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OHSU board hears update on OHSU-Legacy integration, finances, employee engagement survey

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A new integrated health system combining Legacy Health with Oregon Health & Science University was a major focus of discussion during the university’s board of trustees meeting Monday.

On Aug. 16, OHSU and Legacy announced they had signed a nonbinding letter of intent for Legacy to become part of OHSU.

OHSU President Danny Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H., FACS, outlined the vision for the combination during Monday’s public board meeting held in the Robertson Life Sciences Building on OHSU’s South Waterfront Campus.

“Legacy has deep community roots and provides high-quality care through a system of community hospitals, primary and specialty clinics and outpatient facilities. OHSU’s unique expertise is serving complex patient needs, providing public statewide health care education and training programs, and conducting leading-edge research,” Jacobs said. “As a combined organization, we will expand access across the continuum of care to meet patients where they are and serve them for life.”

The combined health system will encompass a total of 10 hospitals from Silverton to Salmon Creek, Washington, including OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel. With a total of more than 32,000 employees at more than 100 locations, the combined system will be the largest employer in the Portland metro area.

The two systems accommodated more than 3 million patient visits in the last fiscal year.

“The larger health system platform will enhance our ability to bring more leading-edge research and industry-sponsored clinical trials to the region,” Jacobs said. “We will be able to give patients greater access to innovative clinical treatments and care as a combined entity.”

In other business, the board heard reports on the following:

  • Lawrence Furnstahl, OHSU chief financial officer, reported that OHSU finished the fiscal year ending June 30 with $53 million of operating income compared to the break-even budget adopted by the board in June of 2022. Inflation related to supplies and labor costs remain high, he said.

“We will have to secure new revenue sources, and greater economies of scale to balance the step-function increases in wages and supply costs,” Furnstahl reported. “Doing so will protect and enhance OHSU’s unique role as Oregon’s health sciences university and its statewide missions of education, research, patient care and outreach.”

  • The board adopted a policy to prohibit weapons on OHSU property. Heath Kula, J.D., chief of OHSU Public Safety, noted that the policy is part of a broader effort to ensure the physical safety of all who seek and provide care at OHSU.
  • Qiana Williams, ACC, SHRM-SCP, reported on results of an all-employee engagement survey conducted in June, noting that 60% of employees overall are highly engaged or engaged.
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