Oregon Leader in Groundbreaking Medicaid Waiver to Transform Housing and Health Care

OREGON IS NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FOR ITS GROUNDBREAKING 1115 MEDICAID WAIVER SET TO TRANSFORM HOUSING AND HEALTH

News Release from Oregon Housing and Community Services  November 2nd, 2023 1

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) was presented with a 2023 Award for Program Excellence at the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) annual conference. Oregon was recognized for achieving “first in the nation” provisions that set the tone for housing and health innovation through the approval of the 1115 Medicaid Waiver.

The work to get the state waiver approved was led by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and OHCS. OHA included game changing components around food assistance, climate change and major expansions in continual coverage for young children, while OHCS formulated and envisioned the housing components of the waiver application.

“As the state’s Housing Finance Agency (HFA), we know firsthand that housing is a clear determinant of health outcomes,” said OHCS Director Andrea Bell. “Now is the time to step outside the typical ‘lanes’ of an HFA and traditional healthcare models.”

“As our communities grapple with the challenges of housing insecurity, Oregon will have more capacity to help people,” said Dave Baden, interim director at OHA. “Approval of the waiver provides an opportunity for health care and housing systems to coordinate and create groundbreaking strategies in our state.”

The state received approval for the first-its-kind waiver to provide Medicaid funding for housing and food supports to vulnerable populations. This means that qualified Oregon Health Plan members who are facing certain life challenges will have social supports available to them to stay healthy at times in their lives when they are experiencing a greater need.

Over the next five years, Oregon will utilize more than $1 billion of federal resources to serve populations vulnerable to experiencing homelessness. These services and supports will be coming online in November 2024.

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