State Behavioral Health Division Experiences Leadership Changes

New Structure, New Leadership: Oregon Health Authority Overhauls Behavioral Health Department to Improve Care Coordination

At a recent meeting of the Oregon Health Policy Board, Ebony Clarke announced significant changes to her department. As the state’s director of behavioral health for over a year, Clarke emphasized the importance of breaking down silos and promoting collaboration within her office. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) had hired a consulting firm to conduct an organizational assessment to identify strengths and weaknesses within the department. With a long-standing consulting contract with Deloitte in place, OHA aimed to streamline its operations and improve communication among different divisions.

As a result of the assessment, OHA made several changes to its structure. The Health Systems Division was eliminated, and two new divisions were established: Behavioral Health Division and Medicaid Division. Clarke will now oversee three deputy directors to ensure a more integrated approach to healthcare services. Despite the restructuring, no employees were terminated, and the changes took effect on April 1st.

In addition to these changes, OHA is actively recruiting for six key leadership positions, including chief medical officer and chief financial officer. These positions are currently being filled by interim executives. Sejal Hathi, OHA’s newly appointed director, acknowledged the challenges of filling these roles but remained optimistic about the department’s ability to attract top talent. She also highlighted the need for a dental director for the Oregon Health Plan and encouraged anyone who knew qualified candidates to reach out to OHA.

Overall, these changes reflect OHA’s commitment to improving behavioral health services and enhancing coordination within the department.

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