5 Things Oregon: Sen. Monnes Anderson, OHPB meeting, ER boarding bill

Yesterday was a scorcher, getting to 98 degrees at PDX. Anytime Portland is as hot as Medford, that’s not good for the city, or its housing insecure folks. Stay cool as best you can, and maybe buy some extra water or sunscreen for folks on the streets that could use the help.


With help from Emily Boerger


1. Q&A: Sen. Monnes Anderson

Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson is the Chair of the Senate Committee on Health Care in the Oregon Legislature, and also serves on the Human Services and Housing Senate committees. With less than a month left in session, Reporter Emily Boerger caught up with her in this Q&A.

The conversation features the Senator’s thoughts on key legislation passed this year, health care funding, work she plans to do in the interim, and price transparency. They also discussed the possibility of a public option in Oregon: “Well, I’m interested in it. I really am interested in a public option, but for some reason there isn’t a whole lot of fire under some of these people to support something like that,” said Sen. Monnes Anderson.

2. OHPB discusses children’s health priorities

Last week, OHPB held a meeting on the Oregon Pediatric Improvement Partnership’s (OPIP) project aimed at identifying and designing care management programs for children with complex health needs. The project focuses on finding ways to improve health outcomes and health care costs for children with social and health complexity.

According to OPIP, 24.4% of publicly insured children in Oregon have either complex, or non-complex chronic disease. Over 38% of publicly insured children also have three or more social complexity risk factors such as poverty, foster care involvement, or parental incarceration. OPIP says they hope their data helps CCO 2.0 efforts regarding social determinants and behavioral health.

3. OHA’s timeline to address OSH capacity crisis

OHA director Patrick Allen sent a letter to Gov. Kate Brown last week on deadlines and priorities to address the capacity crisis at Oregon State Hospital — specifically as it relates to those under “aid and assist” orders. The number of these patients has doubled since 2012, and hospitals aren’t able to admit many within the required seven-day timeline.

Over the next few weeks, Allen says OHA and Oregon State Hospital will work to reduce the amount of time people are waiting for admission, reduce the length of stay for current patients, and increase community services to divert those who don’t need hospital-level care. Progress and findings are due August 9.

4.  OAHHS pushes for ER boarding bill

With just a few weeks left in session, the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (OAHHS) is still pushing for the passage of SB 140A, a bill aimed at addressing “emergency department boarding” in Oregon. ED boarding occurs when someone experiencing a mental health crisis doesn’t have a good treatment option, and winds up staying in a hospital ED instead.

The bill would establish an Emergency Department Boarding Pilot Project which would award grants to hospitals to find strategies to reduce boarding and provide access to appropriate treatment. “Emergency departments are not set up to deliver mental health services,” said Danielle Meyer, an OAHHS policy director. “It’s a safe environment, but it’s not a therapeutic one.” The bill was referred to Ways and Means in April, but has not moved since.


5. Meeker: Internet trends and health care

Mary Meeker provides a slide deck on “Internet Trends” every year at the Code Conference, which is going on this week. In the 333-slide deck, she spends some time on health care. It’s among the most in-depth reviews of the connection between health care and the digital world, and worth noting.

In it, she highlights that EMR adoption is at almost 100%, setting the stage for significant shifts in how the data will be used. Consumers are beginning to drive health care changes, she notes. This is primarily from outside the system, but which is being felt in the system, too. Among all of the things consumers are worried about, job security may be falling but health care concerns still tops the list.