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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.”
Friday, August 21, 2015
Renee Spears, founder and owner of Portland-based Rose City Mortgage, is hot to trot to sell pot.
Monday, July 13, 2015
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Friday, July 10, 2015
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We asked readers to weigh in on the fossil fuel-green energy equation.
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Every once in a while we receive a letter in the (fictional) mailbag that is tough to describe and quite compelling. This week, Isabel, the new HR manager at LabCo (and someone who is new to HR), wants to know whether she may fire the owner’s son for having an Oregon medical marijuana card. In passing, Isabel also makes a number of alarming admissions about her motivation. Here is Isabel’s nerve-racking question and our response to it.
Oregon Sick Leave is here, and changes to the federal white-collar worker regulations are on the way. This workshop will prepare you for both. We invite you to participate in an interactive discussion on how to start planning now for the future impact on your operations and finances.
Presented by OEN + CENTRL + YESpdx.
This Roundtable will cover numerous issues under the employer "shared responsibility" rules of the Affordable Care Act, including how to track the "full-time" status of variable-hour employees, temporary or seasonal employees, and employees who experience a change in status or a break in service. Additionally, we will provide a brief overview of Code sections 6055 and 6056, which require most mid-sized and large employers to submit their first information reports to the IRS in early 2016 regarding the health insurance coverage being offered to employees. We invite you to participate in an interactive discussion on how to prepare for the future impact of the shared responsibility rules on your operations and finances.