Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Site Image

DHS news release

Dec. 6, 2006

Contact: Jim Sellers 503-945-5738
Program contact: Cissie Bollinger 503-947-5543

16-bed secure residential facility to be a first for Eastern Oregon

Construction is expected to begin by year's end on Eastern Oregon's first 16-bed secure residential treatment facility for patients with mental illness, two-thirds of whom will have been discharged to community placements from Oregon State Hospital in Salem.

The 5,555-square-foot facility will be built in Umatilla, a town of 6,400 people north of Hermiston, to expand community housing that permits people to live outside large institutions.

"The ability to serve people in the community close to friends and families is an essential element of effective treatment," said Bob Nikkel, Oregon Department of Human Services assistant director for addictions and mental health services. "The new facility will deliver care not only to former state hospital patients, but also to those needing short-term crisis care."

The facility is a joint project of DHS; Lifeways Inc., which has the contract to deliver Umatilla County mental health services; and Greater Oregon Behavioral Health Inc., which delivers DHS-contracted mental health services in 10 Eastern Oregon counties.

The facility, scheduled to be completed and opened before June 30, will employ 21 to 25 people. It was approved by the Umatilla Planning Commission as part of a project that also will include a 3,951-square-foot clinic where Lifeways Inc. will deliver community mental health services.

The residential part of the project will have 10 beds for long-term forensic patients who have been discharged from the state hospital, four beds for persons in the community experiencing a short-term psychiatric crisis and two expansion beds.

The short-term crisis beds in Umatilla are being developed, in part, to replace Medicaid-funded acute-care services at Blue Mountain Recovery Center in Pendleton, for which a federal waiver for rural hospitals has expired. The Umatilla beds will receive federal Medicaid financing for eligible patients.

The Umatilla facility will bring to 14 the number of secure residential treatment facilities in the state. The other 13, serving 137 people who had been civilly or forensically committed to the state hospital, are in Multnomah, Marion, Lane, Jackson and Josephine Counties.

"These facilities have an excellent record of being good neighbors that protect public safety," Nikkel said. He said the new Umatilla housing, besides being a locked facility, will have electronic monitoring of all exterior doors and windows and dual perimeter fences.

In addition, Governor Ted Kulongoski and legislative leaders are considering at least two other 16-bed facilities in Eastern Oregon as part of the master plan to replace Oregon State Hospital and strengthen the state's community mental health system, Nikkel said.