Oregon Public Broadcasting

Multnomah Jails Report Shows Most Inmates Need Treatment Services

A grand jury looking into conditions at Multnomah County’s jails found the majority of inmates have either mental health or substance abuse issues.

A grand jury looking into conditions at Multnomah County’s jails found the majority of inmates have either mental health or substance abuse issues.

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.

Oregon Dentists Cut Back On Opioid Prescriptions For Young People

The American Dental Association issued new guidelines for prescribing opioids Monday. Dentists in Oregon say they’ll be adopting them as soon as possible. 

For years, many dentists have regarded the opioid epidemic as a problem largely for medical doctors. After all, physicians often prescribe painkillers for patients struggling with chronic pain that can last years. On the other hand, dentists usually only prescribe medications for a few days. An example might be for a patient recovering from oral surgery.  But a recent study found dentists are the leading opioid prescribers for young people ages 10-19, many of whom get their first experience with opioids when having their wisdom teeth out.  “Brains continue to develop until about age 25 and during that period in a young person, their brain is more susceptible to remembering that first exposure to anything, such as a narcotic. And that creates more potential for misuse later," said Dr. Bruce Austin, dental director for the Oregon Health Authority. Oregon's new opioid prescribing guidelines say most patients only need about 10 pills after oral surgery — or three days worth of pain relief. In the past, it wasn’t unusual to be prescribed 30 pills, or 10 days worth.

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