Oregon State Hospital corrective plan OK’d after inmate’s escape in 2023

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A federal agency approved a Plan of Correction from the Oregon State Hospital on Tuesday after an “extremely dangerous” inmate escaped custody while being transferred to the hospital in 2023.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved the hospital’s response to findings that it was deficient in secure medical transport of justice-involved patients.

The plan is divided into four categories – including transportation of patients, incident response, trainings, and documentation.

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The plan includes elopement preventions to ensure patient safety, alternatives or less restrictive interventions to restraints, along with clear documentation of ineffective interventions, and improvements to quality assurance, management structures — including audits of the improvement categories.

After the inmate’s escape, the hospital enhanced its safety measures when transporting potentially dangerous individuals.

The improvements included adding a barrier between the front and back seats of the medical transports, only loading and unloading at secure points and, when not in the ignition, drivers need to keep control of the keys at all times.

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“The safety of patients and employees will benefit from the ongoing refinements and additional enhancements included in the PoC,” said OSH Superintendent Dolly Matteucci. “Enhanced policies, more specific trainings, clear expectations and data driven evaluations create a foundation for individual and collective success.”

Starting Feb. 25, CMS surveyors may return to OSH to make sure the hospital has successfully implemented its plan.

The plan comes after 39-year-old Christopher Lee Pray escaped custody on Aug. 31 while he was being transferred to a local hospital for medical care after an altercation with another patient, OSH previously said.

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According to the hospital’s corrective plan, when Pray was being transferred by a van, the keys to the van were left unattended in the ignition by hospital staff — prompting Pray to steal the van and flee the city of Salem.

When Pray escaped, police said he was fully restrained with leg shackles, a belly chain, handcuffs and a restraint connecting all of them together.

On Sept. 1, Pray was found stuck in a muddy pond near the Portland Expo Center after reportedly being trapped there for more than 12 hours, according to Portland Fire & Rescue.

Once he was out of the mud, he was cleaned and taken to a local hospital, but officials said it wasn’t until he was at the hospital that an employee there recognized Pray, who authorities say had given a fake name.

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