Portland’s OHSU, Legacy Move Forward With Merger Plans

May 31, 2024
OHSU says it will make a capital commitment of $1 billion over 10 years to improve the quality of essential services across the region

Portland-based Oregon Health & Science University and Legacy Health are moving ahead with a plan to unite as one health system called OHSU Health that was announced in August 2023. The combined system will have 12 hospitals, 100-plus locations and about 30,000 employees and more than 3 million patient visits a year.

OHSU is part of the State of Oregon, established in Oregon law as a public corporation. Legacy is a local, nonprofit health system that had been struggled financially,  according to news reports. 

In the coming months OHSU and Legacy Health will submit an application to the State of Oregon’s Healthcare MarketPlace Oversight Program (HCMO), which reviews certain healthcare business transactions in Oregon.  This program, established by the Legislature in 2021, “reviews proposed business deals to make sure they will help and not hurt Oregon's shared goals of health equity, lower consumer costs, increased access and better care. The program applies to mergers, acquisitions, and other business deals that involve health care entities and meet certain criteria.”
After the HCMO application is filed, the state regulatory review process will begin.

“Our agreement with OHSU is an important milestone toward creating a stronger health system better capable of delivering for our patients, our people and our communities,” said Legacy Health Board Chair Charles Wilhoite, in a statement. “Following many months of thoughtful collaboration between our organizations, we believe this is the right next step to create significant opportunities to improve the health of our region for many years to come.”   

“Right now, increased demand and capacity restraints are keeping patients around the region from accessing the services OHSU Health is uniquely capable of providing,” said OHSU President Danny Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H., in a statement. “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 it's complex cancer care on Marquam Hill or behavioral health treatment in Northeast Portland.”  

“With greater opportunities and an enhanced system from which to grow our shared future as OHSU Health, the expanded health system will stabilize and grow in the innovative services, tools and technologies essential for the care of people by our integrated teams, and allow us to continue to train the next generation of clinicians, scientists and educators,” said OHSU Board Chair Wayne Monfries, in a statement. “We are excited about what we can achieve for our communities.”   

With a capital commitment from OHSU of approximately $1 billion over 10 years, financed mostly through bond offerings, the integrated system will make investments in care infrastructure to improve the quality of essential services and health outcomes for communities across the region.   
Following transaction close, a Legacy community foundation independent of OHSU will receive funds equal to Legacy Health's cash less its debt and a negotiated withhold, for making grants in support of health, health care and health equity in our communities.  

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