PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Health Authority is failing in its obligation to ensure adequate staffing and beds at the Oregon State Hospital, Marion County alleges in a new lawsuit filed Tuesday.
According to the lawsuit, the OHA isn’t complying with its obligation to evaluate and treat patients with pending criminal charges who require behavioral health restoration services from the State Hospital.
According to Marion County Commissioner Colm Willis, they have been trying to have the issues resolved for a long time and they now want to hold the State accountable.
“This action is not something that we take lightly,” said Willis. “We have been trying to solve these issues for a long time. The State needs to fulfill their responsibilities to the individuals needing critical treatment and to the citizens that are paying taxes for them to do the job that the law says is their responsibility.”
By Oregon law, the State is in charge of providing contracts for inpatient restoration care, but the lawsuit said they are failing to do that resulting in “sick and violent people” being released into the community. Which Commissioner Danielle Bethell argues has a negative impact.
“Local governments and communities are feeling and seeing the negative impact of the choices being made at the state level and are bearing the brunt of the State’s inability or unwillingness to do what it is legally required to do,” said Bethell.
Since the changes haven’t been made, Marion County said that they are seeking a court order to force the State and OHA to fulfill their duty.
“It’s about the safety of our community and safety of these individuals,” said Marion County Commissioner Kevin Cameron. “The state hospital needs to find ways to handle these people and help in getting them to a position where they are able to assist in their own defense.”