Lori Coyner to leave Medicaid Director role to focus on new 1115 Medicaid waiver agreement with the federal government

(Portland, Ore. – June 9, 2021) Lori Coyner, the director of Oregon’s Medicaid program, will leave her current role at the end of this month to serve as primary leader to provide strategic guidance in the development of Oregon’s next 1115 Medicaid waiver agreement with the federal government. In her role, Coyner will be instrumental in forging a new agreement with health officials in the Biden administration about the way the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) delivers health care to more than 1.1 million people (or nearly 1 in 4 Oregonians).

In her role as Medicaid Director, Coyner oversees the state’s Medicaid program, which has a biennial budget of approximately $18 billion for the 2019-2021 biennium.

Oregon’s 1115 Medicaid waiver is an agreement with the federal government which provides the state flexibility to pursue innovative Medicaid reforms, such as Oregon’s coordinated care organizations (CCOs) which are accountable to local communities and incentivized to achieve specific cost-saving and health care quality outcomes (such as fewer unneeded emergency department visits). Oregon’s 16 CCOs serve more than 900,000 Oregonians on the Oregon Health Plan. Oregon’s current Medicaid waiver expires at the end of June, 2022.

Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen said, “As Medicaid Director, Lori Coyner has been a catalyst in changing health care in Oregon. She was instrumental in winning timely approval of our current Medicaid waiver, developing new standards for CCOs and gaining federal agreement to our recent waivers to strengthen behavioral health services for Oregonians and give us more flexibility to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m excited that she’ll remain on board to guide our next waiver.”

Dana Hittle will serve as OHA’s interim Medicaid Director. For the past two and a half years, Hittle has served as Deputy Medicaid Director, working with teams across OHA to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Oregon’s Medicaid program and its ability to deliver services to the state’s most vulnerable populations, including children in foster care and people who need behavioral health services.