Oregon Health Authority Director Lynne Saxton

Oregon Health Authority Director Lynne Saxton

Oregon Health Authority

Oregon Health Authority Director Lynne Saxton has resigned in the wake of news her involvement in a plan to plant negative and misleading news about a local nonprofit health provider to influence lawmakers.

Related: Oregon Health Authority sought to plant negative stories about health nonprofit

The Portland Tribune on Thursday broke the news of a communications plan greeted approvingly by Saxton that talked of finding an HIV patient to complain about FamilyCare, then connect them off the record with local reporters. The plan called for using lawmakers and lobbyists from other organizations to spread the negative news to disguise OHA’s role, allowing them to remain neutral. An email described the strategy as creating an “information buzz” in the state Capitol so lawmakers wouldn’t intervene in a rate dispute between FamilyCare and the state.

The sudden resignation came amidst growing speculation in the health care industry over why Gov. Kate Brown had not responded to the Tribune article either before or after publication.

Related: Kitzhaber taps Lynne Saxton to head Oregon Health Authority

The news comes after sending a letter of apology to the coordinated care organizations that serve Oregon Health Plan patients. Saxton echoed the letter in an email to staff this afternoon.

Read more at the Portland Tribune.