On August 20, PeaceHealth announced a plan to close the University District Hospital, a decision that will put our community at great risk. We support our allies in the Oregon Nurses Association, and we’re calling on state and local officials to halt the reckless closure of our city’s only hospital. Read our letter below, and visit www.SaveEugenesHospital.com to sign the public petition and learn more about how to help.
August 29, 2023
Dear Representatives Fahey and Holvey, Senators Manning and Prozanski, Mayor Vinis and the Eugene City Council,
We, the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF) of the University of Oregon, are reaching out to you in deep concern over the effort to close the PeaceHealth University District Hospital. Earlier this month, PeaceHealth announced its plan to close the University District Hospital and transfer its patients to their Riverbend facility in Springfield.
We ask for your support to halt PeaceHealth’s effort and keep the University District Hospital open. The University District Hospital is the only hospital in the city of Eugene and removing this essential service will put our community at great risk.
PeaceHealth representatives claim that consolidating services will ensure high-quality patient care. However, their assertions do not reflect the true state of healthcare in our region. Wait times at Riverbend Hospital already exceed acceptable lengths, with some patients waiting 18 hours for emergent care. The closure of University District hospital would exacerbate these conditions. In addition, the distance between the Eugene and Riverbend locations makes receiving timely medical care inaccessible to those most in need. Student workers at UO already face financial burdens against receiving necessary medical care, and this decision puts such care even further out of reach.
Even further, PeaceHealth’s notice of this closure came just one day after the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) ratified their contract at the University District Hospital. The GTFF does not see this move as a mere coincidence. ONA was not given fair warning about this possibility, and its untimely announcement reflects questionable behavior by PeaceHealth executives. We call on you to stand in solidarity with workers whose livelihoods are in jeopardy.
We understand that ONA is in contact with the Oregon Health Authority and is seeking ways to prevent this reckless closure of the University District Hospital. We support our allies in the Oregon Nurses Association, and we ask for your assistance in this effort to keep Eugene’s only hospital open.
On behalf of our over 1,100 members and countless other student workers at UO, we urge you to stand with workers and safeguard the people of Eugene by refusing to allow the closure of the University District Hospital.
Kristina Beggen, VP of Political Education
Emily Beatty, VP of External Relations
Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF)
AFT Local 3544