PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Hospitals in Oregon are still facing extraordinary pressure with some operating close to or even above 100% capacity.
An organization representing hospital systems wants the state legislature to offer some relief.
According to the Oregon Association of Hospitals & Health Systems, as of Wednesday, there are 449 hospital patients across the state waiting to be discharged, patients who need to go to a nursing or long-term care facility, but can’t because there’s no room for them anywhere.
As of Wednesday, there are 240 people in emergency departments across Oregon who can’t get a bed. Again, these numbers come from the state’s Association for Hospitals & Health Systems. they say it’s one of the aftershocks hospitals are experiencing from the earthquake that was the COVID-19 pandemic.
They’re proposing a slate of bills this session they believe will help tackle the three major challenges hospitals are currently facing: lack of capacity, not enough staff including nurses and a significant increase in operating costs.
Laura Henmann, CEO of a Good Samaritan Medical Center, shared one example of the cost increases hospitals are facing.
“A simple box of disposable gloves in the hospital, pre-pandemic it cost us $4 per box, today, same box, no changes, cost us $15,” said Henmann. “There is no way you can take on all of those expenses when you already have a fragile margin.”
Among their several proposals, the Oregon Association of Hospitals & Health Systems is also telling lawmakers they want the state to pay hospitals for each patient whose discharge is delayed. They also want the state to provide tax credits for nurses who choose to become teachers, saying there is a lack of nurse educators in Oregon and one of the reasons is that nurses often take a pay cut if they go into teaching.