A significant contributor to the regionís economic vitality

Portland-metroís health care industry is a significant contributor to the regionís economic vitality, not only in terms of the large number of jobs it generates, but also because of its growing role as a generator of traded-sector activity. More importantly, the region is seeing positive health outcomes from an industry that delivers services in an overall efficient manner.

As health care delivery evolves in the years ahead, the region must focus on policies and practices that enable this industry to grow on its successes and become more efficient. Policies that have the effect of penalizing Portland-metro and Oregon for historic health care successes Ė such as the low Medicare reimbursement rates from the federal government Ė should be re-examined and replaced with policies that encourage innovation rather than punishing success.

Recognizing that this is an industry that will continue to grow Ė and one that generates valuable middle-wage jobs Ė there must be continued focus on ensuring there is a trained and ready workforce, and that training evolves to meet the changing needs of the industry.

And, finally, the community must come together to maximize the research potential at all of the regionís health care institutions, starting with achieving the OHSU Knight Cancer Challenge to raise $1 billion for cancer research. Additionally, policies must ensure there is a potential to commercialize research outcomes and then retain the emerging private businesses, growing the important biotech sector. This is an industry that will always be a significant part of the regionís economy and is poised to grow its potential positive impacts.