- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 29, 2017

BEND, Ore. (AP) - Central Oregon’s largest employer says it needs to make $6 million in cuts, and layoffs are a possibility.

St. Charles Health System has been looking to slash costs for most of the year, after its finances began to worsen. Chief Financial Officer Jennifer Welander says it will offer a voluntary buyout program for caregivers, as well as incentives for employees who come up with cost-saving or revenue-generating ideas.

The health system operates all four of the region’s hospitals. Officials announced in May that financial problems were forcing them to scale back a much-needed expansion of the Bend hospital.

Welander says patients on Medicare and Medicaid represent 75 percent of the business at the hospitals, and those reimbursements don’t cover the cost of care.

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