OHSU Stops New Hires Ahead Of Potential Obamacare Cuts

The president of Oregon Health And Science University isn’t waiting to see what Republicans do with the Affordable Care Act. In anticipation of deep cuts, he’s stopping the hiring of most new staff.

As a large, urban teaching hospital, OHSU gets a disproportionate share of Medicaid patients. For example, OHSU is responsible for close to 20 percent of all the money spent on hospitalizing them in Oregon.

With the federal government poised the repeal the Affordable Care Act — and the state facing a $1.7 billion budget hole — OHSU president Joe Robertson said the time to start reducing costs is now.

“We don’t know exactly what the future will be," he said. 

Congressional Republicans have said they would like to repeal, and possibly replace, the Affordable Care Act this year, but they have not released details of that plan yet.

"When you have a high degree of confidence that the ultimate impact will be in the many tens of millions of dollars over a multiple period of years," Robertson said, "one has the obligation to act proactively, rather than wait and react.”  On average, OHSU hires about 500 people a year.

Robertson said short of finding people for programs like the Knight Cancer Institute, those hires will be stopped.

He hopes that by not hiring new staff, OHSU can avoid cuts to existing staff.

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