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GOBHI Providers Behavioral Health Newsletter March 2023

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

Update From The CEO

Picture of Karen Wheeler, GOBHI CEO

Greetings, providers.

Welcome to the official start of spring, which began on March 20.

The state legislature is deep into budget discussions. This newsletter includes summaries and helpful links related to that process. We are actively engaged in advocating for the behavioral health continuum, in Salem. As you may be aware, as part of this effort, GOBHI produced a fact sheet about the importance of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCS, and we are finalizing a second fact sheet that demystifies the Aid and Assist process and calls for community-based restoration solutions.

Another Communications announcement relevant to providers is our new GOBHI funding page. This page lists available RFPs/grants from GOBHI or relevant EOCCO projects. It does not include funding sources from outside agencies, but is instead specific to our lines of business. Please consider bookmarking the page or signing up for email alerts using the link on the page so you are able to monitor future funding opportunities that may be relevant to your organization or professional network.

BH Campaign: The Behavioral Health Workforce Campaign project is making significant progress. At the steering committee meeting last week, our vendors (CFM and subcontractors Birdee Media and ZPP Productions) presented: Five full interview videos, information on the campaign website that is nearing completion, and a marketing plan outline with key milestones around launching the campaign to the public in late spring and following up from that point with tools that can be passed to GOBHI for continued recruitment efforts. We will share further updates as they proceed, in this newsletter and directly with our CMHP partners.

In closing, thank you for your steadfast efforts and commitment to serving the behavioral health and social service needs of community members in Eastern Oregon.


Karen Wheeler, MA CEO, GOBHI / Tribal Liaison, EOCCO


State budget overview & ‘road show’

The Oregon Legislature’s top budget writers (Ways & Means Committee co-chairs) have released the 2023-25 budget plan.

The budget overall increases spending from current service level ($29.2 billion) to $30.4 billion for the next biennium. According to Eames Consulting, this budget may seem like an increase, but it in effect includes a 2.5% reduction for General Fund and Lottery Fund program areas.

Budget overview (Eames):

Reserves. Perhaps the biggest disparity between Gov. Kotek's budget and the legislative budget writers is in their treatment of tapping into reserves. The Governor proposed drawing down $765 million that was set to automatically go into reserves, but the co-chairs have offered a different option. Their divergence could be because of the most recent revenue forecast, where our state economists anticipated a likely mild recession over the next few years. Combining this outlook with the receding one-time pandemic-era federal aid, Sen. Steiner and Rep. Sanchez were careful to keep healthy reserves intact, building in the state's statutory Rainy Day Fund deposit as well as “a discretionary Lottery Funds balance of approximately $25 million to mitigate revenue fluctuations."

Schools. Legislative leaders agree with Gov. Kotek that the funding of schools should largely be held harmless to cuts. They put forth a $9.9 billion State School Fund budget, going beyond the $9.5 billion that state budget analysts suggested to maintain current service level status. This does not reach the $10.3 billion that schools advocates proposed, according to The Oregonian.

State employees. Where the Legislative Branch differs from the Executive Branch most significantly is in the realm of pay increases, retention, and recruitment incentives for state employees. Gov. Kotek suggested $515 million for these areas, while the co-chairs came in just under at $450 million, but with an additional $65 million for ‘non-state employee salary adjustment.’"

Road Show: Throughout April, the committee will meet across the state to hear from the public about their budget plan and other state financial issues. The committee website includes links to sign up to testify during each event. Here's the schedule:

  • Saturday, April 8, 10am: Portland (Portland Community College Sylvania Campus)

  • Friday, April 14, 5pm: Newport (Newport Performing Arts Center)

  • Friday, April 21, 5pm: Roseburg (Umpqua Community College)

  • Friday, April 28, 5pm (Mountain Time): Ontario (Four Rivers Cultural Center)

Lawmakers will receive their last-of-the-session economic outlook and revenue forecast from state economists on May 17.

*News source and more information: Eames Consulting


EPSDT Training

GOBHI is hosting a webinar on EPSDT (Early Periodic Screening Diagnostic Treatment) on April 4, 2023, 11:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.

Registration link: EPSDT Webinar


  • Early: Assessing and identifying problems early

  • Periodic: Checking children’s health at periodic, age-appropriate intervals

  • Screening: Providing physical, mental, developmental, dental, hearing, vision and other screening tests to detect potential problems

  • Diagnostic: Performing diagnostic tests to follow up when a risk is identified and

  • Treatment: Control, correct or ameliorate (make more tolerable) health problems found.

EPSDT is a benefit that provides comprehensive and preventive health care services for children and youth under age 21 who are enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP). States are required to provide comprehensive services and furnish all Medicaid coverable, appropriate, and medically necessary services needed to correct and ameliorate health conditions, based on certain federal guidelines. In Oregon, EPSDT constitutes the child and youth benefit within the Oregon Health Plan.

Effective January 1, 2023, Oregon will implement the full Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment benefit (EPSDT) for children and youth until their 21st birthday. This means both the Open Card program and coordinated care organizations (CCOs) must cover any medically necessary and medically appropriate services (and dentally appropriate, for dental services) for enrolled children and youth, regardless of:

  • The location of the diagnosis on the Prioritized List of Health Services;

  • Whether it pairs, or is a non-pairing service;

  • Whether it is a previously “non-covered” ancillary service; or

  • Whether it is covered under the State Plan.

Webinar Topics

  • Overview- How this applies to providers

  • Authorization and Denials

  • Status updates on Claims Configuration

  • Diagnosis codes and appropriateness

  • NEMT

  • Targeted Audits on EPSDT Claims for 2024

  • Diagnosis code- Prioritized line

  • Opening up diagnosis codes- Z codes and are now easier to use for a larger breadth of diagnosis


Housing Initiatives

Legislative Housing Updates

On March 21, the Oregon Senate passed with bipartisan support the Affordable Housing and Emergency Homelessness Response Package, the Legislature's response to Oregon's affordable housing crisis and Gov. Tina Kotek's emergency declaration on homelessness. The bill now goes to the Governor's desk for her signature.

House Bill 2001 and House Bill 5019 commit more than $200 million toward increasing Oregon’s housing supply, helping rehouse and shelter people experiencing homelessness and preventing future homelessness. In short, the package addresses the immediate needs facing Oregon communities and lays the groundwork for long-term solutions.

The bills seek to:

  • Fund the governor’s homelessness state of emergency to allow for a statewide and coordinated response to homelessness ($130 million)

  • Extend homelessness support to rural and coastal Oregon ($27 million)

  • Provide support for homeless youth by connecting them with rental assistance, shelter, culturally specific services and health care ($25 million)

  • Increase production of affordable modular housing in Oregon ($20 million)

  • Improve on-site workforce housing for farmworkers ($5 million)

  • Grant renters faced with eviction for non-payment more time to access rental assistance and other services

  • Make affordable housing production the state’s top planning priority and ensure the state will work with local partners to identify effective strategies and tools to increase production

GOBHI Housing Initiatives Update

The GOBHI Board of Directors’ approved budget invests $350,000 in 2023 toward the housing stability initiative that is part of the Comprehensive Behavioral Health Plan (CBHP). GOBHI has announced that the following projects will be awarded funds in this project cycle for a total of $85,975:

  • Housing Authority of Malheur & Harney Counties- $25,000

  • New Directions Northwest- $25,000

  • Eastern Oregon Center for Independent Living- $25,000

  • Wallowa Valley Center for Wellness- $10,975

Supporting Health for All through Reinvestment (SHARE): Another relevant housing opportunity is the SHARE initiative, spearheaded by EOCCO. This application is designed to provide funding to projects addressing Social Determinants of Health and Equity (SDOH-E). Eligible applicants must demonstrate ways in which their project aligns with one of the four SDOH-E categories: economic stability, education, neighborhood and build environment, and social and community health. See the application for more details. For the list of projects most recently funded, read the January provider newsletter edition.


OCBHJI specialist elected to national crisis intervention leadership role

Ridg Medford headshot

A staff member at the Oregon Center on Behavioral Health and Justice Integration (OCBHJI), housed at Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc. (GOBHI) has been elected to a national leadership position in the field of crisis intervention.

Ridg Medford, OCBHJI Behavioral Health and Justice Specialist, was nominated and elected to the position of First Vice President of the Crisis Intervention Team International Board of Directors on January 1, 2023.

OCBHJI is a specialized division of GOBHI dedicated to solutions at the intersection of criminal justice and behavioral health.

“We want to extend heartfelt congratulations to Ridg on this monumental achievement and thank him for all of the work he is doing for CIT, not only in Oregon but internationally,” said Karen Wheeler, CEO of GOBHI.

Ridg’s story

Ridg has spent the majority of his career promoting and advocating for crisis intervention teams (CIT). His dedication to first responder wellness also includes training to promote best possible outcomes for those involved in crisis situations. That work began when Ridg was a sworn officer with the Ontario, Oregon Police Department, where he served for 16 years. He became a Malheur County CIT coordinator and successfully expanded the CIT collaboration to multiple stakeholders, maintaining the spirit of CIT as a collaborative program.

Ridg continued his passion and advocacy for CIT when he transitioned into his role at OCBHJI. Here, he was able to continue his CIT promotion statewide and partner with the Department of Public Safety Standard and Training to become a part of the Crisis Intervention Team Center of Excellence (CITCOE) to assist communities with development and ongoing support in their local CIT programs.

These efforts and advocacy for CIT did not go unnoticed, and on January 1, 2022, Ridg was appointed to the CIT International Board of Directors. He was able to promote and highlight the inspiring work occurring in Oregon as well as provide a unique perspective of CIT teams in rural and frontier counties. Because of his unique perspective, insight, and vast knowledge of CIT, Ridg was nominated and elected to the position of First Vice President of the Crisis Intervention Team International Board of Directors on January 1, 2023.


SUD Waiver reminder

Background: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved Oregon’s Substance Use Disorder 1115 Demonstration waiver, effective April 8, 2021, through March 31, 2026. This SUD specific waiver helps build a full continuum of care for Medicaid members with substance use disorders. The following is part of a series of updates from GOBHI helping to keep you informed about the waiver and its related requirements.

  • As Of Jan. 1, 2022 OHA has opened up several new SUD reimbursement codes. OHA has updated the Medicaid Management Information System (MMIS) with these changes. Providers can now bill for these new rates and services for dates on or after Jan. 1, 2022.

  • Please refer to the CMS approval letter.

For more information, visit our SUD 1115 Waiver Website, which is updated on an ongoing basis. For questions, contact Michelle Brandsma at GOBHI,


Program reminder - Foster Care

Foster homes for youth are greatly needed in Eastern Oregon!

The GOBHI Therapeutic Foster Care program provides full-time/part-time services and care to youth in foster homes with foster parents certified and trained by GOBHI. Youth are involved with the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS), Child Welfare Division.

Please visit our website to learn more about the program and how you can help by sharing information, promoting the importance of foster care, and referring individuals who are able to support this critical effort.

Help us build a network of caring homes to support youth across our state. For more information about referral incentives and how you can support foster home recruitment efforts, see this flier or contact a member of our Foster Care Team.


GOBHI launches Instagram account

GOBHI is launching an Instagram page at the end of this week! This brings the total of main GOBHI social media accounts to three – Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. (Not including additional program accounts, such as Therapeutic Foster Care). For those not yet acquainted, Instagram is a photo-centric social media platform that is primarily accessed via phone. Follow us at @GOBHI_Insta for more.

“We’re on Instagram! Check out GOBHI’s content on this platform. As with our other social media accounts, we will share helpful resources, behavioral health news, GOBHI program information, and we will use it as a connection point with the broader community. Follow us today!”


Questions? Topics?

Invitation: County Highlights

This newsletter is published during the last week of each month.

One of our ongoing sections is a “spotlight” of each county. Each month, we invite updates from the 12 counties in our service area. We invite content from you for this section: 3-4 sentences (or ~150-300 words) about news in your county, such as staff, building, and success story content. Please contact Pat Mulvihill to sign up for one of the 12 months. Aside from sign-ups, we will reach out to you to help gather the content. Thank you for your support.

Submission due dates for comments and submitted write-ups: the second Friday of each month, at 4 p.m. Next due date is April 14.

Helpful Links:


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