Mental health facility closing after lack of public safety

Hugo, Ore. — Only on NBC5 News – a mental health facility in Josephine County announced it will shut its doors after decades of serving clients.

The facility is run by Options for southern Oregon. It confirmed earlier on Thursday, it’s decided to close down the Hugo Hills Secure Residential Treatment Facility.

“This is a very, very painful decision. I, and of course, everyone at our organization is just sick about it. But we can’t risk the lives and the safety of the staff and the clients,” said Karla McCafferty. McCafferty is the executive director for Options.

It’s a decision no one at options wanted to make.

“Yesterday, we talked to the staff at Hugo Hills that we would be closing the facility there,” she said.

Hugo Hills Residential Treatment Facility has been in Josephine County for decades. It’s a place people with severe mental illness can receive treatment for extended periods. But as time goes by, and public safety dwindles away – leaders at Options said they can’t rely on the safety provided by the county any longer.

“We need to know when we pick up the phone for help, that someone will come,” she said.

Patients can sometimes get violent and not having backup is a major concern.

“We have had another incident in the past where there was no response there was no one able to come,” she said.

Options said it’s been dealing with this situation for years.

“There are times when we have no patrols in the county area and Hugo Hills is located in a remote part of the county,” she said.

It’s a risk to both staff and clients, Options says it just can’t take anymore.

“The referrals that we’re getting from the program, the individuals now are even more challenging than what we might have worked with historically,” she said.

Which makes makes staff and clients difficult.

“It’s at the point now where the risk to the staff, the risk to the clients, it’s just not attainable any longer,” she said.

And resting the fate of the organization on yet another proposed levy, where the potential for more law enforcement cuts is real, is not worth the risk of someone getting harmed.

“I don’t feel and our leadership doesn’t feel that we have a choice to keep the program open because of the safety risk – both the staff and the residents,” she said.

As of now, the treatment facility doesn’t have a set time frame of when it will close. Options said, for now, its just concerned with getting clients to other treatment centers and helping employees find other jobs. However, it says both clients and staff will go to other Options-owned facilities.

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