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Oregon might be one step closer to having more psychiatric beds

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Oregon Health Authority’s Certificate of Need program issued a proposed decision recommending approval of NEWCO Oregon Inc.’s application for a 60-bed, free-standing psychiatric hospital to be located in Wilsonville.

The proposed decision follows a draft recommendation dated Aug. 26 to approve the application and an informal hearing Sept. 20 to take testimony from the company and affected parties, according to a press release issued Friday afternoon by the OHA.

NEWCO Oregon, a subsidiary of Universal Health Services, Inc., could decide not to move forward with the facility if it decides this OHA agreement isn’t viable.

The proposed decision, like the draft recommendation, requires NEWCO to meet certain conditions it has opposed in the past.

It must dedicate 45% of its beds to people determined by a court to be mentally ill, close to being the subject of a hearing for diversion or detention, or previously housed in emergency custody. The company would also have to provide notice to the OHA when an uninsured or Medicaid patient is turned away.

OHA spokesman Jonathan Modie said Friday that the goal is to ensure that NEWCO admits “underserved populations who might not be as (financially) lucrative.”

The standard would be evaluated quarterly. And the company could dedicate beds within the 45% requirement to Medicaid patients if there are not enough individuals who are committed, in custody or in diversion to fill them. Modie pointed out that this wasn’t part of the August draft recommendation.

The OHA announcement also explained that “hospital design, operations and staffing ensure its ability to serve the full range of psychiatric needs of individuals within the proposed service area” and stated that the company must notify OHA’s Behavioral Health Program within 12 hours if it’s going to refuse care to patients who are committed, in custody or in diversion, or are on Medicaid.

Also laid out in the agreement is what information is going to be required from the company when it turns away such people, including that patient’s “presenting condition and the reason for refusal of service.”

NEWCO and affected parties can request a contested case hearing by Dec. 10. Otherwise, the decision becomes final on the aforementioned date.

There is no timeline for the project to be completed, Modie added.