This Monday, PeaceHealth announced that it would shut down the only hospital in Eugene, Oregon, and move all of its operations 9 kilometers (6 miles) away to Springfield.
The hospital that serves a population of around 178,000 people, according to PeaceHealth, is underutilized, the Register-Guard reported.
Numerous nurses, medical personnel, and support workers are employed by the PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center University District in Eugene, which opened its doors in 1936.
According to PeaceHealth authorities, the hospital is losing an average of $2 million per month due to a decline in patient flow. According to hospital officials, the institution receives roughly 95 patient visits every day, and approximately 15.5 patients are admitted each month as inpatients, and 7.5 patients are admitted for observation.
According to Alicia Beymer, chief administrative officer of the University District hospital, “PeaceHealth services and sites of care need to evolve as the needs of the Lane County community evolve to ensure compassionate, high-quality care now and in the future.” We think that streamlining several services at RiverBend will improve the patient experience.
The PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at Riverbend in Springfield will house inpatient rehabilitation, the emergency room, and other related medical services.
The Eugene Hospital will gradually stop providing emergency services in November. Early in 2024, inpatient rehab will temporarily relocate, and in 2026 a more significant recovery center will be opened.
Ambulatory services, such as PeaceHealth Medical Group clinics and Home and community services, will continue to be offered at the Eugene location. The Eugene facility will also keep offering behavioral health services in the University District “until there is a sustainable alternative in the community.”
Three other hospitals serve patients in Lane County in addition to PeaceHealth in Springfield.
Eugene Residents to Lose Only Hospital
PeaceHealth is “committed to retaining its valued caregivers as it evolves its care services in Lane County, finding equivalent positions within PeaceHealth’s Oregon network.”
The Oregon Nurses Association’s Scott Palmer called the choice a “disaster.”
According to Palmer, the nurse’s organization and the staff in the University District were surprised by the email sent on Tuesday informing them of the impending closure. “It’s a short-sighted decision on the part of PeaceHealth, and they should reverse that decision immediately,” Palmer said.
A four-year deal between the nurses union and the hospital was recently reached and ratified by the union last week.
According to Palmer, there was never even the tiniest indication that a University District Hospital shutdown was a possibility during those conversations. This tremendous, hugely terrible decision will affect tens of thousands of people in Eugene and hundreds of hospital staff members.
“We’re concerned that this will have immediate, dramatic, and dangerous impacts on the health of the people of this region,” he said.
Palmer stated that to keep the hospital operating, the Oregon Nurses Association is collaborating with other local union groups and organizations.
The Service Employees International Union Local 49’s director of communications, Alan Dubinsky, stated that the union is still evaluating the potential effects on its members at the Eugene hospital.
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According to Dubinsky, SEIU Local 49 represents around 1,800 healthcare employees and personnel at the University District, Riverbend, and St. John Medical Center hospitals in the Pacific Northwest, which are all part of PeaceHealth.
Lane County commissioner Laurie Trieger expressed her disagreement with the closure during Tuesday’s Board of County Commissioners meeting.
“The closure will have far-reaching negative impacts,” she said. “It is alarming to think that the third largest city in this state will have no emergency room. This closure will decrease access and degrade health care in our community, and we should all be very concerned.”
Trieger added that she was concerned about how the closure may impact how quickly people could access emergency care, particularly during periods of heavy traffic.
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