Posted in Health Care, April 29, 2020
Hospital exterior

Hillsboro, Ore. – The economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been devastating to organizations as they’ve responded to the health care needs of the community. Hospitals and health systems across the country face staggering operating losses and record-high expenses spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. In Oregon, hospitals and health systems are collectively losing $13 million in revenue per day, according to the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems.

OHSU Health Hillsboro Medical Center (formerly OHSU Tuality Healthcare) has experienced the same financial hardship that has prompted hospitals throughout the state of Oregon to enact expense reductions through operational and policy changes. Hillsboro Medical Center’s sustained losses over the last 60 days have been substantial, and the organization is projecting fiscal year-end losses will reach $16.4 million.

“We are immensely thankful for our clinical and administrative teams that quickly responded to the needs of patients and engineered successful emergency operations in the face of the pandemic,” said Lori James-Nielsen, RN, BSN, MHA, president of Hillsboro Medical Center. “Despite these daunting financial circumstances, we are proud that as an institution, we have maintained our commitment to a full workforce through June 30, 2020, provided safe and effective personal protective equipment (PPE) for all staff, and most of all, we have mitigated the direct impact of COVID-19 in our community by flattening the overall curve and keeping the number of staff personally affected by COVID-19 to less than 1%.”

With mounting financial losses, Hillsboro Medical Center must alleviate the burden and financial pressures of this unprecedented pandemic. The same teams who have worked tirelessly to support our community during the health crisis are being called upon to reengineer operations and pursue paths forward that preserve the health care professionals and services the community relies on. Financial actions under consideration include a hold on all merit pay increases, elimination of all performance bonuses, benefit adjustments including revisions to the Extended Illness Hours (EIH) policy, leadership and FTE role assessments, a 15% reduction of services and supplies, and 20% cuts to annual capital spending. In addition, we are evaluating programs to be certain we maximize our core clinical services in the community.

Chief Medical Officer Joe Hardman, M.D., echoed appreciation for essential health care workers while acknowledging the financial impact from COVID-19 would be widespread.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to the essential workers who have courageously responded to the pandemic,” said Hardman. “The financial reality hospitals face today will demand innovative solutions to manage the dichotomy of capital demands and blunt the impact all health care professionals will undoubtedly share. What’s certain is Hillsboro Medical Center’s unyielding commitment to respond to community need.”

Safely Resuming Operations

Today, preparations are underway to safely resume elective procedures following Gov. Kate Brown’s announcement last week, permitting hospitals to resume non-emergent and elective procedures. Comprehensive precautions are being instituted to maintain physical distancing and appropriate PPE levels, maintaining a safe environment for elective surgeries and procedures. Beginning May 1, Hillsboro Medical Center will gradually increase scheduled cases, starting with the patients whose conditions and stability warrant urgent intervention.

Providers will continue to be accessible through virtual visits, providing patients with a convenient option to seek care from the comfort of their home.

“Virtual visits have been an integral part of our response to the pandemic, enabling many patients to continue to manage their health when they cannot meet with their provider in person. As elective procedures and appointments begin to resume in the months to come, virtual visits will continue to be made available,” said Hardman.

Patients with pending procedures will be contacted in the coming weeks to schedule their next appointment. In the meantime, patients are encouraged to contact their provider to schedule other virtual visit appointments.

Looking Ahead

As health care organizations continue to flatten the COVID-19 curve, Hillsboro Medical Center is looking ahead.

Temporary signs were installed Monday commemorating OHSU Health Hillsboro Medical Center’s new name that was adopted in 2019 – a welcome signal to the community that preparations are underway to restore services with health and financial recovery on the horizon.

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About OHSU Health Hillsboro Medical Center

OHSU Health Hillsboro Medical Center (formerly OHSU Tuality Healthcare) is a leading health care provider in Washington County, serving a market area of 350,000 and growing. Hillsboro Medical Center is a nonprofit, community-based organization with a full service hospital in downtown Hillsboro, and numerous physician and outpatient clinics throughout Forest Grove, Cornelius and Western Washington County. Though the medical center has roots in the community reaching back more than 100 years, its affiliation with OHSU Health is enabling it to better serve the next generation with comprehensive care close to home. With over 1200 employees, including a medical staff of 300 doctors and other health care professionals, Hillsboro Medical Center is one of the region’s largest employers.

About OHSU Health

OHSU Health is the health system that includes OHSU Healthcare, Adventist Health Portland and Hillsboro Medical Center. Comprising three adult hospitals with nearly 1,000 beds, OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and more than 50 patient care locations throughout the Portland-metro area, OHSU Health offers patients convenient access to everything from urgent care in South Hillsboro or Happy Valley, to the latest clinical trials at the South Waterfront or Marquam Hill.