The Oregon chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement after the Oregon Senate passed HB 4045, legislation to ensure Medicaid covers violence intervention services provided in hospitals after someone suffers a violent injury and continues to be at risk. The bill will now move to Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s desk.
“Violence intervention programs have been doing their critical work on a shoe-string budget for far too long,” said Hilary Uhlig, a volunteer with the Oregon chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Using Medicaid coverage for violence prevention services for victims would save both lives and taxpayer dollars. We look forward to the governor swiftly signing this legislation.”
“Gun violence hasn’t stopped in Oregon and the work has only gotten more challenging for violence intervention groups that are combating two public health epidemics,” said Peren Tiemann, a volunteer with Students Demand Action in Oregon. “Violence intervention programs help provide resources to combat many different types of gun violence and cover social services that communities need. With all their work, supporting them with adequate funding should be one of our biggest priorities.”
In 2021, Portland had a record year of gun violence with more than 90 homicides — making it the worst year of gun violence since 1987. These elevated numbers are not limited to Portland. Across the state, gun violence of all types has ravaged communities. In Oregon, 81% of gun deaths are suicides, and of the 11 congressional districts nationwide with more than 100 gun suicides a year, two of them are in Oregon.
According to the Oregonian, the number of shooting incidents during the first month of 2022 outpaced January 2021. This session, lawmakers are meeting the call and addressing the gun violence crisis in the state by making strategic investments in violence intervention programs. The funding would support community-based violence intervention programs that apply a localized approach to reducing gun violence in Oregon’s hardest-hit neighborhoods and communities. One of the most effective violence intervention programs are Hospital-based Violence Intervention Programs (HVIPs). These programs are a proven strategy to help break these devastating cycles of violence by providing intensive counseling, case management, and social services to patients recovering from violent injuries, instead of simply discharging them back into the same conditions in which they were injured.
More information on gun violence in Oregon is available here. To speak with a Moms Demand Action and/or Students Demand Action volunteer, please don’t hesitate to reach out.