MentalHealthRightsYES - for Mental Health Rights
Western State Hospital (WSH) is NOT 
licensed as a state psychiatric hospital! (part 1) 

Instead they are licensed in Washington State only as a Medical Test Site with waiver. 

Their psychiatric hospital license is under the Federal Joint Commission...Although it has received the gold seal rating under the Joint Commission accreditation, if they were licensed under our state RCW 71.12, they would be under much more public scrutiny...
The following is a quote from a transcribed radio interview, KUOW's John Ryan had with WSH staff after their investigation of the recent suicide death (April 24, 2012) at Western State Hospital, of 20 year old Megan Templeton 4 days after her 20th birthday. It highlights Western State's  ability to avoid public scrutiny ... Click here for the full transcribed interview

' "Today, information about the inner workings of any hospital is hard to come by. Patients' privacy is carefully guarded by state and federal laws.
At psychiatric institutions like Western State Hospital, the privacy measures are even stricter. Cameras aren't even allowed on the grounds at Western.

"Other hospitals in Washington have to report their mishaps to the Department of Health. You can find long lists of surgical errors and other problems online. So you can judge for yourself which hospitals are safe to use. But you won't find anything about Western State or Eastern State Hospital. They are exempt from reporting their mishaps to the state."

Brian Waiblinger is Western's medical director.

Waiblinger: "I don't know why we're exempt from that. We already report to our accrediting agency."

That agency, called the Joint Commission, generally doesn't release information on individual hospitals' mishaps. (KUOW filed a public records request with Western State Hospital to get the Joint Commission's investigation.)
  Urgent Alert: Please call Senator Murray 
CLick here for more details



Cooper: "A lot of people who are admitted to Western State Hospital report that they feel invisible once they go through those doors."  '

MOM Cindi...When I went to the Joint Commission Website to see what standards our state hospitals are being held to...This is the quote I found "The Joint Commission standards are NOT available on this website. The standards are available in print and electronic formats and can be purchased from Joint Commission Resources. For more information see Facts about Joint Commission accreditation standards.
How is it that we the citizens of Washington can not even know WHAT standards our hospitals are being held accountable for... UNLESS we pay a hefty price?
SO Not only does  the Joint Commission generally NOT release information on individual mishaps of the hospitals they license, but they also do not make their standards easily available and freely accessible to the public.  Why all the secrecy? We are talking about institutions that are suppose to be caring for our most vulnerable loved ones...
Here is a perfect example of why we ALL should be very concerned about such secrecy.


This is a letter to a Seattle Newspaper editor written by a man whose brother recently choked to death at Western State Hospital in 2012...What are we NOT being told. And how would it be different if Western State were licensed the same as our private psychiatric hospitals and errors were mandated to be made public...?

"Brother died at Western State Hospital"
"     I am the older brother of the man that choked to death at Western State and his name is Robert. I was not notified of his choking until almost 24 hours later by the hospital he was taken to, St. Claire Hospital. I was told by the doctors the next day that he was brain death due to the fact no oxygen had reached his brain for 21 minutes due to a blocked airway until the medics reached Western State. Today is Tuesday and I have left several messages with the incident department at Western State as to what happened to my brother there with them before he was taken to the hospital and I have not received ONE call back, not when he was choking on Thursday, or that he was taken to the hospital, or to say they were sorry that he die. Today is Tuesday, 5 days after the fact and all I have is the information the hospital gave me and what I’m reading here."


Western State Hospital and Eastern State Hospital are licensed under 
70.42 RCW 
    as a Medical Test Site w/ Waiver   WAC 246-338-001 
 NOT
 as a psychiatric hospital under RCW 71.12 that all other psychiatric hospitals in Washington are required to be licensed under. 

This information is quoted from the Washington Government site regarding licensing of psychiatric hospitals within the state of Washington...
click each RCW number to go directly to the site 
Unfortunately these are requirements only for private psychiatric care  establishments in the state of Washington.

Definitions. As used in this chapter, "establishment" and "institution" mean and include every private or county or municipal hospital, including public hospital districts, sanitarium, home, or other place receiving or caring for any mentally ill, mentally incompetent person, or chemically dependent person.

License to be obtained — Penalty.
No person, association, county, municipality, public hospital district, or corporation, shall establish or keep, for compensation or hire, an establishment as defined in this chapter without first having obtained a license therefore from the department of health, complied with rules adopted under this chapter, and paid the license fee provided in this chapter. Any person who carries on, conducts, or attempts to carry on or conduct an establishment as defined in this chapter without first having obtained a license from the department of health, as in this chapter provided, is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction thereof shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment. The managing and executive officers of any corporation violating the provisions of this chapter shall be liable under the provisions of this chapter in the same manner and to the same effect as a private individual violating the same.

RCW 71.12.510
Examination and visitation in general.
The department of health may at any time cause any establishment as defined in this chapter to be visited and examined.

Scope of examination. 
Each such visit may include an inspection of every part of each establishment. The representatives of the department of health may make an examination of all records, methods of administration, the general and special dietary, the stores and methods of supply, and may cause an examination and diagnosis to be made of any person confined therein. The representatives of the department of health may examine to determine their fitness for their duties the officers, attendants, and other employees, and may talk with any of the patients apart from the officers and attendants.

The RCW 70.42 Medical Test Site with waiver licensing is
"To ensure that the public receives accurate and reliable clinical laboratory services and test results by monitoring and evaluating medical test sites for compliance with minimum standards of quality assurance for clinical laboratory testing."  






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