PeaceHealth Has Lost Its Way

Rather than following the the path of Jesus, the hospital chain sees only the bottom line

By Jill Dougall

PeaceHealth claims to see us. Yet all it sees is a profit-driven approach that often neglects patients and the very caregivers delivering care. Our patients deserve better. We deserve better. 

As a dedicated respiratory therapist at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart, I have tirelessly served this institution and our community for 17 years. During my commitment, I’ve witnessed the growing disconnect between PeaceHealth’s mission and its behavior. Corporate greed now overshadows the well-being of both patients and health care professionals — the very professionals who make quality care possible. 

As a respiratory therapist I provide critical care support for our youngest pediatric patients all the way through adulthood. We are an essential element of the critical care team, ensuring that patients receive the respiratory care they need to survive and recover.

The tech unit, of which I am a part, includes a variety of critical care services that support newborns in the NICU, patients in the ICU, cardiac cath lab, stroke center, trauma care and beyond. These services are indispensable to our community. Without us, the hospital simply cannot run. While we are seeing PeaceHealth’s profit-oriented behavior in its unwillingness to produce an agreeable and timely union contract, its actions are indicative of a deeper problem within the institution. This problem is a prioritization of corporate interests over patient care and staff well-being, a practice that is sadly becoming all too common in the healthcare industry. 

Patients should be at the forefront of our mission, and it’s disheartening to see the future of their care compromised for the sake of profits. The most alarming example of PeaceHealth’s actions are seemingly reckless cuts to patient services, including the closure of the University District hospital, while CEOs continue to receive extravagant raises. It’s a stark contrast that highlights the institution’s skewed priorities. 

Techs deserve better, and so does our community. We are fighting for you, our patients, advocating for your right to receive the quality care you deserve. It’s time for PeaceHealth to prioritize and value the community that depends on it over its greed. This starts by placing an immediate priority on respecting techs, like myself, who are critical to the hospital’s mission. Management must immediately refocus its attention on offering living wages and taking measures to recruit, retain and respect its staff. As respiratory therapists, alongside the rest of the tech unit, we provide life-saving care and play a vital role in service to our community.

It’s time for PeaceHealth to re-evaluate its priorities and recommit to their own core principles. This entails placing patients first and valuing the dedicated professionals who make quality care possible. A call for PeaceHealth to return to its once closely held mission is being voiced from the caregivers who are committed to upholding this truth, as it is the very cornerstone of caregiving. It is time to rediscover the very ethos of the “healing and compassionate ministry and service of Jesus Christ, relieving suffering and treating each person with loving care,” which PeaceHealth claims as its guiding principle. Our community depends on this, and our patients deserve nothing less. 

Jill Dougall is a respiratory therapist at PeaceHealth in Eugene.