Gov. Kotek names new interim OHA director

SALEM, Ore. (KGW) — Gov. Tina Kotek has announced a new interim director at the Oregon Health Authority following last week’s news that the previous interim director, James Schroeder, will resign after only about two months in the top job.

Current OHA chief financial officer Dave Baden will take over as director starting March 17, Kotek announced in a Tuesday news release, the same day Schroeder’s resignation takes effect.

Kotek said her office is still searching for a permanent replacement for former OHA director Patrick Allen, who stepped down earlier this year to become the head of New Mexico’s Health Department.

Allen announced his resignation plans in November, initially without offering a reason. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan’s office announced Allen’s hiring in late December.

Schroeder, who previously served as CEO of Health Share of Oregon, took over as interim OHA in January. Kotek’s office confirmed his departure last week. Schroeder said in a statement that he was choosing to focus on his family “instead of pursuing the permanent director position.”

Kotek touted Baden’s record during the COVID-19 pandemic in Tuesday’s news release, including working to distribute personal protective equipment to Oregon health care facilities and later overseeing staff support for hospitals and long-term care facilities during COVID surges caused by new variants.

“Interim Director Baden has a track record of getting things done and leading with transparency,” Kotek said in a statement. “I am grateful he’s agreed to take on this position at a critical time for Oregon.”

Baden has a Master of Science in public affairs from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Truman State University, according to the governor’s office.

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