COOS BAY, Ore. — Bay Area Hospital has issued a response to calls by the UFCW 555 and Oregon Nurses Association’s effort to recall the hospital's Board of Directors.
Our newsroom received a statement from BAH Media Director Kimberly Winker.
Winker tells us the hospital's board consists of members with deep roots in the community, including a family physician with 34 years in the community, a local business owner raised in Coos Bay, and a retired pediatrician with over 40 years in the community,
She says they collectively represent over 200 years of experience in healthcare and in the community, and that each member is committed to ensuring Bay Area Hospital is an available resource to benefit all.
Winker says efforts are also underway by the hospital and stakeholders to build a collaborative care unit.
A behavioral health summit was held this week to iron out plans for this effort.
Here's the full statement from Bay Area Hospital Board of Directors:
Bay Area Hospital was founded in 1974 by a forward thinking group of community leaders. It remains the leading health center for Southwest Oregon with a governing board of 6 elected, volunteer citizens. We are a public, not for profit hospital not sustained by any tax levy with a commitment to improving the health of our community.
We have been successful over the years in meeting the changing needs of our community. We have established a comprehensive cancer center with medical and radiation oncology, a cardiology program that includes a heart cath lab and heart attack program that has saved lives up and down the coast. We have rebuilt the hospital with the addition of the new inpatient tower. The Adult Psychiatric Unit and Emergency Department were recently remodeled. We partnered with the community to fund the expansion of the Nursing Program at Southwestern Oregon Community College. We also migrated to a common electronic health record with local physician clinics called Epic that helps the care team always have the most current patient information to provide the best care.
Our board members consist of a Family physician with 34 years in the community, a local business owner raised in Coos Bay, a retired pediatrician with over 40 years in the community, a retired CPA with 40 years in town, a physical therapist with deep roots in Coos County and a retired Navy RN. They represent a collective of over 200 years of experience in healthcare in our community, and are committed to stewardship, the commitment to ensure Bay Area Hospital is an available resource to benefit all.
We are faced with unprecedented challenges after the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospitals across the state are facing severe financial challenges, unable to staff the beds needed to care for their community. After two years of providing care in the face of the pandemic many healthcare workers have left the field. Costs in almost every area of care have gone up while revenue coming in has gone down. All of these are true for Bay Area Hospital as well.
We were as shocked as the community when the criminal background of Larry Butler was discovered. It’s important to understand the timeline. During his first week on the job details surfaced and within hours the hospital took immediate action to confiscate keys, IT security access, and escort him off the premises. We later learned that false government documents, social security number, and birth date were used to undermine a robust background check.
We have been subsidizing inpatient psychiatric care for decades. The system of care in Oregon is broken. Over the past few years Bay Area Hospital has had to fill a void created by a lack of other care sites for violent psychiatric patients. We are now working with community partners in mental health to improve care in our community and propose solutions that can improve care across the state by working with elected leaders.
The board of directors sees the people who work here as the heart of the institution. They are also friends, neighbors, and family. Without them the mission to improve the health of the community cannot move forward. The hospital is currently bargaining with all three unions and is putting forth significant increases as one way to recognize this value. Americans are changing their expectations of work, and we want to work with employees to meet those changing expectations as we reinvent healthcare.