Oregon’s Behavioral Health System undergoes major restructuring with new leadership and divison creation

State Behavioral Health Division Experiences Leadership Changes

Oregon’s Health Policy Board recently held a meeting where Ebony Clarke, the state’s director of behavioral health for over a year, announced significant changes within her office. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) had brought in a consulting firm to conduct an organizational assessment, with the goal of identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the current structure. This led to the decision to eliminate the Health Systems Division under OHA’s umbrella and create separate divisions for Behavioral Health and Medicaid.

As a result of this restructuring, Clarke will now oversee three deputy directors within the Behavioral Health Division. It is important to note that no employees were terminated as a result of these changes, which officially went into effect on April 1. Additionally, OHA is actively working to fill six key leadership positions, including roles like chief medical officer and chief financial officer, which are currently being filled by interim executives.

Sejal Hathi, the newly appointed director of OHA, expressed that the recruitment process for these leadership roles is a significant undertaking, requiring a great deal of effort. She specifically highlighted the need to fill the position of dental director for the Oregon Health Plan, encouraging any qualified candidates to apply. Hathi asked for the board’s assistance in identifying potential candidates, stating, “If you know any stellar dentists, please do send them our way.” These changes indicate a period of transition and growth within Oregon’s behavioral health system as the state works to improve its services and leadership structure.

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