Passage of HB 2362 Will Jeopardize Health Care Partnerships

Lake Oswego, Ore. – June 25, 2021 – Becky Hultberg, President and CEO of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (OAHHS), released the following statement on the passage of House Bill 2362:

“The Legislature today passed a misguided policy that discourages hospitals and clinics from forming partnerships to provide better care for patients and enhance services in communities across Oregon. OAHHS and other stakeholders in the health care community raised significant concerns about the fatal flaws of the bill, but our concerns were lightly considered and ultimately discounted. We continue to have significant concerns about the impact of the bill on the delivery of care and quality of care for Oregon patients, as well as the costs these new regulations will add to the health care system.

“There is no evidence that affiliations and partnerships are increasing the cost of health care in Oregon or limiting services. In fact, the opposite is true. Oregon has avoided losing any rural hospitals to closure, maintaining access to care for patients and families in these communities. That’s because provider partnerships in rural and coastal communities preserved services that would have otherwise been lost.

“While the broader health care community in Oregon focuses on lowering the cost of health care through the Total Cost of Care Benchmark, this bill goes in the opposite direction by adding costs to health care without any appreciable benefit. We fear that the disconnect between good policy that benefits patients and the fragmented policymaking coming from the Legislature will have significant effects on a broad array of health care initiatives and jeopardize the collaborative nature of these efforts.”