OSH Spends Nearly $2 Million to Change Culture

A firm based in Indiana, Kaufman Global, has been hired to turn Oregon State Hospital into a first-class psychiatric facility

December 1, 2010 – State officials signed a nearly $2 million professional services contract on Monday to change the culture and turn Oregon State Hospital into a recovery-oriented organization.
An Indianapolis-based firm, Kaufman Global, was chosen from a field of three consulting firms by the Department of Human Services to implement the Oregon State Hospital Excellence Project.
During the next seven months, consultants will provide expertise to help OSH become a first-class public inpatient psychiatric facility, according to Greg Roberts, superintendent. 
“It’s all about having a different focus, he said, “helping people recover so they can live again successfully in the community for extended periods of time. That ranges from how we conduct assessments, put treatment plans together and how we facilitate discharging people back into the community.”
The recommendation to undertake a major transformation came from an earlier consultant study done by Liberty Healthcare, at a cost of $175,000. It found that the hospital had “invested great energy and vigor in striving to improve,” however the results had been disappointing.
Among the problems identified by Liberty consultants:
The need to establish clear authority and accountability at all staff levels. There’s a pervasive culture of indecisiveness at the hospital with staff members expecting that their decisions are tentative and changeable
The lack of uniform policies and practices with various units acting independently because they perceive a leadership vacuum
An excessive reliance on too many committees, many of which perform uncoordinated and redundant functions, which has led to confusion about who has authority to resolve issues
A perception that managers cannot discipline or remove employees who are not doing a good job
Serious confusion about which entities hold the authority to resolve issues and are accountable for results 
“It’s paradoxical that the very efforts to improve the hospital have contributed to the current confusion because changes have been implemented on so many fronts and with such rapidity,” according to Liberty’s report. “The sheer volume of change at OSH would overwhelm any organization, but we believe that the essential problem has been the lack of adequate planning and coordination of these improvement efforts.”
Kaufman Global is expected to work with hospital staff to help them bring about a cultural change, not necessarily implement that change, Roberts said. “Our job is to help people recover and stabilize so they can go back to the community. It’s a different way of conducting business in a psychiatric hospital than 10 to 15 years ago where people stayed for a very long time.”

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So, for eight years the State of Oregon has had zero (0) for the state-wide voice of mental health clients. And now, the State wonders what could be wrong with the culture. How about one word: DISMPOWERMENT.

Often staff is uncertain of their own policies and usually it is the patient and/or their families who suffer for it. Security needs staff development to better deal with patients and their visitors. The food is inadequate for proper nutrition yet vitamin suppliments have not been allowed because they must be individually packaged at a cost of .29 each. Under PSRB supervision, patients are managed as criminals with little or no consideration for the circumstances of their incarceration in direct violation of the Olmstead Act. OSH has fostered a culture of despair where patients feel there is little hope for their freedom, much less their recovery.