Cedar Hills Hospital intends to compete as Oregon’s only private psychiatric hospital
October 12, 2009 -- Local health officials have been intrigued by the Texas-based AscendHealth Corporation’s recent opening of Cedar Hills Hospital at 10300 SW Eastridge Street in Portland.
As the only free-standing psychiatric hospital in the state, Cedar Hills has been marketing itself as a private alternative for mental health care and addictions treatment.
“The physical environment here isn’t at all institutional – it’s very inviting and welcoming. Our layout enables us to develop specialty programs to individualize patients’ treatment,” according to a press release by Cedar Hills CEO Shanti Carter.
Mary Claire Buckley, executive director of the state’s Psychiatric Security Review Board, sees a barrier to Cedar Hills and other private institutions filling the gap. Buckley’s office deals with the forensic clients that make up a large portion of the state’s in-patient mental health facilities, but says the new hospital is yet another facility that will deal only with civil clients.
There are other problems with private facilities like Cedar Hills, according to Richard Harris, Addictions and Mental Health Division director of the Oregon Department of Human Services. Harris notes that private facilities tend to focus on acute care and are not as efficient as the larger state facilities.
“The beauty of the state hospital is that if can serve more people, it will reduce costs,” Harris says. “The costs of hospitals on society are mostly fixed.”
Such talk may stem from the element of competition, points out Gina Nikkel, the Association of Community Mental Health Programs executive director. “Cedar Hills Hospital is doing well, and some are pleased to have it, but some fear it will take away business,” she says.
The private hospital will continue to expand its reach, according to Laura Bryant, Cedar Hills’ Director of Nursing and Chief Operating Officer. Plans are in the works for a “Freedom Care” program for the military, a faith-based program and a specialized program for women.
For related story about mental health hospitals click here.
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