Government Relations

Anne Bryant, Senior Director of Government Relations

Oregon’s 2012 Legislative Session: Impact on Oregon Physicians and Physicians Insurance

anne-bryant.jpgAnne Bryant, Senior Director of Government Relations

With overwhelming bipartisan support the Oregon legislature passed SB 1580, which launches coordinated care organizations (CCOs) designed to better serve more than 600,000 Oregonians enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid). Similar to accountable care organizations, CCOs are state-certified organizations designed to coordinate and integrate physical, behavioral, and oral health care. CCOs aim at reducing emergency room visits and costs of delivering health care services while improving wellness and prevention. Interested organizations can become qualified CCOs when they are certified by the state through the Oregon Health Authority. The implementation of CCOs has been directed by the Oregon legislature to address two critical issues current to health care: (1) costs and (2) consistent outcomes with a focus on improving health by reducing waste and inefficiency and increasing front-end prevention.

Signed by Governor Kitzhaber on March 2, 2012, the bill went into effect immediately. Physicians Insurance was a stakeholder and involved in the extensive process that led to its passage. Though the bill does not include medical liability reform, it does include an interim work group on patient safety and defensive medicine—under the governor’s direction—designed to report medical liability recommendations no later than October 1, 2012, to the 2013 Oregon Legislature.

Governor Kitzhaber indicated there will be a dual track process for appointments to the work group—including convening a separate advisory committee to develop and recommend ideas around liability reform for the work group’s consideration. Physicians Insurance, together with the Oregon Liability Reform Coalition, will continue meetings with the governor’s office staff to actively pursue a leadership opportunity and discuss the process for the appointments to the advisory committee and interim work group.

In addition, Physicians Insurance is convening a meeting with the Oregon Medical Association, Oregon Liability Reform Coalition, Oregon hospitals, and other medical professional liability insurers. Together this team of professionals will work to support a meaningful interim process that examines and recommends reasonable medical liability reform ideas in a collaborative manner.

To learn more about Physicians Insurance’s continuing work in Oregon, please contact me at