Hospital siting

if a new hospital is built in Eugene,
what would be the best location?

The ideal location for Eugene's new hospital is Second and Garfield, which is relatively central for Eugene's population. The site is large enough for a sizeable complex. It has good access via 6th and 7th Avenues, River Road, Northwest Expressway, Roosevelt Blvd and Highway 99. Spending a half million or so to extend Second Street westward to Highway 99 would facilitate better access to this location (there is no need to build the WEP to do this).


Potential Location: Second and Garfield Delta Highway EWEB Glenwood
Flood Risk Minimal Medium Moderate to High Severe (especially during dam failure)
Nearby roads 6th and 7th avenues, near West 11th, River Road, Garfield and Chambers, Roosevelt Blvd., Highway 99 (extend Second Street to 99 to complete access, no need to build WEP) massive reconstruction of Delta and Beltline required relocated 6th Avenue / Franklin Blvd., new underpass under rail tracks, Ferry Street Bridge would require expanded I-5 interchange, on new Bus Rapid Transit route
Access all directions no access to west, north, minimal access to east, south access hampered by clogged Delta / Beltline interchange all directions except northeast access is good, but not from most of Eugene
Road construction subsidy a million? (Second Street extended to Hwy 99) a hundred million or more? tens of millions (relocation of Franklin Blvd., underpass under railroad tracks) plus tens of millions for EWEB relocation many tens of millions?
Population access close to geographic center of Eugene population at far edge of town next to downtown, relatively central not central
Views from hospital room Three Sisters, Coburg Hills, South Hills, Bertelsen Nature Park forest, West Eugene Wetlands Coburg Hills, river, golf course, gravel pits downtown, river, Coburg Hills Coburg Hills, I-5 bridges, river
Legal constraints minor zoning change needed part of site is outside Urban Growth Boundary riverfront issues, EWEB relocation ?
hazards some cleanup of site probably needed (mycoremediation with mushrooms) would result in both regional hospitals on same side of river, earthquake and/or large flood would eliminate health care access for most of Eugene floods same side of river as Eugene, but in highly vulnerable flood location downstream of dangerous dams

Ambulance crews under strain with change to new hospital site

By Tim Christie

The Register-Guard

Published: August 23, 2008

SPRINGFIELD — The opening of Sacred Heart Medical Center at River Bend earlier this month is putting a strain on Eugene ambulance crews, which are spending more time driving to the Springfield hospital and more time transferring patients there from the old hospital in Eugene.

PeaceHealth, the hospitals’ corporate parent, is operating emergency departments both at RiverBend, in the Gateway area of Springfield, and at Sacred Heart Medical Center, University District, in Eugene. But patients requiring surgery or any kind of invasive procedure — for trauma, cardiac and obstetric issues, for example — need to be treated at RiverBend because that’s where the operating rooms and most of the specialists are located.

Medics are spending more time driving to and from the hospital, which means it takes them more time to respond to emergencies, emergency medical service officials said.

“With RiverBend being a little further outside the city of Eugene, our ambulances are having to travel farther to get to the hospital,” said Scott Olmos, president of the Eugene Firefighters Association Local 851. “And now, because that’s the primary hospital we’re transporting to, our units are not available to handle calls in Eugene ... and response times are greater because we have to travel from Springfield back into Eugene.”

More time spent driving to and from the hospital is starting to take a toll on EMS crew members, he said.

“As time goes and crews work longer and longer hours, it becomes more of a fatigue issue,” he said.

Exacerbating the problem is that many Eugene residents are accustomed to going to the University District campus for emergency care, even though they may need to be seen at RiverBend, he said. That means ambulance crews spend time transferring patients from the Eugene hospital to RiverBend.

In the first seven days the new hospital was open, Eugene ambulance crews transferred 35 patients from University District to RiverBend, said Denise Giard of Eugene Fire and EMS.

“We may have to shift our deployment of ambulances, move them to a different location, if we’re out of service that much longer,” Giard said.

Giard is concerned as well about what will happen when students come back for fall term at the University of Oregon, and how that will affect the number of patients showing up at the University District ER.

But she also said it’s too early to make any final judgments. Eugene EMS is tracking the length of calls and emerging patterns in terms of when and where calls are originating, she said. Things may settle down as the community learns about where to go in an emergency, she said.

PeaceHealth officials say they too are monitoring the situation and working with EMS officials to determine if any changes are needed.

Dr. Gary Young, medical director of Sacred Heart’s emergency departments, reiterated that people who are having an emergency should call 911, or if they’re not sure, call their doctor.

Women with pregnancy-related problems, and anyone having heart problems, should go to RiverBend, he said.

“The patients who show up at University District will be taken care of by emergency physicians and get immediate care,” he said. “If they need to go to RiverBend they’ll be transported.”

But decisions about where to treat an ill patient aren’t always crystal clear, he said.

“You get into judgment calls,” he said. “The safest thing is to transfer to RiverBend.

“I think the medics have done an excellent job. I also understand their need to do as few transfers as possible because they want to be in their community in Eugene for the next 911 call.”

Young said PeaceHealth officials will continue to meet with EMS.

Sicker patients are going to RiverBend, as they should, he said. In addition, the number of ER visits at the two hospitals has increased since RiverBend opened Aug. 10, he said.

Before RiverBend opened, the University District ER was treating an average of 167 patients per day, and rarely reached 200, Young said.

In the first 10 days after River Bend opened, a daily combined average of 211 patients were treated at the two ERs, an increase of 26 percent.

Copyright © 2008 — The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon, USA

Published: August 22, 2008

Hospital’s opulence over the top

So, $500 million to construct Sacred Health Medical Center at RiverBend, a large part of which has been dedicated to “a lodge-like lobby filled with art,” “a three-story river rock fireplace” and “sweeping views from patient rooms.” Wow.

I am wondering how a three-story river rock fireplace will assist in one’s healing or in tempering a family’s worry or grief. Situating the hospital on the river? The lobby filled with art work? The upscale chapel?

And all of the other accoutrements too numerous to mention in this limited space.

Could not this extravagance have been better spent on attracting a sufficient amount of competent physicians, registered nurses and other support staff to end the horrifically long waits in the emergency room, to enable each staff member to actually spend real and unhurried time with each of their patients?

How about using some of these millions to provide lower health care costs so that those of us not fortunate to have sufficient medical insurance have the opportunity for care, or to provide free care to those who have no insurance? Did it occur to anyone to construct a clean, modest, well-equipped and well-staffed health care facility instead?

Let’s face it: No one ill enough to be in a hospital can begin to appreciate such over-the-top opulence. This facility is a most generous contribution to the widening and deepening of the ever-growing chasm between the “haves” and the “have-nots.”

May McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center exercise more thoughtfulness in the construction of its new facility.

Linda Hyatt


Bob Welch: Triad & Delta destined for disaster
By Bob Welch
Columnist, The Register-Guard
Published: Sunday, February 19, 2006
Site will never be right for hospital
By Ann Simas
For The Register-Guard
Published: Sunday, January 14, 2007

More Letters in the Editor's Mailbag
Published: Saturday, March 18, 2006

Everyone gets there eventually

I find it prophetic to note that if Triad accomplishes its move to North Delta Highway, all patients (moribund or not) will be advised, via road signs, that they are approaching a "dead end."



Belt Line Widening from Coburg Road to River Road

The STIP list also requests the start of a study for widening Belt Line from Coburg Road to River Road. This would be another huge subsidy to the "heart transplant" - the relocation of Peace Health hospital to the McKenzie River floodplain. Tens of millions, at least, would be spent to widen the Belt Line to feed traffic to Peace Health.

This widening would require the reconstruction of the Delta Highway, Norkenzie and Gilham overpasses, since none of these bridges have room for more lanes on Belt Line. In addition, several places lack sufficient right-of-way for more lanes, so there would be major impacts on the residential neighborhoods between Coburg Road and Delta, and on the businesses between the river and River Road. It will be interesting to see the political fallout when pavement-at-any-cost politicians such as (outgoing) Mayor Torrey and Councilor Pape tell their neighbors in the Norkenzie area that they will lose their backyards, if not their homes, so that more lanes can be added to the highway system to facilitate speculative development planned by an out of state hospital corporation masquerading as a "non-profit." It is sad that this official malfeasance causes many citizens to be cynical about the political process.

Peace Health's move is going to force the widening of Belt Line to at least to 6 lanes to River Road, which is not in the TransPlan budget, not even as a “future” project. Widening Belt Line in this area would probably force the relocation of a number of families’ homes, with considerable community impact.

This widening would require the reconstruction of three overpasses - Delta Highway, Norkenzie and Gilham Roads. If the new Norkenzie and Gilham bridges are built next to the existing bridges (so that the roads can remain open during construction), several homes might need to be demolished.McKenzie Willamette hospital vs. EWEB


The real crisis of health care in Lane County is lack of access

Hospital certificate of need process leaves out consumers.
By Alan Pittman

The $600 million cost of the two new hospitals here will be passed through to local consumers and increase the cost of private health insurance in Eugene-Springfield, said Bart McMullan, president of Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, the state's largest health insurer. "Yes it will, absolutely."
PeaceHealth and Triad officials have denied they'll charge significantly more to pay for the new hospitals.
But few people appear to believe them. "The folks who are going to pay are everyone in Lane County who ever needs to pay for hospital services," said Pinney.
Healey calls the hospitals switching cities here a "debacle" that will cost consumers money and waste scarce health care resources.
Lane County has an estimated 50,000 uninsured people. If distributed evenly, $600 million is about $12,000 for each uninsured person to buy health insurance.
"It just seems like a whole lot of wasted health care dollars," said Healey. "How many people could get health care for that kind of money?"