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City Club of Eugene: First, Do No Harm: The State of Healthcare in Oregon – Part 1

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Program date: June 28, 2024

Air date: July 1, 2024

From the City Club of Eugene:

“First, do no harm”. This is the Hippocratic Oath a physician takes when they get their medical license, and practice for their entire medical career.

Oregon Medical Group was founded in 1988 by a group of local physicians with a vision to provide patients with personalized, high-quality care.

In 2020, Optum, a corporation that has rapidly been purchasing medical groups nationwide, began courting and shortly thereafter, acquired Oregon Medical Group (OMG).Optum now owns or is affiliated with over 90,000 providers — almost 10% of all physicians.

During the pandemic, a few staff and clinicians left OMG. The remaining staff reported that Optum was unable to provide the support needed to maintain daily clinical operations leading to decreased morale and increased burn-out.

By March 2024, 32 OMG physicians had left the group, leaving approximately 2,000 patients per physician without a primary care doctor. OMG sent these patients a letter informing them that they no longer had a primary care doctor and could not access most OMG services. As a result, many patients felt abandoned in addition to a myriad of other emotions, including bewilderment, anger, shock, sadness, and numbness. For them, the term “Institutional Betrayal Trauma” may be an apt description of their experience. A concept developed by UO Professor Psychology Emerit Jennifer Freyd, institutional betrayal trauma describes how institutions perpetuate harm toward the individuals that they have responsibility to protect.

Thanks to the efforts of local and state legislators, lawyers, media, and community leaders, OMG/Optum has made some changes, but the next steps remain uncertain.

State leaders, lawyers, and physicians around Oregon are alarmed at what has happened in Eugene. As a result, they are working rapidly to ensure it does not happen elsewhere in Oregon.

First, Do No Harm, Part I: The State of Healthcare in Oregon, will explore what happened to Oregon Medical Group, why the community’s emotions are so strong, and what is occurring in Salem as a result.

First, Do No Harm, Part II: The State of Healthcare in Oregon, Efforts to Address the Corporatization of Medicine, Friday, July 19 @ Inn at the 5th Maple Room

Speakers:

Dr. Antonio (Tony) Germann is a family physician centered in rural primary healthcare, clinical health education, public health, and with a focus in the health policy to bring better health outcomes for the most vulnerable communities of Oregon. Currently he is medical director of Salud and Pacific pediatrics clinics of the Yakima Valley Farm Workers clinic system (FQHC). He is the founder of the Salud Rural Maternal Child Health Fellowship. The fellowship prepares interested family physicians for practice in a rural or underserved setting through advanced training in low and high-risk obstetrics, surgical obstetrical skills, management of neonatal complications including resuscitation, and advanced office gynecologic procedures. Dr. Germann enjoys advancing the development of primary care clinicians and has served as a clinical assistant professor and affiliate faculty at OHSU in the School of Medicine and Department of Family Medicine. In 2023, Dr. Germann joined the Oregon Health Policy Board, which provides oversight over the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). OHPB is responsible for many of the state’s major health systems including the Medicaid program, the Oregon State Hospital, public health, behavioral health, and the Public Employees Benefit Board and Oregon Educators Benefit Board.

Dr. Mark Litchman was born and raised in Eugene. He is a retired family practice physician who is one of the founding physicians of Oregon Medical Group (OMG), a previously doctor-owned medical organization in Eugene. Dr. Litchman got his medical degree from Oregon Health and Sciences University. Dr. Litchman practiced medicine for 46 years, 45 of those years with OMG. He served as president for Lane County Medical Society in 1999-2000, and as president for Oregon Medical Group from 2003-2013. Dr. Litchman retired in 2021, and moved with his wife, Marie, to Portland. Dr. Litchman is enjoying his time with his grandchildren, gardening, and spending time with Marie.

State Rep. Nancy Nathanson represents House District 13 which includes north Eugene’s Cal Young, Goodpasture, Harlow, Northeast Neighbors, River Road, and Santa Clara neighborhoods. She has served in the House of Representatives since 2007, and prior to that the Eugene City Council for 12 years.

Rep. Nathanson currently chairs the House Committee on Revenue and as Co-Chair for Joint Committee on Information Management and Technology. She has 14 years of leadership experience on budget committees including Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means and the Subcommittee on Human Services (and Health Care). She has received awards for legislative service from organizations including Oregon Primary Care Association, Oregon School-Based Health Care Network, AARP, Oregon Partnership to Immunize Children, Community Providers Association of Oregon, and Lane Council of Governments Outstanding Elected Official in 2019.

In the recent 2024 legislative session, she sponsored and passed bills to license and regulate Pharmacy Benefit Managers and to improve access to same-day health care through funding innovative programs and expediting nurse licensure.

Shin Shin Tang, PhD (she/hers) is a licensed psychologist and has co-authored research on betrayal trauma with Dr. Jennifer Freyd at the University of Oregon. She now maintains a private practice in Eugene, the traditional land of the Kalapuya people, where she helps people understand and heal from betrayal trauma, including institutional betrayal. She also serves as a psychology instructor at Oregon State University and the Clinical Director of the Oregon Mind Body Institute, which promotes mental health education for all. Finally, Dr. Tang is the author of Asian American Psychology and Psychotherapy: Intergenerational Trauma, Betrayal, and Liberation, the first volume to address various forms of betrayal trauma experienced by Asian Americans. Her website can be found at www.shinshintang.com.

About the City Club of Eugene:

The mission of the City Club of Eugene is to build community vision through open inquiry. The Club explores a wide range of significant local, state, and national issues and helps to formulate new approaches and solutions to problems. Membership is open to all, and Club members have a direct influence on public policy by discussing issues of concern with elected officials and other policy makers. The City Club’s mailing address is PO Box 12084, Eugene, OR 97440, and its website is cityclubofeugene.org.

Video and Broadcast

This program will be live streamed, and the videotape will be made available on the City Club of Eugene’s Facebook page and You Tube Channel, in addition to our website. It will be broadcast on Monday, July 1, at 7:00 p.m., on KLCC 89.7 FM.

Contact: For more information, visit CityClubOfEugene.org.

 

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