5 Things Oregon: Behavioral health funding, Price transparency, Senate committee meeting


Eli Kirshbaum


Though we are still a ways out, we’re excited to announce that we’ve already begun planning for the 2022 Oregon State of Reform Health Policy Conference! After going virtual for the last two years, we’re very much looking forward to hosting this event in person on October 25th at the Hilton Portland Downtown. You’ll find more details on the event below!

Thanks for reading!

Emily Boerger
State of Reform


1. Senate committee discusses opioids and universal health care

Universal health care and the opioid epidemic were two key topics of conversation during a Senate Interim Committee on Health Care meeting earlier this month. During the conversation on opioids, stakeholders discussed ways to prevent overdose deaths by improving access to naloxone and fentanyl test strips.

Dr. Bruce Goldberg, Chair of the Task Force on Universal Care, then gave lawmakers an update on the group’s universal health care report and recommendations, which are due to the legislature by September. Under the universal health system, the task force’s preliminary proposal specifies that a single state entity would directly reimburse providers, private insurance would play a limited role, and that benefits would be comparable to the Oregon PEBB benefits package. More details on the preliminary proposal can be found here.


2. Early Bird registration is now open!

In case you missed it, Early Bird registration is now open for the 2022 Oregon State of Reform Health Policy Conference! Through this conference, we aim to break down the silos of health care and to bridge the gap between health care and health policy. We do this by curating multi-perspective conversations on some of the most timely and pressing topics facing Oregon’s health system.

Our Convening Panel, which includes some of the state’s most thoughtful health care and health policy leaders, will meet in a few weeks to discuss the items that will form our Topical Agenda. Ahead of that meeting, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the topics, speakers, or content ideas that you’d like to see at the event. And, if you already know that you want to join us on October 25th, be sure to take advantage of the discounted Early Bird price and register today!


3. Hospitals failing price transparency rule

About 6-9 months after federal hospital price transparency rules went into effect, just 5.7% of facilities were completely compliant, according to recent JAMA research. The new rules require hospitals to disclose standard charges for all services in an accessible file, and require that they provide a consumer-friendly display for at least 300 shoppable services.

Of the over 5,000 hospitals evaluated, 13.9% had the accessible standard charges file, 29.4% had the shoppable display, and over half had neither of the price transparency requirements. The research also finds that hospitals in highly concentrated markets are less likely to be transparent. Last week, CMS announced it had issued its first civil monetary penalties to two hospitals due to their noncompliance.


4. Millions slated for behavioral health

Over the past few weeks, state leaders have announced plans for hundreds of millions to go toward supporting Oregon’s behavioral health care system. Last week, the Legislative Emergency Board announced it had approved $42.5 million for behavioral health workforce recruitment and retention efforts. The House Majority Office says the funding will “leverage $112 million in federal matches to increase Medicaid rates for behavioral health providers by an average of 30%.”

Prior to that announcement, OHA outlined a timeline for the distribution of over half a billion in behavioral health investments. These include $132 million in grants to be used to bolster the behavioral health workforce and $230 million for supportive housing and residential treatment programs.


5. Midwife discusses extended Medicaid postpartum coverage

Medicaid health coverage for postpartum care will be extended from 60 days to 12 months in Oregon following a recent announcement from CMS. The move, which was made possible through a provision in the American Rescue Plan Act, is expected to support care for an additional 7,000 parents in the state.

Following the announcement, State of Reform Reporter Shane Ersland spoke with Liz Baer, Co-Owner of MidValley Birthing Services in Albany, about how this extended care might impact Oregonians. Baer says the coverage expansion will help new mothers access needed care including physical therapy and treatment for postpartum depression. “It’s pretty common; 10-15% of moms are diagnosed with postpartum depression. Treatment is happening throughout that first year and people still need coverage,” she says.