Rogue Regional in Medford Declares Crisis Standards of Care

The Lund Report
Rogue Regional in Medford declares crisis standards of care

By Nick Bundick
December 31, 2022

Nine months after Oregon terminated its COVID-19 emergency, Julie Serrano, an Oregon Nurses Association bargaining unit liaison at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford, dd not hesitate.

“This is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” she said. “I’ve been a nurse for 22 years here in this community.”

Serrano referred to the staffing situation at Rogue Regional, a 378-bed regional trauma center where management recently announced it was shifting into “crisis standards of care,” invoking state rules allowing hospitals in Oregon to essentially declare an emergency and set aside staffing rules to keep beds open.

As some people in Oregon and Southwest Washington were preparing to celebrate New Year’s eve…staff in hospitals around Oregon were pulling on scrubs and getting ready for shifts that struggled to meet standards.

At Rogue Regional, the Oregon Nurses Association considered the situation so bad that it issued a special statement.

“Nurses at Rogue Regional are under ever-increasing pressure to do more with less. Some nurses report having as many as ten patients at a time,” said a statement issued by a spokesperson. “This is not sustainable and further adds to the moral injury they have suffered during the pandemic. Asante executives must find a solution now and they can start by listening to their nurses and acting on their suggestions.”

Serrano, an evening shift charge nurse who spoke to The Lund Report in her union capacity, questioned whether the hospital had done all it could.

She said patients are sitting in the emergency room for days on end because there were no rooms to admit them to, and yet her understanding is that some elective, non-emergency surgeries were still taking place that risked inpatient stays.

She said the requests to take extra shifts may be voluntary, but they can come off as almost “punitive … it’s like demanding more than physically can be given. … We’re just we’re hemorrhaging nurses, because you can’t keep going into that like battlefield and not having an employer behind you really doing everything they can.”

Asante’s reported profits were down in 2021, leading to losses in the first quarter of 2022. However, its investment portfolio grew significantly last year rising to $826 million at the end of 2021, from $755 million a year earlier.

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