Patient death serves as brutal reminder Western State Hospital needs more accountability
OLYMPIA…Western State Hospital announced this week that a patient was found dead at their facility and another was found unresponsive. This is the latest in a long history of tragedies, poor security and attacks on staff that have plagued the psychiatric hospital. In the wake of this announcement, Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County, urges the Washington State Legislature to pass his bill that would require state hospitals to undergo the same licensure and inspection as private psychiatric hospitals.
Senate Bill 6600 is a direct response to the continuing poor management of the state’s largest psychiatric facility that was spotlighted with the loss of its federal certification and the $53 million in federal funding that came with it. The state has had to make up the financial loss, which is roughly 20 percent of the hospital’s annual operating cost.
“This kind of tragedy and the ongoing danger to staff underscore the need for my bill. When something like this happens – and it does all too often — we can’t say, ‘Gee, that’s really too bad’ and then get lost in the politics surrounding this issue. We must have some transparency and accountability at our state psychiatric hospitals,” said O’Ban. “I urge the Legislature to pass SB 6600 because it’s the right thing to do.”
SB 6600 received a hearing earlier in February, but has not moved from committee.