Oregon Hospitals Decry Governor’s Proposed Budget Cuts

Direct cuts to hospitals will force hospitals to reduce services to Oregonians during a pandemic.

Lake Oswego, Ore. – December 1, 2020 – Becky Hultberg, President and CEO of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, released the following statement on hospital cuts proposed by the Governor Kate Brown.

“The Governor’s budget reflects her priorities and choices. She has chosen to propose direct cuts to hospitals in the midst of the biggest public health crisis in a century. Cuts of this magnitude could force hospitals to reduce services to Oregonians during a pandemic. These cuts cannot be justified. Hospitals led the effort to secure new revenue for the Oregon Health Plan through the passage of M108, which secured $100 million in new revenue for this budget and $300 million for the next biennium.

“Throughout her budget, she specifically targets hospitals at a time when COVID-19 hospitalizations are rising, hospitals are reducing elective procedures, and Oregonians are counting on local hospitals to care for them and their family members. We should be coming together as a community to respond to this pandemic to serve all Oregonians, but this budget does not reflect that spirit of collaboration.

“In addition to addressing COVID-19, hospitals across Oregon have been affected this year by historic fires (which led to the evacuation of five hospitals) and global cyberattacks (which forced at least one hospital to operate on paper for weeks). Over the first six months of 2020, net patient revenue fell about 21% compared to the beginning of the year and stands at its lowest since 2016. As CARES Act funds are depleted (or may be needed to be returned based on latest Provider Relief Reporting guidelines), without additional emergency funds or a steep increase in net patient revenue, the financial situation of community hospitals in Oregon may become more precarious in the months ahead.

“If enacted, the Governor’s budget will exacerbate an already uncertain financial situation for many hospitals. Reductions of this magnitude are likely to cause hospitals to cut services, impacting access to care for vulnerable Oregonians.”