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DHS news release

December 19, 2005


Contact: Jim Sellers (503) 945-5738
Program contact: Bruce Goldberg, M.D. (503) 945-5944


Family physician and state commission chair named OHP medical director



A long-time Oregon family physician and current chair of the state Health Resources Commission will be the new medical director of the Office of Medical Assistance Programs in the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS).


He is Walter E. Shaffer, M.D., who in 1978 co-founded a Seaside group medical practice that Providence Health System has operated as Providence North Coast Clinic since 1992. He will leave his Seaside practice and start work as medical director in the state Medicaid office in Salem on March 13.


"Dr. Shaffer's three decades of family practice, combined with his Oregon Health Plan experience as both a practitioner and policy maker, make him an exemplary choice for this position," DHS Director Bruce Goldberg said Monday. "I've come to know him as a down-to-earth professional who is highly regarded by his peers in the profession."


The 11-member state Health Resources Commission, of which Shaffer, 56, is chair, is charged with controlling costs and improving the quality of health care in the Oregon Health Plan by influencing elements such as use of medical technology.


As medical director for the state's Medicaid program, Shaffer's duties will include clinical leadership for the state office that oversees operations of the Oregon Health Plan; responsibility for liaison with medical providers and provider groups; and clinical decision making on complex Health Plan medical issues. Shaffer succeeds Tom Turek, M.D., who recently retired.


Shaffer is a 1971 Phi Beta Kappa biology graduate of Oberlin College in Ohio who holds his medical degree (1975) from the University of California in San Francisco. He is former president of the Oregon Academy of Family Physicians and of the Clatsop County Medical Society; first president of the Oregon Academy of Family Physicians Foundation; former chair of the Providence Seaside Hospital board of directors; and a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and Oregon Medical Association. He holds a faculty appointment as clinical associate professor of family medicine at the Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland. Outside of his medical career, Dr. Shaffer plays percussion instruments and is a member of the North Coast Symphonic Band.