carga pública para incluir Medicaid (Plan de Salud de Oregon completo), el Programa Especial de Nutrición Suplementaria (estampillas de comida), y beneficios de vivienda. El Departamento de Seguridad Nacional también tiene bajo consideración incluir a la lista el Programa de Seguro Médico para Niños (CHIP) y ha pedido comentarios públicos en cuanto al tema.

OHA, siguiendo la dirección de la Oficina de la Gobernadora Kate Brown y junto al Departamento de Servicios Humanos de Oregon y Servicios de Vivienda y Comunitarios de Oregon, realizarán un seguimiento estrecho de la reglamentación propuesta, estudiar sus impactos y trabajar con socios comunitarios para apoyar a los Oregonianos afectados.

Uno en 10 residentes de Oregon es un inmigrante, mientras que uno en ocho niños nacidos en Estados Unidos tiene al menos un padre inmigrante, de acuerdo con el Consejo de Inmigración de Estados Unidos.

El público puede presentar comentarios al Registro Federal sobre la reglamentación propuesta dentro de 60 días, hasta el 10 de diciembre de 2018. Usted puede hacer su comentario visitando el sitio web del Registro Federal.

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http://bit.ly/2C9MyVb

OHA: Federal immigration rule proposal could impact health access, outcomes - 10/10/18

October 10, 2018

OHA: Federal immigration rule proposal could impact health access, outcomes

Salem, Ore. -- Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen released the following statement in response to Department of Homeland Security’s proposed public charge rule change, which was published in the Federal Register today:

OHA is closely monitoring the proposed change to the Department of Homeland Security’s federal public charge rule that could impact access to essential services like health care for some Oregon immigrant communities. It is important to know that the rule has not yet changed, and eligibility criteria for our programs have not changed.

However, we are aware that families are concerned, fearful, and faced with difficult choices. We will continue our work with local health care providers, advocates, attorneys, and community leaders to address the fears and respond to the changing immigration landscape while maintaining our focus on improving the health of Oregonians.

We know that health coverage contributes to healthier pregnancy, birth, and childhood outcomes, better education, and reduced emergency department visits and hospitalizations. OHA will continue to focus on transforming health care for all Oregonians.

Public charge is a term used in immigration law to describe an individual who is likely to become dependent on the government in the future. Being considered a public charge can result in the denial of a green card (permanent residency) application. Currently, the only public assistance that can be considered when determining a person will become a public charge is cash assistance (e.g. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Social Security Income) and assisted long-term care at the government’s expense.

The proposed changes would expand the list of programs that could impact public charge determinations to include non-emergency Medicaid (full Oregon Health Plan), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) and housing assistance. Homeland Security is also considering including the Children’s Health Insurance Program on the list and has requested public comment on that aspect.

OHA, led by Governor Kate Brown’s Office and together with Oregon Department of Human Services and Oregon Housing and Community Services, will closely monitor this proposed rule, study its impacts and work with community partners to support affected Oregonians.

One in 10 Oregon residents is an immigrant, while about one in eight U.S. born children has at least one immigrant parent, according to the American Immigration Council.

The public may submit comments to the Federal Register on the proposed rule change for 60 days, until December 10, 2018. You can comment by visiting the Federal Register website at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/10/10/2018-21106/inadmissibility-on-public-charge-grounds.

 

# # #

Resources:
Proposed Rule: Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/10/10/2018-21106/inadmissibility-on-public-charge-grounds.

National Academy for State Health Policy analysis: https://nashp.org/federal-proposal-broadens-public-charge-definition-what-are-the-implications-for-states/

Kaiser Family Foundation analysis: https://www.kff.org/disparities-policy/fact-sheet/proposed-changes-to-public-charge-policies-for-immigrants-implications-for-health-coverage/.

http://bit.ly/2OSnMPZ

Oregon Health Policy Board meets October 15 in Portland - 10/09/18

October 9, 2018

Oregon Health Policy Board meets October 15 in Portland

What: The monthly meeting of the Oregon Health Policy Board

When: October 15, 8:30 a.m. to noon

Where: Portland State Office Building Rm. 3, 800 NE Oregon St., Portland

Members of the public can call in to listen by dialing 888-808-6929, participant code 915042#.

Agenda: welcome; minutes approval; public testimony; Health Equity Committee membership and possible vote; CCO 2.0: final report briefing and discussion; CCO 2.0 possible vote

For more information on the meeting, visit the board’s meeting page at https://www.oregon.gov/OHA/OHPB/Pages/OHPB-Meetings.aspx.

# # #

Everyone has a right to know about and use Oregon Health Authority (OHA) programs and services. OHA provides free help. Some examples of the free help OHA can provide are:

  • Sign language and spoken language interpreters
  • Written materials in other languages
  • Braille
  • Large print
  • Audio and other formats

If you need help or have questions, please contact Jeff Scroggin at 541-999-6983, 711 TTY, ey.scroggin@dhsoha.state.or.us">jeffrey.scroggin@dhsoha.state.or.us, at least 48 hours before the meeting.

 

http://bit.ly/2pJVl8E

State Trauma Advisory Board meets October 12 in Portland - 10/08/18

October 8, 2018

State Trauma Advisory Board meets October 12 in Portland

What: A public meeting of the State Trauma Advisory Board (STAB)

Agenda: Case presentation; discuss Oregon Stop the Bleed program; future State Trauma Hospital Surveys; and Oregon Trauma Registry Data.

When: Friday, October 12, 1-3 p.m.

Where: Portland State Office Building, Room 1D, 800 NE Oregon Street, Portland. The public may also attend by webinar at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1778435162286622465.

Background: The State Trauma Advisory Board is established under ORS 431 to achieve continuous improvement in the quality of EMS care in Oregon. The committee is made of 18 members appointed by the director of the Oregon Health Authority.

# # #

Everyone has a right to know about and use OHA programs and services. OHA provides free help. Some examples of the free help OHA can provide are:

  • Sign language and spoken language interpreters
  • Written material in other languages
  • Braille
  • Large print
  • Audio and other formats

If you need help or have questions, please contact Stella Rausch-Scott at 971-673-1322, 711 TTY or ausch-Scott@dhsoha.state.or.us">stella.m.rausch-scott@dhsoha.state.or.us at least 48 hours before the meeting.

Oregon EMS Committee meets October 12 - 10/05/18

October 5, 2018

Oregon EMS Committee meets October 12

What: A public meeting of the Oregon EMS Committee

Agenda: Vote for chair and vice chair; case presentation; Oregon EMS Information System presentation

When: Friday, October 12, 8:30 a.m. to noon

Where: Portland State Office Building Room 1D,  800 NE Oregon St., Portland. The public may also attend by webinar at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8827607617609656321.

Background: The EMS Committee is established under ORS 682 to achieve continuous improvement in the quality of emergency medical services care in Oregon. The committee is made of 18 members appointed by the director of the Oregon Health Authority.

# # #

Everyone has a right to know about and use OHA programs and services. OHA provides free help. Some examples of the free help OHA can provide are:

  • Sign language and spoken language interpreters
  • Written material in other languages
  • Braille
  • Large print
  • Audio and other formats

If you need help or have questions, please contact Stella Rausch-Scott at 971-673-1322, 711 TTY or ausch-Scott@dhsoha.state.or.us">stella.m.rausch-scott@dhsoha.state.or.us at least 48 hours before the meeting.

http://bit.ly/2O7q3ak

Oregon Stroke Care Committee meets October 11 - 10/05/18

October 5, 2018

Oregon Stroke Care Committee meets October 11

What: A public meeting of the Oregon Stroke Care Committee

Agenda: Discuss stroke care in Oregon.

When: Thursday, October 11, 7-8:30 a.m.

Where: Legacy Emanuel Hospital, East Wing, Conference Room 1003, 2801 N. Gantenbein Ave., Portland

Background: The Oregon Stroke Care Committee is established under ORS 431.673 to achieve continuous improvement in the quality of stroke care in Oregon. The committee has 10 members who are appointed by the director of the Oregon Health Authority.

# # #

Everyone has a right to know about and use OHA programs and services. OHA provides free help. Some examples of the free help OHA can provide are:

  • Sign language and spoken language interpreters
  • Written material in other languages
  • Braille
  • Large print
  • Audio and other formats

If you need help or have questions, please contact Stella Rausch-Scott at 971-673-1322, 711 TTY or ausch-Scott@dhsoha.state.or.us">stella.m.rausch-scott@dhsoha.state.or.us at least 48 hours before the meeting.

http://bit.ly/2y2ereO

Place Matters presenter: 'Listening up front' key to improving health - 10/05/18

EDITORS: Schedule an interview with David Toland of Thrive Allen County at 971-246-9139, phd.communications@state.or.us

October 5, 2018

Place Matters presenter: ‘Listening up front’ key to improving health

David Toland says communities must ‘listen up front’ to make change

PORTLAND, Ore.—Three words sum up Thrive Allen County’s success in fostering a sense of belonging in the rural Kansas community and creating a shared vision of health: know your people.

"People that are engaged in community health work need to understand the particular mores and priorities of communities they serve," says David Toland, Thrive Allen County’s president and CEO, and a featured speaker at the 2018 Oregon Place Matters Conference this month in Portland. "They need to understand the language of their residents, but it also means being quiet and doing a lot of listening up front."

That up-front listening helped Allen County earn the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s prestigious Culture of Health Prize in 2017. The county was honored for engaging residents in sometimes-difficult "community conversations" about poverty, hunger and homelessness, according to RWJF. The county also increased health care access by lowering the uninsured rate and building a new hospital and clinics. And it added more ways for residents to be active, such as constructing new biking and hiking trails.

Collaborative community-wide efforts to improve health in one Oregon county this year also caught the attention of RWJF Culture of Health Prize judges. Klamath County was recognized for its work to boost high school graduation rates for all students, build its skilled local workforce through job training, and attract new businesses. Law enforcement and mental health agencies have worked together to provide alternatives to incarceration and build stronger police-community relations, and bilingual community health workers and a rural health care residency program have teamed up to remove health care barriers.

In addition, according to RWJF, Klamath community leaders and organizations are working to address housing challenges by incentivizing exterior home improvements by residents in low-income neighborhoods through mini-grants. And geographic information system mapping is helping local leaders develop more trails and green spaces.

For Thrive, Allen County’s economic development office, change began when community members recognized the importance of a common vision for improving health.

"We have to accept that we’re too small and the bench is too shallow for us to be tribal about our work," Toland said. "It can’t be, ‘I live in this town and what happens down the road doesn’t matter to me.’ No, we’re all in this together."

A shared vision of health has meant "making sure we have high-quality public schools," and that "there’s a community college in this county that’s really important not only in making sure folks who want to go on to get a bachelor’s degree can do that, but also so CNAs or people running a day care can get trained." It’s also about ensuring the built environment offers ways for people to make healthy choices, such as requiring that new development projects have easy bicycle and pedestrian access.

"We didn’t start by building a hospital," Toland said, "we started by hearing people say they’re worried about what happens to them if they have a heart attack. We started by listening to people’s hopes and fears and dreams and addressing actionable steps."

For information about the 2018 Oregon Place Matters Conference, visit the conference website at https://beattygroup.cvent.com/2018OregonPlaceMatters.

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PartnerSHIP meets October 11 in Portland - 10/04/18

October 4, 2018

What: The second public meeting of the PartnerSHIP, tasked with developing the 2020-2024 State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP)

Agenda: Brainstorm potential strategic issues for the next SHIP, develop understanding of why an issue is strategic, and identify strategic issues for community prioritization process. 

When: Thursday, October 11, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The meeting is open to the public. A 10-minute public comment period will be held at approximately 12:30 p.m.; comments are limited to three minutes. 

Where: Portland State Office Building, 800 NE Oregon St., Portland, Room 918. The meeting is also available by webinar: https://meet.dhsoha.state.or.us/julia.a.hakes/CMG95LVJ?sl=1

Background: Oregon’s State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) identifies interventions and strategies to address health related priorities in our state. The SHIP serves as a basis for taking collective action with cross-sector partners to improve heath in our state.  The SHIP will be based off of findings from the State Health Assessment

  • Health departments are required to develop and implement a health improvement plan at least once every five years. 
  • The Public Health Division will use the Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP) framework, widely used by CCOs and local health departments. The MAPP framework uses six phases. The SHA is developed over the first three phases, while the SHIP is developed and implemented over the second three phases. 
  • Information about the PartnerSHIP can be found at healthoregon.org/2020ship
  • The current State Health Improvement Plan identifies seven priorities related to tobacco use, obesity, oral health, immunizations, suicide, communicable disease, and substance use.  The current plan will complete December of 2019.  

# # #

Everyone has a right to know about and use Oregon Health Authority (OHA) programs and services. OHA provides free help. Some examples of the free help OHA can provide are:

  • Sign language and spoken language interpreters 
  • Written materials in other languages 
  • Braille 
  • Large print 
  • Audio and other formats

If you need help or have questions, please contact Christy Hudson at 971-678-4347, 711 TTY, christy.j.hudson@dhsoha.state.or.us, at least 48 hours before the meeting. 

Public Health Advisory Board meets October 18 in Portland - 10/03/18

October 3, 2018

Public Health Advisory Board meets October 18 in Portland

What: The regular monthly public meeting of the Public Health Advisory Board

Agenda: Review updates on the State Health Improvement Plan ending in 2019; development of the 2020-2024 State Health Improvement Plan; prepare for late-fall and winter PHAB sub-committee work; and hear updates on the upcoming legislative session related to Public Health Modernization.

When: Thursday, October 18, 2-5 p.m. The meeting is open to the public. A public comment period will be held at the end of the meeting.

Where: Portland State Office Building Conference Room 1A, 800 NE Oregon St., Portland. Also available remotely by webinar at: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/4888122320415752707, or by telephone at 877-873-8017, access code 767068#.

Background: The Public Health Advisory Board provides guidance for Oregon’s governmental public health system and oversees the implementation of public health modernization and Oregon’s State Health Improvement Plan. See the board's webpage at http://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/About/Pages/ophab.aspx.

# # #

Everyone has a right to know about and use Oregon Health Authority (OHA) programs and services. OHA provides free help. Some examples of the free help OHA can provide are:

•         Sign language and spoken language interpreters

•         Written materials in other languages

•         Braille

•         Large print

•         Audio and other formats

If you need help or have questions, please contact Kati Moseley at 971-673-2284, 711 TTY or ina.moseley@dhsoha.state.or.us">katarina.moseley@dhsoha.state.or.us at least 48 hours before the meeting.

http://bit.ly/2Owmp9E

OHA accepting applications for Advance Directives Adoption Committee - 10/02/18

October 2, 2018

OHA accepting applications for Advance Directives Adoption Committee

The Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division is seeking applicants for the Advance Directives Adoption Committee.

OHA invites applications from people who meet the criteria outlined in HB4135, Section (2) at https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2018R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/HB4135/Enrolled. Committee members are appointed by the Governor. Member terms are, in general, four years each.

To apply, submit the following documents to executive.appointments@oregon.gov by Nov. 2, 2018:

  1. A completed executive appointment interest form, which is available on the Governor’s Office website at http://www.oregon.gov/gov/admin/Pages/How_To_Apply.aspx.
  2. A resume or brief biographical sketch.
  3. A brief statement of interest.

Information about the legislation is available on the Advance Directives Adoption Committee website at https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/ABOUT/Pages/AdvancedDirectiveAdoptionCommittee.aspx.

For more information, contact Kati Moseley, OHA Public Health Division, at 971-673-2284 or ina.moseley@dhsoha.state.or.us">katarina.moseley@dhsoha.state.or.us.

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OHA seeks public comments on dental pilot project rules amendment - 10/02/18

October 2, 2018

OHA seeks public comments on dental pilot project rules amendment

The Oral Health Program at the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division is seeking public comment on proposed changes to the rules for Dental Pilot Projects. The objective is to clarify the rules so that applicants and approved projects can better understand the requirements and possible consequences for failing to adhere to requirements.

Due to reorganization and significant amount of revision to the rule text, OHA is proposing to repeal administrative rules 333-010-0400 through 333-010-0470, and replace them with new rule language, administrative rules 333-010-0700 through 333-010-0820.

Written comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. October 31. A public hearing will be held at 1 p.m. October 16, in Room 1C of the Portland State Office Building at 800 NE Oregon St., Portland.

For information on how to provide public comments, please see the hearing notice on the OHA website at http://www.healthoregon.org/dpp.

The Dental Pilot Project Program encourages the development of innovative practices in oral health care delivery systems in Oregon, with a focus on providing care to populations that have the highest disease rates and the least access to dental care.

For more information, contact Brittany Hall, OHA administrative rules coordinator, at lichealth.rules@state.or.us">publichealth.rules@state.or.us.

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Everyone has a right to know about and use Oregon Health Authority (OHA) programs and services. OHA provides free help. Some examples of the free help OHA can provide are:

  • Sign language and spoken language interpreters
  • Written materials in other languages
  • Braille
  • Large print
  • Audio and other formats

If you need help or have questions, please contact Brittany Hall at 503-449-9808, 711 TTY, lichealth.rules@state.or.us">publichealth.rules@state.or.us, at least 48 hours before the meeting.

http://bit.ly/2QoiZTy

OHA releases 2019 CCO capitation rates - 10/01/18

October 1, 2018

OHA releases 2019 CCO capitation rates

The Oregon Health Authority has finalized the 2019 capitation rates for coordinated care organizations (CCOs). These rates are the per-member-per-month amounts the state pays CCOs to coordinate health care for nearly 1 million Oregonians on the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid). This increase represents a 4.35 percent change in the rate of growth for plan year 2019.

The adjustment will result in an average net payment of $449.69 per month for each member, which is $21.81 more than the average per-member-per month payment in 2018, an increase of 5.1 percent.  A reduction in the  Quality Pool payment for calendar year 2019 of at least 0.75 percent results in an overall rate of growth of 4.35 percent.

Increases in CCO costs have been driven by three primary factors: changes in membership due to the renewals process (1.7-2.1 percent impact), pharmacy costs (1.8-2.3 percent impact), and fluctuations in rural hospital costs.

The renewals process in 2017 led to changes in OHP enrollment and has meant a less healthy population of members, which affects the rates.

There are 12 rate categories for CCOs, which take into account the average cost for members in these specific categories. For example, the state pays CCOs more for members who are disabled than it does for children because members who are disabled generally have higher health care costs. The rates are also based on average provider rate costs in each region.

"Containing health care costs has gotten harder the deeper we dig into the system, but many of our CCOs are proving that it can be done," said OHA Director Patrick Allen. "To incentivize cost containment, we are putting rewards in place for those who are bending the cost curve."

The Central/Eastern region (Eastern Oregon CCO, PacificSource Central, PacificSource Gorge and Cascade CCO) successfully came in at a rate of growth below 3.4 percent for the first time since Affordable Care Act expansion in 2014. Three out of four CCOs in the region achieved an expenditure growth from 2016 to 2017 that was lower than 3.4 percent.

As part of Oregon’s Medicaid waiver commitment to incentivize cost containment and quality in the program, CCOs in this region received an upward adjustment. With this reward, the region still maintains the lowest percentage increase when compared against the other three regions.

As part of its “CCO 2.0” policy proposals, OHA is working to address the major cost drivers in the health care system, increase the share of CCO budgets tied to performance, and find areas of opportunity for improved efficiency. The recommended policies also offer changes to OHA’s rate-setting policies and procedures that could help reduce costs in the long term.

In its 2012-2017 Medicaid waiver, the state held spending growth to 3.4 percent and avoided $2.2 billion in Medicaid costs through the coordinated care system and other health system reforms. A recent independent evaluation of the first five years of Oregon’s Medicaid waiver found Oregon’s health reforms lowered per member costs compared to Washington’s Medicaid program.

A full breakdown of final amended 2019 CCO rates can be found on OHA's website at https://www.oregon.gov/oha/HPA/ANALYTICS/Pages/OHP-Rates.aspx.

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http://bit.ly/2RhF2g0

National Recovery Month: OHA reminds Oregonians that recovery support is available - 09/27/18

September 27, 2018

National Recovery Month: OHA reminds Oregonians that recovery support is available

The impacts of mental health, gambling and substance use disorders are far-reaching, from personal well-being and relationships to the larger community. This National Recovery Month, the Oregon Health Authority reminds Oregonians that the power of recovery is within their reach and that help is available.

To celebrate recovery, OHA partnered with Yamhill County Health and Human Services Department and McMinnville-based peer-delivered services organization, Provoking Hope, to share participants’ recovery stories via video interviews: https://bit.ly/2xUkIs1

Yamhill County provides housing, treatment, counseling and parenting support to men and women in recovery. Certified recovery mentors at Provoking Hope ensure that individuals in recovery are supported by those who have lived experience and can understand their challenges and obstacles.

“Certified recovery mentors are a source of support and hope that few other recovery professionals can replace,” Provoking Hope founder Diane Reynolds said. “They are proof to our clients that recovery is possible and that they can reach their full potential.”

In the video above, five Oregonians recall the hopelessness they experienced while struggling with substance use disorder and the hopefulness and bright futures recovery can reveal. Help is available 24/7, year-round at 800-923-4357 or text RecoveryNow to 839863.

OHA recognizes that peer-delivered services are a key component to improving recovery outcomes in Oregon.

In 2017, almost 9,000 Oregon Health Plan members received peer-delivered services for mental health or substance use disorders. Currently, OHA supports more than 184 recovery homes which serve 1,423 residents who are in recovery in a supportive, sober environment.

“We at OHA value the work that peers do and believe they are a critical part of our behavioral health system,” said Brandy Hemsley, director of the Office of Consumer Activities at OHA. “We look forward to continued partnership with the peer community to ensure they are supported and that there is adequate access to this invaluable resource.”

The Office of Consumer Activities, which is staffed by peers, ensures that the consumer voice is integrated into OHA policies and programs.

OHA’s work to support peer-delivered services include:

  • A pilot project with the Oregon Department of Corrections to connect inmates with peer recovery mentors to ensure they have the supports necessary for re-entry and sustained recovery;
  • A four-county pilot (HB 4143) to connect overdose survivors with peer recovery mentors who can make connections with service providers upon discharge from the hospital;
  • A partnership with tribal and county behavioral health programs to provide peer support to veterans in recovery; and
  • The Peer Delivered Services Core Team, which brings together OHA staff and peers working around the state to identify barriers and solutions in their work.

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Oregon Cannabis Commission meets October 4 in Eugene - 09/26/18

September 26, 2018

Oregon Cannabis Commission meets October 4 in Eugene

What: The bi-monthly public meeting of the Oregon Cannabis Commission

Agenda: Smoke-free environment; overview of process for reviewing the report, ground rules, and opportunity for a final review and decisions on report at next meeting; HB 2198 subcommittee report; Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) governance framework; HB 2198 report; public comment

When: Thursday, October 4, 1:30-4:30 p.m.

Where: Health and Human Services Building, Conference Room 258, 151 W. Seventh Ave., Eugene. Conference call line: 877-848-7030, access code 753428.

Background: The Oregon Cannabis Commission was established in the 2017 legislative session through HB 2198. The commission consists of the state health officer or designee and an eight-member panel appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. The commission is tasked with determining a possible framework for future governance of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, steps to address research on cannabis in areas of public health policy and public safety policy, agronomic and horticultural best practices, and medical and pharmacopoeia best practices. Along with this, they advise the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission with respect to the statutes governing medical and retail cannabis. For more information, please visit the commission's website at http://www.healthoregon.org/cannabiscommission.

# # #

Everyone has a right to know about and use the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) Programs and services. OHA provides free help. Some examples of the free help OHA can provide are:

  • Sign language and spoken language interpreters
  • Written material in other languages
  • Braille
  • Large print
  • Audio and other formats

If you need help or have questions, please contact Shannon McFadden at 971-673-3181, 711 TTY or shannon.m.mcfadden@dhsoha.state.or.us at least 48 hours before the meeting.

http://bit.ly/2DzhKPX

CCO Metrics Technical Advisory Workgroup meets September 27 - 09/25/18

September 25, 2018

Contact: Pete Edlund, 503-559-2216, .m.edlund@dhsoha.state.or.us">peter.m.edlund@dhsoha.state.or.us (meeting information or accommodation)

CCO Metrics Technical Advisory Workgroup meets September 27

What: The regular public meeting of the Oregon Health Authority’s CCO Metrics Technical Advisory Workgroup

When: Thursday, September 27, 1-3 p.m.

Where: Five Oak (formerly Lincoln Building), Suite 850 Abraham Conference Room, 421 SW Oak St., Portland. Attendees can also join remotely through a webinar at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8490046551954092803. Conference line: 888-398-2342, participant code 5731389.

Agenda: Welcome; updates; TAG input on health aspects of kindergarten readiness measure development; review data on DHS custody measure; 2019 TAG work plan; adjourn.

For more information, please visit the workgroup's webpage at https://www.oregon.gov/OHA/HPA/ANALYTICS/Pages/Metrics-Technical-Advisory-Group.aspx.

# # #

Everyone has a right to know about and use Oregon Health Authority (OHA) programs and services. OHA provides free help. Some examples of the free help OHA can provide are:

  • Sign language and spoken language interpreters
  • Written materials in other languages
  • Braille
  • Large print
  • Audio and other formats

If you need help or have questions, please contact Pete Edlund at 503-559-2216, 711 TTY, .m.edlund@dhsoha.state.or.us">peter.m.edlund@dhsoha.state.or.us, at least 48 hours before the meeting.

 

http://bit.ly/2Q9je4T

Es el momento para vacunarse--la temporada de influenza se acerca - 09/25/18

25 de septiembre, 2018

Es el momento para vacunarse—la temporada de influenza se acerca

Latinos entre grupo que menos se vacuna contra la gripe en Oregon

El inicio de la temporada de la influenza está a la vuelta de la esquina, y funcionarios de Oregon Health Authority dicen que es buen tiempo para que familias comiencen a programar citas para obtener la vacuna contra la influenza. Las inmunizaciones son recomendadas para toda persona mayor de 6 meses.

La vacuna demora alrededor de dos semanas en brindar protección contra la gripe, por lo que obtenerla a principios de la temporada es ideal, expresan expertos en enfermedades infecciosas y vacunación de OHA. Aunque es difícil pronosticar la severidad de la temporada de la influenza este año, ellos dicen que vacunarse contra la gripe es la mejor manera de prepararse para lo que venga.

"Las vacunas son la mejor protección disponible contra a la influenza. Cada uno de nosotros puede ayudar a mantener bajos los casos de la gripe al vacunarse contra la influenza antes del periodo más intenso de la temporada," opina Emilio DeBess, epidemiólogo en la División de Salud Pública de OHA.

La influenza (también conocida como "gripe") es una enfermedad respiratoria contagiosa provocada por el virus de la influenza. Cada año, el virus causa decenas de miles de muertes, cientos de miles de hospitalizaciones y millones de personas se enferman. Las personas que tienen el riesgo mayor de presentar complicaciones graves incluyen niños, adultos mayores de 65 años, mujeres embarazadas y personas con enfermedades crónicas o sistemas inmunes débiles.

Datos del Programa de Inmunización de Oregon de la temporada de influenza 2017-2018 muestran que solamente 39 por ciento de Latinos recibieron la vacuna contra la gripe. Latinos de todas las edades tienen menor probabilidad de vacunarse que otros grupos, esto a pesar de tener altas tasas de vacunación para vacunas infantiles, de acuerdo con el Programa de Inmunización de Oregon. Otro grupo de preocupación son adultos mayores Afroamericanos que tiene una tasa de vacunación de 61 por ciento comparado a 73 por ciento entre adultos mayores blancos. Poblaciones vulnerables y grupos de mayor riesgo pueden potencialmente ver un alto número de casos de enfermedades graves y muertes durante brotes de la influenza.

Funcionarios de salud pública también animan a profesionales de la salud vacunarse contra la influenza para prevenir la propagación de la influenza en instalaciones de atención de salud, particularmente entre pacientes hospitalizados que tienen alto riesgo de complicaciones de la influenza, como personas mayores, niños pequeños o los que padecen enfermedades crónicas. Datos de 2016-2017 sobre la tasa de vacunación entre profesionales de la salud en Oregon están disponibles aquí: https://apps.state.or.us/Forms/Served/le8628.pdf.

Formas adicionales que personas pueden prevenir la influenza:

  • Mientras esté enfermo, haga reposo en su hogar y no vaya a trabajar o la escuela; limite el contacto con otras personas.
  • Cúbrase la nariz y la boca con un pañuelo al toser o estornudar. Después de usar el pañuelo, tírelo a la basura y lávese las manos
  • Lávese las manos con agua y jabón frecuentemente. Si no hay agua y jabón, use un limpiador de manos a base de alcohol.
  • Evite tocarse los ojos, la nariz o la boca.
  • Limpie y desinfecte las superficies y los objetos que puedan estar contaminados con gérmenes.
  • Trate de evitar contacto cercano con personas enfermas.

La vacuna contra la gripe está disponible en centros de atención médica, departamentos de salud local y varias farmacias. Para ubicar una clínica de vacunación, visite www.flu.oregon.gov .

Este es un video corto sobre la influenza y vacunas: https://youtu.be/TFCnfkFraDQ

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It's a good time to get vaccinated; flu season is coming - 09/25/18

Resending: Video link included

September 25, 2018

It's a good time to get vaccinated; flu season is coming

OHA officials urge everyone 6 months and older to get immunized

The start of influenza season is around the corner. Oregon Health Authority officials say it’s a good time for families to schedule appointments to get flu vaccines. The vaccines are recommended for everyone 6 months and older.

The flu vaccine may take up to two weeks to become effective, so getting it earlier in the season is ideal, OHA disease and vaccine experts say. While it’s difficult to know exactly how bad the flu season will be this year, they say getting a flu shot is the best way to prepare for however it shapes up.

"They are the best protection against flu we have available," said Ann Thomas, M.D., public health physician at the OHA Public Health Division. "We can all do our part in keeping flu numbers down by getting a flu shot before the season really hits hard."

Flu vaccine is available from health care providers, local health departments and many pharmacies. The vaccine is free or low cost with most health insurance plans. To find flu vaccine clinic, visit http://www.flu.oregon.gov/ and use OHA’s flu vaccine locator tool.

Flu is a virus that causes mild to severe respiratory illness. In severe cases it can lead to hospitalization and even death. The virus kills thousands of people in the U.S. each year. People at higher risk of severe illness include children, adults older than 65, pregnant women and those with chronic medical conditions or weak immune systems. Oregon had two flu-related deaths of children during the 2017-2018 flu season.

Oregon Immunization Program data for the 2017-2018 flu season show that flu vaccination rates among some groups lag behind others. Officials worry that Latinos of all ages and African American seniors may be left unprotected if flu vaccination rates among the two groups do not increase. Latinos typically have high childhood immunization rates, yet only 39 percent of Latinos received a flu vaccine. African American seniors had a 61 percent vaccination rate compared to 73 percent for white seniors.

"It’s not clear why flu vaccination rates for these two groups are lower," said Aaron Dunn, OHA Immunization Program manager. "We want to call attention to it and hope our health partners will help us reach out to these groups to ensure everyone has an opportunity to get a flu vaccine."

Public health officials also encourage health care workers to get vaccinated for the flu. Immunized health care workers help prevent the spread of influenza in health care settings, particularly among hospitalized patients at high risk for complications from the flu such as the elderly, very young and those with some chronic illnesses. Data on 2016-2017 Oregon health care worker influenza vaccination rates are available on the OHA website at https://apps.state.or.us/Forms/Served/le8628.pdf.

Additional ways people can help prevent flu:

  • Stay home from work or school when you are sick and limit contact with others.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue out when you are done.
  • Wash hands with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may have flu germs on them.
  • Avoid getting coughed and sneezed on.

Here is a short video about the flu and vaccination: https://youtu.be/So1W4pNJ8OM

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http://bit.ly/2IeZmu5

CCO Metrics and Scoring Committee meets September 21 - 09/20/18

September 20, 2018

Contact: Pete Edlund, 503-559-2216, .m.edlund@dhsoha.state.or.us">peter.m.edlund@dhsoha.state.or.us (meeting information or accommodation)

CCO Metrics and Scoring Committee meets September 21

What: The regular public meeting of the Oregon Health Authority’s CCO Metrics and Scoring Committee

When: Friday, September 21, 9 a.m. to noon

Where: Clackamas Community College Wilsonville Training Center, Room 210, 29353 SW Town Center Loop E. Wilsonville. Join the meeting by webinar at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/7438627555801803523. Conference line: 888-204-5984, access code 1277166.

Agenda: Welcome, consent agenda, and updates; 2018-19 committee chair and vice-chair decisions; public testimony 9:25-9:35 a.m.; finalize 2019 benchmarks and improvement target floors; break; continue finalizing 2019 benchmarks and improvement target floors; health aspects of kindergarten readiness measure development update; adjourn.

For more information, please visit the committee's website at https://www.oregon.gov/oha/HPA/ANALYTICS/Pages/Metrics-Scoring-Committee.aspx.

# # #

Everyone has a right to know about and use Oregon Health Authority (OHA) programs and services. OHA provides free help. Some examples of the free help OHA can provide are:

  • Sign language and spoken language interpreters
  • Written materials in other languages
  • Braille
  • Large print
  • Audio and other formats

If you need help or have questions, please contact Pete Edlund at 503-559-2216, 711 TTY, .m.edlund@dhsoha.state.or.us">peter.m.edlund@dhsoha.state.or.us, at least 48 hours before the meeting.

http://bit.ly/2DjrWvF

Report: Levels of metals in air, soil near Uroboros too low to harm health - 09/20/18

September 20, 2018

Report: Levels of metals in air, soil near Uroboros too low to harm health

OHA public health assessment applies to adults, children living near glass maker

Levels of metals measured in the air and soil around Uroboros Glass in north Portland are too low to harm the health of people living, working and playing near the facility, according to a new state public health assessment.

The Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division today released the assessment for a 45-day public comment period. Uroboros was an art glass manufacturer that ended operations at its North Kerby Avenue location in September 2017. The Uroboros public health assessment concluded that concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, chromium and other metals detected near the facility between March and July 2016 were below health-based concentration limits, and too low to harm human health. It also found that soil samples collected around Uroboros in February 2016 contained levels of metals that were below health risk values.

"The Uroboros public health assessment was important for determining just what level of health risk people in the area faced related to emissions from the glass factory prior to 2016 and going forward," said Todd Hudson, a toxicologist with the division's Environmental Health Assessment Program (EHAP). "What we found was that risk was, and has been, low."

The 2016 data comes from air samples collected by four Oregon Department of Environmental Quality air monitors deployed around Uroboros. The monitors operated 24 hours a day, with one air sample taken each day, resulting in more than 350 individual samples collected. DEQ also collected a total of 27 soil samples from Albina Park, Albina Community Gardens and a nearby daycare facility.

"It is safe to eat homegrown produce that was grown around the area of Uroboros Glass," Hudson said. "Most garden vegetables do not absorb metals."

The Public Health Division began work on the Uroboros assessment, along with similar assessments for Bullseye Glass Co. and Precision Castparts Corp. in southeast Portland, in spring 2016. The assessments were launched in response to significant community concerns about health risks from past, present and future exposures to heavy metals emitted from the facilities after a research project discovered elevated levels of metals in tree moss around Portland.

In its assessment, EHAP used the federal Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (ATSDR) standard public health assessment process. The assessments examine health risks based on soil and air data collected near the facilities. Such assessments are not community health studies and do not determine whether existing health issues are caused by environmental exposures.

In addition to 2016 data, the Uroboros assessment looked at past exposures to metals emitted from the facility. Examining air sampling results from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency studies at Harriet Tubman Middle School, located northeast of Uroboros, in 2009 and 2011, OHA toxicologists found that cadmium levels were above "cancer-based" health values in 2009 and chromium levels were above those values in 2011. However, the increased risk of getting cancer after exposure to the measured levels of cadmium, chromium and arsenic in the air—one additional cancer case for every 10,000 people exposed—did not meet the threshold for health risk as defined by ATSDR.

"The 2009 and 2011 data show us that there may have been some risk from past exposure, although that risk was low. Unfortunately, that data is extremely limited," Hudson said. EPA took only 13 air samples over 13 weeks in 2009 and 46 samples over eight weeks in 2011. These small numbers increase uncertainty about health risk in those years. However, the extensive 2016 monitoring allows OHA to state with confidence that risk of harm to health remained extremely low.

Hudson noted that Uroboros had not used arsenic for many years and agreed in early 2016 to stop using trivalent chromium, a less-toxic form of the metal. He also said that proposed new rules made through Cleaner Air Oregon, the state initiative to strengthen Oregon’s regulation of industrial sources of air toxics, would apply emission limits on any new industrial facility that moves into the building where Uroboros once operated.

To read a summary of the report and the full report findings and recommendations, visit the OHA Uroboros webpage at https://healthoregon.org/uroborospha. Copies of the report can also be reviewed during regular library hours at the Multnomah County Library, 3605 NE 15th Ave., Portland.

OHA is accepting public comment on the draft Uroboros public health assessment until Nov. 5 at 4 p.m. Comments can be emailed to ehap.info@state.or.us or sent to: Attn: EHAP, 800 NE Oregon Street Suite 640, Portland, OR 97232.

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http://bit.ly/2xqw088

Healthcare-Associated Infections Advisory Committee meets September 26 - 09/19/18

September 19, 2018

Healthcare-Associated Infections Advisory Committee meets September 26

What: The quarterly public meeting of the Healthcare-Associated Infections Advisory Committee (HAIAC)

Agenda: Discuss how Oregon health care facilities use National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) data for performance benchmarking; review Legacy Health’s development of its role as an Ebola Assessment Center; summarize 2016-17 Oregon health care worker influenza vaccination data; revisit travel screening activities in Oregon health care facilities; report data and discuss future opportunities for Targeted Assessment for Prevention (TAP) assessment work; brainstorm topics to address at future meetings and for future reports; public comment.

When: Wednesday, Sept. 26, 1-3 p.m. A 10-minute public comment period is at 2:55 p.m.; comments are limited to five minutes.

Where: Portland State Office Building, Room 1B, 800 NE Oregon St., Portland. A conference call line is available at 877-873-8018, access code 7872333.

OHA provides oversight and support for the mandatory reporting of healthcare-associated infections in Oregon via the Healthcare-Associated Infections Program. The program convenes its advisory board on a quarterly basis; the purpose of the board is to make recommendations to OHA regarding infection measures reportable by health care facilities.

Program contact: Roza Tammer, 971-673-1074, oza.p.tammer@dhsoha.state.or.us">roza.p.tammer@dhsoha.state.or.us

# # #

Everyone has a right to know about and use OHA programs and services. OHA provides free help. Some examples of the free help OHA can provide are:

  • Sign language and spoken language interpreters
  • Written material in other languages
  • Braille
  • Large print
  • Audio and other formats

If you need help or have questions, please contact Diane Roy at 971-673-1093, 711 TTY or oy@dhsoha.state.or.us">diane.m.roy@dhsoha.state.or.us at least 48 hours before the meeting.

Recreational use health advisory for water contact at Twin Rocks Beach lifted September 18 - 09/18/18

September 18, 2018

Recreational use health advisory for water contact at Twin Rocks Beach lifted September 18

Testing shows fecal bacteria levels have subsided

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) today lifted a recreational use health advisory for contact with marine water at Twin Rocks Beach, located in Tillamook County. The health authority issued the advisory September 11 after water samples showed higher-than-normal levels of fecal bacteria in ocean waters.

Results from later samples taken by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) showed lower bacteria levels. Contact with the water no longer poses a higher-than-normal risk. However, officials recommend staying out of large pools on the beach that are frequented by birds, and runoff from those pools, because the water may contain increased bacteria from fecal matter.

State officials continue to encourage other recreational activities at all Oregon beaches, suggesting only that water contact be avoided when advisories are in effect.

Since 2003 state officials have used a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant to monitor popular Oregon beaches and make timely reports to the public about elevated levels of fecal bacteria. Oregon state agencies participating in this program are OHA, DEQ and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

For more information, visit the Oregon Beach Monitoring Program website at http://www.healthoregon.org/beach or call 971-673-0482, or call the OHA toll-free information line at 877-290-6767.

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http://bit.ly/2xv7GB3

Recreational use health advisory for water contact at D River Beach lifted September 18 - 09/18/18

September 18, 2018

 

Recreational use health advisory for water contact at D River Beach lifted September 18

Testing shows fecal bacteria levels have subsided

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) today lifted a recreational use health advisory for contact with marine water at D River Beach, located in Lincoln County. The health authority issued the advisory September 11 after water samples showed higher-than-normal levels of fecal bacteria in ocean waters.

Results from later samples taken by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) showed lower bacteria levels. Contact with the water no longer poses a higher-than-normal risk. However, officials recommend staying out of large pools on the beach that are frequented by birds, and runoff from those pools, because the water may contain increased bacteria from fecal matter.

State officials continue to encourage other recreational activities at all Oregon beaches, suggesting only that water contact be avoided when advisories are in effect.

Since 2003 state officials have used a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant to monitor popular Oregon beaches and make timely reports to the public about elevated levels of fecal bacteria. Oregon state agencies participating in this program are OHA, DEQ and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

For more information, visit the Oregon Beach Monitoring Program website at http://www.healthoregon.org/beach or call 971-673-0482, or call the OHA toll-free information line at 877-290-6767.

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http://bit.ly/2NUgxXl

Recreational use health advisory lifted for Willow Creek Reservoir - 09/17/18

September 17, 2018

Recreational use health advisory lifted for Willow Creek Reservoir

Testing confirms reduced cyanotoxins in Morrow County lake

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has lifted the recreational use health advisory issued July 26 for Willow Creek Reservoir, located just east of the town of Heppner in Morrow County.

Water monitoring has confirmed that the level of cyanotoxins (harmful algae toxins) in the lake is below recreational guideline values for human exposure.

Although the advisory has been lifted, conditions can change rapidly due to changes in weather and nutrients in the lake. People should always be aware that blooms can develop on any water body under the right environmental conditions, and can grow and disappear throughout the season.

People should always be aware of their surroundings before entering a water body, especially around shorelines, shallow water areas, coves and physical structures such as docks, as these are areas where blooms tend to develop, officials say. You are your own best advocate when it comes to keeping you and your family safe while recreating.

People, and especially small children, and pets should avoid recreating in areas where the water is foamy, scummy, thick like paint, pea-green, blue-green or brownish red in color, if a thick mat of blue-green algae is visible in the water, or bright green cells are suspended in the water column. If you observe these signs in the water you are encouraged to avoid activities that cause you to swallow water or inhale droplets, such as swimming or high-speed water activities.

It's possible cyanotoxins can still exist in clear water. Sometimes, cyanobacteria can move into another area, making water that once looked foamy, scummy or discolored now look clear. However, when a bloom dies elsewhere in the water body, it can release toxins that may reach into the clear water. There also are species of cyanobacteria that anchor themselves at the bottom of a water body, live in the sediment, or can grow on aquatic plants and release toxins into clear water near the surface.

For recreational health information, to report human or pet illnesses due to blooms or cyanotoxins in recreational waters, contact the Oregon Health Authority at 971-673-0440.

For information about recreational advisories issued or lifted for the season, contact the Oregon Public Health toll-free information line at 877-290-6767 or visit the Harmful Algae Blooms website at http://healthoregon.org/hab and select "Algae Bloom Advisories."

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