Legislative Committee Reports/Updates

September 2020

It has been quite a busy summer for the OPA Legislative Committee. The Committee has monitored the two Legislative Special Sessions that occurred in June and August. In addition, the committee has been participating in many conversations and workgroups in preparation for the 2021 Legislative Session. Here is a brief description of the issues we have been monitoring:

  • Alternative Behavioral Health Workgroup – OPA is an invited participant in a Workgroup Chaired by Representative Andrea Salinas. The goal of the workgroup is to develop policy recommendations to:
    • Prevent potential harm that is caused when unlicensed therapists treat patients;
    • Enable the state to enforce policies regarding unlicensed therapists and their practice;
    • Provide statutory recourse and remedy for patients who are harmed after seeking care from unlicensed therapists; and
    • Maintain and grow a needed workforce of licensed therapists.
  • Telemedicine Coalition – OPA is participating in a coalition with other provider organizations and consumer groups to advocate for continuance of the emergency telemedicine guidelines. At this time, these guidelines are in effect only through December. The coalition is advocating that the rules remain in effect until July in the hopes that we can pass legislation during the 2021 Legislative Session that would codify the rules as permanent statute.
  • Parity Legislation – Several mental health advocacy organizations are looking at potential legislation for the 2021 Legislative Session that would further our mental health parity laws in Oregon. This comes in response to work done by the Department of Consumer and Business Services (hereafter referred to as Department) as required by Senate Bill (SB) 860. SB 860 required the Department to examine and adopt rules or take other actions based upon the results of the Department’s examination to ensure that carriers meet the requirements of Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) 743A.168 and 743B.505 in policies, certificates or contracts for health insurance that the carriers provide in Oregon. Details on this report and process can be found in this link .
All of these issues are works in progress and we hope to be able to provide you with more details in upcoming newsletters. There will be much work to be done in the upcoming Legislative Session and the Legislative Committee can always use more help from membership. If you are interested in joining the committee, please contact us at [email protected].