State of Oregon gives a “thumbs down” to UHS’ proposal to build a new psychiatric hospital

State of Oregon gives a “thumbs down” to UHS’ proposal to build a new psychiatric hospital

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has turned down Universal Health Services, Inc (UHS) and its NEWCO subsidiary’s request to build a 100-bed psychiatric hospital in Wilsonville. In the OHA’s proposed decision to deny UHS’ application, the “OHA found that NEWCO met only one of eight criteria” required to gain approval for its proposed hospital.

The Oregonian reports that this “marks just the second time in 27 years that state officials have denied a request to build a new hospital… The Oregon Health Authority approves most applications with little fanfare. But Universal’s Wilsonville plan drew opposition from mental health advocates, organized labor and competing healthcare companies.”

The Oregonian also reports that activists have raised concerns that UHS’ proposed hospital “is the wrong plan in the wrong place from the wrong company.” Some of these concerns stem from the fact that:

“The federal government has since 2013 been investigating possible fraudulent billing practices at as many as 23 Universal hospitals. Plus, the company has been nagged by repeated questions about patient safety and other quality issues.”  

The Oregonian also  notes that:

Last March, Texas officials asked Timberlawn Mental Health System in Dallas to surrender its license and pay a record $1 million fine. In December, news website Buzzfeed issued a harrowing account of life inside Universal hospitals. Based on a reported 175 interviews with former patients and employees, the article accused Universal of systematically holding patients who did not pose a danger to themselves against their will until their insurance coverage ran out.”

UHS is challenging the proposed decision and has requested that an informal hearing be held before a final OHA decision is rendered.

Read the OHA’s proposed decision here.