Hospitals near limit again … as billions in Covid aid squandered

By Taxpayers Association of Oregon

Don’t forget that before the pandemic hit, Oregon was rated as the worst hospitalization state in America.  Oregon had hospital beds but lacked the health care workers to staff them.   When Covid hit, our hospitals quickly maxed out.   Governor Brown used the metric of lack of hospital space as the primary reason for re-locking Oregon down and keeping Oregon locked down, and schools closed, during the pandemic longer and harder than about 40 other states.

Oregon received nearly five billion in Covid aid but spent most of it on unrelated projects like economic development, art/entertainment projects and even giving political lobby firms a million Covid dollars to build a new building.  Other states used Covid funds to help boost hospital staffing.

Now Oregon is seeing hospital max out (again).

OPB reports, “Oregon hospitals are understaffed and nearing full capacity, officials say…increasing hospitalizations due in part to COVID-19 and severe staffing shortages have led to fewer available beds in some areas.Central and Southern Oregon have been especially hard-hit, state epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger told reporters at a press conference Wednesday, especially St. Charles Medical Center in Bend.But no hospital in Oregon has been spared, he said.Even though there might be physical beds available, some hospitals don’t have the staff to utilize those spaces.“It is kind of a domino effect,” Sidelinger said.Oregon health officials are urging people in 21 counties with high COVID-19 cases — including the three Portland-area counties — to return to mask wearing to help with the strain the hospitals are experiencing.”

Our previous Taxpayers Association article explains the  why our hospitalizations is so terrible:

“Oregon rates as the worst hospital bed capacity in the nation because…* Governor Brown passed a hospital tax in 2019. This tax cuts hospital staff while directing the money to fund bigger government. * Oregon actively blocks the creation of new hospitals with their bureaucratic “certificate of need” law. This law blocks hospitals from being created base don need, but rather upon government approval along with input from rival hospitals. Most states do not have this law, while California of all places repealed theirs. Our Oregon patients are facing less help because government bureaucrats for decades blocked the creation of new hospital capacity. * During the staffing shortage Oregon actively blocks nurses from coming in from other states because Oregon refuses to participate in the Nurse Licensure Compact used in other states. The compact allows quick sharing of nurses between states — a flexible tool for pandemics. Not in Oregon. Nurses union correct barriers to block nurses from coming in from other states in order to block competition.  Unions pass laws to protect their raises over protecting patients. Are people dying because of this law? Our government employees seem to be faring well because 3,500 Oregon workers make more than the governor.”

Here is the Taxpayers Association previous article on what other states did to stop hospitals from maxing out:

“If Oregon did not wish to be more flexible (consider how that sounds), they could have dedicated some of the near $5 billion in Covid relief funds to hire nurses.  Oregon could have contracted with national hiring firms (like New Hampshire), offered $12,500 hiring bonuses (like Montana), or lured baby boomer retirees back into service with incentives.   Quebec recruited 1,000 nurses using incentives. Oregon could have reduced their high hospital taxes so hospitals could afford to hire more staff. Oregon could have suspended anti-competition laws that hinder hospitals from hiring out-of-state workers. Instead, Oregon just passed highly restrictive laws upon an already pandemic wounded system and let the workers deal with the fallout. We know Oregon can protect jobs.  Oregon can protect jobs because the most protected job during the pandemic was their own government jobs.”

Remember, Oregon was among the 6 most restrictive (least flexible) vaccine mandate for health care workers.  Which means Oregon was shoving health care workers out the door while other states were bringing them in.

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