At the latest meeting of the Oregon Health Policy Board, Ebony Clark, who has been the state’s director of behavioral health for just over a year, announced significant changes in her office. Clark shared that the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) brought in a consulting firm to conduct an organizational assessment to identify strengths and weaknesses within the department. With a long-term consulting contract with Deloitte, OHA sought to streamline its operations and improve communication between different departments.

Clark emphasized the importance of breaking down silos within OHA and promoting collaboration between different focus areas. As a result of the organizational assessment, the decision was made to eliminate the Division of Health Systems and establish a new Division of Behavioral Health and Medicaid Division. Clarke will now oversee three deputy directors to ensure a more integrated approach to health services.

Despite the restructuring, no employees were laid off, and the changes took effect on April 1. OHA is also actively recruiting for six key leadership positions, including the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Financial Officer, which are currently being filled by interim executives. Sejal Hati, the newly appointed director of OHA, acknowledged the challenges of filling these roles but remained optimistic about the department’s ability to attract top talent.

Hattie also highlighted the need for a dental director for the Oregon Health Plan and encouraged anyone who knew of qualified candidates to contact OHA. Overall, these changes announced by Ebony Clarke and ongoing hiring efforts reflect OHA’s commitment to improving behavioral health services and improving coordination within

By Samantha Johnson

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