KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Oregon Hospital Building Boom Slows Down

"Oregon's hospital spending boom is winding to a close," as hospitals cut back on projects, Portland Business Journal reports. "Portland-area hospitals have opened, started construction on, or announced expansions costing at least $1.3 billion in the past 18 months. Projects include cancer treatment centers, cardiac units and pediatric care facilities. Now, spurred by economic concerns, health organizations are cutting back. ... It doesn't make financial sense to embark on major new projects until the economy improves and hospital administrators know how health care reforms may affect their operations, said Providence Chief Operating Officer Terry Smith."

The Portland Business Journal adds that "hospital administrators argue that the recent investment was long overdue. More hospitals have closed in the Portland area than opened over the last 20 years. Emergency rooms are crowded, and the population is growing - and getting older." It also notes: "[The needs of the baby boomers] will drive U.S. health care consumption in the years ahead. Health spending could double to $4.3 trillion by 2017, or 20 percent of the nation's GDP, as baby boomers need more care in old age, according to a recent report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services" (Sherwood, 7/24).

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