Oregon hospital group considering appeal of judge’s decision supporting state Health Care Market Oversight Program

In a recent ruling, a U.S. District Court judge in Salem, Oregon determined that the state law establishing the Health Care Market Oversight Program is not in violation of the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution. This decision comes after a lawsuit brought by the Hospital Association of Oregon (HAO), which is now considering appealing the decision to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The HAO has raised concerns about the negative effects of HB 2362, which was passed by the Oregon Legislature in 2021 to create the Health Care Market Oversight Program and grant significant authority to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to oversee transactions involving health care entities. The program aims to promote transparency, support statewide priorities, and monitor impacts; however, Hultberg, president and CEO of HAO, expressed disappointment that it has failed to achieve its intended goals of improving health equity and safeguarding access to care. She criticized the law for giving too much power to an agency that has implemented costly and burdensome processes that are unpredictable and arbitrary.

In addition to challenging HB 2362 on vague language that violates the U.S. Constitution’s Due Process Clause, Hultberg also claimed that it delegates legislative power to OHA, violating state constitutional provisions.

Despite this federal court ruling on US Constitution matters, Hultberg noted that it did not address her concern regarding State constitutional claims.

Hultberg expressed concern that if this law continues without changes or adjustments made based on these concerns then it may negatively impact Oregonians by hindering beneficial health care arrangements while allowing harmful arrangements to proceed potentially affecting access to health care services especially for vulnerable populations in Oregon.

The HAO is considering appealing this decision on both grounds – due process clause and delegation of legislative power-to higher authorities such as Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals while they continue their fight for accountability from OHA in implementing this law with clarity and transparency for all stakeholders involved in healthcare operations in Oregon state.

By Aiden Johnson

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