New OR hospital assessment spurs ongoing controversy

Oregon's Department of Human Services paid $252,465 for a recently completed 16-page report on its forensic psychiatric hospital that the Governor and DHS director chose not to share with key legislators.

The new report assesses the steps Oregon State Hospital is taking to address U.S. Department of Justice charges leveled against the facility last year. The hospital has been subject of an ongoing DoJ investigation into the treatment of patients and the overall physical condition of the 128-year-old facility. 

When Governor Ted Kulongoski and DHS director Bruce Goldberg received the report in late February, they chose not to share it with members of the State Hospital legislative oversight committee. This caused considerable friction among stakeholders responsible for evaluating proposals, hosting public forums and implementing improvements at the hospital, including the construction of a new $280 million facility. 

The report was widely circulated last week only after The Statesman Journal posted it on its website. This is how legislators and the hospital's director learned that the report even existed. Goldberg has said that he had meant to circulate the report to key stakeholders, but just hadn't gotten around to doing it.

To learn more:
- here's The Statesman Journal's story
- see the report on the Oregon State Hospital