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OHA Announces Members of Bridge Program Task Force

OHA Announces Members of Bridge Program Task Force

Meetings to begin in April to inform design of transitional program for OHP members leaving coverage

Today, OHA announced that Governor Kate Brown appointed 13 members to a health care Bridge Program Task Force, as required by HB 4035, which passed during the 2022 Legislative Session. The Task Force, which also includes four legislator and four agency appointees, will begin meeting in April to begin work to design a “bridge program,” which could offer health care coverage to people leaving the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) at the end of the Public Health Emergency (PHE), and potentially offer such coverage in the future for people in Oregon under certain income thresholds. The Task Force will consider questions around these and other policy challenges and develop recommendations by Sept. 1, 2022. The full list of newly appointed members, the seats they fill, and their affiliations is below.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have been committed to equity, and continuing access to quality health care when people needed it most. Now, as the federal Public Health Emergency ends, it’s critical that we continue that coverage. The Bridge Program Task Force will work to design a program to do just that,” said Governor Kate Brown. “More Oregonians than ever, over 95%, have access to health care coverage, and behind that number are the stories of so many people––people whose lives have been saved and who have been connected with the quality care they need and deserve.”

“We are appreciative of the work the Bridge Program Task Force will carry out to give guidance to us in designing an equity-centered program to extend coverage to more people in Oregon,” said OHA Director Patrick Allen. “There are many questions about how a Bridge Program might work, and by centering the voices of people with lived experience and expertise, we believe we’ll end up with a better program.”

HB 4035 directs the task force to develop a proposal for a bridge program that will provide “affordable health insurance coverage and improve the continuity of coverage for individuals who regularly enroll and disenroll in the medical assistance program or other health care coverage due to frequent fluctuations in income,” particularly people residing in Oregon with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The bill directs the task force to prioritize health equity, reduce Oregon’s uninsurance rate, and “promote continuous health care coverage for communities that have faced health inequities.”

To accomplish these goals, the state focused on identifying members to serve on the task force that have subject matter expertise relevant to their particular position within the task force, but also, whenever possible, engage in the work in a manner that promotes equity, centers community or brings specific equity expertise, experience or training.

Governor Brown appointed the following members to the Task Force.

Position

Member

Member representing low-income workers who are likely to be eligible for the bridge program.

Alicia Temple, Legislative Advocate, Oregon Law Center

Member with expertise in health equity.

Keara Rodela, Community and Public Health Programs Supervisor, Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization

Member with expertise in health equity.

Jonathan Frochtzwajg, Public Policy and Grants Manager, Cascade AIDS Project

Member with expertise in providing navigation assistance for health insurance consumers.

Sharmaine Johnson Yarbrough, Enrollment and Engagement Specialist, Wallace Medical Concern

Member representing organized labor.

Kirsten Isaacson, Research Director,  Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 49

Member representing an insurer that offers qualified health plans on the health insurance exchange.

William Johnson, President, Moda Health and  Sr. Vice President,  Moda Partners  

Member representing a coordinated care organization.

Eric Hunter, President and CEO, CareOregon

Member representing health care providers – hospital or health system.

John Hunter, Executive Vice President, Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) and the Chief Executive Officer, OHSU Health

Member representing health care providers

Antonio Germann, Clinic Medical Director and family physician, Salud Medical Clinic and Pacific Pediatrics

Member with expertise in behavioral health care.

Heather Jefferis, Executive Director, Oregon Council for Behavioral Health  

Member representing an oral health care provider that contracts with the authority to provide care to enrollees in the medical assistance program.

Matthew Sinnott, Senior Director of Government Affairs and Contracts, Willamette Dental Group  

Representative of the Medicaid Advisory Committee.

Adrienne Daniels, Interim Director of Integrated Clinical Services, Multnomah County Health Department  

Representative of the Health Insurance Exchange Advisory Committee.

Lindsey Hopper, Executive Vice President, PacificSource Health Plans.

Legislative leadership appointed Representatives Rachel Prusak and Cedric Hayden and Senators Elizabeth Steiner Hayward and Bill Kennemer to join the Task Force as non-voting members. The Governor has appointed Representative Prusak and Senator Steiner Hayward to serve as Task Force co-chairs.

Finally, agency members of the task force include OHA Director Patrick Allen, Oregon Department of Human Services Director Fariborz Pakseresh, Department of Consumer and Business Services Director Andrew Stolfi and Oregon Health Policy Board designee Stefanny Caballero.

The first meeting of the task force will be on April 19, 2022. Agendas and materials will be posted to https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2021I1/Committees/JTBHCP/Overview, where you can sign up for email updates.

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