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Oregon health reforms threatened by new federal directive, officials say

A new federal directive has thrown a wrench into Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber's reforms to the Oregon Health Plan. (The Oregonian/Bruce Ely)

A new federal directive has thrown a wrench into Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber's reforms to the Oregon Health Plan. (The Oregonian/Bruce Ely)

by Nick Budnick for Oregon Live
on August 21, 2014, updated August 22, 2014

Federal officials have thrown a wrench into the state's high-stakes reforms to the Oregon Health Plan, threatening a program that serves one in four Oregonians.

A new directive could eventually even force the state to return hundreds of millions of dollars received from the federal government – money that's already largely spent.

The federal agency that holds the purse strings for care of nearly 1 million low-income Oregon Health Plan members recently harshly criticized the state's system for distributing money to regional coordinated care organizations under the reforms.

The Aug. 7 letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says the state is employing "high-risk practices" as well as projections that "differ greatly" from those used by the CCOs themselves.

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