PeaceHealth behavioral and mental health services live in Downtown Eugene

Peace Health Behavioral and Mental Health Services in Downtown Eugene

Eugene, Ore. – The Oregon Health Authority granted a license and waiver to PeaceHealth, allowing them to keep their mental health facilities in downtown Eugene following the closure of University District Hospital’s emergency room.

It was a month long process, but the approval was finally given. The licenses were previously under the University District license, but have now been transferred to the Riverbend facility. Satellite services in Eugene include a behavioral health unit, physical and speech therapy services, and a senior health and wellness center. Mental health services aren’t going away anytime soon, according to Joe Valtasti, PeaceHealth Oregon Communications Director.

“We’re very grateful that they were able to make this work and that we can keep that service in Eugene for a long time,” he said. “The Behavioral Health Unit is an inpatient psychiatric unit, it is for patients who are in serious crisis with a mental health condition if a doctor in one of our emergency departments or elsewhere determines that someone needs immediate stabilization. If you need it, that’s what the unit is for.”

The license for the behavioral health center was based on a waiver with strict conditions that PeaceHealth must follow. Conditions include reporting serious injury or death within 24 hours to the satellite centre, as well as providing data on patients. Patients currently accessing services downtown have nothing to worry about, Valtasti said.

“Yes, there will be no changes for our behavioral health patients in the University District, both inpatient and outpatient care will remain the same,” he said.

According to OHA Administrator, Andre Oursoboth PeaceHealth and OHA worked together to maintain behavioral services and their resources in Downtown Eugene under the direction of Governor Tina Kotek. According to officials, the resources possessed by these centers were so valuable that they could not be wasted. One of the most important assets was the 35 inpatient beds of the behavioral health unit.

“So if someone is experiencing a mental health or behavioral health crisis to the extent that they need to be admitted to a facility where those resources are available to them,” Orso said.

Downtown Eugene PeaceHealth

The OHA waiver for the Behavioral Health Unit Satellite only lasts for one year.

PeaceHealth must comply with the waiver conditions and renew the waiver through December 14, 2024.

“Part of this is to make sure under our license and waiver that PeaceHealth is actually providing these services to the community in an appropriate manner,” Orso said.

For some Eugene residents like Avery Bull and Grace Blankenship, the news was a relief.

“Mental health is definitely something that has been very important among my generation,” Bull said.

Bull said using mental health services is nothing new to her, and the city center has been important to her as someone who lives in Eugene.

He’s glad they’re staying here, especially because he wasn’t the biggest fan of the emergency department going to Riverbend.

“The only emergency hospital available now is Riverbend, and it’s not easily accessible to a lot of people in South Eugene,” he said.

For Bull, mental health is one of the top issues he cares about and he feels there is a need for good facilities and services now more than ever, based on his own experience.

“That’s something that has definitely been neglected in the past. And as someone who has experienced many mental health problems myself, it has definitely helped me become a better person,” she said.

Although residents are happy that services are being halted, there is some concern that these services may also leave the Eugene area of ​​the city. It’s a reality some residents like Blankenship don’t want to think about.

She said, “Like him, I also trust this mental health center.” [Bull] Does and it’s very – it would be very hard for me to travel back and forth and we don’t have a car or anything and I can’t go to these mental health services.”

Julio Mora Rodriguez joined the KEZI 9 news team in October 2022 as a news reporter. If you have a story idea, you can email Julio at

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