Oregon Governor-elect Tina Kotek announced on Tuesday that she will appoint James Schroeder as the Interim Director of the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). Schroeder will assume the role on Jan. 10th, 2023.
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Schroeder will join OHA following his work as CEO of Health Share of Oregon, Portland’s primary coordinated care organization that oversees the implementation of Medicaid benefits for more than 426,000 Oregonians.
“James brings over 20 years of management, leadership, healthcare delivery experience, and a deep respect for the work of the OHA,” Kotek said in a statement. “Addressing the cracks in our mental health and addiction services systems will be a top priority for my administration and I am confident that James has the experience and determination to get results for Oregonians.”
The OHA oversees the majority of the state’s healthcare programs, including the Public Health Division, Behavioral Health Services, Oregon Health Plan, Oregon Healthy Kids, and employee health benefits for public employees and school districts.
Schroeder will assume the OHA’s top position following the departure of current Director Patrick Allen, who submitted his resignation last month. Allen did not give a reason for stepping down, but Kotek said on the campaign trail that she would fire him due to the OHA’s failure to provide Oregonians sufficient access to mental health services and drug addiction treatment. Allen’s resignation will take effect on Jan. 9th, 2023.
Prior to serving as CEO of Health Share of Oregon, Schroeder held numerous executive roles for Kaiser Permanente, including Vice President of Safety Net Transformation and Executive Director of Medicaid. He also served as a medical officer in the Oregon Air National Guard. He is a commander of the 142nd Group Medical Unit at Portland Air National Guard Base.
“Our state is at a critical turning point, especially when it comes to the delivery of mental health and addiction services,” Schroeder said. “I am honored by this appointment, and I want Oregonians across the state to know that I take this responsibility very seriously. I will work tirelessly to ensure that the OHA team produces results for our communities.”
Schroeder was the founder and first CEO of Neighborhood Health Center in Portland. He also served as CEO, physician assistant and medical director for Family Health Services in South Central Idaho, which serves nine counties.