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
At psychiatric institutions like Western State Hospital, the privacy
measures are even stricter. Cameras aren't even allowed on the grounds
"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
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
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
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
" 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
as a Medical Test Site w/ Waiver WAC
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.
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
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."