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DHS news release

October 25, 2004

Contact: Jim Sellers (503) 945-5738

Program contact: Gary Weeks (503) 945-5944


Recognized state leader in health planning and policy to head DHS Office of Medical Assistance Programs

Oregon Department of Human Services Director Gary Weeks today announced that he has appointed Barney Speight -- a long-time leader in health planning and policy in Oregon -- to be administrator of the DHS Office of Medical Assistance Programs (OMAP).


Speight has spent the bulk of his more than 30-year career in health planning, policy and research, most recently as vice president for communications and external affairs for Kaiser Permanente’s Northwest Region Office in Portland. He also served as the administrator of the Office for Oregon Health Policy and Research under Governor John Kitzhaber, M.D. Speight will begin as OMAP administrator Nov. 8.


"We are very fortunate to have someone of this caliber who has spent the majority of his professional life in the health care field to lead our efforts in health care," Weeks said.


"We are going to face some very difficult health-care decisions for low-income Oregonians in this next legislative session, and Barney Speight's public- and private-sector experience and accomplishments will enable him to bring a fresh look and balanced perspective to those discussions," he added.


Speight’s professional experience also includes working as vice president for government relations for the Oregon Association of Hospitals, director of public affairs for the Oregon Medical Association, and as a vice president of Good Samaritan Hospital & Medical Center, The Regence Group, and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Oregon in Portland. He is a 1970 graduate of Portland State University, where he also did graduate work.


OMAP administers the Medicaid portion of the Oregon Health Plan, which reaches more than 380,000 Oregonians with health care services. Implemented in 1994, the Health Plan expanded Medicaid coverage to a number of low-income Oregonians who do not qualify for traditional Medicaid and also implemented a prioritized list of medical conditions and services that gave priority to those medical services known to be most effective.


Speight succeeds Lynn Read, who has been OMAP administrator since 2002. Read, who joined DHS in 1979, will continue as deputy administrator. "Lynn Read has done a good job as OMAP administrator," Weeks said, "and blending her expertise in health care with that of Barney Speight’s experience will benefit all Oregonians."