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At the recent meeting of the Oregon Health Policy Board, Ebony Clarke, who has been serving as the state’s director of behavioral health for just over a year, announced significant changes within her office. Clarke explained that the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) had brought in 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 sought to streamline its operations and improve communication among different divisions.

The organizational assessment identified silos within OHA and recommended promoting collaboration between different areas of focus. As a result, the decision was made to eliminate the Health Systems Division and establish two new divisions: Behavioral Health Division and Medicaid Division. Clarke will now oversee three deputy directors to ensure a more integrated approach to healthcare services. Despite restructuring, no employees were terminated, and the changes took effect on April 1st.

Sejal Hathi, who is newly appointed as director of OHA, acknowledged that filling key leadership positions such as chief medical officer and chief financial officer would be challenging but expressed optimism about attracting top talent for these roles. In addition, Hathi highlighted the need for a dental director for Oregon Health Plan and encouraged anyone who knew qualified candidates to reach out to OHA. The changes announced by Ebony Clarke along with ongoing recruitment efforts reflect OHA’s commitment towards improving behavioral health services and enhancing coordination within the department.

Overall, Ebony Clarke’s announcement marked an important milestone in improving behavioral health services in Oregon by identifying strengths and weaknesses within the department through an organizational assessment. With this new structure in place, patients can expect better coordinated care between different areas of focus while maintaining efficient operations within OHA.

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