Oregon Health Authority’s chief financial officer tapped as interim director

Dave Baden, the Oregon Health Authority’s chief financial officer, will become the agency’s second interim director under Gov. Tina Kotek

By: - March 7, 2023 11:49 am
Oregon Health Authority building

Dave Baden, the Oregon Health Authority's chief financial officer, will become the agency's interim director on March 17. (Oregon Health Authority)

Dave Baden, the Oregon Health Authority’s chief financial officer, will become the agency’s interim director, Gov. Tina Kotek announced Tuesday. 

Baden’s appointment is effective on March 17, the same day outgoing interim director James Schroeder leaves. 

Baden will be the second interim director at the large agency since Kotek took office. The move puts a familiar manager at the helm of the agency while Kotek conducts a national search for a permanent director. 

In its announcement, Kotek’s office cited Baden’s work during the pandemic, which included procuring and distributing personal protective equipment to health care systems and bringing more than 2,000 out-of-state health care workers to help hospitals and long-term care facilities stay open. 

Dave Baden, chief financial officer of the Oregon Health Authority, will become the agency’s interim director on March 17, 2023. (Oregon Health Authority)

“Interim director Baden has a track record of getting things done and leading with transparency,” Kotek said in a statement. “I am grateful he’s agreed to take on this position at a critical time for Oregon.”

Last week, Schroeder announced his decision to step down from the interim role after two months, citing the demands of the job and the need to put his family first. Kotek’s spokesperson said the governor did not ask Schroeder to resign. Kotek appointed Schroeder to the job to succeed former director Patrick Allen.

The Legislature is in session, and Baden is known to Oregon lawmakers, often guiding them in committee presentations through the financial thickets of Medicaid funding and other agency programs. 

There’s plenty of money to track: The Oregon Health Authority is one of Oregon’s largest agencies, with more than 4,770 employees and a budget of $32.4 billion over two years. Medicaid, which covers one in three Oregonians, has a two-year budget of $22.6 billion, with nearly three-quarters paid by the federal government.

Baden started at the health authority in 2019. Before that, he was a deputy chief financial officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and helped present and develop the federal agency’s $7 billion-plus budget for Congress, according to the agency. He worked in various roles at the federal agency for nearly 13 years, according to his LinkedIn profile.

One included serving as a management officer for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and a deputy country director of CDC–Kenya, one of the agency’s largest overseas offices. 

Baden’s decades of experience and education – he has a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Wisconsin-Madison – will help him in his new role at the health authority. Starting in April, the agency will determine whether all of the nearly 1.5 million residents on the Oregon Health Plan, the state’s Medicaid system, still qualify for the program that provides medical benefits to low-income Oregonians. 

The federal government limits coverage to people who earn up to 138% of the federal poverty limit, or  $18,075 a year for a single person and a maximum of $36,908 a year for a family of four. 

Health authority officials expect that 300,000 people who earn more will lose the free insurance, but up to 65,000 of them are likely to retain coverage under a new plan for those who earn between 138% and 200% of the federal poverty level, or up to $29,160 a year for a single person and up to $60,000 annually for a family of four.

Besides the membership audit, another Medicaid change is in the works: Starting next year, the free health insurance will offer temporary housing benefits to those who are medically eligible, extend Medicaid coverage to children up to the age of six, offer two-year coverage for adults and provide nutrition assistance.

The federal government will give Oregon $1 billion for the expanded benefits, which will start next January.


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Ben Botkin
Ben Botkin

Ben Botkin covers justice, health and social services issues for the Oregon Capital Chronicle. He has been a reporter since 2003, when he drove from the Midwest to Idaho for his first journalism job. Botkin has won multiple awards for his investigative and enterprise reporting, including on education, state budgets and criminal justice.