August 8, 2008 DHS Director's messages on the web
To: All DHS employees
From: Jim Edge, DHS assistant director for DMAP
It happens most mornings at 9:15. Staff from DMAP's Policy and Planning Section gather for a 15-minute stand-up meeting. They call it a "huddle."
Jim Edge, assistant director for DMAPs
Assistant Director for DMAP Jim Edge

This is a Lean huddle, not a gridiron huddle, although some of the outcomes are similar. Team members air issues and discuss priorities, learn what others are doing, find out how they can help each other, and build camaraderie.

This is one small example of how the Transformation Initiative is making a difference in the division that manages the Oregon Health Plan. But it is an important example because it illustrates how Lean processes can change and improve our ability to handle the work that crosses our desks every day.

In DMAP, we are excited about the opportunities Transformation is creating to help us work smarter, enjoy our work more and serve Oregonians better. We view this so positively that in a couple of areas we have jumped ahead of the formal Lean process.

Lean leaders are being trained, and ongoing coaching and mentoring will continue through October. Their first Rapid Process Improvement events are scheduled to start next week. And at the same time, DMAP is forging ahead with projects like these:

  • Our providers and stakeholders come from as far away as Coos Bay and Klamath Falls to Salem regularly for meetings. To reduce the investment in time and fuel, we will be increasing the use of videoconferencing. We already use the phone for teleconferencing, but video is far better. We believe it also will be useful for conducting training and other activities.
  • Oregon Health Plan clients sometimes have other resources (third-party payers) that can help pay health care costs. We are working with the DHS Office of Payment Accuracy and Recovery to appropriately collect more payments for health care costs from these third-party payers, thereby allowing the Oregon Health Plan to stretch its dollars to provide health care benefits to more people who need them.

Both of these actions also align with the DHS Core Value of stewardship. And that is a key vision of Transformation - to be able to serve Oregonians in a way that is consistent with our values, and effectively and efficiently meets our clients' needs. By transforming the way we do business and making wiser use of resources, we actually intend to meet and surpass people's expectations of us.

As for those morning huddles, they have brought our policy and planning staff together. Everyone understands what everybody else does, we talk about hot topics, and we solve problems. We laugh, we learn, and our strength as a team has greatly increased. It's exactly the kind of culture shift that will make us successful as we take on additional improvement processes. And what could be more transformational than that?


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