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Charity Care Bill Faces Vote

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Hollie Murphy had a hysterectomy in 2013 that threw her into financial turmoil.

She had health insurance. She was a certified nursing assistant at Springfield’s PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend. But it was a high deductible plan, and she only made $15 an hour.

Union Seeks Crackdown On Hospital Charity Care, Staffing

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Most of Oregon’s hospitals are nonprofits. They get a break on state and local taxes and in exchange, they’re supposed to provide free or discounted care to those who can’t afford it.

But charity care has decreased in recent years while hospital profits have increased.

Providence, SEIU Clash Over High Exec Pay, Union Push

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An Oregon labor union is embroiled in a dispute with Providence Health & Services over millions of dollars in Providence executive pay while trying to win representation for hundreds of lower-paid workers.

Health Care Jobs On The Upswing

Health-care employment has been burgeoning with the nation’s aging population and greater need for services. Hospital employment nationwide is up 590,000 jobs from 2008 to 2018, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Hospitals Try to Avoid Price Transparency by Advancing Phony Bill

The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems appeared to outmaneuver the efforts of Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, SEIU and consumer advocates to demand the right to know what patients are being charged by getting the ranking members of the Senate Health Committee to sign onto a competing measure that does not disclose individual hospital information and provides only outdated average statewide data from the all-payer, all-claims database.

The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems is moving aggressively to stamp out legislation that would force its members to be transparent about their prices, and the association has introduced a transparency bill that provides them with political cover while doing little to help consu

Kitzhaber Signs Homecare Worker Law, Opening Registry to Private Payment

SB 1542 was pushed by SEIU and senior advocates, giving middle-class seniors a new option, in addition to private home care agencies, to help them stay in their homes while meeting the needs of daily living. The state homecare workers, previously available only for Medicaid clients, will soon be open for all.

Gov. John Kitzhaber officially signed Senate Bill 1542 into law Thursday, creating a new option for middle-class seniors striving to stay in their homes -- hiring a homecare worker off the state’s registry.

Policy Board Moves Ahead at Setting Sustainable Growth Rate

A task force will take a measure of overall healthcare spending and the costs for each provider. The state will then use that information to set a benchmark for medical inflation, both in the public and private sectors.

The Oregon Health Policy Board made a baby-step Tuesday in its efforts to tackle rising healthcare costs -- approving a committee to set the groundwork for a legally allowable, sustainable rate of medical inflation for healthcare providers.

When the board finishes it work, it could recommend penalties and rewards to keep providers under a reasonable inflation rate, likely one similar to the rate imposed on the the coordinated care organizations -- 3.4 percent.

Private Homecare Agencies Worry About Competition from State

worker combing senior woman's hair
Some businesses that offer in-home care services have grave concerns about their ability to compete with the state’s home care workers, which nearly derailed SB 1542. But the leader of the Oregon Health Care Association believes that the state won’t be able to compete with his agencies’ cheaper, more comprehensive services.

A new law that will expand the state home care Medicaid registry onto the open market has some private agencies who offer this kind of care worried that the state is butting in on their business.

Other observers maintain that the public option will have little or no effect on their ability to provide quality care to seniors.

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