Oregon’s hospital association responds to ONA’s staffing plan

SALEM, Ore. – The state’s largest nursing union, the Oregon Nurses Association, is discussing legislation to address the root of Oregon’s ongoing staffing crisis. Now, the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems is coming out against the plan.

The Oregon Nurses Association met Tuesday to discuss legislative actions that include raising staffing standards statewide and increasing patient safety. It’s in the process of drafting a bill to strengthen Oregon’s existing nurse staffing law, and adding elements like minimal safe staffing standards.

The language for the bill has been submitted to the ONA’s legislative council.

You can read prepared remarks about the proposal from ONA Board of Directors President Tamie Cline and other supporters HERE.

President and CEO of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems Becky Hultberg responded to the proposed legislation with the following statement:

“Oregon’s community hospitals are experiencing a capacity and financial crisis that threatens patient care. Rather than preserving access to quality health care for Oregon patients, the union’s proposal focuses on new ways to punish community hospitals based on questionable standards, while increasing costs. Under the union’s proposal, community hospitals will have no choice but to reduce access to services if they are unable to hire enough staff, which is very likely given the severe staffing shortage. That means longer wait times in emergency departments, a reduced number of hospital beds, delays in scheduled procedures, and delays in transferring patients from rural hospitals to urban ones when they need a higher level of care.

Health care workers have been under extraordinary strain. We must address the workforce crisis, but we cannot do so at the expense of patients. There is a better way.  We will propose real solutions in the upcoming session that will benefit patients, support nurses working in our community hospitals, and grow the workforce of tomorrow.”

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