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News Releases
OHA launches winter campaign to encourage conversations about alcohol - 12/07/23

Editor: Rethink the Drink Winter Campaign 2023 visuals and supporting documents can be downloaded at this Dropbox link.

December 7, 2023

Media Contact: Jonathan Modie, 971-246-9139, PHD.Communications@oha.oregon.gov

OHA launches winter campaign to encourage conversations about alcohol

Rethink the Drink urges communities to talk about alcohol, offers tips for supporting others during holiday season

PORTLAND, Ore. — At a time when many people in Oregon are celebrating the holiday season with friends, coworkers, and loved ones, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is launching Rethink the Drink’s new winter advertising campaign to change the conversation about alcohol.

The campaign emphasizes the need for people to come together and support one another to be healthy and care for communities. That includes creating healthy environments that support people in their efforts to drink less alcohol. The campaign reveals how common alcohol has become in community settings and asks people to consider ways they can best support their friends and loved ones – and their entire community – to be healthy.

Rethink the Drink, informed by significant community and partner engagement, aims to decrease alcohol consumption and related harms in Oregon. Elements of this winter campaign include a website; statewide TV, radio, digital and print advertisements; and Facebook and Instagram pages. Oregon is the only state in the country to initiate a public health campaign of this scale to reach adults 21 and older.

While younger people in Oregon are drinking less, binge drinking and heavy drinking among adults are on the rise, and are responsible for an estimated 1 in 5 deaths among those ages 20-49. Overall, excessive alcohol use is the third leading cause of preventable death and disease in Oregon.

“During December and the holiday season, many people and communities come together at celebrations or events where alcohol may be present. We’re trying to start a new conversation to help dial down the pressure around alcohol, and help create more supportive community spaces for everyone,” said Tom Jeanne, M.D., M.P.H., deputy state health officer and epidemiologist at OHA.

“Our new campaign and messaging explore how alcohol has crept into so many settings of our daily lives, whether that’s at the hair salon, a child’s birthday party, or a baby shower,” Jeanne said “Even in moments when people are trying to improve their health, such as a 5k run or during a hike in the woods, many of us find ourselves drinking more. This campaign is about caring for one another and for our communities so that we can all be healthy and feel supported.”

Data show the first Rethink the Drink campaign was a significant success

Based on evaluation data from RMC Research for its first campaign in summer 2022, Rethink the Drink achieved its goals and exceeded expectations for the campaign. People in Oregon who saw the campaign:

  • Had more conversations about their own drinking, friends’ and families’ drinking, and what excessive drinking is.
  • Thought more about their drinking habits.
  • Were more likely to plan on cutting back their drinking than those who did not see the campaign.

People living in Oregon may be drinking excessively without realizing it

The share of Oregon adults who drink excessively is larger than most people realize – more than 1 in 5. Most people in this group are not affected by alcoholism or an alcohol use disorder. However, by drinking excessively, people increase their odds of developing an alcohol use disorder later in life.

OHA uses the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) definition of excessive alcohol use, which includes both heavy drinking and binge drinking:

  • Heavy drinking, which can lead to chronic diseases and other problems over time, is eight or more drinks per week for women or 15 or more drinks per week for men.
  • Binge drinking is consuming four or more drinks on one occasion for women or five or more drinks on one occasion for men.

For more information on differences among genders for what’s considered excessive drinking, visit https://www.rethinkthedrink.com/what-is-excessive-drinking.

The unjust harms of excessive drinking

Certain populations experience more unjust stressors and disadvantages due to racism, discrimination, and historical disinvestment in these communities, which has led to higher rates of alcohol-related harms. These include Black and Indigenous communities, as well as people with lower incomes and less education.

Excessive drinking causes health harms that include increased risks for cancer, liver failure, heart disease and depression. Beyond the health harms to the individual, excessive drinking affects the entire community, costing Oregon $4.8 billion per year from lost earnings for workers and revenue for businesses, health care expenses, criminal justice costs and car crashes.

“We all have a role to play in building healthy communities and addressing alcohol and substance use in our state,” said Annaliese Dolph, director of Oregon’s Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission. “The Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission’s Strategic Plan calls for raising awareness of harm associated with alcohol misuse, especially using prevention techniques. This is exactly what the Rethink the Drink campaign helps accomplish. This is an example of state agencies working together with the Commission to carry out the Commission’s task of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of substance use services.”

Dolph added: “Preventing misuse across the lifespan includes having honest conversations to help people to think about the alcohol they are consuming, and decrease family and community norms permissive of misuse. This can increase the perception of harm from misuse and address the health harms faced by historically marginalized communities.”

Rethink the Drink is not telling people to stop drinking, Jeanne says. The campaign is asking people to pause for a moment, learn about the harms caused by excessive drinking, and think about the way alcohol is prevalent in their lives and communities. While the alcohol industry provides thousands of jobs for people in Oregon, and producers in our state make some of the world’s finest beers, wines and spirits, excessive drinking carries heavy costs for all Oregonians, whether they drink or not.

Note: If you or someone you care about is suffering from alcohol dependence or an alcohol use disorder, free confidential resources and support are available online or by calling or 1-800-923-435.

About Rethink the Drink

Rethink the Drink is an initiative of OHA’s Public Health Division with a goal to build healthier communities by decreasing excessive drinking and the harm it causes to individuals, families and communities. Recognizing the value of Oregon’s beer, wine and alcohol producers and businesses to the state’s economy, culture and identity, Rethink the Drink is not asking people not to drink. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the effects of excessive alcohol use. While people of all education and income levels drink excessively, certain populations experience higher rates of alcohol-related diseases. These include Black and Indigenous communities, as well as people with lower incomes and less education. Certain populations experience higher rates of alcohol-related disease due to discrimination and historical disinvestment in these communities that has contributed to fewer resources and support. Rethink the Drink is committed to OHA’s larger goal to end health inequities in our state by 2030.


State officials plan to boost naloxone availability in Oregon schools - 12/05/23

December 5, 2023

Media contact: Larry Bingham, 971-239-6499, Larry.bingham@oha.oregon.gov

State officials plan to boost naloxone availability in Oregon schools

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has announced plans to offer free opioid overdose reversal kits to middle and high schools throughout the state.

The effort is an expansion of the Save Lives Oregon (SLO) Initiative’s Harm Reduction Clearinghouse Project.

The SLO Harm Reduction Clearinghouse began during COVID and has provided naloxone and other harm reduction supplies at no cost to agencies around the state that directly engage with people at highest risk of substance use related overdose, infections, and injuries.

The expansion of the Harm Reduction Clearinghouse Project to support schools to access naloxone was made possible through one-time funding from the Oregon’s Opioid Settlement Prevention, Treatment and Recovery Board.

The Oregon Department of Education last week notified school district leaders about the availability of naloxone for schools, registration opened Nov. 29 and as of today 505 total schools, colleges, and universities have requested to receive reversal kits.

The intent is to help school districts increase access to overdose reversal kits within their schools for use in the event of an opioid overdose emergency at or near a school campus.

“The opioid epidemic and overdose crisis impacts every community in Oregon. While overdose events on school property are rare, our school communities should be prepared to respond to an overdose medical emergency,” said Ebony Clarke, OHA’s director of behavioral health.

Every middle and high school is eligible to receive up to three opioid overdose reversal kits. The kits contain a wall mounted naloxone box, instructions, emergency medical supplies, and eight doses of the opioid antagonist, naloxone nasal spray.

Naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal medication, can restore breathing while waiting for emergency medical services to arrive.  Access to naloxone is necessary for school staff to respond to an opioid overdose on or near a school campus.  

Eligible schools must serve students seventh grade or higher. The program is open to all public, private, charter schools, colleges and universities or tribal communities located in Oregon.

For more information, including the link to the online application, please visit the SLO website.

The SLO Clearinghouse has provided no-cost supplies to more than 280 organizations and agencies across Oregon and Tribal communities, including harm reduction organizations, local public health and behavioral health agencies, law enforcement, first responders, community health clinics, substance use disorder facilities and hospital-based programs.

The Harm Reduction Clearinghouse has distributed more than 335,500 doses of naloxone to agencies that directly distribute naloxone to people at risk of opioid overdose since 2022, according to OHA estimates.


OHA updates plan for climate benefits while awaiting federal approval - 11/30/23

November 30, 2023

Media Contact: Amy Bacher, amy.bacher2@oha.oregon.gov

OHA updates plan for climate benefits while awaiting federal approval

After federal rules posed added restrictions to the state’s plan, OHA and state partners pursued new avenues to get devices to OHP members

Portland, Ore. – Today Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced the state will update its plan for how climate-related devices are distributed to eligible Oregon Health Plan (OHP) members prior to a forecasted weather-related emergency. The benefits are projected to begin in March 2024, pending federal government approval.

OHA initially proposed introducing climate benefits for OHP members in January 2024 as part of Oregon’s 1115 Medicaid waiver, which uses federal dollars to provide climate devices like air conditioners, air filtration devices, and portable power supplies to eligible Medicaid members; however, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) informed the state that distributing climate devices prior to an emergency declaration would not be possible.

“The limitation would have severely restricted distribution of climate devices, so we sought feedback from state partners and a more flexible approach,” said Dave Baden, interim director of OHA. “We look forward to continuing to work with CMS and moving toward final approval.”

“Our first priority always is our community,” said Sean Jessup, Chief Executive Officer, Eastern Oregon Coordinated Care Organization (EOCCO). “We’re laser-focused on getting the right resources to our OHP members, particularly in times of greater need. We’re encouraged that this plan will even better serve people.”

Before the new benefits launch, CCO-enrolled OHP members can contact their CCO to see if climate supports are available through “flexible services” (also called health related services). If a member has OHP but is not sure which CCO they are in, they can call the Client Services Unit at 1-800-273-0557 or email: Ask.OHP@odhsoha.oregon.gov.

Additional details will be provided in the coming weeks. Information about Oregon’s 1115 Medicaid waiver is currently available on OHA’s web site, via the waiver newsletter, and through webinars in English and Spanish.


Recreational use advisory lifted for Willow Creek Reservoir - 11/23/23

PORTLAND, Ore.—Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has lifted the recreational use health advisory issued for Willow Creek Reservoir in Morrow County. 

OHA issued the advisory Sept. 19, 2023. 

Water monitoring has confirmed levels of cyanotoxins in Willow Creek Reservoir are below recreational guideline values for people. However, detected levels are still above OHA’s educational guideline values for dogs, so owners should keep their pets away from these areas.

OHA advises recreational visitors to stay alert to signs of cyanobacteria blooms. Blooms can develop and disappear on any water body at any time when conditions are favorable. Only a fraction of water bodies in Oregon are monitored for blooms and toxins, so it’s important for people to be familiar with signs of a bloom, exposures and symptoms by visiting OHA’s Cyanobacteria Harmful Algae Bloom website at http://www.healthoregon.org/hab.

When recreating, people – and especially small children and pets – should avoid areas where the water is foamy, scummy, thick like paint, pea-green or blue-green, or if thick brownish-red mats are visible or bright green clumps are suspended in the water. If you see these signs, avoid activities that cause you to swallow water or inhale droplets, such as swimming or high-speed water activities, and keep pets out of the area.

Cyanotoxins can still exist in clear water. When a bloom dies, toxins released may reach into clear water around the bloom. Blooms can be pushed into other areas, leaving behind the toxins released. There also are species of cyanobacteria that anchor themselves at the bottom of a water body, live in the sediment, or can grow on aquatic plants and release toxins into clear water.

For health information or to report an illness, contact OHA at 971-673-0482.


Renewal data shows 5 out of 6 Oregonians keeping medical benefits; Oregon in top three states protecting medical benefits - 11/22/23

November 22, 2023

Media contacts:

Erica Heartquist, Oregon Health Authority, Erica.J.Heartquist@oha.oregon.gov, 503-871-8843

Jake Sunderland, Oregon Department of Human Services,  Jake.Sunderland@odhs.oregon.gov, 503-877-0170

Renewal data shows 5 out of 6 Oregonians keeping medical benefits; Oregon in top three states protecting medical benefits

SALEM, Ore. — Nearly two-thirds of the way into renewals process following the end of the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, data shows more than 5 out of 6 Oregonians are keeping their Oregon Health Plan (OHP) or other Medicaid benefits.

Oregon’s 85 percent renewal rate is the third highest in the nation according to Kaiser Family Foundation’s comparison of state renewal rates.

There has been a 2.7 percent increase in renewal rates over the last month, due to Oregon restoring benefits for some people whose benefits had previously closed. Between the recent restorations and Oregon’s earlier decision to renew some people expected to retain benefits through the unwinding process, it is likely we will see the renewal rate decline somewhat in future months.

Oregon’s unique steps to keep people covered are also in effect: As of October 31, 14,105 people likely to qualify for Oregon’s Basic Health Program are keeping their OHP until July 2024 when the new program launches.

OHP renewals after the pandemic            

During the pandemic emergency, the federal government allowed states to keep people on Medicaid and did not require annual renewals.

With the end of the emergency, everyone who has OHP or other Medicaid benefits will receive a renewal notice by mid-2024. The notice will explain whether the member needs to provide additional information or take action to keep their coverage. People may be asked for additional information, including documents such as paystubs, or to review, sign and return a renewal packet.

OHP renewals so far

As of Nov. 17, 2023, 919,879 people have completed the renewal process. This represents 63.8 percent of all OHP and Medicaid members.

  • 783,661 people (85.2 percent) were renewed and kept their benefits. This is a 2.7 percent point increase since October.
  • 111,941 people (13.0 percent) were found ineligible. This is a 0.8 percent point decrease since October.
  • 16,227 people (1.8 percent) had a reduction in their benefits. Most of these members lost full OHP but were able to continue our Medicare Savings Programs that help pay their Medicare costs. This is a sharp decrease from the 25,714 (3.2 percent) reductions reported in October, largely due to the benefit restorations.

November OHP renewal requests

In November, renewal letters were sent to an additional 140,780 people. 

  • 7 percent were renewed without any action needed.
  • 6 percent were asked to provide some information to renew. The most common requests are for income-related proof, like paystubs, or forms of identification, like a government identification or birth certificate.
  • 3 percent were asked to fill out a renewal form.
  • 7 percent had previously reported that they no longer met income limits or other requirements and received a notice that their benefits will be ending in 60 days.

State responds to renewal system issues

Over the last few months month, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and ODHS responded to three issues with the renewal process:

  • Extending coverage for members who received incorrect approval notices: Around 11,700 members who did not respond to renewal requests received incorrect approval notices instead of closure notices. ODHS/OHA extended their coverage extended through the end of the year. These members received a new notice and call explaining that they can provide the missing information by the end of the year to prevent closure. An additional 1,700 members found ineligible for other reasons also receive the incorrect approval notice, and had their coverage extended until the end of the year to allow additional time to find other health coverage.
  • Correcting or preventing incorrect terminations: Medical benefits were restored for around 1,900 people whose benefits were incorrectly ended in September. 1,226 people also incorrectly received notices explaining that their benefits would end at the end of October, but those closures were prevented. Affected members received new notices in November that their coverage is continuing. In 2024, they will get another notice letting them know whose benefits are renewed without needing a response, and who in their household still needs to respond to a renewal.
  • Restoring Oregon Supplemental Income Program—Medical (OSIPM) benefits: ODHS paused closures and restored coverage to 20,000 people found over the income or financial resource limits for OSIPM. OSIPM is a program that provides OHP coverage to Oregonians who are legally blind, have a disability, and/or are 65 or older--and have limited income and financial resources. Members received a notice in October or November that their coverage was restored. ODHS is updating OSIPM renewal notices with more information about members’ options to potentially remain eligible. This way, they can make an informed decision and have additional time to report changes and keep their benefits if still eligible. In 2024, these members will get another renewal notice, after which benefits may end if they are still over the income or resource limits.

ODHS and OHA encourage members to protect their benefits

The large number of OHP renewals, along with renewals of long-term services and supports, may cause greater wait times, delays, and possible interruptions to people’s OHP benefits. OHP members are encouraged to respond as quickly as possible after they receive a request for information to avoid any possible delays. The fastest way members can provide an update is by going to benefits.oregon.gov and logging into their ONE online account. 

Members can visit KeepCovered.Oregon.gov to learn:

  • What to do to protect their medical benefits
  • Where to get help renewing their benefits
  • How to provide updates when it’s time to renew
  • How to explore health coverage options through a job, Medicare or the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace if they no longer qualify for OHP

Community partners and providers can find resources to support members through the unwinding process at KeepCoveredPartners.Oregon.gov.

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) are committed to transparency and will continue to send monthly information about medical coverage among Oregonians as the agencies continue to track the programs.

Find help renewing your benefits

  1. Learn more about how to renew your Oregon Health Plan medical coverage.
  2. Find a list of all the ways you can get help with renewing your medical benefits at benefits.oregon.gov
  3. Call the ONE Customer Service Center: 800-699-9075 (all relay calls are accepted, and help is available in multiple languages). Wait times are lowest between 7 and 8 a.m.
  4. Stop by or call a local office. People can find their local office at:  https://www.oregon.gov/odhs/Pages/office-finder.aspx
  5. Visit a community partner for free, in-person help. To find one near you visit OregonHealthCare.gov/GetHelp (English) or orhim.info/ayuda (Spanish).

What to do if OHP is ending:

  • First, review the case summary in your letter to make sure the information used to make the decision was correct. If that information has changed, notify the state. You can call the ONE Customer Service Center at 800-699-9075 (toll-free, all relay calls accepted) or find other options to connect at benefits.oregon.gov. If the information on file for you is correct and you disagree with the decision, you can request a hearing. Learn more about hearings here
  • Explore options through an employer. If you, your spouse, or a parent are working, you may be eligible for health coverage through that employer. Talk to your manager or Human Resources department to see if you qualify. You will have a special enrollment period to enroll mid-year due to loss of OHP benefits.
  • If you have or are eligible for Medicare: For help understanding Medicare options, go to OregonHealthcare.gov/GetHelp to find an insurance agent or a counselor at the Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance Program (SHIBA), or call SHIBA at 800-722-4134. SHIBA counselors and insurance can help you choose the right Medicare options if you’re losing OHP coverage.

If you need to sign up for Medicare for the first time, contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) at 800-772-1213 to enroll by phone or find a local office. You can also enroll in Medicare online at ssa.gov/medicare/sign-up.

  • Nearly 80 percent of Oregonians qualify for financial help through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. Visit OregonHealthCare.gov/WindowShop to answer a few quick questions and find out how much you can save and how much coverage may cost you. You can also call the Marketplace Transition Help Center at 833-699-6850 (toll-free, all relay calls accepted).
  • Need free local help figuring any of this out? Visit OregonHealthCare.gov/GetHelp to find professional help near you.

Data dashboard tracks COVID-19 vaccinations in long-term care - 11/21/23

November 21, 2023

Media contacts: Jonathan Modie, 971-246-9139, PHD.Communications@oha.oregon.gov

Data dashboard tracks COVID-19 vaccinations in long-term care

OHA launches interactive tool to increase uptake of COVID-19 vaccine among high-risk older adults at assisted living, nursing, residential care facilities

PORTLAND, Ore.—State and local health officials will use Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) newest interactive data dashboard to track COVID-19 vaccination rates among long-term care facility residents and staff.

The LTCF COVID-19 Vaccination Data dashboard, launched today by the OHA Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) Program, will allow epidemiologists to monitor trends in COVID-19 vaccinations among long-term care residents and staff at state, county and facility levels. The goal is to help improve facilities’ reporting of vaccinations and provide guidance on ways to increase their vaccination rates.

“This data collection is a natural extension of our program’s work to track vaccinations and support infection control in these settings,” said Dat Tran, M.D., M.S., medical director for the HAI Program. “Nursing, assisted-living and residential care facilities are still experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19, and many of their residents are at high risk for serious illness from the virus. Vaccination remains our No. 1 tool for reducing infection risk for vulnerable persons.”

Licensed nursing, assisted living and residential care facilities are required to report COVID-19 vaccination data to OHA every month. Facilities report total counts of staff and residents, along with counts of staff and residents who are up to date with COVID-19 vaccination.

The new dashboard uses the facility-reported data to show percentages of long-term care residents and staff who received the 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine. Users can filter the data by hospital region – Oregon has seven – as well as county, facility, facility type and facility characteristic.

For the 2023–2024 respiratory virus season, the definition of “up to date” on COVID-19 vaccination aligns with the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations – to reflect anyone who receives the 2023–2024 COVID-19 vaccine that became available in mid-September. Previously, the definition for being up to date on COVID-19 vaccination was anyone who received the bivalent vaccine that became available a year earlier.

Data for staff and residents who received the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine or a primary series, are no longer collected.

Through the week of Oct. 2–8, only 6% of staff and 11% of residents were reported as up to date on their 2023–2024 COVID-19 vaccination. Dr. Tran acknowledged that up-to-date vaccination rates reported so far by Oregon facilities are woefully low, which he attributes to “facilities not yet having vaccine clinics as well as limited availability of the new vaccine.” However, Oregon’s rates through that week were higher than national rates reported by CDC for nursing facilities, which were at 1% of staff and 9% of residents.

In Oregon, up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination rates are lowest in Region 6 (1% of staff and 5% of residents) and Region 7 (2% of staff and 8% of residents). Of the 528 total facilities statewide that reported, 76% (403) reported zero staff and residents were up to date.

There are ways long-term care facilities can improve vaccination rates among staff and residents, Dr. Tran says. OHA has developed a toolkit with strategies employers have used to increase influenza vaccination rates, and they can be used for COVID-19 vaccines as well.


COVID Payments Data Brief highlights widely varying prices paid for common COVID-19-related procedures - 11/17/23

November 17, 2023

Media Contact: Amy Bacher, 503-405-5403, amy.bacher2@oha.oregon.gov

COVID Payments Data Brief highlights widely varying prices paid for common COVID-19-related procedures

Insurers paid hospitals vastly differing amounts for the same COVID-19-related procedures across Oregon

SALEM, Ore. - Oregon Health Authority (OHA) released a data brief that shows how much commercial insurers paid hospitals for COVID-19-related treatments in 2021.

The COVID Payments Data Brief looks at data for six common COVID-19-related procedures that account for more than $40 million paid by commercial insurers to Oregon hospitals in 2021. It highlights the median amount paid to hospitals for each type of procedure, how many of each procedure was performed, and the typical range of payments the hospital received.

Commercial insurers paid Oregon hospitals widely varying amounts for the same COVID-19 procedures, not only from hospital to hospital but also within the same hospital. For example, insurers paid hospitals a wide range for inpatient hospital stays that included treatment with remdesivir, an antiviral medication approved for hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The median payment was $5,506 per day, with the range of payments across hospitals from $4,167 to $7,631.

This report sheds additional light on the cost of the COVID-19 pandemic. As Oregon continues to recover from the pandemic, understanding cost and utilization of services is vital in ensuring Oregon can meet the health care cost growth target

For more information about OHA’s Hospital Reporting Program, visit Oregon.gov/oha/HPA/ANALYTICS/Pages/Hospital-Reporting.aspx or contact hdd.admin@odhsoha.oregon.gov.  


Lead-contaminated WanaBana applesauce impacting children, families in Oregon - 11/16/23

November 16, 2023

Media contact: Afiq Hisham, 971-273-3374, PHD.Communications@oha.oregon.gov

Lead-contaminated WanaBana applesauce impacting children, families in Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. – State and local health officials have identified multiple children in Oregon with elevated blood lead levels after they ate certain pouches of applesauce called WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Purée.

The elevated blood lead reports follow a safety and recall alert from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in late October warning parents and caregivers against buying or feeding the product to young children.

As of Nov. 15, local public health investigators have found a total of six cases of elevated blood lead levels in children who ate WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Purée. The children live in Lake, Lincoln, Multnomah and Washington counties. Some of the families learned about the FDA alert through local news and online media reports that prompted parents and caregivers to report possible exposure to health care providers.

WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Purée is distributed nationwide through retailers including Dollar Tree, Amazon and other online stores. Additionally, since the FDA alert Oct. 28, two other brands of applesauce products sold at Schnucks and Weis Markets have become subject to the recall, though they are not available in Oregon.

A collaborative investigation by state and local partners, FDA’s Coordinated Outbreak Response & Evaluation (CORE) Network, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is ongoing.

While WanaBana has agreed to voluntarily recall all WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Purée pouches regardless of their expiration dates, some people may have bought the product before the recall announcement. Families should check their homes and throw away any pouches they find.

“While lead is toxic for all people regardless of age, small children are especially at risk because they’re still growing and developing,” said Ryan Barker, Oregon Health Authority’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program coordinator. “Continued exposure over time can permanently damage their central nervous system, which may result in long-term health problems, such as learning disorders, impaired speech and brain damage.”

Signs of lead poisoning are not always easy to see and can be mistaken for other illnesses. Without a blood test, lead poisoning may go undiagnosed, especially since affected children often don’t look or act sick.

Possible signs of lead exposure and symptoms in children include:  

  • Tiredness or loss of energy.
  • Hyperactivity.
  • Reduced attention span.
  • Irritability or crankiness.
  • Poor appetite.
  • Weight loss.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Constipation.
  • Aches or pains in stomach.

Parents and caregivers concerned about a child’s exposure to WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Purée should contact their health care provider to request a blood test.

More information on blood testing and lead can be found on the following pages:

# # #

OHA seeks members for Behavioral Health Crisis System Advisory Committee - 11/16/23

November 16, 2023


OHA seeks members for Behavioral Health Crisis System Advisory Committee

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is seeking members to inform policy and program decisions on a new Behavioral Health Crisis System Advisory Committee, which will begin meeting this winter. Created through House Bill 2757 (2023), the committee will advise OHA on:

OHA is accepting applications now through Friday, Dec. 8, 2023, for two seats on the committee:

  • Certified Peer Support Specialist, as defined in ORS 414.025
  • Consumer of youth & family behavioral health services

Committee members may be eligible for a $166.00 stipend for each day of work on the committee.

Help spread the word!

Please visit the advisory committee web page to find:

  • Recruitment announcements in English and Spanish, for easy sharing in newsletters or emails
  • Information about the Behavioral Health Crisis System Advisory Committee
  • How people can apply

Please share these materials with your networks and to anyone who you think may be interested.  

Questions or feedback:

OHA welcomes any suggestions of people or groups to include in these recruitment efforts. If you have any questions or feedback, please email 988BHCS@oha.oregon.gov.

Support Services:

Everyone has a right to know about and use OHA programs and services. Some examples of the free help OHA can provide are:

  • Sign language and spoken language interpreters
  • Written materials in other languages
  • Braille
  • Large print
  • Audio and other formats