Oregon Health Authority director resigns at Gov. Brown's request

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Health Authority director resigned Tuesday at the request of the Gov. Kate Brown after a communication plan became public detailing how the agency intended to damage the reputation of a Portland health care agency.

Lynne Saxton insisted that she never implemented the bare-knuckled tactics advocated in the plan and publicly apologized, but it wasn't enough, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

Brown said in a news release Tuesday that after discussion with Saxton, they agreed her resignation was in the best interests of the agency.

"Lynne has led the Oregon Health Authority through its most challenging times and helped me ensure that every Oregonian has access to the care they need," Brown said. "She is known as a fighter for Oregon's values and I am proud of how she brought that level of commitment to the staff of OHA."

Saxton's removal was borne in the agency's long bitter legal dispute with FamilyCare Health, one of Oregon's 16 coordinated care organizations. The two camps have fought for years, with FamilyCare insisting the agency's ratemaking process is unfair.

Public records revealed a communications strategy intended to discredit FamilyCare, which came after other problems at the health authority. Earlier this spring, it acknowledged that it had awarded Medicaid benefits to tens of thousands of Oregonians who didn't qualify for the program. The agency also has spent more than $160 million on an information technology system to automate Medicaid enrollment that's been plagued with issues.

Saxton's last day at the agency will be Aug. 31.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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