Senate Bill (SB) 5026, the Oregon Health Authority budget bill, passed the Senate on June 21. The budget allocates $5 million in new funds for Public Health Modernization. However, there is a $3.6 million reduction to Public Health from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement fund. There is also an additional $20 million dedicated to mental health from additional tobacco tax revenues. For these funds, priorities include $10-$15 million for mobile crisis services and rental assistance with peer support. Other investment priorities include school-based access to behavioral health and the implementation of the Suicide Prevention and Intervention Plan. A total of $2.5 million will be used for veterans’ behavioral health services. Additionally, the budget includes a budget note with the following directive:

“The Oregon Health Authority shall work with coordinated care organizations, County Mental Health Programs, local Public Health, local mental health authorities, and others, within each geographic area, to create a single plan of shared accountability for behavioral health system coordination that builds on existing structures and partnerships and fosters further innovation and collaboration with other organizations, by July of 2018. The agency shall provide a progress report to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means during the 2018 legislative session, and a final report to the Legislature by December of 2018 on each region’s governance model and plan for shared accountability.”

House Bill (HB) 2391, the provider tax bill, passed the Senate on June 21. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) budget had assumed passage of HB 2391 and had it not gone through, there would have been sever cuts in OHA. The bill extends the provider tax, and also includes new revenue via a 1.5 percent tax on premiums for insurers and Public Employees’ Benefit Board (PEBB) and a 1.5 percent assessment on Coordinated Care Organizations (CCO) based on their funding from OHA. The bill also adds a 0.7 percent tax on net hospital revenues; Type A and B hospitals may be assessed a lower rate, pending approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Contributed by: Stacy Michaelson | AOC Health & Human Services Policy Manager