Oregon State Hospital hires chief of medicine from New Jersey

From the Salem Statesman Journal, January 21, 2011

A New Jersey physician has been hired to become the first chief of medicine at the Oregon State Hospital in Salem.

Dr. Brian Little comes to OSH from Ancora Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey.

READ – DOJ CRIPA investigation of Ancora Psychiatric Hospital, August 2009
READ – N.J.’s Ancora Psychiatric Hospital patients remain ‘at risk of harm,’ feds say, New Jersey Star, August 24, 2009
READ – Ancora Psychiatric Hospital faces federal investigation, September 2008

Superintendent Greg Roberts, who came to OSH from New Jersey in September, said the chief of medicine position was created to better address patients’ physical health, as well as their mental health.

“Introducing a Chief of Medicine to the hospital is the next step in our path towards the integration of mental health and primary care,” Roberts said in a message to members of the hospital advisory board. “Physical well-being goes hand-in-hand with recovery, and we need to make sure we are effectively treating the whole person.”

Oregon’s main mental hospital has been criticized by mental-health advocates and federal investigators for lapses in patient care.

Roberts assumed the mantle of leadership at OSH after a long career as a psychiatric hospital administrator in New Jersey.

“There are a number of important similarities between OSH and Ancora,” Roberts said. “Both hospitals have come under USDOJ scrutiny in the last five years after experiencing significant overcrowding, as well as several negative incidents, including patient deaths. OSH and Ancora also both have large forensic and geriatric populations.”

Little served as chief of medicine at Ancora.

“Under Dr. Little’s leadership, Ancora developed and implemented a number of successful initiatives aimed specifically at providing appropriate medical treatment of all patients,” Roberts said. “We are fully confident he will do so here as well.”

Roberts said Little will report directly to him until a new chief medical officer is hired. A nationwide search is being conducted to fill that vacant position.

Dr. Mark Diamond recently stepped down as chief medical officer to assume new duties as a part-time staff psychiatrist.