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|Articles - May 2012|
|Monday, April 23, 2012|
By Dan Cook
April marked the end of an era in Ashland. Its standalone medical center, Ashland Community Hospital, agreed to take on a business partner after years of financial struggles. Hospital management insists the “strategic alliance” with San Francisco-based Dignity Health was inevitable because of increasing financial pressures on the small health-care center. But the decision and process that led up to it triggered an angry opposition among some employees.
The small health-care facility chose to partner with the fifth-largest health care organization in the country. Dignity Health is a network of 40 acute-care hospitals and more than 150 ancillary care sites in communities in California, Arizona and Nevada.
The past decade has not been kind to the Ashland 49-bed hospital, founded in 1907. Use of its maternity facility has declined during the past decade, and without a specialty center such as a heart or cancer unit to offset such losses, revenue has been down and key personnel have departed.
“They really needed to find a viable partner,” says Jerry Taylor, a retired high-tech executive with close ties to the hospital. “In no sense was it a failure of leadership; they were losing skill sets and just weren’t financially viable going forward.”
The hospital board said in August it would seek a strategic alliance with another health-care provider to ensure the long-term viability of the hospital. As the date for selecting a partner neared, staff tension increased. That tension exploded in March with a blistering letter to the editor of the Ashland Daily Tidings signed by five hospital employees. Management was accused of fiscal mismanagement, bullying employees and using fear tactics to quash feedback or criticism of hospital operations and policies.
The letter writers urged the hospital to engage the community in an evaluation of the conditions that led to the need for a partnership and seek input on the hospital’s community role.
Hospital CEO Mark Marchetti declined to discuss allegations in the letter, saying they were unrelated to the alliance.
The sense of loss conveyed by the letter resonates with many in the community.
“This is not something anyone ever wanted to happen,” says Patsy Smullin, the owner of Medford-based California Oregon Broadcasting, whose foundation, the Patricia D. & William B. Smullin Foundation, supports the hospital. Smullin thinks management did all it could to remain independent, but market forces weighing against that were simply too strong. She expressed regret that local control of the hospital likely would be further eroded.
“Sadly, once you take that first step in that direction,” she says, “that pattern only continues.”
Thursday, July 31, 2014
BY MARY SPILDE | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
Faced with the aftermath of the “great recession,” increasing concern about the environment and dwindling family wage jobs, we have some very important choices to make about our future.
Tuesday, June 03, 2014
Citing the transition to catch shares management as a key to rebuilding stocks and reducing bycatch, 13 species caught by the West Coast trawl fishery today earned designation from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) as sustainable.
Monday, July 14, 2014
BY TERRY "STARBUCKER" ST. MARIE
I really didn’t know that much about angel investing, but I did know a lot about the entrepreneurial spirit.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
BY ERIC FRUTS | OB BLOGGER
Last year, the housing market in Oregon—and the U.S. as a whole—was blasting off. The Case-Shiller index of home prices ended the year 13% higher than at the beginning of the year. But, was last year a blip, or a trend?
Thursday, June 12, 2014
BY ANDREA DURBIN | OB GUEST BLOGGER
Last week, the Obama administration took an important and welcomed step in the effort to protect the health and well-being of all Oregonians by limiting carbon pollution from existing power plants.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
BY MONICA ENAND | GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
Nine tips for building habits among employees to respond when needed.
Thursday, July 03, 2014
BY TED AUSTIN & MIKE BAELE | GUEST CONTRIBUTORS
The Office of Economic Analysis announced that Oregon is currently enjoying the strongest job growth since 2006. While this resurgence has been welcome, the lingering effects of the 2008 “Great Recession” continues to affect Oregon businesses, especially with regard to estate planning and business succession.
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