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News Release
Dr. Emma Sandoe Named as Director of the Oregon Health Authority's Medicaid Division - 05/23/24

May 23, 2024

Media Contact: Amy Bacher, 503-405-5403, Amy.Bacher2@oha.oregon.gov

Dr. Emma Sandoe Named as Director of the Oregon Health Authority’s Medicaid Division

Emma Sandoe, PhD, MPH, has been appointed as the permanent director of Oregon’s Medicaid program, effective July 24, 2024. Since 2019, Dr. Sandoe has served in North Carolina Medicaid most recently as the Deputy Director of Medicaid Policy. In her current role, Sandoe has been the state’s primary liaison to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), overseen the state’s Medicaid Plan and its Medicaid waivers, and taken a lead role in developing and implementing new policies to improve health equity in North Carolina’s Medicaid-funded health care system. Dr. Sandoe also serves as Medicaid liaison to Tribal nations in North Carolina.

In North Carolina, Dr. Sandoe helped lead the passage and implementation of the state’s Medicaid expansion, which took effect in December 2023 that will bring health coverage to more than 450,000 people. She also has led efforts to expand the health care workforce under North Carolina’s Home and Community-based Services (HCBS) program. In addition, she has assisted in developing and implementing the state’s Healthy Opportunity Pilots program, leveraging Medicaid dollars to address food, transportation, and housing insecurity, as well as toxic stress.

OHA Director Dr. Sejal Hathi, MD, MBA, said, “Dr. Sandoe brings a track record of expertise, innovation and experience putting health equity into practice in vital Medicaid programs. She brings both vision and pragmatism to this role, as well as strong relationships with our federal partners, which will enable Oregon to continue to set the pace in implementing vanguard Medicaid coverage and benefits that address the major health issues facing our communities, such as homelessness and climate change. I’m excited to welcome Dr. Sandoe to Oregon.”

Dr. Sandoe said, “I’m delighted to come to Oregon, a state that's always been at the forefront of health policy. I’m excited to collaborate with Medicaid staff and partners to expand access to care, improve peoples' lives and eliminate health inequity.”

Dr. Sandoe was selected for the position of Oregon’s Medicaid director following a national search. Before serving joining North Carolina Medicaid, Dr. Sandoe worked as a press secretary at CMS and budget analyst at the US Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Sandoe has taught health policy classes at Harvard University and Duke University. Dr. Sandoe received a PhD in Health Policy, Political Analysis from Harvard University in 2019 and an MPH from George Washington University in 2010.

Vivian Levy, Oregon’s interim Medicaid Director, will serve as deputy director for the Medicaid Division. Dr. Hathi said, “Vivian Levy has brought transformational leadership to Medicaid at a critical time for the past two years. She’s led our temporary Medicaid expansion, protected health coverage for people undergoing eligibility redeterminations in the wake of the pandemic and overseen our ongoing implementation of new Medicaid benefits under Oregon’s groundbreaking 1115 Medicaid waiver. I’m grateful for the direction she’s brought to Medicaid and for the important role she’ll continue to play in Oregon’s Medicaid program.”

Oregon’s Medicaid program currently provide medical, dental and behavioral health coverage for approximately 1.4 million people in Oregon (or more than 1 in 4 state residents) through the Oregon Health Program (OHP) and other programs. The Medicaid program has a biennial budget of $28 billion.

Download Dr. Sandoe's headshot here.

View more news releases from Oregon Health Authority.