CHD History


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Privatization of CHD
The story of how CHD became a non-profit organization began in 1993, when only 58% of Oregonians under the poverty level had access to Medicaid. Many of these residents, and those with higher incomes but without health insurance, received services from CHD. At the time, CHD was a department within the Union County government and the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) had just been conceived. OHP allowed more people in Oregon to have health insurance, and it also introduced the idea of managed care.

Union County commissioners were concerned about managed care. They were not comfortable with the notion of “at-risk-contracting” because they did not want the county’s general fund to be liable. The state was waiting for federal approval of a Medicaid waiver in order to implement OHP. They were fairly sure they would “carve-out” certain mandates that would not be part of any managed care contract.

Would CHD be downsized to only providing publicly mandated services? If this were to happen, years of integration of physical, mental, addiction, and veterans services would be lost. The solution to the problem was to privatize CHD.

Union County Commissioner Steve McClure initiated intensive research and embarked on a full public input process. It began with identifying five values and six different models of governance to be studied in relation to the values. At the same time, CHD Administrators, Marlene Perkins (Union County Administrator), and Steve McClure began working on legal matters, such as state-delegated authorities, contracts, liabilities, and assets. CHD staff members were recruited for various tasks, including union negotiations, research, and formulating a recommendation to the county commissioners.

County commissioners, at a public meeting, decided they liked the recommendation to privatize but wanted to take it to the public. Two different series of public meetings and media coverage eventually led to the decision in October 1994 to privatize CHD into a non-profit corporation. A myriad of logistics needed to be worked out, but the decision was finalized on July 1, 1995.

As we reflect on our organization’s development, we are rich in experience! We have weathered ballot measures, various business ventures, the advent of managed care, privatization from county government, funding changes, and more volume and diversity of consumers. Through all of this we are a thriving non-profit corporation working in the public interest and serving the residents of Union County in Eastern Oregon.

Timeline of Significant CHD Events


Early 1980s

Union County Center for Human Development operates mental health, alcohol & drug, and developmental disabilities services in the basement of the old La Grande Junior High School at 1208 Fourth Street, next to the current La Grande Middle School.

1986
The La Grande School-Based Health Center opens at La Grande High School.

1987
Union County integrates all county health and human services (public health, mental health, chemical dependency, developmental disabilities case management, and veterans services) into a "one-stop shop" operated by CHD. The Joseph Building was purchased to house the combined agencies.

1992
CHD implements the model of self-directed teams as a way to save costs and allow more flexibility and innovation through CHD programs.

1992
CHD Center for Parenting Excellence is recognized as one of the "Daily Point of Light" by President George H. W. Bush

1994
Decision is made to privatize CHD into a non-profit corporation and David Still is named CEO.

1995
CHD officially operates as a non-profit corporation with offices in the La Grande, OR, Joseph Building.

1995
Union County begins contracting with CHD to perform state-mandated health authority functions and services, making it the first non-profit in Oregon to provide mental health, chemical dependency, and public health services.

2004
CHD launches the Northeast Oregon Network (NEON) as a rural collaborative to strengthen the healthcare system in Union, Baker, and Wallowa counties.

2005
CEO David Still retires and the decision is made to move the CEO role to a shared team called the Administrative Council.

2009
CHD transitions Northeast Oregon Network (NEON) into their own non-profit organization.

2009
CHD purchases The Rock Bowling and Fun Center in La Grande, OR, and renovation begins so the facility can become CHD's future home.

2010
CHD moves into its new facility at 2301 Cove Avenue in La Grande, OR.

2011
CHD opens the Union School-Based Health Center next to Union High School.

2017
The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) awards CHD Public Health national accreditation.

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CHD Contact Info

Center for Human Development, Inc.
2301 Cove Avenue
La Grande, OR 97850
541-962-8800
In order to receive government funding, the Center for Human Development, Inc. (CHD) is required by state and county policies to charge for services it provides to the public. However no one will be denied clinical services because of an inability to pay. CHD does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, family status, age or disability. For further information on this policy contact Human Relations, 541-962-8811 or TTY 1-800-735-2900 or 711.

The Center for Human Development, Inc. is a Tobacco-Free Zone. Oregon law prohibits the use of all tobacco products in CHD buildings and on CHD property. OAR 515.051.0065