4 health systems in Oregon have lawsuit over psychiatric patients dismissed

Four of the largest health systems operating in Oregon can't simultaneously say they want to help patients originally destined for the state's largest psychiatric facility and then complain about both the expense and harm such patients can cause, a judge has ruled, according to a May 30 Lund Report article.

The lawsuit was brought jointly by Portland, Ore.-based Legacy Health, Vancouver, Wash.-based PeaceHealth, Bend, Ore.-based St. Charles Health and Renton, Wash.-based Providence because the four systems claimed such patients were having their civil rights threatened because of under-resourced care due to an admissions backlog at Salem-based Oregon State Hospital. As a result, patients destined for the psychiatric facility have instead been rerouted to locations operated by the four health systems.

Health systems do not have the right to bring claims on behalf of civilly committed patients, U.S. Judge Michael Mosman ruled

"Health systems claim in their briefing that they would like to treat more civilly committed patients," Mr. Mosman wrote. "They also say they have a close relationship with these patients because their staff treat these patients. Yet health systems also complain about how much civilly committed patients are costing them and about the harms they inflict on their staff members. These arguments are not aligned."

The four systems said they were disappointed by the ruling and plan to "seek further review," according to the report.

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