$22.5 million and 150-acre donation will expand medical college in Lebanon

Western University of Health Sciences (WesternU) will receive a $22.5 million donation which will be used to expand the COMP-NW medical campus and launch a behavioral health college in Lebanon.

The donation comes from FamilyCare, Inc., following a settlement from a federal lawsuit filed against the Oregon Health Authority and former OHA director Lynne Saxton by FamilyCare.

FamilyCare, a non-profit formed in 1984, operated a coordinated care organization that served
approximately 120,000 Oregon Health Plan members in the Tri-county area and served Oregon’s
Medicaid beneficiaries for 33 years. FamilyCare sued the OHA and former director Saxton in federal court.

The case had been proceeding to a trial scheduled to begin April 25 until the settlement was reached this month.

Under the terms of the agreement, the parties agreed to release all claims and dismiss the case. The OHA will pay the $22.5 million over the next four years, and FamilyCare will donate that money to WesternU to support the expansion of COMP-NW in Lebanon.

We believe that this is a reasonable resolution to a complex dispute, and greatly improves Oregonians’ access to health care and helps train future generations of Oregon primary care physicians,” said FamilyCare CEO Jeff Heatherington.

In addition, the Heatherington Foundation for Innovation and Education in Health Care, a longstanding supporter of the college, will donate 150 acres of land for the new college.

I am excited to have seen the development and expansion of the osteopathic medical school, COMP-NW, over the years,” Heatherington said. “’It continues to develop highly-qualified and desperately-needed physicians for the northwest every year. Their Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine program is at capacity in its current location, and this gift will create a new and expanded campus for COMP-NW and a behavioral health college to provide equally needed and critical behavioral health services.”

Dr. Heatherington’s companies have donated millions of dollars in grants and scholarships to WesternU COMP-NW, including the J. Scott Heatherington, DO and the Arthur Rott, DO Scholarship, the Medical Anatomy Center, research projects, and other programs.

We are so grateful that Dr. Heatherington has provided longstanding support for COMP-NW,” said Paula Crone, DO ’92, COMP-NW, dean and vice president of WesternU Oregon. “While the new campus is in its preliminary planning stage, we envision it emphasizing behavioral health, rural health, population health, and osteopathic primary care – all critical health care needs. This generous gift will greatly enhance WesternU’s presence in the Pacific Northwest and services for our students, alumni, and our communities.

The Heatherington Foundation’s mission is to create healthy communities by 1) improving community health care to individuals and families in the Portland, Oregon community, particularly to the socioeconomically under-served, the chronically mentally ill or indigent, at low cost or at no cost; 2) promoting and implementing research related to improvement innovation and change in the delivery of health care; and 3) providing osteopathic medical education to students, residents, and physicians.

FamilyCare was one of Oregon’s largest capitated Medicaid health plans, serving 120,000 Medicaid and Medicare members with over 350 employees until 2018. Today, they remain dedicated to promoting healthy individuals and communities in Oregon.

I am glad we could resolve (the lawsuit) proceedings with an agreement that invests in the future of Oregon’s health care work force and strengthens our health care system, said Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen.