Looking For A Job In Health Care? OHSU Is Hiring

OHSU Hospital photo.jpg

Photo of hospital building.

Oregon Health & Science University aims to emerge from the gloom of the pandemic with a bang by adding 1,200 new jobs in the coming 12 months, mostly in its health care operations and its school of medicine.

The jobs plan would pump OHSU’s full-time-equivalent tally to 17,324, up from the 16,120 budgeted for the current fiscal year which runs through June. https://www.ohsu.edu/sites/default/files/2021-06/COMBINED-E-FILE-OHSU-Pu...

The jobs growth would be funded by increased revenues from increased demand, according to the plan by Lawrence Furnstahl, OHSU’s chief financial officer. The super-sized one-year addition of jobs aims to make up for the pandemic-induced lull in OHSU’s perpetual-growth model.

The bulk of the jobs would be added in health services – 475 new jobs – the school of medicine – 506 positions – and administration and support – 111 jobs.

Furnstahl expects OHSU operating revenues to rise to a record $3.9 billion for the fiscal year that starts July 1, up 7.5% from the fiscal year just ending. His plan proposes a modest 1% operating profit of $39 million. Instead of seeking a big profit, his proposal aims to spend some of the higher revenue on the hiring spree. The 1,200 new jobs would cost $162 million in salary and benefits for the fiscal year, Furnstahl projected.

The institution is emerging from  16 months of fears, uncertainty and financial caution.

The coming fiscal year “represents a year of regrouping and rebuilding after the disruption and exhaustion of (the) pandemic, when hiring, spending, travel and capital (spending) were on hold,” Furnstahl writes in his proposal. He will present the plan to the board on Friday at its regular meeting..

Furnstahl last year had predicted a $42 million operating loss for the current fiscal year. But instead, the fiscal year through April has produced a $52 million operating profit, Furnstahl wrote in the packet to the board.

“Faster (patient-volume) recovery, increased (patient) complexity, stable payer mix, strong pharmacy growth, and tight control of services and supplies all contribute to above-budget performance,” he wrote.

In addition to paying for the hiring spree, OHSU faces its typical annual increases in costs for its existing staff.  The cost: an estimated $86 million total for unionized and non-unionzed staff.

Nearly half of the OHSU’s payroll is ruled by labor union contracts, which provide annual so-called cost of living pay raises, as well as annual step increases for all but the most senior workers. Workers represented by AFSCME are due a 3% cost of living pay bump next month; nurses represented by the Oregon Nurses Association get a 2.25% hike in July and a 1.5% hike next January.

The budget also has a 3% “budget allowance” to cover pay raises for most faculty, supervisors and managers, who are not represented by a union. But that doesn’t mean all of those employees will get a 3% raise.

Plans To Cut Enrollment

As part of its budget, OHSU is proposing a 2% increase in tuition for new students, while continuing the “tuition promise” program, which caps tuition rates for students in medical school and other programs who’ve already been admitted.Last year, the university proposed increasing tuition up to 7.5% but backed down amid anger among medical and nursing students. Instead, the board approved a 2% increase.

OHSU’s tuition and fee revenue is forecast to remain flat for the year, at $84 million, with the tuition hike offsetting a dip in enrollment.

OHSU said it is trimming the number of incoming students in its physician, physician assistant and pediatric nurse practitioner doctoral programs because it has had trouble securing clinical training placements at health care facilities for those students. Such placements are a vital part of their training.

“Competition from other health profession training programs, and COVID-related operational impacts at clinical training sites at OHSU and partners around the region, has resulted in a significant reduction in learner placement capacity,” the board presentation says. OHSU will cut the number of incoming students in its medical school to  140 from 150. Last year, it was cut to 150 from 160. The incoming physician assistant cohort will be cut to 30 from 42. And the number of newly enrolled pediatric nurse practitioner doctor of nursing practice will be cut to 10 from 14.

The document says OHSU wants  to create an office to place students into training, and eventually increase student numbers in areas where demand for more staff runs high. Meanwhile, the massive investment portfolio of OHSU and its foundation continue to grow, giving the institution an ever-larger financial backstop.

Through April in the current fiscal year, OHSU’s cash and investments have generated an investment return – dividends, stock value growth and the like – of $116 million. The foundation’s net worth through April is up $165 million through investment returns and gifts. OHSU’s cash and investments have risen to $1.7 billion, and the foundation’s net worth to $1.5 billion.

You can reach Christian Wihtol at [email protected].


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