Oregon hospitals pushing for bill to compensate them for patients they can't discharge

The Oregon legislature is considering a bill that aims to help hospitals with the cost of boarding patients they can't discharge, The Lund Report reported Feb. 7.

Senate Bill 486 would direct the Oregon Health Authority to pay a daily rate to hospitals for Medicaid-funded Oregon Health Plan members no longer needing inpatient services, but who can't be discharged because there are no open beds in the care settings most appropriate to them, the report said. 

More than 400 patients are currently stuck in Oregon hospital beds unnecessarily, and another 176 are stuck in emergency departments while waiting for a hospital bed. The state's long-term care and skilled nursing facilities are short staffed, creating a patient logjam that drains hospital revenue, the report said.

"A local hospital with an open front door and a closed back door doesn't work even with the best efforts of our teams, especially when that hospital is not paid for all the care it provides," Becky Hultberg, president and CEO of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, told the Oregon Senate Health Committee. 

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