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Cover Oregon aside, the rest of healthcare is doing well in Portland

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: KYLE GREEN - Michelle Reitenbaugh, Pharmacy Technician for Kaiser Permanente, prepares a patients prescription at Kaisers state of the art pharmacy in Tualatin. Cover Oregon was the $248 million elephant in the room when Governor Kitzhaber and Kaiser Permanente boss Bernard Tyson addressed the Portland Business Alliance last Tuesday.

The Alliance, however, issued a report the same day to add a little context.

The report, which was prepared on behalf of the Value of Jobs Coalition, claimed that the Portland healthcare sector is efficient, growing and strong. It also shows Portland-metro’s health care sector is also growing middle-wage jobs faster than other sectors of the economy and has a growing role as a traded-sector industry in the region.

“This report shows that Portland-metro’s health care sector is a bright spot in our economy,” said Gregg Kantor, chair of the Portland Business Alliance board of directors and CEO of Northwest Natural.

“This sector supports the growth of middle-wage jobs and traded-sector activity in our

region.”

There are 113,150 health care jobs in the metro area, with a total annual payroll of $6.9 billion. That means around 13 percent of us don the old scrubs, tap away at a medical record keyboard or clean a clinic.

Portlanders are generally healthier than people in Seattle, Denver and Minneapolis. Compared to other hospital referral regions (HRRs) we have low rates of heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis, but we’re victims when it comes to depression, asthma and atrial fibrillation.

The report analyzes the health care industry in Portland-metro through a variety of measurements, including the health of residents, delivery of health care services and job, incomes and traded-sector activity supported by the industry. Key report findings include:

n When compared to hospital referral regions throughout the U.S., Portland-metro ranked in the healthiest quartile — or better — in occurrence of most chronic medical conditions.

n Portland-metro ranks positively compared to other regions on health care delivery metrics that most impact cost.

n Portland-metro’s health care industry is expected to generate a 22 percent growth in middle-wage jobs between 2012 and 2022.

n On an annual basis, Portland-metro’s health care industry employs approximately 113,000 individuals, generating over $6.9 billion in total payroll and over $13.6 billion in revenue.

The Value of Jobs Coalition includes the Portland Business Alliance, Associated Oregon Industries, Greater Portland Inc., Oregon Business Association, Oregon Business Council, and Port of Portland.

Full report at www.valueofjobs.com.