PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On Dec. 7, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued an executive order to allocate $25 million to hospitals experiencing staffing crises during the current tripledemic, but some health professionals are saying the order could do more harm than good.
Brown’s latest executive order was issued in response to cases of the flu, RSV and COVID-19 — all of which are being spread throughout Oregon. The allocated $25 million would come from the Oregon Health Authority, as well as other agencies, and bring more nurses to the state at this time of crisis.
However, the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals released a statement on Monday, saying they believe the governor’s efforts are counterproductive and “could further exacerbate the staffing crisis.”
“The best way to handle a spike in infectious diseases is to ensure that we attract and maintain qualified staff on a permanent basis, and any effort to solve this current situation without increasing staffing levels is doomed from the start,” Kaiser Permanente RN Bargaining Chair, Joshua Holt, said in the statement. “What we need are solutions that increase our staffing levels so we can more sufficiently care for the community who needs us.”
Holt isn’t the first person to critique the new order. When it was first announced, Oregon Nurses Association Chief of Staff Scott Palmer said that the order could allow hospitals to expect more from staff members who have already been ‘overburdened’ throughout the pandemic.
“Issued with concern for how Oregon hospitals will handle the recent increase in seasonal flu and COVID-19 infections, this order allows hospitals to ration care, work with reduced staff, and make changes that they believe will assist with adequate triage,” OFNHP said. “Healthcare administrators have failed to take decisive action to fix this issue, and the problem will only accelerate as this executive order allows hospitals to further ignore relevant staffing ratios and other workplace standards.”