This month’s episode of the "What's On Your Mind" podcast series features Eric Hunter, president and CEO of CareOregon. MHE Managing Editor Peter Wehrwein, Editor Briana Contreras and Hunter discuss Medicaid redetermination and merger of CareOregon and the California-based insurer, SCAN Group.
Below is a brief Q&A of the conversation with Hunter, which has been edited for clarity and length.
Q: When you got up this morning and thought about work and healthcare, what was on your mind?
A: At the top of (my mind) every morning is our network, the frailty of the network that we rely on to serve at CareOregon – over half a million people. That's not the system writ large, even for our tiny bit of it. The challenges are immense, and as creative as we want to be in programs, and setting up ways to engage people and get them to a healthier state and in their communities, if we don't have the partners who can make that happen, then we're lost. I think there are a lot of needs out there right now. So the workforce, the ability and availability, that gives them access, whether it's hospitals or dental hygienist or psychiatrist or SUD vendors, transportation across the board, it's really a burden for our members, and one that just makes life so much more difficult than it needs to be for them.
Q: Can you address your collaboration with SCAN Health?
A: We're working with SCAN to create an umbrella organization of sorts. A parent company called Health Right Group of which CareOregon will be of subsidiary and the SCAN Health plans will be subsidiaries and have a shared services division, as well as a ancillary services division.
CareOregon will continue to exist with our name, our mission, our board and our relationship with our communities as we've always had, just as part of a larger organization.
We formally filed with SCAN I think December 31 and we hope that sometime in the late summer, early fall, we can get to closing, but right now the state is doing their due diligence to make sure this combination won't negatively impact Oregonians, particularly Medicaid, Medicaid members, dual members, our providers and our communities.