Challenge recent OHA motion asking judge to dismiss lawsuit
Portland, Oregon (KTVZ) — The St. Charles Health System and three other large Oregon hospital systems (Legacy Health, Providence Health & Services, and Peace Health) are defending federal lawsuits for vulnerable patients. He says he keeps fighting. They were denied the vital mental health care they needed by the state.
The Portland hospital system said it filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Eugene last September to protect the civil rights of Oregonians suffering from mental illness. St. Charles joined the action in December.
The hospital group says their lawsuit aims to ensure that the Oregon Department of Health meets its legal obligation to provide appropriate mental health care to individuals who are committed to the public.
OHA filed a motion with a judge late last month to dismiss the lawsuit. In Thursday’s filing, the four hospital systems said they had “appropriate legal support for the court to review and point out what it called multiple inaccurate statements made by the Oregon Department of Health in its December filing. It outlines the principles,” he said.
Robin Henderson, PsyD, Chief Executive Officer, Behavioral Health, Providence, Oregon, said: “Our psychiatric beds are full. We urge the state to stop using community hospitals as private patient warehouses and work with us to provide adequate access to mental health services in communities. We are asking you to fulfill your legal obligation to provide access.”
Under Oregon law, individuals who endanger themselves or others may be subject to civil liability for up to 180 days as involuntary medical treatment by the state. More than 500 of her individuals with severe mental illness make civic commitments to the Oregon Department of Health for treatment each year.
Acute care hospitals are often the first stop for many patients who need urgent medical care and short-term mental health stability. Once that is accomplished, the state is legally required to place these individuals in safe residential care facilities and facilities dedicated to long-term care, such as Oregon State Hospitals. Patients can be provided with the appropriate and necessary care so that they can regain their freedom.
Rather than move these individuals to suitable settings, hospitals “will abandon them for weeks or months at a time in community hospitals that are not suitable settings for long-term psychiatric care.” .
“Regional hospitals are not equipped, staffed, or designed to provide long-term mental health care. “We aim to provide short-term, high-urgency care that allows patients to recover, stabilize, and be discharged to the next appropriate level of care,” they said.
“We are taking this step because the hospital needs to treat more patients,” said Dr. Shane Coleman, clinical director of Psychiatric and Behavioral Health Services in St. Charles. “We cannot do that at this time because we allocate beds and caregivers to civicly committed patients who no longer require hospital-level care or need to be admitted to state hospitals. Local community hospitals are better able to meet the needs of their communities when they choose to fulfill their legal obligations to provide care to their dedicated patients.”