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CHI Mercy combines with Dignity Health

Dignity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) have combined to form CommonSpirit Health, a new nonprofit Catholic health system that will include CHI Mercy Medical Center and Centennial Medical Group in Roseburg.

The $29 billion health care system operates more than 700 care sites and 142 hospitals, as well as research programs, virtual care services, home health programs and living communities.

CommonSpirit Health officials said in a press release that the company supports a range of community health programs to create healthier communities and address the root causes of poor health such as access to quality care and health equity, affordable housing, safe neighborhoods and a healthy environment.

Company represenatives did not respond to requests for an interview. According to the press release, Catholic Health Initiatives CEO Kevin Lofton and Dignity Health President and CEO Lloyd Dean will both serve in that capacity in the Office of the CEO for the new health system.

“We didn’t combine our ministries to get bigger, we came together to provide better care for more people,” Dean said in a statement.

According to the press release, the new organization has approximately 150,000 employees and 25,000 physicians and advanced practice clinicians.

The head office of CommonSpirit Health is located in Chicago. The company has approximately 150,000 employees and 25,000 physicians and advance practice clinicians. The company operates 142 hospitals and more than 700 care sites in 21 states.

In fiscal year 2018, Catholic Health Initiatives and dignity Health had combined revenues of $29.2 billion and provided $4.2 billion in charity care, community and unreimbursed government program.

Pendleton Surgery Center and CHI St. Anthony’s Medical Center in Pendleton are the only other facilities in Oregon that are included in the new company.


County drought persists despite recent rain

A lot of rain and some snow has fallen in Douglas County during the last couple weeks. But the county is still in a drought.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Drought Monitor downgraded the severity of the Douglas County drought for the first time since Christmas Day. The drought dates back to late spring 2018 when Gov. Kate Brown made an emergency declaration.

Twenty percent of the county has been in an “extreme” drought since Dec. 25, according to the drought monitor, but the proportion of the county in “severe” drought dropped from 80 percent to 37 percent this week. Forty-three percent of the county is currently in the “moderate” drought classification.

Susan Douthit, watermaster for Douglas County, says the recent drought improvements are minimal. Temperature and precipitation outlooks for the spring show that Douglas County may be in for another drought-ridden summer, she said.

That doesn’t bode well for several county industries that depend on water availability such as agriculture, livestock and tourism, she said. If the forecasts materialize, water rights regulations may be enacted, according to Douthit.

“I’d be doing a lot better if it kept raining,” Douthit said. “Streamflows have increased slightly. Nothing to get excited about, in my opinion, yet.”

Snow pack is one of the main forecasters of summer drought. Snow pack in the Umpqua and Rogue basins were 60 percent of normal as of Feb. 1, according to a recent report from the Natural Resources and Conservation Service. It was 67 percent of normal in January.

Snow water equivalent — a measure of how much water is contained within snow — was 74 percent of normal as of Feb. 11 for the Umpqua and Rogue basins, according to data from the National Climate and Water Center. The norm is based on median levels from 1981 and 2010.

Additionally, the area of Douglas County that is in “extreme” drought is concentrated in the mountains where snow pack primarily exists.

Although precipitation in local basins was nearly 100 percent of normal for January, precipitation is currently about 80 percent of normal for the year. Precipitation for December was below 80 percent of normal.

The data that caught Douthit’s attention the most was the three-month temperature and precipitation outlooks for the state.

“The reason that I’ve been paying attention to that one is that one shows what are our water conditions are going to be in April and May,” Douthit said. “Because that’s really where the rubber hits the road.”

She said the forecasts show above-average temperatures and below-average precipitation.

“That’s a bad combo,” Douthit said.

The probability of above-average temperatures in the next three months is between 50 and 70 percent for Douglas County, according to the National Weather Service forecast. The probability of below-average precipitation is between 40 and 50 percent.

Douthit said if those forecasts materialize, regulators by be forced to impose water use restrictions to stave off water shortages.

According to the recent report for the Umpqua and Rogue basins, “As of February 1, storage at major reservoirs in the basin ranges from 17% of average at Hyatt Prairie Reservoir to 155% of average at Applegate Reservoir.”

The persistent drought conditions may financially impact key Douglas County industries, Douthit said.

“Tourism, fish, livestock. Yeah, it’s big money,” she said.

UCC says nursing program student representatives were notified 'immediately' after decision to end national accreditation

In a statement put out Wednesday, Umpqua Community College said student representatives from the college’s nursing program were notified “immediately” after the program decided to end its national accreditation.

“This decision was immediately shared with student representatives, to be shared with both cohorts,” according to the statement.

The statement was a response to a recent News-Review story, which highlighted how many recent nursing program graduates were unaware of the accreditation change well after they graduated in June 2018.

April Myler, director of the nursing program, told the UCC Nursing Advisory Committee she “elected to forego” the national accreditation during a meeting in April 2018, according to minutes from the meeting.

Although the minutes show Myler decided to end the accreditation in April, Heather Monroe, the program’s second-year elected student representative, did not attend that committee meeting and said she didn’t learn about the program’s decision to end the accreditation until weeks later, during a nursing program faculty meeting at the end of the term.

The program’s first-year and second-year cohorts each elect a student representative to serve as a bridge between students and administrators. Two nursing program students attended the April meeting in which Myler said she elected to forego the accreditation — one of them was the program’s first-year elected student representative.

Tiffany Coleman, communication director for the college, said that no decisions were made at the April advisory committee meeting because it isn’t a decision-making body. It is made up of staff from local clinical sites and serves to advise the program’s decision-making process.

Coleman said when the college made the decision to end the program’s national accreditation in an official capacity, both of the program’s elected student representatives were notified of the decision so they could share it with the two cohorts.

When asked to specify at what date the nursing program made the decision to end its accreditation officially, Coleman referred The News-Review to the statement the college released on Wednesday, which does not address that question.

The program’s national accreditation ended on May 31, 2018.

Gunman kills 5 people, wounds 5 police at Illinois business

AURORA, Ill. — An employee of a manufacturing company opened fire in its suburban Chicago plant Friday, killing five people and wounding five police officers before he was fatally shot, police said.

Aurora, Illinois, Police Chief Kristen Ziman identified the gunman as 45-year-old Gary Martin and said he was believed to be an employee at the Henry Pratt Co. — which makes valves for industrial purposes — in the city about 40 miles west of Chicago. She told a news conference that officers arrived within four minutes of receiving reports of the shooting and were fired upon as soon as they entered the 29,000-square-foot manufacturing warehouse.

Police said they did not know the gunman’s motive.

“May God bless the brave law enforcement officers who continue to run toward danger,” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at the news conference.

Hospitals reported treating at least seven patients from the shooting, though their conditions weren’t released. Two of the officers were airlifted to trauma centers in Chicago, Ziman said. She said a sixth officer suffered a knee injury. Officials did not say the total number of people injured including police and civilians.

Dozens of first responder vehicles converged on the building housing the company in Aurora after police received multiple calls about an active shooter at 1:24 p.m. CST.

Several ATF teams also responded to the shooting and were at the scene, according to the agency’s Chicago spokeswoman, and the FBI said it also responded.

John Probst, an employee at the Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, told ABC7 that he ran out of the back door as the shooting unfolded Friday afternoon. Probst says he recognized the gunman and that he works for the company.

“What I saw was the guy running down the aisle with a pistol with a laser on it,” Probst said.

Probst said he wasn’t hurt but that another colleague was “bleeding pretty bad.”

“It’s a shame that mass shootings such as this have become commonplace in our country. It’s a shame that a cold and heartless offender would be so selfish as to think he has the right to take an innocent life,” Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin said.

Police and squad cars guarded all access points to Henry Pratt five hours after the first calls to 911 about the shooting. The industrial park is surrounded by a neighborhood of modest homes with porch fronts, some with American flags perched outside.

At Acorn Woods Condominiums where Martin lived, a mix of brick apartments and condos nestled on a quiet street just a mile and a half from the shooting, neighbors gathered on sidewalks near Martin’s unit talking and wondering among themselves if they knew or had come in contact with him.

Mary McKnight stepped out of her car with a cherry cheesecake purchased for her son’s birthday, to find a flurry of police cars, officers and media trucks.

“This is a strange thing to come home to, right,” she said. She had just learned that the shooter lived close by and his unit in the complex had been taped off by police.

Christy Fonseca often worries about some of the gang-related crimes and shootings around her mother’s Aurora neighborhood. But she never expected the type of phone call she got from her mom on Friday, warning her to be careful with an active shooter loose in the town.

Police cars with screaming sirens revved past her as she drove to her mother’s house, where the Henry Pratt building is visible from the porch stoop.

it was only when they flipped on the television news that they realized Martin had killed people just a few hundred feet away.

“In Aurora, period, we’d never thought anything like this would happen,” Fonseca, a lifelong resident of the Chicago suburb, said as she looked out at the factory.

The White House said President Donald Trump was briefed on the shooting and monitoring the situation as he prepared to depart for a weekend trip to his home in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump tweeted his thanks to law enforcement officers in Aurora and offered his condolences to the victims and their families. “America is with you,” he said.

Presence Mercy Medical Center was treating two patients and a third had been transferred by helicopter to another hospital, spokesman Matt Wakely said. Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital and Advocate Lutheran General Hospital each had one patient from the shooting, spokeswoman Kate Eller said. Rush Copley Medical Center received three patients from the shooting and all are being treated for non-life threatening injuries, spokeswoman Courtney Satlak said.