Administration of State Institutions

ORS 179.620
Liability of person or estate for cost of care


A person and the personal estate of the person, or a decedent’s estate, is liable for the full cost of care. Full cost of care is established according to ORS 179.701 (Determination of cost-of-care rates).


While the person is liable for the full cost of care, the maximum amount a person is required to pay toward the full cost of care shall be determined according to the person’s ability to pay. Ability to pay is determined as provided in ORS 179.640 (Determination of ability to pay).


Upon the death of a person, the decedent’s estate shall be liable for any unpaid cost of care. The liability of the decedent’s estate is limited to the cost of care incurred on or after July 24, 1979. The decedent’s estate shall not include assets placed in trust for the person by other persons. Collection of any amount from a decedent’s estate shall be pursuant to ORS 179.740 (Collection from estates).


Regardless of subsection (1) of this section and ORS 179.610 (Definitions for ORS 179) (5), assets held in trust by a trustee for a person are subject to laws generally applicable to trusts.


Notwithstanding subsections (1) and (3) of this section, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Human Services and the Oregon Health Authority may not collect the cost of care from:


Any assets received by or owing to a person and the personal estate of the person, or the decedent’s estate, as compensation from the state for injury, death or, if the collection is being made by the Department of Corrections, the false imprisonment of the person that occurred when the person was in a state institution listed in ORS 179.321 (Responsibility to supervise state institutions) or in the Eastern Oregon Training Center and for which the state admits liability or is found liable through adjudication; and


Any real or personal property of the personal estate of the person, or the decedent’s estate, that the person or an authorized representative of the person can demonstrate was purchased solely with assets referred to in paragraph (a) of this subsection or partially with such assets, to the extent such assets were used in the purchase. [1959 c.652 §2; 1961 c.501 §1; 1973 c.823 §§122,158; 1979 c.684 §2; 1989 c.348 §2; 1999 c.159 §1; 2001 c.487 §2; 2009 c.595 §148; 2013 c.36 §58]

Notes of Decisions

State is entitled to reimbursement for cost of institutionalization from assets of institutionalized person, including cash and savings accounts, and is not limited to reimbursement from current income of institutionalized person. McCauley v. Department of Revenue, 30 Or App 87, 566 P2d 537 (1977), Sup Ct review denied

Purported inequality arising from Mental Health Division’s practice of charging persons other than transferees from Department of Corrections did not immunize petitioners under Equal Protection Clauses of state and federal constitutions from lawful obligations to pay charges for cost of care at division’s facilities. Fredenburg v. Mental Health Div., 106 Or App 337, 807 P2d 812 (1991), as modified by 107 Or App 425, 812 P2d 432 (1991)

Attorney General Opinions

Liability for cost of care of person in state institution, (1975) Vol 37, p 357


Last accessed
Mar. 11, 2023