Bartender serves beer.

New OHA director Sejal Hathi on hot seat over withheld report, wrong statements

BY: - February 23, 2024

On a sunny Friday afternoon, Dr. Sejal Hathi found herself answering tough questions, weeks into her role as the new director of the Oregon Health Authority.  In her first time on the hot seat – publicly at least – Hathi faced pointed questions about false information and a withheld report from members of the state’s […]

Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center

Legislature advances bill that aims to stem violence against hospital workers

BY: - February 23, 2024

A bipartisan proposal to step up penalties for assaulting hospital workers has advanced in the Legislature despite opposition from advocates for people with disabilities. House Bill 4088 would make it a felony to knowingly and intentionally attack a hospital worker, create a pot of money to help hospitals adopt prevention measures and require hospital signage […]

A man shows the foil he cooked fentanyl on in Seattle.

‘Fourth wave’ of opioid epidemic crashes ashore, propelled by fentanyl and meth

BY: - February 23, 2024

The United States is knee-deep in what some experts call the opioid epidemic’s “fourth wave,” which is not only placing drug users at greater risk but is also complicating efforts to address the nation’s drug problem. These waves, according to a report from Millennium Health, began with the crisis in prescription opioid use, followed by […]

The Hat Rock Fire in Umatilla County started the afternoon of June 13. It is among the first fires of the 2023 wildfire season.

Oregon ‘stumbling into future’ on wildfire funding, lawmaker says

BY: - February 22, 2024

Democratic lawmakers approached the February short session intending to create sustainable wildfire funding but their options have narrowed as the state nears another wildfire season with inadequate funding.  The Oregon Department of Forestry and State Fire Marshal’s Office currently have $87 million for the next two seasons, compared with the $220 million for wildfire the […]

Oregon has gaps in addiction treatment.

Senate committee axes proposal for mandatory addiction treatment for children  

BY: - February 20, 2024

Oregon lawmakers decided they don’t have enough time to research, debate and pass a bill this session to allow parents and guardians to force their children to enter residential programs for drug addiction treatment. As initially written, Senate Bill 1547 would have given parents the authority to require their children to be evaluated and, if […]

A depressed teenager.

Rising suicide rate among Hispanics worries community leaders

BY: and - February 17, 2024

If you or someone you know may be experiencing a mental health crisis, contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by dialing or texting “988.” DALTON, Ga. ― A group from teens to seniors gathered in an office inside a grocery store, where Spanish-language food signs cater to the large Hispanic population in this northwestern […]

Simon Fulford is director of Parrott Creek Youth Services in Oregon City.

Oregon Health Authority’s slowness to respond to drug crisis stymies expansion of care

BY: - February 16, 2024

Last August, the Oregon Health Authority asked treatment providers to identify “shovel ready” projects to help the state address the addiction crisis. Within weeks, they submitted details on 16 residential projects that the state could fund. Many providers had already purchased or identified buildings, secured some funding from other sources and hired contractors or obtained […]

Democrat Andrea Salinas represents Oregon's 6th Congressional District.

Salinas introduces bills to expand peer workers in mental health, help firefighters

BY: - February 16, 2024

U.S. Rep. Andrea Salinas has introduced two bills in Congress that are aimed at expanding patient access to peer support specialists, who are in recovery or have grappled with mental health issues. The first bill would help eliminate some of the barriers that peer support specialists face to enter the profession. In Oregon, about 3,700 […]

Lawmakers, health care leaders want to prevent private investor control of medical practices

BY: - February 14, 2024

An Oregon lawmaker, backed by high-profile health care leaders, is pushing a bill to keep private investors and corporations focused on profits from buying out medical practices that put patient care first. Ben Bowman, D-Tigard, argued in favor of House Bill 4130 last week, flanked by former Gov. John Kitzhaber and Dr. Bruce Goldberg, former […]

‘Behind the times’: Washington tries to catch up with AI’s use in health care

BY: - February 13, 2024

Lawmakers and regulators in Washington are starting to puzzle over how to regulate artificial intelligence in health care — and the AI industry thinks there’s a good chance they’ll mess it up. “It’s an incredibly daunting problem,” said Bob Wachter, the chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California-San Francisco. “There’s a […]

Rep. Jason Kropf, D-Bend, and Senate Majority Leader Kate Lieber, D-Beaverton, talk to reporters on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, about their proposed framework to address the drug addiction and overdose crisis.

How treating drug addiction as a public health crisis could fix the failings of Measure 110

BY: - February 13, 2024

After listening to hours of contentious testimony about Measure 110 in a Legislative hearing last week, it struck me that everyone who testified for and against the recriminalization of hard drugs was coming from the same place. All acknowledged, at least implicitly, that opioids like fentanyl are dangerous, that persistent use of them is bad […]

In rural Oregon, close community ties could make proposed addiction programs successful

BY: - February 12, 2024

In central rural Oregon, a community mental health provider was talking to  local officials about how to help a man with an alcohol addiction who had repeated run-ins with law enforcement.  In the course of the visit, one of them realized he had played on the high school football team with the man, illustrating how […]