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Oregon Levies Its Largest Ever Civil Fine On Legacy Health

<p>Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland.</p>
M. O. Stevens

Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland.

Legacy Health Systems is being fined $5 million — the largest civil fine ever imposed by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.

But Legacy said it’s fighting the penalty.

The fine comes after employees complained about being forced to skip meals and break times at Legacy's Meridian Park, Mount Hood Medical Center and Good Samaritan hospitals.

A statement from Legacy said it fundamentally disagrees with BOLI’s findings. It also said the investigation didn’t take into account the needs of patients and families, which sometimes require meal breaks to be deferred.

"Legacy Health has always been committed to creating a safe and healthy work environment. Legacy Health provides support for all of our staff in their work, including getting the meal breaks they are entitled to under the law. We remain 100 percent committed to ensuring the continued health and safety of our workforce," the health network said in a statement.

The statement also said Legacy will seek a hearing on the findings and vigorously defend itself.

BOLI delivered notices of the fines to each of the three different hospitals. They said Legacy executives knew of the violations, but chose not to address them.

Legacy was fined more than a quarter of a million dollars last year for not giving staff breaks.

Copyright 2018 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He specializes in health care, business, politics, law and public safety.