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OHSU Hillsboro Medical Center statement on ONA picketing

Hillsboro Medical Center committed to negotiating with ONA, has deep appreciation for critical role of nurses

OHSU Hillsboro Medical Center (formerly OHSU Tuality Healthcare) greatly values the vital contributions of our ONA-represented employees and is committed to working with ONA to reach an agreement that includes competitive, comprehensive benefits in recognition of their dedication and hard work.

Hillsboro Medical Center, like hospitals and health systems across the country, faces staggering operating losses and record-high expenses spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. HMC is experiencing the same financial hardship that has prompted hospitals statewide to enact expense reductions through operational and policy changes.

In the face of these daunting challenges, Hillsboro Medical Center remains committed to negotiating with the ONA in good faith and with deep appreciation for the critical role nurses play in caring for our community.

We are extremely proud of our health care teams who stepped up and responded to the needs of patients, of maintaining our commitment to a full workforce, and of providing safe and effective personal protective equipment (PPE) for all health care workers -- we are grateful that less than 1% of our workforce has tested positive for COVID-19. But, most of all, we are proud to have mitigated the direct impact of COVID-19 in our community by flattening the curve, thanks to the sacrifices of many Oregonians.

Hillsboro Medical Center maintains PPE supplies and policies in accordance with Oregon Health Authority and CDC guidelines to protect all employees across the health care system, including those providing direct patient care. Actions taken include:

  1. Universal use of facemasks to decrease the risk of unrecognized infections in employees and patients.
  2. Stronger recommendations that employees check their temperatures twice per day and monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.
  3. Screening stations at each entrance of the facility, where every person is asked about symptoms and has their temperature checked.

CDC recommends shifting away from contact tracing in health care systems and implementing the above actions as universal safety measures to prevent exposure in the health care setting.

All health care workers caring for patients with COVID-19 have adequate personal protective equipment and are aware if a patient they are caring for is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19. We have purposefully grouped patients with COVID-19 and implemented extended use of PPE as approved standards to maintain our nurses’ safety and protection.

Despite mounting financial losses, Hillsboro Medical Center is here to serve our patients and community today and into the future. Similar to our clinical response to alleviate the burden of this unprecedented pandemic, we must protect the best interests of our nurses and essential health care workers while preserving the critical health care services our community deserves now and into the future. 

In considering the interests of nurses, we identified alternative benefits to Extended Illness Hours (EIH) that would benefit a much larger population of nurses. Hillsboro Medical Center has proposed an employer-funded short-term disability program to better aid the majority of nurses, and we have ensured nurses with EIH will not lose accruals. We proposed adding two additional holidays for the coming year and a retirement match of up to 3% employer contribution. Our package also includes an expansion of the Break Relief Nurse program to additional units and addresses other interest expressed by the ONA.

We look forward to reaching a mutually agreeable contract that helps us to simultaneously overcome these significant financial losses and balance the needs of nurses and our community.

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