State Behavioral Health Division Experiences Leadership Changes

Oregon Health Authority (OHA) recently announced significant changes within its behavioral health department, with state director Ebony Clarke revealing the news at a meeting of the Oregon Health Policy Board. Clarke explained that OHA had hired a consulting firm to conduct an organizational assessment and identify areas for improvement within the department.

The assessment identified weaknesses in communication between different divisions within OHA, which led to the decision to eliminate the Health Systems Division and establish new Behavioral Health Division and Medicaid Division. Clarke will now oversee three deputy directors to ensure a more integrated approach to healthcare services. Despite this restructuring, no employees were terminated and the changes took effect on April 1.

In addition to these changes, OHA is also actively recruiting for six key leadership positions, including chief medical officer and chief financial officer, which 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.

Hathi 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.

By Aiden Johnson

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