Oregon health system seeks to eliminate 100 jobs, cut workers' pay to avoid shortfall

St. Charles Health System, a four-hospital system in Bend, Ore., is planning to eliminate jobs, cut employee pay and suspend merit-based raises to avoid a $25 million to $35 million shortfall next year, according to KUOW.

St. Charles Health System President and CEO Joe Sluka said the system is seeing revenue decline and expenses increase. He said the revenue decline may be due to an influx of patients with high-deductible health plans, according to the report.

Since patients are already having trouble paying their hospital bills, Mr. Sluka said raising prices was off the table when officials examined how to improve the health system's financial picture. Instead, the health system plans to suspend merit-based raises, lay off 30 workers, cut pay for salaried workers by 5 percent for at least six months, and offer buyouts to 70 employees, according to the report.

St. Charles Health System CFO Jennifer Welander told KUOW employees who accept the buyouts will be given one week of pay for every year of service up to 12 years, plus a fixed bonus payment.

St. Charles Health System is the largest employer in Central Oregon, with approximately 4,200 employees, according to the report.

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