5 Oregon Health Systems, SEIU to Hash Out Differences With Governor

The Service Employees International Union has agreed to drop five healthcare ballot measures this year and will meet with Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, MD, the Oregon Nurses Association and five health systems to improve healthcare throughout the state.

The five health systems that will meet with the SEIU, Gov. Kitzhaber's office and the ONA are Legacy Health in Portland, Ore., Renton, Wash.-based Providence Health & Services, Vancouver, Wash.-based PeaceHealth, Oregon Health & Science University in Portland and Kaiser Permanente Northwest, which includes two hospitals in Oregon.

In October, the SEIU filed five ballot measures as part of its "Act Now for a Healthy Oregon" campaign. The measures included capping hospital executive pay to 15 times the salary of the lowest-paid employee, requiring hospitals to spend at least 5 percent of service costs on charity care, limiting prices for larger hospitals, mandating hospitals post common procedure costs publicly and requiring hospitals to post quality of care data publicly.

Felisa Hagins, political director of SEIU Local 49, told the Portland Business Journal the union was "more than prepared to go forward" with the ballot initiatives, but the group ultimately reached a deal with the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems to address the SEIU's concerns.

In a statement, Gov. Kitzhaber said: "This agreement moves our shared health reform goals forward far better than a multimillion dollar ballot measure fight. I appreciate the willingness of SEIU and the hospitals to work together and move this conversation away from political combat. I believe that the hospitals and SEIU have enough common interests and shared values that we should be able to work together to achieve the goals of the triple aim through ongoing engagement of frontline workers."

No timeline was given for when a meeting and discussions would occur.

More Articles on Hospitals and the SEIU:
California Healthcare Workers Seek to Limit Hospital Pricing
Hospitals and Unions: 6 Recent Developments
Ad Campaign Against Payment Cuts Unites SEIU, Hospital Officials

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