Gov. Tina Kotek has appointed Dave Baden to serve as the interim director of the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) effective on March 17th.
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Baden currently serves as the CFO of OHA. He has managed OHA’s procurement process for coordinated care organizations, and was one of the statewide incident commanders to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, procuring and distributing personal protective equipment to healthcare systems amidst a nationwide shortage.
Baden has demonstrated the ability to lead and implement public health initiatives on rapid timelines with transparency and accountability at the forefront, Kotek said in a statement.
“Interim Director Baden has a track record of getting things done and leading with transparency,” she said. “I am grateful he’s agreed to take on this position at a critical time for Oregon.”
Baden’s appointment follows the unexpected resignation of James Schroeder, which will be effective on March 17th. Schroeder spent less than 10 weeks as OHA’s interim director, as he assumed the role on Jan. 10th. Schroeder cited a need to spend more time with his family in his resignation letter.
Schroeder took over as OHA’s interim director following the departure of former director Patrick Allen, who submitted his resignation in November 2022. Allen did not give a reason for stepping down, but Kotek said on the campaign trail that she would fire him due to OHA’s failure to provide Oregonians sufficient access to mental health services and drug addiction treatment. Allen’s resignation took effect on Jan. 9th.
Kotek announced on Friday that she would open a search for a permanent OHA director.
Baden’s resume includes overseeing staffing support for hospitals and long-term care settings during the height of surges spurred by COVID-19 variants, as he brought in more than 2,000 workers to Oregon to help keep providers afloat. He also led effective vaccine distributions.