New Oregon Psychiatric Hospital Proposal Approved

Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) Certificate of Need program has issued a proposed decision to approve NEWCO Oregon Inc.’s certificate of need application for a 60-bed, free-standing psychiatric hospital to be located in Wilsonville.

The proposed decision on NEWCO’s application follows the Certificate of Need Program’s Aug. 26 draft recommendation to approve NEWCO’s application, and a Sept. 20 informal hearing to take testimony from the company and affected parties.

The proposed decision, like the draft recommendation, remains contingent upon NEWCO meeting certain conditions, including that the company must dedicate 45% of its bed capacity to serve persons committed under ORS 426.130, or a person in custody pursuant to ORS 426.232, 426.233, or in diversion pursuant to 426.237.

The benchmark will be evaluated on a quarterly basis, and the company may, at its discretion, dedicate beds within the 45% requirement to Medicaid recipients if there are not enough individuals who are committed, in custody or in diversion to fill them. This flexibility in the 45% requirement was not in the Aug. 26 draft recommendation.

The proposed decision also adds more clarity on a condition related to meeting and maintaining requirements as a Class 1 hospital, including that “hospital design, operations and staffing ensure its ability to serve the full range of psychiatric needs of individuals within the proposed service area.” It also requests more specificity in a requirement that the company notify OHA’s Behavioral Health Program within 12 hours if it is refusing care of patients who are committed, in custody or in diversion, or are Medicaid recipients; submitted information must now include patient-identifying information, the patient’s payor source, the patient’s presenting condition, and the reason for refusal of service.

Finally, the proposed decision includes additional data on the percent of patients boarded in hospital emergency departments who eventually are transferred to an inpatient unit.

NEWCO and affected parties have 60 days from the date of the proposed decision to request a contested case hearing. If a contested case hearing is not requested within 60 days – or by Dec. 10 – the proposed decision becomes the final order. If a contested case hearing is requested, the timeline extends until the hearing process is completed.

The Certificate of Need program, administered through the Health Care Regulation and Quality Improvement Section at OHA Public Health Division, is a standardized, regulatory program instituted in 1971. It arose out of the Oregon Legislature’s desire to achieve reasonable access to quality health care at a reasonable cost. ORS 442 charges the program with reviewing proposals for new hospitals and nursing facilities to ensure health services are adequately distributed in the state without unnecessary duplication of services or excessive cost to patients.

For more information on the Certificate of Need program, visit www.healthoregon.org/cn.