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The Oregon Administrative Rules contain OARs filed through October 15, 2014
 
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OREGON HEALTH AUTHORITY,
ADDICTIONS AND MENTAL HEALTH DIVISION: MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

 

PATIENT AND RESIDENT RIGHTS

DIVISION 102

HANDLING OF MAIL OF PATIENTS AND RESIDENTS IN STATE INSTITUTIONS 

309-102-0100

Purpose and Scope

(1) Purpose. These rules prescribe the standards for handling mail belonging to patients in state institutions, including mail arriving for patients and mail patients are sending from the state institution.

(2) Scope. These rules apply to all individuals residing in a state institution as defined in OAR 309-102- 0005.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 179.040 & 413.042
Stats. Implemented: ORS 179.360 & 426.385
Hist.: MHS 5-2011, f. & cert. ef. 8-3-11; MHS 8-2011(Temp), f. & cert. ef. 10-27-11 thru 4-20-12; MHS 1-2012, f. & cert. ef. 2-9-12

309-102-0110

Definitions

(1) “Contraband” means any controlled substance, drug paraphernalia, unauthorized currency or any other article which by statute, rule, order or the state institution’s policies, is prohibited from being in a patient’s possession, and the use of which could endanger the safety or security of the institution.

(2) “Controlled Substance” means a drug or it’s immediate precursor classified under the federal Controlled Substances Act and as modified under ORS 475.035.

(3) “Division” means the Addictions and Mental Health Division of the Oregon Health Authority.

(4) “Drug Paraphernalia” means all equipment, products and materials of any kind which are marketed for use or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 475.840 to 475.980 (ORS 475.525(2)).

(5) “Electronic Mail” means digital messages transmitted electronically.

(6) “Journalist Mail” means any mail sent to news media organizations such as, but not limited to newspapers, magazines and television station news departments.

(7) “Legal Mail” means any mail received from or addressed to, any attorney, court, tribal official, elected official, disability rights organizations or advocacy group that is part of the system outlined in ORS 192.517.

(8) “Limited Item” means any food, non-prescribed medicine, vitamins, supplements or other article which is allowed for patient use, but which must be held or kept in a specific area for reasons of maintaining public health standards to ensure proper dosage or to limit it’s ingestion, viewing or other use to the owner of the item.

(9) “Mail” means any letter, post card, periodical or any other type of envelope or package, except for legal mail and journalist mail.

(10) “Patient” means a person who is residing in a state institution.

(11) “Prohibited Item” means:

(a) Alcohol, controlled substances or drug paraphernalia;

(b) Any item that reasonably could be used as or turned into a weapon or instrument of escape;

(c) Any item the possession of which is considered detrimental to the treatment of a specific patient and which is recorded as prohibited with the rationale in the patient’s chart by the treating physician; or

(d) Any item the possession of which is disallowed to a clearly defined portion of the patient population or to the entire patient population pursuant to the institution’s policies.

(12) “Reasonable Cause” means a person has knowledge or notice of facts or circumstances which would lead a person of ordinary care and prudence to have a strong suspicion that a specific piece of mail contains a prohibited or limited item.

(13) “Safety” means the institution and all patients and others persons within and around it are free from injury, threats, harassment, identity theft or other dangers.

(14) “Security” means prevention of any patient’s potential escape from a state institution or the prevention of damage to institutional or personal property within the grounds of the state institution.

(15) “State Institution” means all Oregon State Hospital campuses including the Blue Mountain Recovery Center.

(16) “Superintendent” means the executive head of any state institution or that person’s designee.

(17) “Treatment Care Plan” means an individualized and comprehensive written plan of therapeutic interventions designed, in collaboration between the patient and his or her treatment team, to facilitate rehabilitation of psychiatric symptoms and eventual independence.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 179.040 & 413.042
Stats. Implemented: ORS 179.360 & 426.385
Hist.: MHS 5-2011, f. & cert. ef. 8-3-11; MHS 8-2011(Temp), f. & cert. ef. 10-27-11 thru 4-20-12; MHS 1-2012, f. & cert. ef. 2-9-12

309-102-0120

Patient Rights Related to Mail

(1) Except as outlined in OAR 309-102-0130 through 309-102-0140, all patients in state institutions shall have the right to communicate freely by sending and receiving sealed mail.

(2) All journalist, legal or other mail may be sent or delivered by hand or via any parcel delivery service.

(3) Except as provided in ORS 309-102-0130 through 309-102-0140, no employee or any person acting through or on behalf of the Division shall:

(a) Open, read, censor, inspect or otherwise examine any patient’s incoming or outgoing mail without the expressed permission of the patient who is the sender or the receiver of the mail;

(b) Prevent, obstruct or delay any patient’s outgoing mail from being promptly mailed; or

(c) Prevent, obstruct or delay any patient’s incoming mail from being promptly delivered to the patient.

(4) Except as required for treatment reasons, employees having read or examined a patient’s mail shall protect the patient’s confidentiality by refraining from discussions related to the mail.

(5) A patient shall be promptly informed, verbally and in writing, of:

(a) Any limitation to the right to send or receive sealed mail;

(b) Any item having been opened by staff; and

(c) Any item being held pursuant to these rules.

(6) At the request of a patient with a need, an employee may assist in reading or sending mail. Need for this assistance shall first be documented in the patient’s Treatment Care Plan by the physician.

(7) Patients shall be provided a reasonable amount of writing material by the state institution, as defined in policy. Stamps shall be available for purchase by patients with funds. Patients without funds will be provided a reasonable number of stamps by the state institution, as defined in policy.

(8) The exchange of electronic mail is an earned privilege and is related to the patient’s recent behaviors, current level of care and other privileges.

(9) The application of these rules may be contested by way of the state institution’s grievance procedures.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 179.040 & 413.042
Stats. Implemented: ORS 179.360 & 426.385
Hist.: MHS 5-2011, f. & cert. ef. 8-3-11; MHS 8-2011(Temp), f. & cert. ef. 10-27-11 thru 4-20-12; MHS 1-2012, f. & cert. ef. 2-9-12

309-102-0130

Mail Suspected To Contain Contraband, Limited Items or Evidence of a Crime

(1) The superintendent may designate in writing, certain areas of the state institution as locked high security areas that require additional precautions to protect the safety and security of the facility.

(2) In designated areas, employees of the state institutions may open all except legal mail in the presence of the patient as prescribed in this rule, even though there may not be reasonable cause to believe that a specific piece of mail contains a prohibited or limited item.

(3) In order to ensure the health or safety of individuals or the safety or security of the institution, the superintendent may additionally order:

(a) Incoming and outgoing mail be scanned with non-invasive technology including but not limited to x-rays or metal detectors;

(b) Mailed electronic equipment or other items which may have had contraband placed within, be given additional scrutiny such as, but not limited to turning the item on to ensure it’s basic functionality or opening up the item to look inside.

(4) When there is reasonable cause to suspect mail contains a limited item, the superintendent may order the item be opened by staff in the presence of the patient.

(a) If a limited item is found within the mail, the item will be stored and made available to the patient pursuant to the state institution’s related policies and procedures.

(b) If there is no limited or prohibited item within, the patient may retain possession of the limited item.

(5) When there is reasonable cause to suspect mail contains evidence of a real or potential crime, the following steps shall occur:

(a) If the real or potential crime may immediately threaten the health or safety of individuals or the safety or security of the institution or the health or safety of any affiliated person, the superintendent may hold, open or otherwise inspect the mail.

(b) If the real or potential crime does not appear to immediately threaten the health or safety of individuals or the safety or security of the institution, the superintendent is authorized to:

(A) Contact a law enforcement agency and request a judicial warrant to open the mail and

(B) Hold the mail until either the judicial warrant is denied or the warrant is received and the item is confiscated by the law enforcement agency.

(c) If the judicial warrant is denied the item must promptly be delivered to the patient.

(d) If the item is confiscated, opened and examined and found to be permissible the item must promptly be delivered to the patient.

(e) If the item is found to contain evidence of a real or potential crime, it will remain in possession of the law enforcement agency for further action.

(6) The intended recipient of any mail withheld pursuant to this rule will be promptly informed of the action unless there is reasonable cause to believe that doing so may:

(a) Increase the potential threat to the health or safety of individuals or the safety or security of the institution or

(b) Destroy or adversely alter the suspected evidence of a real or potential crime.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 179.040 & 413.042
Stats. Implemented: ORS 179.360 & 426.385
Hist.: MHS 5-2011, f. & cert. ef. 8-3-11; MHS 8-2011(Temp), f. & cert. ef. 10-27-11 thru 4-20-12; MHS 1-2012, f. & cert. ef. 2-9-12

309-102-0140

Disposition of Mail Retained or Delivered To Patient

(1) Once opened under staff supervision for inspection, permissible items shall not be read or otherwise further inspected and shall be delivered without undue delay to the patient.

(2) Any item retained from a patient’s mail shall be clearly marked to identify, at minimum the date of the inspection and retention, the patient’s name, the name and address of the sender, a description of the held items and both the printed name and the signature of the employee conducting the process. The item shall then be handled as provided in the Division’s rules related to the handling of personal property of patients in state institutions.

(3) When any item is confiscated by a law enforcement agency, each part of the process shall be documented in the patient’s chart with, at minimum, the date of inspection and confiscation, the patient’s name, the name and address of the sender, a description of the confiscated item or items and both the printed name and the signature of the employee who witnessed the law enforcement’s confiscation.

(4) All documentation related to any held item shall be in writing and kept in the patient’s chart. The patient shall receive a legible copy of each document.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 179.040 & 413.042
Stats. Implemented: ORS 179.360 & 426.385
Hist.: MHS 5-2011, f. & cert. ef. 8-3-11; MHS 8-2011(Temp), f. & cert. ef. 10-27-11 thru 4-20-12; MHS 1-2012, f. & cert. ef. 2-9-12

309-102-0150

Notice to Patients and Employees

(1) Upon admission to the state institution, patients shall be informed of these rules and the institution’s related policies and procedures, all their legal rights as detailed in ORS 426.385 and instructions on how to obtain a copy of these rules.

(2) The superintendent of the state institution shall ensure these rules and any related policies and procedures are thoroughly explained to each employee upon the commencement of their employment and annually thereafter.

(3) Violation of these rules and any related institutional policies or procedures by an employee of the Division shall constitute cause for disciplinary action.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 179.040 & 413.042
Stats. Implemented: ORS 179.360 & 426.385
Hist.: MHS 5-2011, f. & cert. ef. 8-3-11; MHS 8-2011(Temp), f. & cert. ef. 10-27-11 thru 4-20-12; MHS 1-2012, f. & cert. ef. 2-9-12

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