Oregon Public Broadcasting

Oregon Takes 1st Major Step Toward Legalizing Psychedelic Mushrooms

The Oregon Psilocybin Society hopes to get a measure on the ballot in 2020.

Oregon’s attorney general has approved language for a ballot measure to make psychedelic mushrooms legal.

The measure would reduce criminal penalties for the manufacture, delivery and possession of psilocybin — the hallucinogen contained in psychedelic mushrooms.

Report: Climate Change To Burden Oregon Health Systems

Oregon is likely to see more heat-related deaths, and extremes in weather could create more chronic health issues and lead to more stress, the report says.

Climate change is already having a tangible impact on the Pacific Northwest, and Oregon’s health care and social systems will likely bear a significant burden.

Proposed Liquor Tax Tucked Away In Gov. Kate Brown's Budget

Brown did not ask for a tax on beer or wine in her budget but it does seek a 5 percent increase in the liquor markup -- now at 104 percent -- and a plan to double alcohol licensing fees.

As she finalized her budget proposal for the next two years, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown made no secret of the fact she’d push for higher tobacco taxes, which she believes should play a larger role in funding health care.

Gov. Brown Budget Proposal Targets Health, Housing

The governor's budget includes $722 million in revenues -- including raising the tobacco tax and increasing taxes on hospitals and insurers -- to plug the $830 million funding gap in Medicaid and ensure health care has stable funding over the next six years.

Gov. Kate Brown unveiled a $23.6 billion budget proposal Wednesday that plugs holes in state health funding, seeks to gain ground in an ongoing housing crisis, expands access to voting and sets aside millions for challenging the policies of President Donald Trump.

Nurses Say Bend Hospital Staffing Is Bad For Trauma Patients

Nurses' complaint triggers Oregon Health Authority investigation of St. Charles Health System in Bend.

A team of experts has investigated the operating room at St. Charles Bend, the state's only high-level trauma center east of the Cascades. This came after nurses filed another complaint with the Oregon Health Authority in late September.

Can Gov. Kate Brown Sell Oregonians On Her Vision For The State?

Oregon's governor has been in office four years yet faces a competitive race.

When Gov. Kate Brown was first swept into office by scandal, she benefited from comparisons to the man she was replacing, Gov. John Kitzhaber.

Reporters often characterized Kitzhaber as a lone wolf, a policy wonk, private.

Brown was different.

Briefly: Oregon Levies Its Largest Ever Civil Fine On Legacy Health

Legacy Health Systems is being fined $5 million — the largest civil fine ever imposed by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.

But Legacy said it’s fighting the penalty.

The fine comes after employees complained about being forced to skip meals and break times at Legacy's Meridian Park, Mount Hood Medical Center and Good Samaritan hospitals.

A statement from Legacy said it fundamentally disagrees with BOLI’s findings. It also said the investigation didn’t take into account the needs of patients and families, which sometimes require meal breaks to be deferred.

"Legacy Health has always been committed to creating a safe and healthy work environment. Legacy Health provides support for all of our staff in their work, including getting the meal breaks they are entitled to under the law. We remain 100 percent committed to ensuring the continued health and safety of our workforce," the health network said in a statement.

The statement also said Legacy will seek a hearing on the findings and vigorously defend itself.

The Bureau of Labor and Industries delivered notices of the fines to each of the three different hospitals. They said Legacy executives knew of the violations, but chose not to address them.

Legacy was fined more than a quarter of a million dollars last year for not giving staff breaks.

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Study: Urban/Rural Divide Narrows If Patients Get Same Treatment

Researchers at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center in Seattle found that patients enrolled in the same study have similar outcomes -- regardless where they live.

Survival rates for cancer depend on where you live — at least partially.

Urban patients tend to do better than rural patients. Researchers have long tried to figure out how that divide happens in the first place.

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