Caregivers and Hospital Workers Call on Oregon Hospitals to Uphold Their Responsibilities to Patients and Staff

Tuesday, March 12, 2019 General News
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Act Now for a Healthy Oregon announces their 2019 legislative agenda to win good jobs and affordable health care for Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore., March 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Act Now for a Healthy Oregon is calling for hospitals to meet their

responsibilities to patients and staff. This united movement of caregivers and hospital workers is announcing a pointed legislative agenda to win affordable health care in our state and good jobs in our communities.

With the passage of the Affordable Care Act came the promise of healthier families and communities. And Oregon hospitals and health systems are relied on as trusted institutions to deliver on this promise by putting patient care first. Citing troubling facts and figures, Act Now for a Healthy Oregon is calling into question whether providing quality, affordable health care is a shared priority among all Oregon hospitals.

"Hospitals are billion-dollar corporations, major employers in our state and an integral part of state and local economy," said Meg Niemi, President of SEIU Local 49, a labor union representing nearly 15,000 workers in Oregon and SW Washington. "It's time to start holding hospitals accountable for their obligations to patients, to their community's health, and to their workers."

Hospitals are a significant part of the state and local economy with more than 60,000 employees throughout Oregon. And over the last decade, profits at Oregon hospitals have continued to climb with average profit margins doubling.

Despite their growing economic footprint, some Oregon hospitals and health systems do not provide quality, affordable health coverage to their own staff. Instead, some rely on the state's Medicaid program—the Oregon Health Plan (OHP)—to provide benefits for employees.

"We want to make sure frontline caregivers are as healthy as their hospital's bottom line," said Niemi. "But with the health care sector among the largest with employees on OHP, it's time for Oregon hospitals and health systems to stop cutting corners and start taking care of their own."

At the same time, the prices of care are going up statewide. It's become increasingly difficult for Oregonians to get the care they need without going into debt, yet some hospitals are providing less financial help to those who need it. The data shows that charity care granted by Oregon hospitals is down 50% compared to 2010.

The Act Now for a Healthy Oregon 2019 legislative agenda focuses on holding hospitals accountable and creating a health care system that works for Oregon families and communities.

HB 3076 Holding Nonprofit Hospitals Accountable to their Mission:Ensures that Oregon hospitals provide financial help to those who need it and puts stronger protections in place to prevent predatory debt collection for those who've fallen behind on their medical bills.

SB 899 Ending Price Hikes through Facility Fees:  Protects patients from unnecessary charges applied when receiving care at outpatient clinics, simply because it's affiliated with a health system.

HB 2269 Health Insurance Accountability for Large Employers: Penalizes large employers who don't provide quality, affordable health coverage to employees.

HB 2945 Improving Patient Care and Worker Safety: Gives certified nursing assistants and other frontline hospital staff a stronger voice on the job to improve the quality of patient care and protect the safety of hospital staff.  

Niemi noted that the 2019 legislative agenda will lead to better jobs, stronger families and healthier communities.

"It's time to hold our hospitals accountable and fix what's broken with our health care system," said Niemi. "With caregivers in the lead, we won't stop until every Oregon hospital puts our patients and our communities first."

Legislative fact sheets available upon request.

About Act Now for a Healthy Oregon

Act Now for a Healthy Oregon is a campaign of the Service Employees International Union, the largest health care union in the country. We are a growing movement of caregivers and hospital workers who serve on the frontlines of care in our communities—from dieticians and medical assistants to lab technicians and property services staff. We're also patients and major purchasers of health care in Oregon. Act Now for a Healthy Oregon is on the frontlines of change. We won't stop until non-profit hospitals put our patients and our communities first. The result will be good jobs and better health care.

Learn more at:

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SOURCE Act Now for a Healthy Oregon

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