Lynne Saxton resigns from the OHA

Lynne Saxton has been removed as the Director of the Oregon Health Authority by Governor Kate Brown.  She will step down effective August 31st.

The news was first reported by Jeff Manning at the Oregonian.

This move follows reporting by Nick Budnick at the Portland Tribune about a “communications plan” organized at the OHA to undermine FamilyCare, a Portland-area CCO.

Saxton released a letter to CCO leaders yesterday apologizing for the communications plan.  The plan, developed in the early part of this year, came to light only after public records requests from FamilyCare and the Portland Tribune. It’s release had initially been blocked by the OHA citing attorney-client privilege, according to the Budnick.

In a statement released to State of Reform last week, the OHA said the following.

This was an initial draft communications planning tool created by the Communications team– it was never finalized or implemented, and quite frankly, never seriously vetted or reviewed. OHA is a large agency with over 200 stakeholders, media and policymakers paying attention – until these last few months, we found communications planning to be a valuable opportunity to pro-actively organize our thinking and consider all the different communication challenges an issue might offer; and also to help us prepare as we faced urgent communication inquiries. These documents are living organizational tools that change with thinking, planning and information – rather than stagnant for execution. In this particular instance, given the recurring FamilyCare mediation and litigation processes, it seemed wise to prepare for all contingencies and to brain dump possible responses and areas for research.

We will feature the implications of this news in our next “5 Things We’re Watching” newsletter later this week.