Leadership Shake-Up Hits State Behavioral Health Division

No one was fired, and the changes went into effect April 1.

FLAGGED: The Oregon State Hospital campus in Salem is smoke and tobacco free. (Brian Burk)

Ebony Clarke, a little over a year into her tenure as the state’s director of behavioral health, announced a shake-up in her office at this week’s meeting of the Oregon Health Policy Board.

Clarke said the Oregon Health Authority, which the board oversees, brought in a consulting firm to “do an organizational assessment to really help us understand what the strengths and weaknesses were.” (OHA has signed and extended a long-standing, $21.5 million consulting contract with Deloitte to audit behavioral health and other services.)

“How do we make sure that we’re not doing this work in silos?” Clarke asked.

The answer: eliminate OHA’s umbrella Health Systems Division and elevate a new Behavioral Health Division and Medicaid Division.

The result: Clarke at Behavioral Health will now oversee three deputy directors. No one was fired, and the changes went into effect April 1.

Meanwhile, OHA is working to fill six top leadership positions, including chief medical officer and chief financial officer, which have so far been filled by interim executives.

“It’s a lot of recruitments—and a lot of work,” Sejal Hathi, OHA’s newly appointed director, told members of the policy board.

She highlighted one of the open positions: dental director for the Oregon Health Plan. “If you know any stellar dentists, please do send them our way.”

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