St. Charles Bend

An entrance to St. Charles Bend, seen in September 2020.

Delays from St. Charles Health System prompted the Central Oregon Providers Network, a group of doctors and health care professionals, to refile for union representation with the National Labor Relations Board on Monday morning.

About 300 doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and other health care workers, who are members of the St. Charles Medical Group, initially filed for union representation on June 3 and pledged support for a union.

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(3) comments


This is what happens when a local community is faced with a monopoly in health care.


We can’t support one hospital system here, how would a competitor survive?


The problem with the St. Charles (SCMC) System is not a lack of bedspace or patients to care for, it is the lack of sufficient staff. It would take too long to explain how monopolies lead to inefficiencies as opposed to a more competitive environment. Currently SCMC care providers are not happy for a variety of reasons, and this is nothing new. Though nationally there is a nursing shortage, due to the SCMC monopoly, local providers are forced to seek friendlier employment outside of the area amplifying the regional shortage. There was a time where Redmond, Prineville, and Madras had independent community hospitals. Central Oregon District Hospital (CODH) in Redmond was comparatively the most competitive with St. Charles in Bend. It was mismanagement by the CODH administration that brought CODH to its knees creating a merger with SCMC, and the remaining local hospitals soon followed. Before the merger competition generated excellent care in both Redmond and Bend as staff and community had choices. Pre-merger promises made by SCMC granting Redmond residents a proportional voice on the SCMC Board were reneged on. Since the merger, a town of greater than 30,000 no longer has an obstetrics program, multiple inadequate electronic medical record systems were installed, there are no local medical subspecialists, and good clinicians/staff began to leave. I bet if the Redmond hospital left the SCMC system, or if a new hospital was built at the Tumalo Road/97 intersection, medical care would improve throughout. Otherwise, I fear SCMC is going to take the community down with it. Other hospital organizations are proving to be successful. It is time for SCMC to go.

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