OHSU President Affirms Commitment to Transgender Patients, as University Ends Financial Year on Upbeat Note

The hospital performed more than 12 percent of U.S. gender-affirming surgeries in 2016, Joe Robertson told OHSU Board of Trustees. Now it has turned its attention to restrooms.

Oregon Health & Science University is doubling down on efforts to be welcoming for transgender patients, employees and students, both as a campus and a provider of medical services, OHSU President Joe Robertson said on Thursday.

OHSU houses the Transgender Health Program, has covered gender transition for employees since 2012, and is making changes and has recently started posting trans-inclusive signs in its restrooms, Robertson told the OHSU Board of Directors at a meeting that also included a briefing on the university’s success at meeting budget goals in the recently closed 2016-2017 fiscal year.

“According to the 2015 U.S. Trans Survey, of 28,000 respondents, nearly one quarter reported that someone had challenged their presence in a restroom in the last year,” Robertson said. “Based on the immediacy of that need, OHSU has immediately begun installing signage.”

In some areas of OHSU’s South Waterfront and Macadam Hill campuses, restrooms are single-user rooms that are not labeled by gender. When multi-stall restrooms do exist, signs are going up noting that gender-neutral restrooms are available upon request, and stating that each patient is encouraged to use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity.

Robertson noted that caring for transgender health needs is a growing focus at OSHU, which is developing a comprehensive gender center.

Of about 3,200 gender-affirming surgeries in 2016, 400 were performed at OHSU, he said, with between 500 and 700 transgender-related healthcare appointments occurring each month.

OHSU Hits Financial Targets after Rocky Start

In recently closed books for the July 1,2016-June 30, 2017, fiscal year, OHSU ended just ahead of budget, and Chief Financial Officer Lawerence Furhnstahl’s satisfied relief was almost palpable as he presented results to the OHSU board on Thursday.

“We all know this has been a challenging year,” Furnstahl said. When results lagged expectations early in the fiscal year, OHSU started tightening its belt.

A look at the national landscape shows that many healthcare and academic health centers also struggled – and were less successful at righting the ship. “But I’m proud to report that we ended the year at budget or a little ahead,” he said.

OHSU ended the fiscal year with $129 million in operating income, putting it $4.5 million above budget, according to internal financial statements the university has sent to an auditor to review. Last year OHSU.

Furnstahl noted that the number of patient visits is growing faster than reimbursements for those visits, which could portend future financial challenges.

“We are now engaged in an effort, across the university and across our partners, to find performance improvements that will get us more margin,” he said. “This will allow us to have a little more breathing room and more stability.”

Reach Courtney Sherwood at [email protected].

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