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How OHSU, Legacy Health Merger Agreement Could Affect Patients, Workers

Analysis  |  By Jay Asser  
   June 03, 2024

Patients in the area will have greater access to quality care, the hospitals state.

Two of Oregon’s biggest hospital operators have agreed to combine in what would be one of the largest mergers in the state’s history.

Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and Legacy Health signed a definitive agreement to create a 12-hospital system consisting of around 30,000 employees with the aim of reaching more patients and delivering better care.

If approved by regulators, the resulting system, known as OHSU Health, would also be one of the largest providers of services to Medicaid members in Oregon.

“Right now, increased demand and capacity restraints are keeping patients around the region from accessing the services OHSU Health is uniquely capable of providing,” OHSU president Danny Jacobs said in the news release. “As a single, integrated system, we can better ensure patients receive the right level of care at the right facility without having to travel outside the region, whether its complex cancer care on Marquam Hill or behavioral health treatment in Northeast Portland.”

OHSU announced it will commit around $1 billion over 10 years, financed mostly through bond offerings, to invest in care infrastructure. After the deal closes, a Legacy community foundation will receive funds equal to Legacy Health’s cash less its debt and a negotiated withhold, for supporting healthcare and health equity in the communities.

The operators said the new system will be able to better attract, retain, and train healthcare professionals.

The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA), which represents more than 4,500 nurses and providers from OHSU and more than 1,300 nurses and providers from Legacy, released a statement calling for the hospitals to protect their workers and place the focus on improving patient care.

“This agreement must increase health care services, quality and access for patients, and equip and support providers to better care for all our community members,” the ONA said. “That includes ensuring OHSU’s merger money does not come out of patients’ or workers’ pockets. OHSU needs to work on improving services and investing in our community without sacrificing current standards.”

Jay Asser is the contributing editor for strategy at HealthLeaders. 


Oregon Health & Science University and Legacy Health have agreed to create OHSU Health, a 12-hospital system to expand care in the Pacific Northwest region.

The Oregon Nurses Association is asking for the hospitals to commit to its 30,000 healthcare workers and honor staffing plans following the merger.

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