OHSU to lay off at least 500 employees

Portland-based Oregon Health & Science University told staff June 6 that it plans to lay off at least 500 employees, citing financial issues. 

"Our expenses, including supplies and labor costs, continue to outpace increases in revenue," top leaders told staff in a message shared with Becker's. "Despite our efforts to increase our revenue, our financial position requires difficult choices about internal structures, workforce and programs to ensure that we achieve our state-mandated missions and thrive over the long term."

Willamette Week was first to report the news, which follows Oregon Health & Science University and Portland-based Legacy Health signing a binding, definitive agreement to come together as one health system under OHSU Health. OHSU Health would comprise 12 hospitals and, more than 32,000 employees and will be one of the largest providers of services to Medicaid members in Oregon. 

An Oregon Health & Science University spokesperson told Becker's more information about the layoffs will be provided in the coming weeks.

In the June 6 message, leaders told staff that "while we work to address short-term financial challenges, we must also plan for an impactful and successful future. We understand that last week'’s announcement regarding the Legacy Health definitive agreement, while exciting and potentially transformational, raises questions about how we can afford the required investment in light of our financial situation."

They added that a capital investment in Legacy "represents a strategic expansion designed to enhance our capacity," and will be funded by borrowing with 30-year bonds.  

"These capital dollars cannot be used to close gaps in our fiscal year 2025 OHSU budget or to pay our members. The OHSU Strategic Alignment and budgetary work would be necessary with or without the Legacy Health integration," leaders said.

OHSU has planned a town hall next week to further discuss the combination with Legacy. 

Leaders said discussions between managers and members about workforce reductions will begin after the annual review and contract renewal process, with additional reductions occurring over the next few months.

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