Stadium naming upsets Providence workers

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Some employees at Providence Health are upset over the non-profit organization spending money to rename the Timbers home field Providence Park in light of cost-cutting issues they said they’ve been forced to accept.

In an interview with KOIN 6 News, Providence Oregon CEO Dave Underriner said this is a time of chnage.

“We’ve looked at where we should be investing in the future,” he said. “We talked a lot about is this the right thing to do.”

The complaints to KOIN 6 News came from Providence employees who wanted to know why jobs were cut, why they were told there wasn’t money for raises, why employees were asked to reduce costs — and then saw the company spend money on the naming rights deal.

Providence is trying to reduce costs by $250 million by 2015, and said on Monday they are two-thirds of the way there.

In 2012, Providence Oregon brought in $87.6 million, and in the first three quarters of 2013, they took in $59.4 million.

Providence spokesperson Gary Walker answered questions sent by KOIN 6 News viewers. Here is a sampling of the comments and concerns we received:

-Fully supportive of community outreach but find the deal offensive because as employees they were just told to accept the wages and benefits to help Providence be financially secure.
-Told there was no money for raises. When do you invest in the people you employ?
-Why spend on naming rights when you have had hiring freezes?
-Employees have been asked to reduce cost, but there is money for this?

There are two aspects to changing the way we deliver health care. One is to reduce cost. The other involves investing in opportunities to serve the community and grow services.

This is not an either/or question. We do not trade salary dollars/benefits for the dollars we spend to support partnerships in the community.  We have separate money set aside to support outreach and growth.

Outreach and service growth can look like brick and mortar – such as when we build clinics. Those are important services in our communities, but we recognize that keeping people healthy is as important as being here to provide care when they are sick.

-Why ask staff RNs to cut hours if there is money for a naming rights deal?
-Staff is stretched thin because of cost saving

“Ensuring patient safety is a primary focus for Providence. In line with our core value of stewardship, we have the ability to adjust staffing based on needs, which is one way to help reduce the overall cost of care.”

-Feel this looks like Providence trying to keep up with Moda

“If this had been a question of hanging a sign on a stadium, we would not have been interested. Instead, this is a community partnership, working alongside the Timbers and Thorns to take new approaches to health and wellness in the community.”

-Why pay for this while discontinuing employee discounts?
-Why spend when there have been insurance benefit reductions?

“Like any company, Providence adjusts benefits as needed to remain competitive. We believe our wages and benefits stack up well in the marketplace.”

-Why not build an outside track or swim center (something for the public to use) if you’re trying to promote health and wellness?
-Why put so much money into the community outreach and service expansion funds?

“Our partnership with the Timbers and Thorns is not our only outreach into the community, and you will see us doing things in conjunction with the partnership, as well as with other organizations in the area. We’ll consider all kinds of ideas to improve the health of people in all the areas we serve.

“Reaching out to care for people in the community in new ways, and bringing them new services, is at the core of our Providence vision.

“Here’s a snapshot of our community involvement. This is Oregon-specific. See page 3 for figures.”

-Why shut down the pool therapy in the Providence Plaza Building if supporting health and wellness is a goal?

“We continue to offer pool therapy at a different location.”

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