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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Union Aims Slate Of Initiatives At Hospitals

A showdown may be looming over the cost of hospital care on the Oregon ballot next year.

A union that represents health care workers filed five initiative petitions Monday that could set up a costly election battle next year.

One petition would cap the pay of hospital CEOs. Others would limit the amount hospitals could charge for procedures and require them to post the rates on their website. Another measure would require the institutions to publicly advertise their rates of infection, mortality and patient satisfaction. And a fifth petition would take away a hospital's tax-exempt status if it didn't spend at least 5 percent of its income on charity care.

Rob Sisk of the Service Employees International Union says the goal is to help people make informed choices about where they get their in-patient care.

"It's about transparency," he says. "It's about ensuring competitive pricing and quality pricing and quality care."

Sisk says the measures are timed to further the momentum created by the federal health care law. The proposals are expected to face stiff opposition from hospitals.

A spokesman for the Oregon Association of Hospitals couldn't be reached for comment.