In Short

Oregon Health Authority director hospitalized after fall

By: - January 25, 2022 1:00 pm

The Oregon Health Authority’s director, Patrick Allen, was hospitalized on Sunday after a “serious” fall, according to a news release from the agency.

It said he is being evaluated for subsequent heart issues and would be discharged soon. The release said Allen does not have Covid-19.

“Director Allen has helped Oregon get through the COVID-19 pandemic with among the lowest rates of hospitalizations and deaths in the nation,” Gov. Kate Brown said in a statement. “I’m grateful for the difficult, life-saving contributions he’s made to Oregon’s pandemic response. He is in my thoughts and I wish him a very speedy recovery.”

The agency’s deputy director, Kris Kautz, is overseeing agency operations for at least this week, the release said. Agency officials declined to say what hospital he was taken to or provide any details about the fall. It’s unclear why the agency waited two days to make an announcement.

“We understand this announcement has great interest, and we needed to ensure appropriate privacy and consent during this time.” Jonathan Modie, an agency spokesman said in an email.

A spokesman, Jonathan Modie, said the agency would not release any more details about this incident. Modie said that Allen has primarily worked from his home in Sherwood during the pandemic.

Allen, who’s 59, took over the health agency in September 2017 after the former director Lynne Saxton was pushed out. He formerly led the Department of Consumer and Business Services, which regulates the insurance industry.

As head of the agency, he oversees a $30.2 billion two-year budget and 4,770 employees. He has been a frequent public face during the pandemic, leading news conferences on agency action to stem the pandemic. The health authority has focused primarily on vaccinations, though the agency will fail to reach its goal of getting 1 million more Oregonians boosted by the end of January. The agency has recently faced opposition to its plan to make permanent indoor masking rules, though surveys indicate that many Oregonians have curbed their behavior, for example avoiding large indoor gatherings, and wearing masks during the current omicron surge.


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Lynne Terry
Lynne Terry

Lynne Terry has more than 30 years of journalism experience, including a recent stint as editor of The Lund Report, a highly regarded health news site. She reported on health and food safety in her 18 years at The Oregonian, was a senior producer at Oregon Public Broadcasting and Paris correspondent for National Public Radio for nine years.