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Patient care increasing at OHSU, work continues to meet budget targets

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While patient access is improving at Oregon Health & Science University, lower-than-budgeted growth coupled with the cost of workforce investments — which will allow OHSU to increase patient access and provide high-quality care — resulted in an operating loss through the first quarter, OHSU’s board of directors heard Friday at a regular public board meeting.

First quarter results showed OHSU had an operating loss of $34 million, according to a presentation to the board by OHSU Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Lawrence Furnstahl. Growth in several high-complexity programs and services — cancer, adult surgery, pharmacy and imaging services — grew 10% in the first quarter, missing the 16% growth in these areas budgeted in the $4.9 billion break-even budget adopted by the OHSU board of directors for the current fiscal year. Furnstahl said OHSU faced challenges in the first quarter meeting patient demand for care, even as work continues to improve patient access.

“In terms of overall activity, our inpatient admissions are up 5.7%, and given the fact that we don’t have more beds than normal, that reflects the work that [John Hunter, M.D., FACS, executive vice president and chief executive officer of OHSU Health] and the whole team in the health system have done to improve access,” Furnstahl said.

Workforce investments, including higher-than-budgeted compensation, also contributed to the first-quarter financial results. The finance presentation noted employee retention rates at OHSU have been strong through the pandemic, unlike many other hospitals across the country. Investments in its health care workforce — including market-leading compensation for nurses at OHSU — ensure that highly skilled and talented individuals are retained at Oregon’s only public academic health center.

“OHSU is a people-first institution, and investments made in our workforce help ensure we continue the important work of fulling our public missions to the state of Oregon,” said OHSU President Danny Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H., FACS. “OHSU members demonstrate every day their outstanding commitment to teaching, healing and discovery for the people of Oregon and beyond.”

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

  • The board accepted the Independent Auditors’ Report on FY23 Audited Financial Statements.
  • Faculty Senate President Amy Miller Juve, EdD, MEd, provided the annual State of the Senate report.
  • The board heard updates from the Covington Implementation and Oversight committees. Both committees are wrapping up the initial phase of their work and will be transitioning into new structures beginning next year.
  • Tim Marshall, OHSU’s chief integrity officer, gave the annual integrity report.
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