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Oregon Health Care Authority Director Lynne Saxton resigns amid scandal, wrongdoing allegations

August 10, 2017: Lynne Saxton was forced to resign as the Director of the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) on Tuesday, August 8, 2017, by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown after Saxton created a communications plan that centered on pitching negative stories about the Portland coordinated care organization to the press. Saxton apologized on Monday, August 7, 2017. Saxton publicly apologized to FamilyCare Health, the Portland, Oregon-based coordinated care organization that is suing the Authority. FamilyCare Health officials said the communications plan that came to light late last week, the week of July 30-August 5, 2017, showed OHA was out to "hurt and isolate it." FamilyCare officials contend that OHA has been paying it the lowest per-member-per-month rate of any of the state's sixteen coordinated care organizations. Saxton said on Monday, August 7, 2017, that the communications plan, which involved pitching negative stories to the media about FamilyCare, was never implemented and it was "not an acceptable strategy." In a press release issued early Tuesday evening, August 8, 2017, said Saxton's resignation is scheduled to occur on Thursday, August 31, 2017. An announcement about Saxton’s successor is scheduled to be made "in coming weeks," Brown said. "Today, after discussion with Lynne Saxton, we have agreed that her resignation is in the best interests of the agency," Brown said in her press release. "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. 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 resignation is the latest development in an ongoing feud between OHA and FamilyCare, which serves about 115,000 Medicaid members, about FamilyCare’s reimbursement rate. FamilyCare has twice sued the Health Authority for paying it a lower per-member-per-month rate to provide services than it pays the other coordinated care organizations. The company contends that OHA’s methodology resulted in it receiving the lowest rates for three consecutive years.

Attribution: The Portland Business Journal, Governor's Office

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