Oregon Health & Science University is taking steps to strengthen the resilience of its workforce in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
OHSU President Danny Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H., FACS, announced a set of measures to support the workforce of Oregon’s academic health center.
“Hundreds of thousands of Oregonians rely on the services that our members provide every day,” Jacobs said. “So, if we don’t take care of ourselves, the cascading effect would be detrimental to the entire state.”
The following measures take effect immediately:
- Workforce guarantee: OHSU, which also happens to be the largest single employer in the city of Portland, will maintain a full workforce with full pay and benefits for any modification in operations up until at least June 30. This includes all 17,500 employees across OHSU’s health care, research and education missions.
- Sick leave assurance: OHSU will provide 14 days of additional sick leave for those who have exhausted their sick time and become ill before June 30.
- Hardship fund: OHSU is making available a $1 million fund through July 30 for employees facing extreme fiscal hardship as a result of the pandemic.
The full text of Jacobs’ message to employees follows below:
People are our priority
A commitment from President Jacobs during this unprecedented time
If you’ve heard me talk about a need to invest in our people, programs and places, you’ll notice that the ‘people’ always comes first. That’s not an accident – our people are our most important asset to address our duties and responsibilities not only in patient care, but also in research and education. Hundreds of thousands of Oregonians rely on the services that our members provide every day. So, if we don’t take care of ourselves, the cascading effect would be detrimental to the entire state.
The current environment we are operating in is unprecedented, and it has and will continue to strain all members in every way. The high degree of uncertainty of how COVID-19 will continue to impact our lives – both personally and professionally—has created an incredible amount of stress. From personnel worried about young children no longer in school, to staff in fear of a reduction in employment due to modified operations, to doctors and nurses working around the clock to combat COVID-19 – this situation is affecting us all.
In spite of the uncertainty, I do know that the people of Oregon need us all – every one of us – more than ever before. It’s “all hands on deck” as we work swiftly and dexterously to navigate the events as they unfold, and you are all rising to the challenge. It is likely that the pandemic has not yet peaked, and our university, our health care institutions and our health care workforces will be strained like never before in the coming weeks.
To ease some of the uncertainty and acknowledge you all for what you mean to our institution and the state of Oregon, OHSU is committing to:
- Maintaining a full workforce with full pay and benefits for the duration of any modification in operations up to June 30.
- Providing 14 days of additional sick leave for those who have exhausted their sick time and become ill prior to June 30.
- A $1,000,000 hardship fund available through July 30 for employees facing extreme fiscal hardship as a result of the pandemic.
Details on these additional benefits will be forthcoming, so please stay tuned to future communications.
I can’t aptly express my appreciation for the teamwork that has occurred as this situation has evolved and my hope is that this will take some of the stress off our most important asset – you. I also want to make sure you are taking care of yourself to the greatest extent possible. It’s a sign of strength to access mental health and wellness services. OHSU has several wellness benefits and mental health services available if you need them.
Thank you for working collectively to serve our mission, especially during this trying time.
Danny Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H., FACS, President