Three questions to OHA’s new Medicaid Director

State of Reform reported yesterday that the Oregon Health Authority has named Lori Coyner their new Medicaid Director. This role was previously served by Judy Mohr Peterson, who left in the summer of this year to lead Hawaii’s Department of Human Services (DHS) as Administrator of their Med-QUEST division.

Coyner has served as the Director of Health Analytics at the OHA since 2014. We wrote to congratulate her on her promotion and ask her three big questions:

Your voice has been leading the discussion on the implementation of SB 440 (statewide strategic plan for collection and use of healthcare data). Who will step into your role in this significant work as you assume new duties as the Medicaid director?


Lori Coyner: This area will remain a priority for the Oregon Health Authority. Collecting health care data is key to analyzing and understanding health care costs – as we work towards better health and better care – at a price we can all afford. We have a highly skilled health analytics team who have expertise in this area and will move this work forward. I’ll continue to work closely with those staff as implementation progresses.


What value will your experience leading the Office of Health Analytics bring to this role? How will your approach to the issues differ from or be similar to your predecessors?


LC: During my tenure as Director of Health Analytics, I was fortunate to lead a great team of managers, policy advisors and analysts. Together we built a very successful, transparent CCO incentive metrics program with guidance from the Metrics and Scoring committee.  The ability to set policy direction, collaborate with external partners in the process, and lead teams to strong, transparent solutions provided me with experience I’ll bring into this new role.

I will continue a collaborative approach, a focus on transparency, and will strive for open and timely communication. I am honored to have the opportunity to continue the work of my predecessors in furthering the success of Health System Transformation throughout Oregon.

One of my first priorities will be to lead the policy discussions with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services around the next 1115 Waiver.


Some of our readers in Oregon have commented that they are watching the OHA carefully in 2016. There is concern that the “centralization” of healthcare limits community innovation and could actually raise costs/reduce quality. Could you address this concern?


Shared responsibility for health is an essential element of the coordinated care model – and community innovation is central to this work. Community innovation is happening throughout the state. Partnerships between coordinated care organizations, their local public health departments, and other community partners are key as we work towards better health for all of their community.

I’m excited to see this exciting, local, innovative work continue. We know that these innovations and focus on community health will lead to better health, better care – and ultimately, help curb the rising cost of health care​