5 Things Oregon: Opioids, OHA RFA, YouScript

Welcome back to Medicaid, Lori Coyner. And congratulations on making that recruitment come to fruition, Pat Allen!  With that, we’ll get right to the items we’re following in Oregon health care for the month of December, 2018.

DJ 5 Things SignatureWith help from Sara Gentzler, Marjie High
and Emily Boerger



1. Opioid crisis audit

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Dennis Richardson released on audit on the opioid crisis in Oregon, through the OHA’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). According to the audit, Oregon ranks last for adults and second-to-last for adolescents when it comes to access to substance use disorder treatment and services. Oregon also has the highest rate of senior hospitalization related to opioid issues.

“Many opioid deaths are preventable, but OHA is trying to fight this crisis with one hand tied behind its back,” said Richardson. He recommends changing Oregon law to utilize the PDMP more effectively — by allowing more information to be collected and allowing key players to access the information.


2. An update on CCO 2.0

As part of CCO 2.0, the Oregon Health Authority recently announced that service areas will be defined by counties for the 2020-2024 contract period.  nine of the current CCOs have boundaries that don’t follow county lines. This announcement came on the same day that OHA closed public comment on policy making related to the new CCO contracts.

With the RFA for the new CCO contracts set to be released in January, the Oregon Health Authority recently held a technical forum to discuss potential changes to member enrollment policy. New enrollment policy will become necessary as there will likely be areas where CCOs are different after the new contracts are awarded. OHA also laid out a series of potential rate setting methodology changes at the forum. Final decisions on these changes will be revealed when the RFA is released.

3. Governor Kate Brown’s proposed budget would reform OHP funding

Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s proposed general fund and lottery budget for 2019-21 would boost funding for Human Services agencies from the General Fund by over 16 percent  compared to the last biennium. Included in the budget are reforms that would change how Oregon’s Medicaid program, the Oregon Health Plan, is funded.

The proposed OHP funding reforms are an area of focus in Brown’s budget and policy agenda for the coming biennium, as well. Reforms would include increasing the hospital assessment tax for some hospitals, reinstating and broadening the current insurance and managed care tax, and raising taxes on tobacco products.

4.  Video: Kristine Ashcraft, YouScript

Kristine Ashcraft is the Chief Executive Officer of YouScript, a company dedicated to precision medication management. She joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss pharmacogenetic testing.

“[YouScript has] a patented score that actually staff ranks patients that are most likely to benefit from genetic tests to optimize their drugs and doses, and we provide real-time drug and dose optimization guidance based on genetics and everything else the patient is taking. I think it’s the first time we’ve actually moved beyond binary interaction alerts, which have been the standard for about 40 years, to understand holistically all of the different factors that can impact medication response including genetics.”

5.  Oregon Health Policy Board discuss State Housing Plan

Last week, the Oregon Health Policy Board held their monthly meeting where they discussed the future of health and housing in Oregon. Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) delivered a presentation at the meeting during which they discussed the need for permanent supportive housing, as well as their policy priorities to meet their 2019-2023 goal to create permanent housing for 1,000 or more Oregonians.

According to the presentation, investing in permanent supportive housing is proven to reduce chronic homelessness and lower barriers to housing stability. It’s also a cost-effective intervention – in-patient stays in a state hospital cost $888 per night, an emergency room visit costs $500 on average, a night in Washington County Jail costs $125 a night, but supportive housing costs $59-$64 per night.